Inspiration

The OneHeart Call project is an ongoing two year community art project. It began working with students from The Community School (TCS) in Spokane. An immigrant and naturalized citizen herself, the rising hate and fear towards “the other” exposing deep seated racism and systemic injustices became a deep concern and the inspirational thread for the OneHeart vision. Silence is not an option. The OneHeart Call celebrates being different while sharing universal values of hope, dissent, love and respect. It reminds us that in spite of our beautiful differences may it be language, culture, religion or ethnicity, we all have one thing in common, our heart. By embracing our diversity and listening to each other’s life stories, we will realize that we are not that different from one another. Our individual and complex life experiences are colorful resilient threads woven into the tapestry of a shared human experience.

This project is an invitation to people everywhere to share their voices in artistic expressions responding to how we experience the word heart with its physical, emotional and metaphoric bright and dark side in ourselves as we reach out to one another. The hope is to share our diverse community heart stories as the exhibit continues to travel in response to our national and global challenges.

Beginning

I began working on this art project in 2019 with the help of students, teachers and staff of The Community School (TCS) by recording their heartbeats. We collaborated on art pieces. We recorded student inspirations and reflections on what it meant to have heart. From here the project expanded into our larger Spokane community.

I did not foresee the overwhelming resonance and goodwill I received from our community who helped grow my vision. The OneHeart Call has now grown into a larger installation inviting our diverse communities to join in with their heart’s vision sharing and representing their voice, song, sound, artworks, sculpture, haptic arts, dance, film, photographs with us all as OneHeart community. We would also like to reach out to our elders and people who have disabilities to share their creative heart voices. Their voices belong and matter in our human experience as well!

Installation

The Installation is visually designed to be an active background of transparent fabric panels 10 feet tall by 26 to 30 inches wide arranged in such a way to allow interaction of participants who are presenting and for viewers in gallery and museum exhibitions to walk amongst to experience up close. The formation of the fabric panels will include access for wheelchairs. The overall idea is to create a multifaceted three dimensional heart-space where the audience/viewer is invited to move and engage.

Printed on the transparent ten foot fabric panels are TCS student artworks, the heart graphs from the heartbeat recordings and student reflections on what “having heart” means to them. Additional voices and contributions from the community are added and integrated into the installation. 

In the center of the transparent organza fabric panels you will find a human heart-form that was made out of chickenwire. The differing surfaces are uniquely designed by TCS Art students who chose an individual piece of the chickenwire heart. These individual pieces are reassembled into one heart creatively echoing our coming together while not losing our diversity and individuality. As viewers walk along a suggested path they will find this unique looking human heart. From its center you will hear the voices in differing languages expressing what heart sounds in their birth languages and what heart means to them in their individual cultures.

The flow begins with a heart that is flipped, meaning the viewer will begin the walk into the heart from the oxygen poor ventricle and atrium symbolizing living a life filled with perhaps their own biases, or their resistance or misinformation towards people who are different in their community. While viewers walk through the transparent fabric panels they will encounter pockets of interests like displays of artwork and reflections. Perhaps the viewer will find a still point along the path to stop and listen to heartbeat recordings, voices and musical instruments that are engaging with these pure heartbeat sounds to soften them. 

The hope is that the viewer will begin reflecting as they continue to walk along the path reaching the ventricle and atrium through which the oxygen rich blood flows as they exit the installation. Exiting the installation through the oxygen rich chambers of the heart symbolizes my hope that the viewer is moved in such a way that next time they have the opportunity to engage with a person in their community that is different they remain open and curious to find out more about that person’s life and experience.

Our live performances/vignettes of the OneHeart Call Project event at the Magnuson Theater, Spokane, WA had to be cancelled because of the Covid Pandemic. We will keep you updated.

Live Performances

With Gratitude, Christina Rothe