EXTREME MAKEOVER: Reimagining the Port of Tacoma Free of Fossil Fuels 2018 to the present.
This community-based art project reimagines the Port of Tacoma, an industrial port built on tribal land in blatant disregard of the Medicine Creek Treaty of 1854, that has been contaminated by years of dumping and now hosts several designated superfund sites. In recent years, the community has been fighting the installation of new and dangerous fossil fuel projects in the Port and this project arose from that resistance.
Extreme Makeover has been hosting art workshops (most recently with the support of Tacoma’s 350.org) to engage the public in a reconstructive visioning process. The questions we ask participants are: what would the Port of Tacoma look like if the toxic superfund sites are healed as much as possible via permaculture design and the port becomes a showcase for green, renewable energy? What would happen if the Puyallup Nation's vision for a restored estuary is made tangible through multidisciplinary art projects so that the public will get behind it? How can this project help the community prepare, both emotionally and pragmatically, for the impact of rising sea levels on the Port of Tacoma and the local ecosystem?
Art can be powerful medicine. It can wake people up and motivate people to take action. It can be the glue that brings together strangers when they sit in workshops making art together. During this initial phase, participants have come to various public locations and community centers to discuss the questions above and create images that will be eventually projected onto walls in their neighborhoods, captured on social media and shared virally.
Scientists and activists are meeting with artists to develop performance interventions for different public events. Those events will be videotaped and shared online. The goal will be to awaken a typically uninformed citizenry and help them become stakeholders in their shared future.
I particularly want to reach people who have given up hope and have succumbed to dystopic views of the future. This is an intergenerational project so that stories about getting through hardship, healing from trauma, and recovering from depression and difficult circumstances will help younger participants believe that we can shift things.