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CommuniTea

CommuniTea is a mobile performative installation that is a part of an ongoing effort to connect communities that are both recovering from and at risk for future natural and man-made disasters.

Similar to the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Red Hook community, the people of Tohoku, Japan, are still dealing with complications pertaining to the rebuilding of their homes, businesses, and lives after the 2011 tsunami.

The project was developed in partnership with Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo to investigate cultural impacts and stories emerged from natural disasters.

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Inspired by the design of temporary shelters and traditional Japanese tea houses, this installation was the setting for a performer, who invited the public inside one-by-one to listen to stories from Tohoku. Each participant joined us in exploring the meaning of exchange across borders, that transcends cultural and communication barriers.

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CommuniTea engages fundamental questions related to belonging, identity, displacement, and politics around emergency assistance and humanitarian aid.

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At the end of each session, participants received a Japanese traditional fortune and a blank fortune paper to write their own wish and fortune. Then, they tied the fortune on to the structure outside next to a tree.

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Team: Stephanie Farah and Anze Zadel.

Special thanks to: Jilly Traganou for the guidance and support.

Partnership: Red Hook Festival and Aoyama Gakuin University in Tokyo, Japan.

Sponsored by: Urban Festival The New School

Time: 5 months (Spring 2013)

Role: Research, workshop planning, concept development, artifacts design, story telling, and translation.