In Dreams: The Living Museum – Margaret Washington’s Accidental Acceptance of Action
Site-Specific running time and installation
A recurring character in my work, Margaret Washington, has been working for a cosmetology corporation called The Colonial Group. She’s working to survive, she’s working to get into a better financial position but she’s sacrificing all of her personal values, and now she can’t sleep. Her dreams are reflecting her subconscious and conscious battle, working for a company that is defined by deeming her personal attributes as unacceptable. In this dream, Margaret stands in front of a wall of nails and brown paper bags, her accessories are reminiscent of the classic Hip-Hop attire of the late 80s in the USA, and she wears a crown with cloth from an African country. She stands still, then takes action by grabbing a paper bag, deconstructing it, thereafter pushing it through the nails, then goes back to standing still. She repeats this action throughout her dream. What does this signify for Margaret? Is this a shift in how she will survive? Will she quit her job? Will she have a mental breakdown fighting the anger that is building within her? How does one live in a place that automatically disregards your humanity?
In Dreams examines the challenging decisions – often having to decide between a meal or a place to sleep – that individuals must make to have basic social rights like food, water, shelter, in a landscape that consistently enforces legal practices of discrimination through overly-aggressive policing, unaffordable education, lack of funding for public school education in economically disadvantaged areas, underpaid jobs, and red-lining to name a few. How do we conquer this injustice? This constant constructed oppression around the world must end. I would imagine that it begins with ourselves – what will we do to shift this dynamic internally and ultimately as a nation.