Sunday, March 28, 2010

New Perspectives

Today was our first full day in Chicago. We were all pretty excited to get out there and explore.

We started the day off with some grocery shopping, then we had a very delicious lunch and we set off for our first destination: Chicago's Cultural Center.

The Cultural Center was a very interesting and beautiful place. There was soft music playing as we arrived, and we all dispersed and took a look at many of the exhibits.

There was a wide array of exhibits - some painting, some architecture, and some sculpture. There was a particular exhibit that featured photographs of furniture in various places. It was a strange exhibit but it was also emotional for me. Some of the pictures made me feel happy, and some gave me a sense of uneasiness or foreboding. It was strange to me that these pictures of inanimate objects could create feeling. Some of the pictures were taken with Catholic religious statues, and I wondered why this was. Some of the pictures also took place in a columbarium,where ashes are kept. I still wonder about the reason this is, but it created certain feelings when looking at the photographs.

After we spent some time at the Cultural Center, we headed over to the Museum of Contemporary Art to see a play entitled Shipment. It was a very very thought provoking play. It centered around race and was presented in such a way that really left you thinking. The play was funny at parts, but it created a sense of discomfort. Everytime I laughed I thought, Should I really have laughed at that? The show played up on the stereotypes concerning white and black, and the show centered around white/black. After the show when we were discussing, we wondered why this was. We think that keeping it strictly white/black created another message - that a lot of us are so centered on white/black, when really there are many many many other cultures out there. The show made all of us really aware of our thinking, and how none of us a perfect in terms of thinking about race. The show brought up issues about white privilege and was varied in terms of performance. There was dancing, singing, acting and a section where the actors stared out at the audience, not saying a word, for a good few minutes. I have never seen a play like this before, and it made me think and really challenge my perceptions and question how I really perceive. It was a great show and a very eye-opening experience.

Now we settle down for the night, excited for all the promise that tomorrow will bring. We learned a lot today and have a lot to think about. Tomorrow, we start volunteering!

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