I didn’t want to ask for permission anymore to share the work I was creating. I didn’t want to have to present a finished idea to start receiving feedback. I wanted to go, to be messy, to start sharing now, to listen and to learn from the people who I felt the work was for. “If you want to build empathetic community,” I thought, “you’d better start now.”
As soon as that thought entered my mind, the sense of immediacy was undeniable. This had to be done.
The name MESSAROUND came after lots of conversation about what this space should be:
- A place where unfinished performance happened that was open to the public, so that the work could be influenced and impacted by its viewers.
- A place where where community was built, conversations – both difficult and pleasant – were held, and new connections were made.
As someone (and I know I’m one of many) who believes in the power of art to evoke change – I wanted to see what would happen if people were given the opportunity to inhabit space together before and after seeing a socially conscious performance. The way I approach creating change through this work, is promoting a change in mindset, with the idea that a shift in thinking is the beginning of individual and collective transformation. My hope is that the work makes the viewer(s) think, reflect, reconsider, and most importantly, ask questions. The process of changing, adjusting, widening the way we think is not neat. It does not have defined edges or tucked corners.
Change is messy, undoing old ways of thinking and behaving is messy, creating art that is vulnerable and honest and collaborative is messy. When you accept you aren’t perfect, you prepare yourself for change. By accepting this process would and should be messy, we open ourselves up to the infinite possibilities of how it should look. We landed on the word MESSAROUND because it encapsulated what we wanted this event to be: communal, free-formed, open, inviting, social, fun, messy, challenging, and maybe even transformational.
- The relationship between art and viewer is not hierarchical
- Empathy can only be truly felt when all five sense are engaged – therefore, live gathering is essential for building empathetic community
- Movement as our first language has a unique ability to break down barries
- Every person deserves to be heard
- Listening is one of the most powerful acts we can take
- Showing up is essential if we want these spaces to exist
When we show up to the messaround, we affirm that spaces of empathy and community are vital for our collective movement towards an equitable society.