How would you map the distance between you and your neighbor? North and south? Campus and community? Past and present? Syracuse residents of all ages answered these questions through the creation of “Distance Strips”, visual representations of cultural, historical, and geographic distances in Syracuse and beyond. Within the parameters of a 12” by 3” strip of paper, big and small distances are made visible: the distance between families located in two different towns; the distance between the ideological left and right; the distance from a small child’s hands to the cookie jar, just out of reach on the kitchen table. During Dance Exchange’s two-and-a-half week residency in Syracuse in February 2012, members of the company, in collaboration with graduate students from Syracuse University’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, engaged Syracuse residents in map-making at schools, community centers, and through chance encounters. The distance strips, which lined the walls of the Community Folk Art Center’s gallery, formed the backdrop for Dance Exchange’s culminating performance with community members at the end of the residency. Members of the Ida Benderson Action Group and participants from workshops at 601 Tully, Christian Brothers Academy, The Determination Center, Northeast Community Center and Plymouth Congregational Church created the Distance Strips seen in this video.
By Meg Kelly, Takoma Park