Well-known Canadian Aboriginal, feminist, artist and human rights activist, Rebecca Belmore, conducts her street performance, ‘Vigil,’ on a corner in Downtown East Side, Vancouver. This performance was captured via video and then downloaded on Web 2.0 which enables all those with internet access to engage in Belmore’s activism and artistic forms. While viewing the performance video, ensure to look at the audience, there are perhaps two dozen people physically watching her performance on the street. Pre Web 2.0 and social media that would have been the number of people influenced by her powerful and emotionally exhausting tribute to the missing and murdered ‘sisters’ in Canada. With Web 2.0 and social media now a multitude of people are engaged and influenced by her work thus making a more powerful activist statement.
What do you think of her performance?
Do you believe that Web 2.0 and social media enables the mobilization of Aboriginal activism in a positive manner and thus is actually influencing positive social change for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Canadian people alike?”
From Rebecca Belmore’s website:
Location: 2002 Talking Stick Festival, Full Circle First Nations Performance
Firehall Theatre, Vancouver, BC
Performing on a street corner in the Downtown East Side Vancouver, Belmore commemorates the lives of missing and murdered aboriginal women who have disappeared from the streets of Vancouver. She scrubs the street on hands and knees, lights votive candles, and nails the long red dress she is wearing to a telephone pole. As she struggles to free herself, the dress is torn from her body and hangs in tatters from the nails, reminiscent of the tattered lives of women forced onto the streets for their survival in an alien urban environment. Once freed, Belmore, vulnerable and exposed in her underwear, silently reads the names of the missing women that she has written on her arms and then yells them out one by one. After each name is called, she draws a flower between her teeth, stripping it of blossom and leaf, just as the lives of these forgotten and dispossessed women were shredded in the teeth of indifference. Belmore lets each woman know that she is not forgotten: her spirit is evoked and she is given life by the power of naming.
To preview Belmore’s performance: