Janet Loren Hill
MFA ’17 Fine Arts 2D
Returning to memories of playing the parachute game (an age-old activity used in American preschool and corporate settings alike and meant to cultivate a team mentality), I question how we are conditioned to believe in teamwork as a purely positive, required aspect of our social, professional, and even personal lives. I challenge this thought, and pose teamwork as sometimes sinister, found in norm-policing, gate-keeping, and social polarization, especially when buy-in does not occur. It can be found in propaganda, nationalism, and the mob mentality. Collective action, or groups of people working together, can be found in both the Black Lives Matter movement and through fear-mongering, hateful efforts led by groups like the Proud Boys. The consequences, both dire and positive, are potent in these times. The Parachute Games Series unpacks the complicated complicity of teamwork, and speaks to our often subconscious involvement in collective action, and how those actions can have severe and long-term ripple effects—effects that demand critical awareness and reflection. We are socialized, conditioned, and in some ways forced, to choose a side, to rally together, and then to participate. Those phenoms encourage important revolution, or uphold systems of oppression, and contribute to all the nuanced consequences. This series makes visible what collective action holds up, and also what it can tear down.