To me, an outsider just beginning to establish a connection with the project, it seems like the first workshop; however, it is the third in a series of three. The first workshop was held in Egypt in August of 2010, before the revolution. The second workshop was held, also in Egypt, in March 2011, during the revolution. And the final workshop, which I was lucky enough to attend, was held in Pittsburgh from May 14-22 2011 from 1-7 p.m., post revolution.
As I begin to learn the names of these artists, I ask them simple questions about the workshop trying to get a feel for what they have been involved in. One artist tells me they began inside, at the Bricolage Theater in downtown Pittsburgh, building trust through games that may seem silly to an outside viewer. Once trust was established between the artists, they took their work outside to Phipps Conservatory, the Carnegie Mellon University campus, the streets of Braddock and downtown Pittsburgh, and our cities very own bridges. They simply use the city of Pittsburgh as a landscape for their art, in this case, performance art.
These workshops act as a metaphorical tunnel because, “the commonality between artists on both sides of the tunnel, [in Egypt and in Pittsburgh] is that they’ve done this intensive workshop with me” explains Director Tavia La Follette. The workshops help to build trust between the artists while simultaneously producing a language of peace.