Let’s put an ancestor of ours from the year 1850 in conversation with one another in the present on Twitter.
To see what happens!
In my current performance project — “What’s on [My] Mind?” — I use an intergenerational persona to transcend time, space, race, class and history in order to understand and engage with myself, others, and this world anew.
How to participate:
Locate an object (a photograph, a letter, a physical object, a memory, a story of a memory, etc.) that connects you with a specific ancestor of yours from 1850. What if you are adopted? You can then choose a historical figure who resonates for you. You may want to examine databases, family heirlooms, stories (or fragments of stories) you’ve heard passed down to you.
After collecting a variety (it doesn’t have to be a lot) of information about this ancestor, wonder about him or her — what her personal issues were, what his societal conflicts were. Then, write a letter from that ancestor/historical figure to yourself: what does he or she want you to know that you could not know without her or his communication with you? What were some of the conflicts she or he faced? How are they reflective of conflicts you currently face or must deal with in your own life in the here and now? What awesomeness were they aware of that they can share with you or gift to you?
On February 28, 2014, we will pull sentences from these letters we’ve crafted (from our past to our present) to tweet out, using the hashtag #1850charla (a charla is the Spanish world for a “chat.”)