Interview on Mutiny Radio’s Women’s Magazine
“Essentially many of my questions about public space fall under one question: is this a healthy space? What I mean by ‘healthy’ is: Can people be engaged there? Can we be playful there? Powerful? Can we feel our agency? Can we be, in a sense, loving?”
On March 6th I was interviewed by Val Iberra on Women’s magazine on Mutiny Radio, broadcast in collaboration with KPFA. It was my first time being interviewed; it was also our first airing of a Radio Heartbeat Soundscape. There was a lot I wanted to share; below are some of the ideas about public space that were discussed in the interview.
Historically, large groups of people did not have the freedom to move through public space. In those times, public space was the space of manifest activity, it was where ideas were shared, politics played out, decisions were made, relationships were built, goods traded, etc. But because it was off-limits to large groups of people, it was in fact a space of limited manifestations. We can see examples of this today, depending on what specific public spaces we look at, depending on what neighborhoods we’re in, which parts of the country, which cities. We can see it in organized actions like “Take Back the Night.”
So in the light of asking “what constitutes a healthy public space,” in which there is a fuller expression of many selves, let’s consider what we’re doing by creating embodied public spaces. What happens when you hear a heartbeat? One thing is that we get calmer, more relaxed, more ‘tuned in’ to ourselves and our environment. Physiologically it elicits a parasympathetic response, dampening the stress response and sending signals to the brain which enable a series of physical actions which support social engagement.
When we temporarily create an embodied public space, that space is transformed into one that supports the engagement of a group of people–no matter their background, ethnicity, race, etc. It supports their engagement with themselves, with others and with their immediate environment.