It seems like we are all experiencing a critical time in our preparation for Freedom of Information, lots of personal, conceptual, practical questions. I want to help and address these as veteran foi witness from 2001-2002 and as a preparing foi performer for this New Year. Miguel, I really appreciated your response to Gregory's questions. They were thoughtful, honest, real and also open.
When reading the blog I finally remembered that I wrote about your performance of foi for a large part of the duration of it then. I remembered that witnessing you as a friend and artist exploring your own limits changed me profoundly, and it also changed the possibilities I saw for poetry, as my words and your body eventually unified in the shared space of your studio and my journal. I carried that experience with me for a long time, and even now when I think about it, I can feel a warmth stirring in my gut. Something big, something scary, something like a deep knowing, or wisdom.
This wisdom is not the kind generated by the transmission of information about Afghanistan or Iraq, it's not about Miguel "demonstrating" in the sense of show or protest either. It's a wisdom that grew out of permission.
Witnessing the process of Miguel coming into his own vulnerability, failure, pain, and being able to be there with him in all of it opened me up to what it meant to really be there - that in the moment of this pain, movement, the cold room right before the sun was up long enough to warm it, an entire world was also living, losing, dissociating, returning...and in that moment a thread had been woven between us.
Years were re-lived, imagined, shed. The blindfold became a more honest way of looking into the future, and Miguel became a guide in his sensory and sleep deprived journey, allowing me into a space of confronting my own unknowing, fear, anticipation of disaster.
In this sense, what was awakened was an inner-strength that I hadn't felt before, and this gave me refuge during the following 7 years of complete global disaster. At that time in my life I had a store of righteous anger I was holding onto, waiting to unleash at the Bush administration, a decentered grief over September 11th and these things mixed together into frustration without a way out.
Foi hammered out this raw emotion into a focus that was more powerful to channel, an empathy that transcended the walls of the studio. Love began taking the place of self-hate and helplessness. This is what motivates me to undertake Freedom of Information myself.
Unlike many of the participants in this event, I'm not a dancer. I believe in my body, I believe the power of permission, and above all, being alive. It's simple, but maybe important to remember - that we can use our bodies how we want, we can inhabit a place for 24 hours this way, and that's everything.
This leads into my desire to communicate to performers that have been having trouble with finding space or help. I am going to be performing in my apartment. I'm going to clear a space next to the kitchen, and be there. My partner and a couple friends will be there, but otherwise, I don't know what to expect.
I had communicated with galleries, spaces, have sent out copious e-mails including the press release, but haven't gained any significant participation through any of this. I was aggravated at first, but I have only lived in Chicago for a couple of months, so it might be an issue of visibility.
In the end, it is looking like it's just me in the space, doing "it" - of which we have run the gamut of descriptions (action, performance, meditation, ritual, dance, gesture, endurance piece). So, for those of you who are also not getting much support or haven't found a place to be, I'd suggest keeping it simple.
Whether you will be witnessed by a lot of people, or you're not sure if anyone will show up, we are all doing this with you. Also, if in the process being able to have continuous documentation might not work out, keep a journal in the space with you. Put your camera in a place where you can reach it.
Just be you, there with yourself and keep track of it for yourself so that in the future it can be shared. But, don't let the logistics detract from your own preparation for this challenge.
Miguel, I hope it's alright that I am addressing practical concerns this way, but it's really important to me that no one feels like they can't do it because of something outside of their bodies. Oh, also someone asked about how to know when to stop. I remember Miguel had set an alarm clock to go off when it was time to stop before, so that's an option to consider.
Love to you all, Marissa