(Vanessa Longs Dance Company performed "Urban Tumbleweed" to raise awareness of plastic waste)
On October 6, in the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office of New York, people came together for a performance by the Vanessa Long Dance Company followed by a screening of the movie “Merchants of Doubt.”
“Urban Tumbleweed” was performed, and covered the stage with plastic bags, which were flung around with the movement of the dancers as they took over the stage and forced me and the rest of the audience to confront the masses of plastic that collided in the air in front of us. One of the dancers stayed afterwards to talk with members of the audience and discuss some of the Dance Company’s projects that confront social issues like over consumption. The goal of the troupe is to create a discussion and have people question their daily actions.
Following the performance, “Merchants of Doubt” was projected onto the stage. The movie brought to light the manipulation of consumer perception by large corporate organizations that seeked to deflect blame from harmful products. The same techniques are being used by multiple industries to make consumers doubt the dangers of their projects, and are now being used to promote doubt that global warming is real. In order to protect their interests, certain industries create an air of doubt that makes people question scientists and ignore their warnings.
I left that night with a heightened awareness of how my perceptions may be manipulated by people and corporations protecting their self interest. What I had learned was like something out of a movie (and it literally was!) It’s a shame that such a small group of people has had such a large influence over public perception, and becoming aware of that has intensified my desire to deny them that power by making sure the public is not only aware of climate change, but willing to do something about it!