Jewelry (Object) Activation - is a verb I created in 2012 for urgent application today. This term empowers us by throwing a wrench in revisionist history and cultural appropriation by bridging the gap between our indigenous cultural production (intellectual property) and our bodies, spirits and minds - for our own healing and use today. I am using Jewelry here as an example, though this concept also refers to music and objects that are part of a rich living history with deep implications.
But what does it mean?
Jewelry (Object) Activation consists of connecting the story imbued in an object with the body that completes the narrative. The two work together like a lock and key. Jewelry is only ACTIVATED when it is worn by living breathing bodies, while bodies are ACTIVATED in a felt sense when the wearer unlocks and invokes the sacred information imbued in jewelry.
Jewelry's maximum power & potential can only happen when it's kept in close symbiotic relationship with its origin story and makers. Housed in each object is a sentiment, living history, culture, and tradition- but most importantly people who were making and documenting meaning of the world as they understood it, who felt it crucial to pass down messages to their lineage so they could remember who they are in a felt sense (ANCHORAGE)
BOTH JEWELRY and THE BODY ARE ACTIVATING AGENTS and sites of KNOWLEDGE TRANSMISSION. Wearing jewelry is a sacred relationship, in bridging this gap we will find the answers we need to navigate this life. We will attain our freedom and heal, by and for us.
Jewelry (Object) De-Activation occurs within the fast fashion industry, western museums, the music industry etc. - when people participate in disseminating, selling and wearing objects that they do not understand experientially - that have been completely cut off from their origin story and context (ex. scarab earrings purchased from Zara or displayed in museums) in order to maximize profits. Trends of the fast fashion, museum and music industries are by design imperialist and capitalist ensuring that decolonization and revolution never materializes.
The biggest dangers of de-activation and cultural appropriation is that they take away indigenous peoples ability to identify with their own inheritance when they see it hidden in plain sight. When there is an inflation of indigenous symbols and motifs everywhere, it's implied in the popular imagination that they've outlasted their meaning which is not that case. These “objects” have deep implications for our lives today, especially for young people. The symbols, motifs and stories imbued in jewelry is our ammunition. Our ancestors literally left us time capsules so we could remember who we are.
Please find two interviews below where I define Jewelry (Object) Activation's practical application in our day to day lives.
CBC interview 06/08/2020
NYC Jewelry Week 05/28/2020