Aaron Hughes Performance

If you are unable to join us tonight, consider stopping by Powerhouse Arena on Thursday, March 19th between 1-4pm for a performance called Tea by Aaron Hughes.



tea |tē|


a hot drink made by infusing the dried, crushed leaves of the tea plant in boiling water.

dialogue |ˈdīəˌläg; -ˌlôg|

a discussion between two or more people or groups, esp. one directed toward exploration of a particular subject or resolution of a problem
TEA – chai – الشاي
The day would end. The sun would set.
In the motor pool where we all slept the third country nationals, hadjis, would role out a rug, pull out a hot plate, gather round, and warm water to make tea. Tea that was always generously offered despite…
Tea is an ongoing dialog that traverses a variety of landscapes. From the tea sipped on in this installation, to a quaint coffee shop in the Lower Eastside, to a cage in Guantanamo Bay, to a motor pool in Iraq; tea is not only a favored drink but a shared moment that transcends cultural divides and systems of oppression. That is not meant as a clichéd utopian statement but as a reminder of our shared humanity that is so often over looked. Just as our connection to the dehumanization, death, and destruction in Iraq and Afghanistan is over looked. Tea creates a space to remember these connections and to share the repressed traumas of war.

The project consists of three parts the installation, the performance, and an ongoing growing dialog. The installation is composed of all the needed materials to make, sit, enjoy, and commune over strong black tea. The performances consist of a series of monologues/stories shared by activists, Iraqis, veterans, and myself that reflect on the traumas of war. These monologues and the ephemera of the installation are designed to foster and grow the dialogue the third element aspect of the project.

One of the books I read was called “We Were Each Others Prisoners.” It was an oral history and one of the detainees that was locked up in Michigan fell in love with an American. They even got married after the war. It’s funny that Chris is from Michigan and that he fell in love in one of those detainee camps too…

How to Become a Concentration Camp Guard Without Even Trying… that’s what Chris said about it all.
I know Chris liked working night shifts, because whenever they were awake, He wanted to apologize to them. When they were sleeping, He didn’t have to worry about it. He could just walk up and down the blocks all night long.
He fell in love… He missed the cups. The detainees were only allowed to have Styrofoam cups, and they would write and draw all over them.
Chris was not familiar with Muslim culture… none of us were… are…
but he learned that they don’t draw the human form, maybe not any creatures, but they draw a lot of flowers. They would cover the cups with flowers.
Then he would have to take them. It was a ridiculous process. It was as if they were writing some kind of secret message that they were somehow going to throw into the ocean, that would get back to somebody — he would send them to our military intelligence and they would just look at these things and then throw them away.

Chris loved those little cups…

I asked Chris what he would draw on the cups if he were going to serve Arabic tea in them… He said, “I’d draw flowers for sure… Islamic designs… its tuff to say.

Published in: on March 7, 2009 at 2:22 am  Leave a Comment  

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