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In conversation with: fault lines by pateldanceworks by Meghana Ravikumar

In conversation with: fault lines by pateldanceworks by Meghana Ravikumar

in collaboration with Bhumi Patel, Sholeh Asgary, Rachel Austin, Hannah Meleokaiao Ayasse, Iris Yirei Hu, Tessa Nebrida, Elizabeth Sugawara, Emma Tome, Em Kane, Syon Davis, Michael Mersereau, Kevin Lo

fault lines is set on the mosaic landscape of Fort Funston. The piece is four parts with the first part being a land acknowledgement and historical timeline of the various ways in which Fort Funston has existed over time. The following three parts are movement, music, and sound based storytelling pieces. Once we are grounded into the landscape by Em’s introduction, the creators and movers of the piece spin and create a world in which we travel through time. Beginning with a duet that embodies the present and current landscape of Fort Funston- fraught with tension as an ex-military base and open sea. The duet introduces the main themes of the work: tension, exploration, and healing. Tension within the physical landscape as we see Ohlone land overtaken by conquistadors and then by the US military. The expansive backdrop of the ocean is broken up by jagged structures of concrete and metal. Exploration of the creators and movers of their ancestors and how their personal and different BIPOC stories of being conquested overlap with each other and the landscape. Exploring themselves and the landscape as they unearth points of friction, discomfort, and alienation within themselves, collectively as a group, and across Fort Funston. These themes manifest and thread through all the sound, movement, and physical locations of the piece. Towards the end of their movement, the duet begins to scrape and dig in time and space, creating a rip/portal for us to explore.

In part two, we are introduced to a group of movers that I can only call the witchy pirates. Donned in mystical costumes featuring the evil eye, stars, and pyramids, through them, we are moved through the portal and transported back in time. Back to a point where the world falls wild and untamed. Where color exists without bleaching. Where we exist without constraints. As the movers and musicians yell, scream, shout, and pound on and at the concrete structures jarring the natural coast line, the space shifts. The concrete becomes smaller. The ocean bigger. The wind howls more freely. The metal becomes less jagged. The willow trees step forward. Paired with the magical chanting of the music we are put into a trance. One where we have stepped back to heal. Heal the space immediately around us. Heal the spaces that were taken from us. Heal those who came before us. Find ourselves and reclaim spaces to their rightful caretakers.

As the duet rejoins the witchy trio, the trance brings us back to the present. Where, together, the crew continues to cleanse and heal the space all around. Sealing with a raw vulnerable song. A meditation on lost homes, homes we’ve only known through stories we yearn to understand, longing for a tongue that can roll and wave like our mothers. An acknowledgement to the sacrifice that we and those before us have made just to be here. Their song beckons for us to join, unfurl ourselves, heal our ancestors and find home.

The following questions are from Bhanu Kapil’s The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers. Her work captures the raw vulnerability and experience of women in the Indian diaspora across India, UK and the US. My answers are my response to feeling moved, seen, loved and held by fault lines. To answer their call and unfold myself.

1. Who are you and whom do you love?

My name is Meghana. Extended curve, guttural “gh”, and a release to the sky. My body moves in curves, creates rhythm, and pierces through boundaries. I am free. I pen my stories in the hopes of penning ours. I strive to capture sensation and show it to you. I understand small bits of the world, lead teams, and create what doesn't exist. People will tell you I am exceptional, this will surprise me.

I love my partner, who teaches me that happiness is enough; I love my friends, who teach me that what I care about matters; I love my dog, who teaches me to rest easy; I love my thatha, who made me boiled peanuts

2. Where did you come from / how did you arrive?

I came from my home. I left when I was four. I arrived with my parent’s friend, who I’d never met before, in a large metal bird with a Pepsi logo on its rear tail. I will learn later that it’s called Korean Air. I arrived unknowing and happy.

3. How will you begin?

again and again

4. How will you live now?

In my own gaze. In my own body, filling my own skin,

radiating out of my own pores.

In my own intuition with my own dreams.

5. What is the shape of your body?

My body my body my body, expands, a never ending ocean. It ebbs and flows with the moon, sparkles in the sun, rushes with the wind. It holds layers of life, layers of time. New growth and old decay. Contains the stories of me and those before me. Gently licks and heals new scars and sleeps with old ones. Some days, it runs wild, creates chaos, chases all to the ends of the Earth. Other days, it lays quiet, humming into itself.

7. What do you remember about the earth?

I remember the earth as warm clay, dirt roads, open fields running into lines of tall palm trees; I remember the earth as smelling of heat, sweet jasmine, rose petals, ripe jackfruit trees; I remember the earth as slow-roasted charred yellow corn covered in chili and salt; I remember the earth as textured brown hands slowly stringing together delicate kanakambaram buds; I remember the earth as mouth-watering ornate sweets of sugar and milk; I remember the earth as a playground for mischief; I remember the earth as wild and untamed; I remember the earth as, a part of, me

10. Describe a morning you woke without fear.

12. And what would you say if you could?

I am scared to reach out to my family, after decades of not knowing them. And that is ok. I am practicing looking past my parents. And that is ok. I am scared to break what is to reach for what could be. And that is ok.


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