The Distaff Series
Research, process, and application of Epoch has been published in Issue 7 of The Dancer-Citizen.
In 1858 William Farr examined the correlation between health and marriage. He studied people in three categories: single, married, and widowed, concluding that married people lived longer, healthier lives. Socioeconomically, much has changed since these initial findings, including couples living together before marriage, LGBT couples, and divorce as a factor. However, I was still perplexed about how powerful human connection can be, to the extent that it can scientifically alter your health and the longevity of your pathway on this earth. I began to research more contemporary studies on human connection, health, habits, and traits, how they can spread from person to person, and affect one's life.
Nicholas Christakis’ research on the influence of social networks (physical) presents three causes as to why this appears to happen: "Induction", "Homophily", and "Confounding". He discusses what behavioral changes in your friends, mixed with influence, can do to the change in your own behavior, and thus take effect on your life, which can also end up altering your health.
Ronald Glaser and Jan Kiecolt-Glaser, from Ohio State University, studied a more contemporary version of William Farr's research. They recruited 76 women, half were married and the other half were separated or divorced. They measured the women’s immune-system responses, "tracking their levels of antibody production and other indicators of immunity strength". They placed this research against questionnaires of relationship happiness. The results showed that the women in unhappy relationships (or with their relationship status) had weaker immune responses.
The culmination of this research has posed the question: In an era of independence and liberation, are we subconsciously tied to others, through these habits, without choice?
Epoch, Part I
Screened at the University of Michigan
October 26-28, 2017
as part of their Third Century Screens Expo and Bicentennial Celebration
The Distaff Series examines sexual objectification and animalization of women in our everyday language, as well as in literature and advertising, and the impact it has on the behavior of our culture.
With use of poetry by Amanda Lovelace, Rupi Kaur, and Cleo Wade as inspiration, as well as additional research from Jeroen Vaes, Maria Paladino and Elisa Puvia of the University of Padova, and classic literary texts, as it relates to the continued animalization association of women, Distaff is exploring intersectional feminism through these behavior mechanisms, in both our past and present cultural patterns. It also explores ideas of change, or disruption, for the future.
Distaff, which is traditionally a tool for holding wool to spin, is also considered as a term for the women’s work or domain. In what became a series of five films, followed by a live adaptation, we see these women work and show as a force.
There is this innate dependency that we have on other people, and an inherent trust. When that is broken, and our safety becomes compromised, and moral conduct becomes indecent, what happens to us, how do we navigate?
The Distaff Series trailer