Karma of Confinement: Amazing Timeline On US “Freedom”
Bay Area artist Evan Bissell has co-created an incredible interactive learning tool that shows how “freedom” for some in America has always come at the expense of others. “The Knotted Line” uses interactive, semi-hidden paintings and participatory text to wind through half a millenium of exclusion and confinement in the part of Turtle Island now called the United States.
On one level, The Knotted Line started as a personal exploration; how is it that in a society where freedom is the central political rhetoric, we have constantly confined large portions of our population? That discrepancy was something I couldn’t understand from a pretty young age, and it was definitely a spark of my politicization.
The amount of collaborative research going into this project is truly breathtaking, and the semi-obfuscation of the paintings provides an apt metaphor for the perseverance necessary to learn and reclaim histories that mainstream schooling does not teach us. If we engaged Buddhists are to understand the collective karma of our society, tools like this (and this ain’t the only radical timeline out there!) are precious gifts, indeed.