This past weekend, the ever transforming Performance space, Mobius Inc., was home to “Body Language: Interactive Installation on the Impact of Trauma.” “Body Language” was a collaboration between Mobius Artist Group member Margaret Bellafiore and writer Christine Cissy White. The interactive installation took the form of a series of displays that visitors could view, read, and interact with. The installation was filled with a sense of curious exploration that drew visitors in. Bellafiore and White do not limit themselves to a single media or approach, they use all the tools at their disposal to look at the issue of trauma: from science to poetry, painting to sound art. “Body Language” makes trauma approachable through engaging and sometimes lighthearted activities, but never loses sight of its serious and scientific backbone. The installation was infused with research. There was even a binder of the many scholarly articles they consulted set out on a desk for visitors to draw their own inspiration.
The floor of Mobius was covered in a circle of painted Yoga mats. Belafiore and White focus on yoga as one of the most consistent treatments across different types of trauma, turning unassuming yoga mats into strident banners and statements of personal power.
“Body Language” addresses many forms of trauma, including Global Trauma on the environment, Carrying Trauma in the Body, Childhood Trauma, and the Trauma of War.
Text and writing played an important role in the installation. Labels, instructions, and research were everywhere. Writing is especially significant in “Writing Weave,” a weaving made by student veterans and non-veterans at Bridgewater State University. The students wrote on paper in response to prompts as part of a Warrior Writers Workshop and their words were turned into a weaving through collaboration with woven word artists Catherine Tutter and Cheyenne McCarter.
Visiting “Body Language” was like visiting an artistic laboratory, full of experimentation and creation. Bellafiore and White’s work is at times humorous, always courageous, and yet still sensitive. I look forward to seeing where their experiments take them.