Identity is a hot button topic. In a complex and fragmented world we need to define our identity - a sense of who we are and where we belong. We tend to hold great value in our identity. There is also our identity that extends beyond gender, race, nationality and religion. Politics, social groups, causes, and personal beliefs can also shape one’s voice among peers. In a world of polarizing beliefs, environmental shifts, fabricated facts, isolating social circles, decisions are made, lines are drawn, and the pendulum seems to swing in all directions. Combine this with the social media echo chamber and the world can appear to be divisive and hostile. We take sides. Form alliances. Unite behind our purpose. Rise against. There is US and there is THEM.
Consider for a minute if a side was assigned to you, the in-group or out-group. Jonathan Paul is your “decider” with an installation called simply “Us and Them”. Your fate is arbitrarily chosen by what Paul describes as the Decision Maker. A photo ID and lanyard are issued, labeling you as one of US or one of THEM.
“It may seem at first glance this performance adds divisiveness by encouraging participants to wear badges that label them as US or THEM. However once you’re engaged in the experience, visitors will leave with a positive understanding of how everyone might aspire to become One of Us, or One of Them.” - Jonathan Paul.