Strangely, the genesis of this initiative was the last time I found myself amongst fellow artists before city and state government leaders issued shelter-in-place orders. Large-scale initiatives like these, which involve such a diverse cast of artists, require serious community building in order to commit not only to the project, but to each other as well.
It was in these organizing meetings where esparza led us in a walking meditation over an elevated sandbox, directing a group of about 40 of us to engage in several intimate, sensorial dyads. We stared into each others’ eyes, created sculptures with each others’ bodies, and inhaled each others’ essences, as if we were mining one another for olfactory memories. We had all assembled with the collective desire to end the carceral logic that invented the need for detention centers as well as prisons, jails, and youth authority centers; to retrieve those who have been taken away from their families and communities. That desire is now animated by the urgency to free them all before the deadliest virus since AIDS arrives at any one of our doors. Looking up at the Fourth of July sky far from one another merely reinforces the need to continue looking out for one another.