The Settler Body and Its Undoing

Unsettled/Soiled is a group of East, Southeast, and South Asian diasporic movers, makers, and settlers on Ramaytush and Chochenyo Ohlone land. Unsettled/Soiled Group is led by June Yuen Ting, one of CounterPulse’s 2022 ARC Performing Diaspora artists and will debut Dwelling for Unsettling alongside VERA!’s Try, Hye!, Thursday through Saturday, December 8-10 & 15-17, 2022

Tickets are available now! 

Part immersive theater and part community gathering, Dwelling for Unsettling interrogates and resists the entanglement of the diasporic and the settler colonial for Asian diasporic communities on Turtle Island. Incorporating performance altars, embodied testimonies, public rituals, and audio-visual installations, Dwelling for Unsettling attends to the stakes of embodiment in a settler colony—How have we inherited settler colonialism in our bodies as a modality of moving/being? What might be the kinesthetic strategies to denaturalize and destabilize the settler body and its movement tradition? Drawing from archival studies, family histories, and movement research, this project is an invitation to imagine new embodied senses of who we are and how we move in Asian diasporas that refuse further incorporation into the settler colonial project.

image: Collaborator John-Mario Sevilla’s visualization practice

“The hard things, the things that we’re not ready for, we don’t avoid them. We just create the ceremony for it.”

—Sangodare Akinwale

This research and process blog documents a collective confrontation with questions we don’t have answers for—a reckoning that is also an undoing, a provisional practice in embodiment that risks the body itself. It documents our impossible undertaking and necessary failing, our struggle to name that which has evaded language, to give an account to the unaccounted for, and to body forth what the body does not yet know. What began a year ago as a movement research guided by a personal quest to get to the roots of my settler lineage has now become a relationship project—it has become how I connect with people in the Asian “settler diaspora,” as we hold space for one another in our shared encounter with our complicity and responsibility under US settler colonialism. How do we make room for both repair and dissonance? How to center both care and discomfort? How to become unsettled yet soiled? We invite you to join us in December for a gathering with installation, performance, and craft activities to pose the question of embodying otherwise.

– June Yuen Ting

Click here to check out Unsettled/Soiled Group’s blog “bodying settler colonialism: a movement research

This year’s ARC Performing Performances will be ​​Thursday – Saturday December 8-10 & 15-17, 2022. Tickets are available at counterpulse.org/performingdiaspora2022

Header photo sourced from Google Maps.

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