Po-tent City

Earwig puppet shadow perching on the edge of an eye shadow. Inside the eye, there are tent shadows in blue light.
Tent City scene from Home Squat Home, light & shadow performance. Photo by Alejandro Chavarria

Two concerns of Po-tent City are social crisis and climate crisis. Art Action Earwig taps into the tapestry of personal, factual, and fictional stories that unfold the intertwinement of the pressing reality in which every one of us are deeply saturated and situated in.

In the face of worldwide crises, it is ever more important to emphasize struggles among the most marginalized populations whose vulnerability is constructed by the neoliberal logic of (under)privilege. Po-tent City insists that the homeless, refugees, workers in developing countries, and migrant workers are closely related to everyone else’s well-being. By recognizing and acknowledging those whose everyday survival relies on bandage solutions or temporary structures that unhouse them, ‘we’ who previously segregated them as ‘others’ see ourselves better as part of a bigger social and ecological home we all share. It is important to be aware that we are living through an ongoing climate crisis that will persistently require us to care for one another. Po-tent City aims to gather people beyond social and physical divides and empower each other, together facing the biggest challenge that we share beyond any borders. Our allied bodies, whether physical or virtual, will celebrate our gathering rights and desires to be truly home.

Art Action Earwig’s Po-tent City features two streams of audiovisual storytelling: the Home Squat Home Mobile App and the Climate Series.

Home Squat Home Mobile App – This mobile squatting-in-a-smartphone application provides an intimate audiovisual performance using shadow puppets made of upcycled and recycled materials on the surface of a tent. Our tent installation offers passersby and visitors a virtual portal into the tent. Participants can download the app by scanning the QR code on the tent with their device. This transient moving home in your pocket or in your palm encourages one to re-imagine a sustainable home for marginalized bodies and displaced creatures, while most of us are re-configuring our physical boundaries and relationships to “home.” This piece imagines the tent as a shelter and rally spot, exploring meanings, feelings, and realities that (de)materialize “home.” The artists’ memoirs, fermented with theatrical imaginaries, dwell in Vancouver and Seoul, two cities the artists call home. The piece honors grassroots movements in the DTES including the Woodsquat housing action and Women’s Memorial March.

To download the app and learn more about the project, click here.

On a mobile phone screen, there's a red butterfly in the shape of a heart projected on the Home Squat Home tent shadow puppet screen.

Home Squat Home mobile project was made possible with the support of DTES Small Arts Grant & Vancouver Foundation for developing Home Squat Home light and shadow performance, Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Originals grant, BC Arts Council’s Microgrant, and KW Studios’ summer subsidy program for the mobile app development.

Climate Shadow Series: Midnight Mirror & Mo’s Closet

Shape of a long face in dark purple background. A mirror is placed below the empty left eye. Inside the right eye, there is a moth shadow looking like the pupil of the eye. Shadow of a person is placed in the middle of the image.

The Climate Shadow Series consists of two 15-minute sister-shows exploring the urgency of climate crises, deeply entangled with everyday human activities in the globally industrialized world: buying clothing, consuming food, and dreaming the future. Art Action Earwig invites audiences to look at the challenging environmental issue with child-like eyes through playful movements of light and shadow. The sister tales weave through shifting landscapes with parodies of folktales, science, and popular cultures like karaoke. Poetics and humor in their artistic approach bring past, present, and future together onto a shadow screen for an audience to ponder our positions as human beings within a bigger picture of ecological time.

To get Home Squat Home Zine, visit here.
Participate in our ongoing interactive website project, PotentCity.space: