500 Miles/500 Stories
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Behind every product we use is a distance that has been traveled and a story that can be shared. But these stories are often hidden or untold. In losing the stories behind the resources we use, we also lose the understanding of our impact on a place.
This Spring, I will walk 500 miles, launching a new initiative in art and environmentalism. The physical journey, which begins on April 10 will take me on a path to explore the energy sources that power my home starting at my house in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, DC and travelling through Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. The walk will take approximately two months to complete and will serve as a community engagement tour as well as research and development time for a dance production entitled How To Lose a Mountain, set to premiere in spring 2013.
My creative team at Dance Exchange and I have developed a walking route that will take us 500 miles from my home to a strip-mining site where several mountains once stood. Also along the walk, I plan to visit several energy plants, including wind, coal, and waste resource recovery facilities. I will be joined by Matt Mahaney, a long-distance hiker, videographer and adjunct artist of the Dance Exchange. During the eight-week long walk, we will be camping along the trail, traveling as lightly as they can with minimal access to our oft-underappreciated resources of fresh produce, electricity, running water, and heated accommodations. Various artists, naturalists, environmentalists, documentarians and partners will join along the way. Dance Exchange will provide opportunities for community members to join the walk through various events and activities. A project website called "500 Miles/500 Stories" will features an interactive map, making visible the journey as it unfolds and will offer individuals an opportunity to contribute their responses and stories connected to the walk.
I want to connect people back to the vital role of making art as a way to navigate our surroundings, to cultivate our senses, and to discover a kind of rare wildness in this world. Each moment of making offers us an acute sensitivity to our surroundings, altering the way we see and care for the places where we live. Your contribution will help to fund the walk in various ways, including supporting my artistic time outdoors, providing food and supplies, and documenting the journey. We are looking to raise $10,000 to help with the overall costs of this project. Thank you for your support of 500 Miles/500 Stories and I look forward to hearing your stories too!