Issue 2.1 Homepage

Article Contents
·On the "liveness" of a spectacle as a point of entry
·On readying an audience for a play
·On the relationship between the university and the theater
·On the call to witness, and the standing ovation
·On taking the theater seriously, both on the Right and on the Left
·On "bringing together people who know about organizing and activism with those who know how to bring you to your feet"
·On art and activism
·On finding an audience

Printer Version

Anna Deavere Smith and Ann Pellegrini, "Performing Affect" (page 7 of 8)

On art and activism:

Audience Member: I was just wondering, you were talking about bringing together people who bring us to our feet, and people who know how to organize people once they're interested in participating in very concrete (inaudible) dealt with the issues you're talking about today. And I was wondering if you've begun to experiment with that at all? And also, what kind of follow-up you've had with the audience - at Harvard or whatever - some sort of organizing of discussion that led to some sort of further action?

ADS: Well, where the project stands now is actually to investigate more about collaboration with activists. And if I proceed to do this again, that would be a very important part. I just went to the, around the Mississippi Delta, and read a very interesting report done by the Rockefeller Foundation called (inaudible), and in part, about activism around workers.

And I went down to the subject of that report, an organization called "Southern Echo" which had its roots in the civil rights movement. One of its main members was actually in SNCC. And I was blown away at how, in one day - I had just arrived to the office - they were literally able to hook me up all over the Delta.

And I was driving around and meeting people in different towns who could introduce me to other people who had told me about catfish factories and sharecropping in the past. One woman who still lives on the plantation, and hasn't lived anywhere else.

And so, I think that one can go into the field and start to create relationships. I'm looking for a partner who will basically work as hard as I have, learning how to do these spectacles. Learning how to get people to do things, and how to help people - which has to do with talking with them and learning about them.

So I think it's about putting together people who have skills and it isn't necessarily that an activist has to learn those skills, but making partnerships. We got more headway at the Institute, with scholars, for example.

S&F Online - Issue 2.1, Public Sentiments - Ann Cvetkovich and Ann Pellegrini, Guest Editors - ©2003.