THEN A CUNNING VOICE AND A NIGHT WE SPEND GAZING AT STARS
Then A Cunning Voice and a Night We Spend Gazing at Stars is a multiyear project focused on all night stargazing.
The project includes in equal measure: making quilts, performance, storytelling, song, and a night of stargazing. It relies upon people coming together- to voice intentions, to witness, work, experience time, rest, and imagine.
Then a Cunning Voice… is rooted in community visioning sessions held in partnership with Native American Community Development Institute;
“What do you want for your well-being? For your family and friends? Your neighborhood? Your city, town, or reserve?”
These intentions are gathered on quilt squares which are sewn into a modular series of quilts during community sewing bees. Once created the quilts are laid together to become one large 4,000 square foot area upon which we will host all night stargazing including curated moments of silence, performance, stories, and First-Nations star knowledge.
Community Visioning Sessions
Community Visioning Sessions inspire collective responsibility, individual and community agency, and a map toward action - thus manifesting true change. Through games and discourse we brainstorm and expand upon hundreds of ideas, providing ourselves with a pulse of the present and a path to the future we want. Catalyst collects the ideas generated in Community Visioning Sessions and transfers them to quilt squares to become a part of the traveling set of Then a Cunning Voice.... Host sites are encouraged to cultivate the ideas, use the CVS strategies and continue the conversation.
Community Safety Visioning
We want to share time, to feel and also imagine the space below us on the ground and above us in the air. It is celebratory, to come together like this. Shutting off lights in a park or spending the night in the rural darkness is needed to more clearly see the stars, but it is also an opportunity to spark conversation/action about safety. Safety comes to mind because many intentions from the past two years are about safety- most clearly safety from police. Many quilt squares say something similar to: (I want) “To not be afraid of police.” One says, (I want) “The police to stop killing our kids.” This project cannot fix power dynamics that create racial violence but it can start to examine and shift dynamics by sharing responsibility and authorship with local residents. The process of shutting off lights will be co-organized with a youth leadership team who develops a talking and action plan for discussing community safety with police. What excites me about this is the possibility for long-term effect- building relationships between young people and police begins to change the nature of power. It changes relationship. For each production site, Catalyst will work with local youth to strategize a newly envisioned and community approach to safety.
Top Photo by Jonathan Godoy