It began with a pair of pink Mizuno Women’s Wave Rider 16 Running Shoes. On June 25, 2013, Texas State Senator Wendy Davis stood for 11 hours in these pink sneakers, filibustering against a restrictive abortion bill and creating history. Bronx artist Alicia Grullón will recreate this piece of history in its entirety (in an identical pair of pink Mizuno shoes) from 10am until 9pm Wednesday, April 13 at BRIC House.
By inserting herself, a woman of color, into the Senator’s role, Grullón’s reenactment becomes the retelling of a historic moment from a new point of view. Charged with fresh cultural, social, and political significance—it also questions, as Grullón said, “how stories change when you change the face of an actor.”
The sneakers Wendy Davis wore – Grullon will wear the same ones.Grullón’s piece, Filibuster, reflects on the platforms provided to the empowered, a key women’s rights issue, and the filibuster as a specific form of speech. Grullón channels her interdisciplinary approach, using performance, video, and photography, into criticism on the politics of presence. She argues for the inclusion of disenfranchised communities in political and social spheres by way of social interventions and performative reenactments that assert the lived experiences of people left out of, or in this case, central to history.
“I started doing reenactments in 2007 with Illegal Death, where I reenacted the death of an undocumented worker who was found frozen to death in a forest on Long Island,” Grullón said. “He had been living out there near an LIRR station and was found several days later.”
Grullón stood for four hours in the snow in Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx during her performance. Thereafter, she planned a series of reenactments of true events including Senator Bernie Sanders’ 8.5-hour talk to filibuster the extension of the Bush tax cuts, a Korean farmer’s protest at the WTO Cancun conference, and an aspect of Amadou Diallo’s murder.
“Senator Davis’ filibuster fell along the lines of these other events where moments of protest or tragedy highlight the impact of imbalanced history and policies on the social sphere and on the body of other[s],” Grullón said. “Her filibuster on women’s healthcare highlighted and reignited the necessity for an equitable feminist history and a call for younger women of color to take the lead since many of the women affected by the closing of clinics are poor and/or of color.”
For Grullón, the alternative narratives that emerge from these socially engaged practices consider race, class, gender, activism, and the inner-workings of all four as they shape the contemporary social condition.
This event takes place as part of the Whisper or Shout: Artists in the Social Sphere exhibition, a show interested in the communication methods of artists involved in critical social and political issues.
COME TO BRIC HOUSE APRIL 13 (at any point during the performance) TO SEE FILIBUSTER FOR YOURSELF, OR FOLLOW ALONG ONLINE:
LIVE STREAM FILIBUSTER ALL DAY:
#1) The entire Filibuster performance will be streaming live online via a stationary camera. Visit http://bric.me/u/stream/filibuster/ to watch, any time between 10am and 9pm.
HAVE A QUESTION FOR ALICIA?
#1) Tweet your questions for Alicia on Twitter using #BRICfilibuster.
#2) Following the performance, Alicia will answer your questions, via Twitterand in a BRIC Blog post.
EXPLORE THROUGH PERISCOPE:
#1) From time to time, we’ll explore parts of the performance via the Periscope live streaming app.
#2) Download the app on your phone or tablet and follow @BRICartsmedia in Brooklyn, NY.
#3) During the day, we’ll announce on Twitter when we’ll be on Periscope.
#4) Send <3′s and comments!