The Independence Treatment Center (ITC) (2020), is a prototype aiming to investigate notions of independence. Participants are invited to take an online self-test measuring unhealthy levels of independence, self-sufficiency, and dependence aversion. Some participants with high levels of independence will be invited to partake in a one-on-one performance consisting of integrating healthy levels of dependence into their daily lives. A corresponding gallery display for Brooklyn Utopias curated by Katherine Gressel at The Old Stone House, Brooklyn, included giveaway informative brochures that reference those found in health care centers.
ITC aims to develop and valorize often unsung strengths - the competencies of one to collaborate, co-produce, cultivate vulnerability, and to freely give and ask for help. Acceptance of our human dependence is often dismissed through appeals to fantasies of independence and self-sufficiency. These fantasies perpetuate the myth that people who are in need are deficient. The project urges participants to rethink dependence as a social responsibility that we all require and share.
As the United States becomes more unaffordable, it is an especially difficult place to find oneself in a situation of dependency. It risks becoming a place where only young, able-bodied, economically self-sufficient people can access quality of life. These inequities and deficiencies in our social safety net have become more pronounced during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many citizens relying on the aid of the government as well as their neighbors for the first time, and/or forced to seek new ways to connect during physical isolation. ITC envisions a future where our universal vulnerability and dependence is normalized and accepted in the social realm.