Everywhere You Find Yourself in this Country, There Is a Story

A photographer-filmmaker-playwright friend of mine once said, »Everywhere you find yourself in this country, there is a story.«

I have also discovered that everywhere you are in any part of the world, there is a story. These stories, scattered in every corner of the globe, demand for us to carry them, to tell them, and pass them on to the generations to come. Wherever we are, it is as if there is a demand for each of us to share our story, not just »other« peoples’ stories, but also our personal individual story, willingly or otherwise. When we move from one point to enter another point, we are required to silently tell our stories. We hold up our passports, and the story of our passports can call for them to be stamped or not. We fill out forms and with every letter we write, we are silently telling our story. We move on streets, at airports, and the way we walk, the way we look, the way we speak, we are telling a story. Intentionally or unintentionally we are being political when we relay these stories.

I write them down or capture them as images or as sounds. This act of capturing my story, your story, his and her story is political.

The eye that observes these and puts them into a readable or perceivable material, or a performance in a theater, or a film on a large screen, or something else on the small screen in the privacy of your house – each of these is a political act. When the eye that observes and creates meets with the eye that perceives and absorbs, that meeting in itself is a political act. The space where the observer and the absorber meet is not only sacred, but also political. That space needs to be dedicated to triggering what we deny and avoid but ultimately do recognize in ourselves.

Stories that are scared of our differences, stories that tell us to observe someone else as an outsider and ultimately avoid them, stories that constantly remind me that someone who is not like me is the »other,« stories that emphasize the socio-political, economic, and cultural divide of societies are the stories that I have lived around; the stories I encounter daily. They are the stories people I know and don’t know experience and I read about, they are the stories I move in, and move through, and these are the stories I have found myself telling. Telling them with the hope that stories make change possible, that stories make people begin to imagine communities, societies, and the world operating in a new way, and that stories help change perceptions.

My work has no choice but to be political.