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It Becomes Us

Artist: Bruce Tetsuya, 24

Englewood, CO

Ethnicity: Japanese

The birth of this project came about from the cloud of depression that creatives faced during early quarantine times, back in March & April of 2020. I was forced to move home in wake of the pandemic, dropping several other projects and paid work I had slated, with no real sense of when they’d be able to resume, if at all. That feeling of uncertainty sent myself and my community into a dark place. As filmmakers especially, not having anything to focus our energy on, or ability to collaborate with regular sized teams and conditions, was crippling. In April, I began to write a visual poem of sorts, to address the claustrophobic and repressed nature of our lives during that time. We tackled this through spoken word, dance, and film. Our main idea behind tackling mental health with It Becomes Us was to show catharsis through choreography, and tell a universal story of what so many of us were experiencing in tension and release. The actual process of making this piece was a huge help to my mental health, and to the mental clarity of the two people I worked with (Jacob Glazier the co-director, and Han Andrew our dancer). Movement is such a vital part in healing, and we hope that others will take that message away from the piece. Despite still being in a pandemic, it’s important for us to not sacrifice our mental and physical health for fear of going outside. Even if it’s just for a quick walk, we can’t let the decrease in socialization be the death of movement. That’s the direct meaning of the piece, although we directed it to be general enough so it could ring true to any number of situations. A line from our original spoken word goes, “There was a spark - of light, of love… hold onto it. Embrace it.” These words are juxtaposed with imagery of a man suffocating, embers burning, and silhouettes through a clouded window pane. The poem leads into the title we came to for the piece, It Becomes Us, which is to say, however things may seem in this current moment, the way we carry ourselves now will define our lives for the years to come.