Nov 7, 2011
long day in space
yesterday was a double-header at elysain, the new space i'm working on that is my job. we had an all-day retreat for LGL, the legal clinic. LGL is undergoing yet another transformation - we are continuing now as a mobile clinic, which is actually working better than when we had Imprenta. long story short, we ran out of money and had to give up the space. now our clinic is every other month, at different locations around LA area... the last one and next one (nov 17) are with the east valley community health center in el monte. apparently there have been a lot of problems in this area with the cops harassing and arresting trans people without cause, one officer in particular. so there is need for this clinic, but at the same time we are trying to recommit ourselves to community accountability. another long story short: LGL was started by a group of predominately white non-trans lawyers, and last year we did a campaign to get more community participation, which was initially super successful, exciting time. but we had trouble with decision-making, structure, and ultimately power dynamics between the lawyers and community members were hard to overcome and community participation dropped off. at this point, given the the clinic is starting to gain traction, i see that it would be very easy for LGL to just push ahead operate as a lawyer-driven group. but we are committed to figuring out how to slow the process down, and find ways to sustain community participation in a more long term way.
later that night we did a test screening of wildness with a group of artists editors collaborators and community members... it was invigorating to have for the first time a small audience of many perspectives all in one room. i still have a lot of work to do :0
one thing i've been thinking about is how much storytelling is itself a master tool. like grand arcs and stuff. it's something i had never previously learned how to do, because i come from communities who are having to resist master narratives all day long every day.... so storytelling can be extra hard backbending when we are trying to represent our own communities because we end up either trying imitate or assimilate into these narratives where we don't quite fit, or if we say things in our own language with our own logic, it often gets dismissed as "community-based" art. so this project has been very much about trying to learn the masters tools - not to dismantle the house - but to build a different house in our own zone exactly the way we want it! or something ;)
*extra special TNX to roya raquel and hannah for talkin me through this week
Posted by WU TSANG at 10:08 AM