This project-specific web page was used during the on-campus actviations in February 2023, and is now archived for future viewing.
KEEPING ON (breathing)
if you’re here, i’m sorry
because the New College we once knew is on its deathbed, whatever may come, let us gather.
KEEPING ON (breathing) is a site-specific sculptural activation in protest of the hostile right-wing takeover, and a space for our grieving community to grieve. the sculpture at the center of this project is an avatar for this institution, this near-living thing, receiving necessary assistance to breathe, its family unsure of what the future holds.
as you’re well aware, because of florida governor desantis’ heinous political maneurvering and commitment to a highly-visible optics of “culture wars,” suddenly our beloved liberal arts institution is under existential threat.
regardless of whether the New College of Florida changes in major or minor ways in light of this moment, it is clear enough already that the six-decade-plus life and culture of this institution as a bastion of inclusive and progressive thought has somehow reached an inflection point, and now rests in its final moments as the thing we once knew it to be.
but all living things eventually enter that tragic penultimate state of leaving, of fading, of petering out. until, finally, they have left us. i don’t want to be dooming, nor is this an admission of defeat in the face of “the free state of florida’s war on wokeness.” moving as we do in this world, we grow, change, die, and then? rebirth.
ancient judaism calls a person in the throes of the end of life—that liminal state of here/not-here—a goses. it is said to be a deed of paramount importance to go and sit with a goses (goh-séss), to hold space with them, to treat them as a full person, to not speak as if they’re gone, but simply to reflect with them and with one another, sharing space, and breath, and time together.
you do not pray over a goses. you do not close their eyes. you just hold them close as they pass, as all things do.
on grief and mourning, anita diamant writes that:
“in the end, being present is both the only thing and the greatest thing we have to give one another.”
with that, i invite you to join me in bikkur cholim, sitting in and sharing presence with our goses and with one another, as current students, as alumni, as faculty, as community.
so hold presence with me, let us gather, let us read, let us rejoice, and let us organize on the premise of the enduring fantastic life of New College:
there are two methods for you to gather with us: virtually and in-person. in person gatherings will be a soft time to hold space together — bring anything you’d like to read to the goses and group—
tuesday 2/7 at 6pm (sunset),
wednesday 2/8 at 12pm and 6pm (sunset)
thursday 2/9 at 12pm
all in-person meet-ups will be on or very-near campus, with the location to be posted half an hour prior HERE: the shell gas station! (we got kicked off campus by the police).
or you can alternatively register here to share some virtual space on friday 2/10 here: https://forms.gle/4zgginRs5ika7tbZ8