(Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles – video

(Re)Housing the American Dream is an ongoing community-based performative documentary project that explores the role of film as political action. (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles explores the historical, cultural and personal notions of freedom through performative actions that have been developed collectively during a one-week intensive film production. The group spent a significant amount of their time exploring the roots to various freedom struggles in Milwaukee, specifically looking to the speech and actions of the youth chapter of the NAACP, who were instrumental in leading a number of civil rights protests in the city in the 1960s. Together, the artist and participants moved throughout the city, visiting the different historical sites where important civil rights actions took place. Marking, building, commemorating, (re)claiming, imagining, occupying, embodying, framing, performing, transmitting many facetted ways freedom can take form.

Day 7: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

Who are we, as the new generation of ‘freedom fighters’ advocates, organizers, leaders, change makers? What is our role, how can we take charge? How do we take action? What does action look like? What do we need in order for freedom to exist? What conditions? What freedom principles do we need?

Day 6: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

What do you stand for, what would you fight for, what is the message you want to broadcast to the world? What do you think is something everyone should consider, think about? What do you have to say? And who do you want to say it to? What are ways in which you can say it?

Day 5: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

What are ways we transmit messages, facts, meanings, opinions, stories, perspectives, propaganda, fears, desires, hopes? Through which kind of media exits our freedom of speech? Who can broadcast, who can listen. Who has access to this information? We look at the historical role of radio throughout the times, from WWII through radio pirate boats in the seventies and Radio Freedom; the radio propaganda arm of the African National Congress during the anti-Apartheid struggle from the 1970s through the 1990s. How has radio been used in pursuit of freedom and how has radio been used to oppress, instigate, retaliate? We also contemplate: what does freedom feel like? What does it feel like not to be free?

Day 4: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

What does it mean to have a voice? What does it mean to express yourself? What does it mean to use your voice? What will you use your voice for? What will you stand up for, fight for? What does it mean to amplify someone else’s voice? What does freedom of speech mean, freedom of expression? “We must not be confused about what freedom is. Basic human rights are simple and easily understood: freedom of speech and a free press; freedom of religion and worship; freedom of assembly and the right of petition; the right of men to be secure in their homes and free from unreasonable search and seizure and from arbitrary arrest and punishment”. (Eleanor Roosevelt, 1948) “Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning”. (Maya Angelou) “The human voice is the organ of the soul”. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Day 3: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

What does it mean to be a body in public space? Is every body as free to move, to protest, to take up space, to celebrate? What does it mean to be a person of color, or female, or transgender, a Muslim, or a young black male, navigating public space? How is your body perceived? How is a collective body perceived? What kind of bodies is a collective body made of? How can we use our bodies to claim space, create space, space, mark space, protest, resist, shape? How does your body move towards freedom? What are the signs, the gestures your body makes? What is a choreography of resistance, of change?

Day 2: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

What is the geographical, economical, historical, symbolic and metaphorical meaning of a bridge?  How is the idea of a bridge connected to the idea of freedom? What does it mean to encounter someone else, ‘the other’? Can the other be a bridge, if so how, in what way? How does ‘the other’ impede, or give you your freedom? Are you independent of the other person, or do you depend on each other, rely on each other for your existence? How do you relate? What do you realize about yourself through encountering another person? We look at the philosophy of the philosopher Emmanuel Levinas. He states: when we come “face to face” with another person, the experience is a social and ethical one (rather than intellectual, aesthetic, or merely physical). Through encountering the other we realize our own vulnerability and our responsibility towards the other.

Day 1: (Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles

Free·dom |ˈFrēdəm/. We dive heads in first into to bold and complex concept of freedom. One of the very foundational ideas the American Dream and the American constitution relies on. A concept the group collectively suggested we explore for this year’s (Re)Housing the American Dream iteration in response to a time in America, in which certain freedoms seem to become under threat (again) and others are questionably protected (the right to bear arms). In our work space, we discuss what different definitions of freedom and what freedom means to each of the participants.  We look at the language that’s circumscribes freedom: movement, power, distribution, restriction, breaking free, play, entanglement, joy, signals, messages, knots, speech, speaking, sound, voice, confinement, right to, protection, enclosures, migration, celebration,  chaos, forward, progress, regression, oppression, liberation.