The Color of Whiteness was performed Sunday, August 30, in-person and over Zoom, by invitation-only and on site at ICA-LA. This event was created by Cypis and 7 previous participants of PeoplesLab: Identity, Race, Whiteness + Antiracism, a research, training and dialogue program Cypis developed in June 2020 following the tragic murder of George Floyd.
Cypis mediated the exploration while also participating. Themes not easily addressed through discourse were returned to in nuanced ways, including:
- How can we see ‘white’ when this human category has evaded racialization and not been assigned color?
- How do traditional “Identity Politics” unpack oppression while continuing to isolate and divide groups?
- Who are you if you do not identify as “white,” but appear white?
- What are the complex historical nuances of the term “White Supremacy”?
- How does history live within each of us?
- What language, expression and antiracist action can we further develop?
The participants struggled to explore whiteness through their personal and cultural memories, desires, and regrets – all the while engaging physically through performance techniques, somatic movement, with props and within the modernist art space of ICA-LA. The immediate restrictive context of the COVID-19 Pandemic, including the requirement of wearing masks, social distancing, and remote technology, greatly exaggerated already existing racial identity stresses and tensions, forcing participants to respond through stilted social and physical relations.
Dorit Cypis’s artistic practice explores history, identity and social relations, challenging us to reconsider who we are to one another. As a certified conflict mediator, Dorit weaves her artist sensibilities through her conflict engagement and transformation work. PeoplesLab is Cypis’ consulting, training and dialogue initiative offering “creative engagement tools to build generative action across social and personal differences.”