August 30, 2020
Dorit Cypis’s artistic practice explores history, identity and social relations, challenging us to reconsider who we are to one another. As a certified conflict mediator, Dorit weaves her artist sensibilities within her conflict engagement and transformation work.
PeoplesLab is her consulting, training and dialogue initiative offering “creative engagement tools that inspire generative action across social and personal differences.” This spring, following the murder of George Floyd, Dorit felt compelled to design Identity, Race + Whiteness—a multi-session research/training/dialogue program offered throughout the summer (via Zoom) to question whiteness and privilege amongst people identifying with whiteness. For Field Workshop: Action Projects, Cypis extended this initiative to The Color of Whiteness, a private one-day invitation-only on-site at ICA LA, in-person as well as on Zoom. Eight people, who had been previous participants of the recent PeoplesLab initiative, joined.
On August 30, 5 participants arrived to engage on-site, while 3 others arrived (virtually) from across the USA. Framed within the current requirements of masks, social distancing, technology demands, and new paradigms for communication, participants continued to explore whiteness through personal and cultural memory, desire, and regret while engaging physical relations through performance techniques of somatic movement, props and the actual modernist art space of ICA LA.
Themes not easily addressed through spoken discourse were returned to in nuanced ways including: how can we see ‘white’ when it is a human category that has evaded racialization and therefore not assigned color; how does Identity Politics unpack oppression yet continue to isolate and divide groups; who are you if you do not identify as white but appear white; what are the complex nuances of the term White Supremacy; how does history live within each of us; what language, expression and antiracist action can we further develop. Cypis mediated the discussion while also participating.
Special thanks to Dorit Cypis and participants of The Color of Whiteness for partnering with ICA LA for Field Workshop: Action Projects.
— Habiba Hopson, 2020 Getty Marrow Intern, ICA LA