The Weight of Words is an interactive performance piece by Michelle Hartney that addresses President Trump’s use of divisive, hate-filled language. Paper shredders will be installed at the Comfort Station, along with stacks of paper that contain sexist, racist, fascist, and homophobic Trump tweets and/or quotes. Visitors are invited to shred Trump’s words with the shredders, both as an act of catharsis and activism. The shredded paper will be used to stuff handmade ankle weights that have individual metal placards containing Trump's words, symbolizing the collective weight his compassionless rhetoric has had on the world.
During the exhibition a postcard writing station will be set up so viewers can write to both the White House and to their representatives.
Make America Love Again stickers will be given out free of charge throughout the duration of the performance.
The Paulina Hollers' Jim Becker and Lea Tshilds will play a full set of Woody Guthrie tunes during the show. They are writing music to go along with the lyrics of a recently discovered song Guthrie wrote in the 1950's about his landlord, Donald Trump Sr., condemning his racist ways:
"I suppose that Old Man Trump knows just how much racial hate
He stirred up in that bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed that color line...
...Beach Haven ain't my home!
No, I just can't pay this rent!
My money's down the drain,
And my soul is badly bent!
Beach Haven is Trump’s Tower
Where no black folks come to roam,
No, no, Old Man Trump!
Old Beach Haven ain't my home!"
In the 1970's the justice department sued our current president and his father for discrimination against African Americans for violating the Fair Housing Act of 1968 in 39 of their buildings. This song is particularly relevant today after Trump's divisive statements following the violence that erupted during the white supremacist rally in Charleston.
The Paulina Hollers will also perform another Guthrie song that is sadly quite pertinent today given Trump's decision to end DACA. "Plane Wreck at Los Gatos" (also known as "Deportee") is a tune Guthrie wrote about a plane crash that killed 28 Mexican agriculture laborers being deported back to Mexico. The remains of the four crewmembers that died were returned to their families, but the 28 laborers were buried in a mass grave.
"Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract's out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.
We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died 'neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same."