I define a meeting as a scheduled gathering of people where participants are able to speak extemporaneously about a shared topic.
What rituals for gatherings can I bring to gatherings? Again, I want to make objects for secular meeting spaces, but my family passed down no ritual objects or awareness of the specificity of my heritage that I could draw from. I started thinking about contemporary artists who have reimagined ritual spaces and objects from their own social positions and heritage.
The sculptor and performance artist writes that she is “motivated by a sense of accountability for harms caused by my ancestors,” and has therefore “spent many years investigating the cultural phenomenon of historical reenactment as the ritualized performance of unresolved trauma.”
(Guelph) created by Postcommodity in 2013, uses, as the collective describes, a “ceremonial conceptual frame- work” to “transform participants into musi- cians engaged in a community instrument of self-determination.”
The mixed-media installation with video,
I prayed to the wrong god for you,
made by Tiona Nekkia McClodden in 2019, includes a ritual for the Santería/Lucumi god Shango as well as documentation of the creation of ritual objects.
The temporary shelter made for shared meals during the Jewish festival of harvest during Succoth,
from 2000 by Allan Wexler.
I grew up with an impoverished cultural imaginary about aesthetically compelling, emotionally open, or directly democratic gatherings
What excites me is the possibility that an object can produce a shared meaning within the context of a gathering; that it can guide meeting participants to some genuinely new space or thought
The game visualizes the flow of dialogue, as each person starts out with the same number of spheres, and a person must roll a sphere to another person, or “spend it,” in order to speak. In this way, the spheres act as a kind of currency.
“Imagine that the next time you walk into a meeting room and sit down, rather than getting out your laptop, iPad or notebook, you pick up a group of ceramic spheres and start rolling them across the table to signal who is speaking, who is not, and for how long. Imagine that addressing items on an agenda involves a collective somatic experience― the picking up and putting down of tactile things, the exchange of objects that invite a different kind of relationship with your peers. This is the work of Caroline Woolard.”
—Curators Anna Harsanyi and Macushla Robinson, 2019