Thursday, July 12, 2012

Visible Invisibility – The Place Philadelphia Journey

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There are eleven months remaining until the premiere of Place Philadelphia (working title) and theater artist Ain Gordon, and filmmaker Nadine Patterson have been working on and off for a year on the project.

Their journey has led them to research women reformers in early to mid nineteenth century. Ain had this to say regarding his research process:
“The visible invisibility of these women, the relatively scant position they hold in mainstream history is what draws me to them. In some cases we are trying to learn all there is - but in others, the ones that really draw me, you could say we are really ‘confirming their absence' in the historical record. However important these women's lives were they did not manage (by chance or by dint of their beliefs or because they were women) to leave behind the kind of artifacts or documents that mainstream history requires. In this way the historic record sometimes looses out on the true complexity of our past. As a mid-career artist facing my own self-history, these human ellipses speak to me at the top of their lungs.”

Currently Nadine and Ain are delving into the lives of women who struck out against the prevailing codes of thought, conduct, and behavior of their time, women who sought change through personal revolution. These are women who had the courage to relinquish their personal life for public necessity in bolstering the suffrage, anti-slavery and women’s rights movements.

During this process the questions are likely more important than the answers:

What did it take for a 19th century husband to be willing to live in the shadow of wives seeking to upend every code of conduct?

What makes a crusader?

What makes someone stand up?

What makes a wrong unbearable?

How does personal faith motivate public action?

Feel free to leave your responses in the comment section! 

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