Freeman, J. (2021). Mourning Horizons: Archiving the Present and Envisioning Post-COVID-19 Futures through Performance. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.14418/wes01.2.337
This thesis is an exercise in mourning, tracing the processing of loss amid a pandemic from the perspective of an individual who is trying to understand and find his place within a community still grieving and sore. Mourning is durational, tidal, scattered, and non-linear, pulling both from the past and potential future to try and make sense of the present. This text embodies that process, indexing events between February 2020 and April 2021 that upended the way live artists support their practices, while exploring live performance as a mechanism for performing individual and community grief work. Approaching the subjects of grieving, mourning and healing, the text explores observational writing as a means to archive the present, archiving the present as a means to process lived experience, and using lived experience to imagine both individual and collective survivable futures. Examining the activist efforts of the collective What Would An HIV Doula Do? and the community-based practices of curator Hector Canonge, in conjunction with performances created mid-pandemic by Pheobe Berglund Dance Troupe, Shara Nova and Helga Davis, this research notes the temporal nature of grieving, critiquing modern mourning and emphasizing a need for slowness in tender process. Moreover, it questions what it means to be a curator, and how expanding the role can aid in the facilitation of platforms that help make sense of the present for those that need to heal.