I am the descendant of displaced people. They were men and women who fled their homes in Europe to escape unbearable political tensions, just like millions today who are desperately trying to find a safe haven on these same shores. I am constantly on the verge of tears, as I helplessly watch a human tragedy taking place before our eyes. It leaves me filled with pain and grief.
In this performance I used symbols of the circle, salt and water to complement the driving force behind the project: pain. I wanted to sob, to make my pain public and have it witnessed and shared. Performance has a capacity to reach people, it can touch hearts as well as shock. Through this work I looked at my own history, a history of which I know very little. It is a common story among migrants and refugees. Many leave with little more than a few stories and a suitcase.
Emotional pain is sometimes uncontrollable. I wish I could undergo a catharsis by tears that I could turn on at will. I can be cynical and I don’t cry easily, but in the first performance of ‘Summation of Pain’ I cried inconsolably. The second time, however, pain was expressed through quiet meditation on a sunny weekend morning that gave a simple solemnity to the human suffering a world away.
My crying was done (for now).