TRUTH BOOTH AND
“If a system is corrupt, then the people who adhere to the system, and are incentivized by that system, are not criminals. They are victims. The system itself must be tried. But… the only way we can figure out what the system is, is if everyone says what they did."
- Dave Chappelle
In South Africa, victims and perpetrators of apartheid violence testified about their experiences, ranging from physical violence, to benefitting from the privilege afforded to whites. These testimonies worked together to build a more complex understanding of the system of apartheid itself, by which to collectively dismantle it and create new ways to organize society. In a new century, we continue to live in a world of corrupt systems, and are disempowered by the fractured nature of our personal and national conversations, the conspiracy theory attacks on the media, and media's abuses of power in manipulation of details that undermine our ability to navigate information. In this state, there is an urgent need for Paolo Freire’s idea of concientiztion, an awareness of the systems playing on and around us, so that we can respond to the roots of wrong, and organize as an informed body. In this light, the truth and reconciliation commission is an interesting model to confront not only racism, but misogyny, human migration, energy and the environment, and other complex issues that divide us along lines of ideology and allegiance.
Since 2018, The Truth Booth and Reconciliation Station have been a tool to experiment with audiences ability to reflect honestly on their relationship to systemic violence, and process the experiences of others in order to understand the system better. Ultimately, the Truth Booth and Reconciliation Station is a mobile, pop-up exhibit meant to respond to different geographies and topics in the US and explore the broader questions,
“What environment offers the sanctuary needed to self reflect and voluntarily share information with humility?”
“What feedback mechanism allows people to grow deeper understandings of their place in an oppressive system, and organize into action?”