Morey Bean & Joey Williams
The Performance Pagoda and Soldier’s Veil v2.0
Morey Bean with Joseph Williams , October, 2022
Bamboology artist Joey Williams and I are pleased to provide this narrative of the ethos and design ideas behind what is being called by potential participants in this public art piece, a ‘Performance Pagoda” or “Peace Portal” or “The Emotion Recycling Bin” where folks sitting under the structure can find themselves quietly meditating, in prayer or other form of contemplation.
It can also serve as “A Good Idea Generator” to provide an uplifting invitation for participants to be consciously, constructively creative, particularly in small groups of improvisational, riffing folks, in acts of synergistic, collective commoning, where creative ideas emerge and evolve into actionable manifestos and/or activities, manifested from the collective consciousness of the group, in service to the Boulder community toward what this conference call for “cultivating ecologies of solidarity and care beyond capitalism, patriarchy, racism and the state”.
The Pagoda withstood wind gusts of 50 miles per hour on a recent beautiful fall Colorado Front Range day at the Elk Run Farm.
The Performance Pagoda / Theater Pod / Peace Portal in its temporary location on the Colorado Front Range ecotone, ancestral home of the Ute, Arapaho and Cheyenne Indigenous First Nation Peoples.
In praxis as shown below, the Performance Pagoda will first be placed on the Plaza of the historic Boulder County Courthouse in Boulder, Colorado as a theater, where digital media will be projected onto a white sail, together with “The Soldier’s Veil v2.0” during November, 2022, in honor of the Indigenous folks celebrating Native American Heritage Month.
The Soldiers Veil brings attention to the complicit nature of our Boulder ancestors’ role in perpetrating the Sand Creek Massacre. The piece represents a scaffolding, symbolically signifying the memorial’s anticipated relocation, making way for an art piece created by a Native American. The soldier’s ‘wings’ follow the design vocabulary of the Pagoda, designed for the two pieces to visually ‘talk to each other’.
This rendering portrays the Pagoda with multiple digital media screens with the Soldiers Veil in the background. Boulder’s popular Pearl Street Mall is outlined in the backdrop. It’s hoped that shopping visitors on the mall will slow down for a bit to be enlightened by the form of the art and the content of the media.
These two pieces together will highlight a performance of “A Dozen Voices” bringing unheard and unlistened to voices of the twelve Black and Indigenous folks interviewed in the film to the topic of the intersection of the Black Lives and Indigenous Sovereignty Movements via looping the 28 minute protest documentary Confluence, produced by my partner Meg and I and filmed and edited by our filmmaking friend Gwendolen Cates. The Plaza is directly adjacent and within view of the commercially successful Pearl Street Mall.
This dusk shot captured the actual Pagoda on-site at the Elk Run Farm.
The Pagoda is being offered to a local Indigenous filmmaker or organization for their use, together with a small endowment for its storage, upkeep and continued use. The Pagoda was first constructed in prototype at the Drylands Agroecology Research Center at the Elk Run Farm, north of Boulder. The design for the Pagoda is on the Creative Commons so that it can be replicated anywhere, locally and globally.
The bright yellow, orange and red sails of the Pagoda were inspired by the harvest colors of the nearby Prickly Pear, and certainly reflect the glow of the fall leaves found in the plaza. The green sails proposed for the Soldiers Veil will hopefully envoke a peace crown, as we’re recommending that the soldier portrayed in this granite structure who represents volunteers of the 3rd Volunteer Cavalry of Colorado who trained in Boulder and elsewhere in Colorado to perpetrate the Sand Creek Massacre be moved to a Boulder cemetery, to be replaced with a work or works of a Native American public artist or artists.
My heart-centered gratitude goes to my wonderful partner Meg, designer Joey Williams, Ava Hamilton and Pedro Silva for their love, advice and participation, friend and filmmaker Gwendolen Cates, Boulder County DEI Director Courtney Prusmack, Boulder County Chief of Staff Clay Fong, big-hearted Daniel Wander for his love and help, and particularly the brave folks who were interviewed in Confluence. My deep, abiding love to you all and all the sentient beings touched by this work of public art.
I knew (perhaps) that the generative cosmos is with us when, upon approaching the finished prototype for the first time, I was graced by a beautiful gathering of preschoolers from the Farm Folk School singing in the shade of the Pagoda on a beautiful, warm Colorado harvest day, under a deep blue Rocky Mountain sky. The experience elevated my heart and soul beyond what any pretentious psychedelic ever could. To the left you can also see the scale model of the Pagoda that Joey used to iterate the construction steps needed to erect the structure.
At the timely suggestion of friend, mentor and author Jeremy Lent, as an experienced urban planner, I’m implementing a strategy for making a long-term impact beyond what may be possible with a temporary work of visual public art. I am in the process of engaging our Boulder community whose members are striving for more sovereignty for our Indigenous neighbors in a LandBack initiative. As such, I’ve proposed the establishment of an Indigenous Peoples’ Land Use Commission (IPLUC) and a corresponding Indigenous Peoples’ Overlay Zone (IPOZ) to be used on Boulder’s extensive green belt / open space system of over 100,000 acres. We’re proposing that the Commission and zoning be prototyped on land near where the Third Volunteer Cavalry trained to perpetrate the Sand Creek Massacre, as part of a “management plan” that the City and Native tribes are undertaking now. It’s anticipated that the next iteration of the Pagoda will be its placement near the site to bring awareness to the LandBack Movement as well as an implementation scheme to make it possible without the transfer of ‘ownership’ and corresponding funds.
Perhaps the Performance Pagoda will find its way to a US XR event…
Morey with his first grandchild Arlo, August, 2022.
This rendering is being used to prototype the mobility of the pod, temporarily removing the wings, screens and lower struts to minimize the structure’s height for transport over public roadways. This will help quickly mobilize the pod in a variety of (protest) locations. Won’t it be a great XR device?