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International Day of Peace event with S.C.R.A.P. Gallery

On Wednesday, September 21st, while attending the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery’s International Day of Peace event at the Senior Center in Cathedral City, GROUND SERIES sound designer and human rights educator Peter DiGennaro recorded testimonials of bodily-liberation that will appear in GROUND SERIES’ new multi-media installation Free the Body. The S.C.R.A.P. Gallery and the Cathedral City Senior Center presented student work from across the Coachella Valley, as well as international student work. Karen Riley, Director of the S.C.R.A.P. Gallery Gallery, curated student art from Nellie Kaufman Elementary, Sunny Sands Middle School, and Cathedral City High School, plus international work from England, the Ukraine, and Japan, including a heart wrenching story of origami crane offerings from the International Peace Memorial in Hiroshima, Japan. The work, its creators, and its supporters produced a singularly joyous event. Co-organized by Bob Mckechnie and Dari Hetherman from the organization World Beyond War, along with Vic Ide (Chief Operating Officer, Cathedral City Senior Center), the event hosted such guests as Cathedral City Mayor Ernesto Gutierrez, Dr. Stone James (Head of Economic Development), Dr. Bertil Lindblad (Director of the United Nations Association’s Coachella Valley charter), and members of the Cathedral City Police force.

Filling the room with color and life, the exhibition varied from the wonderfully varied, grammar school peace doves, to starkly poignant Ukraine-based photography that clearly illustrates the effects of Russia’s invasion upon children, to large collage pieces. Also, representative abstractions of evil, such as a color-binaried photo-based piece entitled the “Ideology of Violence”, and two Medusa-based head drawings with diabolical quotes from the contemporary news cycle woven into the gorgon’s snake-hairs, only added to the illustrative power of the presentation.

During Free the Body recording sessions, on-location testimonials included experiences of unweighting the body during water-based movement, the immediate socio-physical authenticity of a presented “handicap”, and the extraordinary gratitude that comes with addiction recovery, to name just a few. These anonymous testimonials will be embedded throughout the sound art of the Free the Body installation, part of an immersive sound format in concert with sculpture and movement. The testimonials exemplify both the right to the authorship of one’s personal story, as well as the healthy gifting of our story to others. This authorship and gifting, acts that originate and are enshrined in the instrumental palette of our bodies, stands in resounding contrast to forceful, unilateral attempts of deceitful elements in the world meant to remove self-agency, self-determination, and one’s own origin story, rather than contribute to the collective wellness, generative health, and natural growth along a unified continuum that signifies the fully human being.

GROUND SERIES dance and social justice collective would like to thank Karen Riley for her permission to participate in this wonderful event, Bill Schinsky (Director, Coachella Valley Art Center) for his ongoing support and encouragement, the entire staff at the Cathedral City Senior Center for their perfect hospitality, and the young artists who lifted the worldwide effort of the International Day of Peace into the big sky of the Coachella Valley.

Written by Peter DiGennaro, Sound Artist/Human Rights Educator

Learn more: Free the Body


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