"Tension Collaboration"

Countless lives intersect every day, whether or not we are aware of how they intersect. With the rising multicultural population in the United States, there is the potential for innovative collaboration between multitudes of diverse backgrounds yet American society limits this potential by marginalizing those who do not benefit from the unearned advantages of American culture. Collaboration then becomes more difficult in a culture that implicitly and explicitly tries to prevent it. Different levels of access to real estate, education, and jobs divide populations and it becomes increasingly important to speak about these divisions.

I see art as a point of contact. Finding your self next to someone else, looking at the same artwork is a point of contact. Witnessing art that another individual has made is a point of contact. This piece that you are looking at is made of a local bittersweet vine that is known for strangling plant life. It wraps itself around trees and blocks them from sunlight while weighing them down. I chose this vine because I felt it represented the explicit and implicit ways American culture slowly strangles difference. The vine is held together by tension and binding, pushing and pulling, like a silent tug of war. The individual strands are interacting and intersecting paths of members of society that exist within the vine, a bit like Urie Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model. While tied to the armature of society, the yarn is able to exit the framework and become expressive, a reality that many members of society may never experience but that we, as aspiring expressive arts therapists and mental health counselors attempt to facilitate for others. Essentially, we have the task of aiding with expression and connection within a toxic culture that has worked so hard to prevent these things.

While this hung in the gallery, I invited people to add more yarn to this piece. I provided yarn but also invited others to use their own yarn if desired. The addition of one's choice of yarn was intended to be the place where collaboration could begin, if only in small steps.