VIDEO: Don’t Look Away Yet – Final Project on Climate Justice for IAS Global Agitation Course

photo of sign from project

Artist-in-Residence Anida Yoeu Ali posed the final project for BISIA 383 Interdisciplinary Arts Workshop: Global Agitation Art & Activism as a simple challenge: Consider an important issue in your world and create an artistic work of art or an action that addresses, responds and/or challenges that issue. At the heart of the work you should consider the role of agitation as a tool to creating the final project. Use your resources, your passion, your campus and your peers. 

Choosing to work collectively as an entire class, students in the course responded with “Don’t Look Away Yet,” a public art installation and durational performance project implemented on December 8, 2016 over a span of 3 hours from 2-5pm on the UW Bothell campus. Students intended to raise awareness of the Environmental and Native Rights violations occurring at Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and beyond. Students achieved this by constructing a replicate pipeline between UW1 and UW2, then acting out scenes as if they were on the frontlines of Standing Rock. Final materials included PVC pipes, screws, bolts, traffic cones, caution tape, duct & reflective tape, flyers, iPads, protest signs, and 22 students embodying construction workers, water protectors, journalists, guards and this political moment.
 

Watch the documentation of the project here:

Students’ Group Statement on the Final Project:

“We belong to the land. The land does not belong to us.”
Dave Archambault II, Standing Rock Tribal Chairman,
photo of students in project production

What may have worked for our country in the past isn't working now and isn't suitable for the future of our country. Our final project is a collective effort to address and help combat two major issues involving our country and the rest of the world. Those issues are social justice and environmental justice. The Dakota Access Pipeline is a huge shot at both of these issues. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) highlights the intersectionality of both critical issues. Standing Rock Tribal Chairman, Dave Archambault II, explained, "From my perspective, I don’t think it’s the perception that we oppose economic development or we oppose energy independence or we oppose national security. What we oppose is it being done off our backs. For too long, there are too many cases where tribes have been forced to give and continue to give."

On Thursday December 8, 2016 we are constructing a Bothell Access Pipeline (BAPL) streaming from UW1 to UW2, directly across the W signage. We hope this will, literally, stop people in their tracks and makes them consider why the Dakota Access Pipeline should not continue. We aim to highlight the historic and continued mistreatment of Native Americans as well as the dangers of an oil pipeline of this caliber. We will accomplish this by having factual information available about the pipeline, history of the treatment of Native Americans, and what is currently going on at Standing Rock with the Water Protectors. Electronic devices will be available for people to donate to a Go Fund Me that Indigenous artist, Gregg Deal, has set up. The funds we collect will go to purchasing and sending sleeping bags to the Water Protectors in North Dakota. Mr. Deal was kind enough to give our class a powerful skype lecture on Native American resistance through art, particularly the important act of Native people telling their own narratives.

On December 4th, 2016 the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe had a small victory with the U.S. Army Corps’ decision to not grant easement to the Energy Transfer Partners, which caused a temporary halt to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. However, the energy company plans to continue anyways and we are here to say don't look away yet, the fight isn't over.


We acknowledge that the Bothell Access Pipeline is an inconvenience for the UW Bothell community. However, when we consulted the city of Bothell they denied the previously proposed route, which had been mapped to cut directly through their community. Therefore we have rerouted through the UW Bothell campus.

students in final project

Final reflections by students in this IAS course:

What better way to grab people’s attention than a big art installation on campus with human activity! I thought it was incredible that we were able to bring our creative thoughts together and become our own little BISIA 383 artist collective. It showed us that even though we are different in many ways, we are still capable of coming together and making cool things happen. — Katherine Cole, First Years and Pre-Major Program

This project allowed me to step outside of my comfort zone and to use the space outside of the classroom and into the environment. I have never engaged in a class in this way and I am beyond grateful to have been able to experience such a fun and life changing class. —Christina Woldberg, Heath Studies Major

The most important issue that this project addressed for me was the need to leave fossil fuels, and prevent the pollution of our fresh water, which is one of the most essential resources. This project was a great opportunity to express our artistic abilities and for me to practice filming/video editing, in a way that was beneficial for our society and aligned with our core values/beliefs. —Christian Amer, First Years and Pre-Major Program

By the end of the performance I think everyone got the importance of the work carried out by the Water Protectors. When I arrived with the posters and saw the pipe assembled and people in their safety vests and hard hats in character. Something went straight through my chest and the importance of this work clicked. It really clicked! We are at a precipice in time as a species and what is on the line is our survival and how ugly we want our extinction to be. Artists have a unique, immense power, to reach people and wake them up to choosing life. —Allena Basset, Environmental Studies Major

I’ve learned that I’m not so scared of public places anymore. Being amongst a group of people who serves the same purpose as you do, standing out in public becomes less of a scary idea and more of an exciting one. I learned this only through this class, and I’m glad for that because I have learnt to do things out of my comfort zone. As an international student, I definitely have never had a learning experience like this before.—Kimberly Fischarine, First Years and Pre-Major Program

The project was very important. As far as college goes it’s supposed to prepare you for life. What is life if not for caring and standing up for what is right? —Zanoor Yusef, First Years and Pre-Major Program

 

From a young age indigenous Ecuadorian culture has been quite prominent. And when I see the water protectors, I see my uncle, I see my dad, I see my grandma, I see every indigenous person I know in the water protectors’ faces. Which further reminds me of the atrocities indigenous people have gone through and still do.
—Saiwa Morales, First Years and Pre-Major Program

setting up caution tape