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An evening length dance experience, Wired traces-is-the fine line between “us” and “them.” Wired meditates in sound, light, and movement on the gendered, raced, and disability histories of barbed wire, showing how it shapes common understandings of who belongs.
In the American cultural imagination and hard reality, barbed wire is a defining border and exclusionary technology. It is endemic in carceral environments; it marks national borders. Its aficionados believe barbed wire won the agricultural American west: it separated ranchers from farmers and bison from buffalo and cow. They do not talk of the horrendous impact on indigenous peoples and their cultures except occasionally as victory. Barbed wire stories often begin with a folk myth about a woman’s hairpin and then move to disputes of copyright, capitalism, and industrial manufacturing. With two museums, an encyclopedia, and contemporary collectors, barbed wired has a firm hold on the American imagination.
Barbed wire is a national phenomenon with nuanced and intersectional disability, race, and gender histories, but its narrative geography extends beyond the plains. Wired surfaces some of these stories.
Section by section, Wired alternates between moving snapshots of wire as a material object and longer explorations of human interactions with the barbs.