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Introductory essay for Laura Anderson Barbata Transcommunality

February 13, 2013

Turner Publications has published a beautiful full color catalog of Laura Anderson Barbata’s work with stilt dancers in New York, Trinidad and Tobago, and Oaxaca.  I am honored to have my essay, Community, Collaboration, and Social Sculpture: The Interdisciplinary Work of Laura Anderson Barbata appear in the book.

Transcommunality is available through Idea Books.

From the essay:  “If art has a purpose today, it is to provide critical insights into our globalized society, one evolving so quickly we can barely calculate its damage to the traditions that humanize us. [Laura Anderson Barbata's] work poses a challenge to our concepts of identity, ritual and heritage; its indelible mark on so many lives and communities a tribute to the extraordinary potential and beauty of human expression.”

Anderson Barbata also just got a review in the New York Times for her repatriation and performance efforts around the remains of Julia Pastrana, known as “The Ugliest Woman in the World” (also the title of a play THE TRUE HISTORY OF THE TRAGIC LIFE AND TRIUMPHANT DEATH OF JULIA PASTRANA, THE UGLIEST WOMAN IN THE WORLD  by Shawn Pendergast and performed by Amphibian Productions).  My students and I collaborated with Anderson Barbata to make a commemorative banner for her homecoming in handmade paper.