A Latent Luster
Imagine what our world would be like if free public access to care was available everywhere.
A Kind Word is a temporary and traveling auricular monument by artist Ann Lewis harnessing the healing power of human compassion through crowd-sourced statements of empathy and support. Informed and inspired by the tenacity, strength, and care of sexual assault survivors, A Kind Word harnesses the power of anonymous kindness as a source of generative healing for all people. Created with sustainable materials through discerning production methods, the monument also embodies what it aims to inspire nonviolence. In addition, it is also available to anyone who has an internet connection at https://ourmonument.org/akindword. Finally, anyone can contribute their own kind words by calling (929) 390-2121 and leaving a voice message after the prompt. We encourage you to participate and share a bit of kindness with the world.
Our Monument presents A Kind Word
Our Monument is a creative healing collective founded by activist and public artist Ann Lewis. The overarching project is committed to actualizing a world bereft of sexual violence by creating inspiring public spaces for healing and education through creative collaboration with survivors. A Kind Word is a traveling, temporary monument within the Our Monument project that is building bridges between survivor communities across the country, ultimately coalescing to create a national monument honoring the resiliency and strength of survivors of sexual violence through community building and healing. A Kind Word is currently on view at the RISD MFA Show in Providence, RI (May 25th- June 3rd, 2023). It is the culmination of over two years of extensive engagement, work, and research by MFA Graduate in Digital + Media Ann Lewis.
We hosted our first cohort of survivors in a 3-day creative healing session in Esopus, NY, during the summer of 2021. Situated on hallowed grounds of what is considered part of Sojourner Truth’s trail to freedom, the RiverHill Residency farm offered a serene and lush environment to host such delicate and emotionally challenging work. Facilitated by a profoundly talented art therapist, Kelley Linhardt, this weekend was free of charge for the participants. It yielded several strong relationships among the cohort members and the Our Monument team, and an opportunity to journey further along their healing paths.
The healing circle created by Ann Lewis for the Esopus cohort. To counter both mosquitos and covid-19 this netted space allowed for breathability and transparency through its trauma-informed design.
"This was a life changer for me and the most effective therapeutic and healing experience I've ever had in my life. I wish there were more sessions; I wish that we could continue this process together for an extended period of time. The most holistic, balanced, and well-thought-out healing process I've experienced. I am grateful to Ann, the Creator, Sam, the Coordinator, and Kelly, the Practitioner; they are a Power Team!!!"
A participant from the Esopus cohort creating a life-sized self portrait during our first creative healing session.
a kind word
A Kind Word is a temporary public sculpture harnessing the healing power of human compassion through crowd-sourced statements of empathy and support. Designed as an intimate one-person experience, this trauma-informed heme-spherical structure offers the care of a docent or advocate to protect and support the participant throughout the experience. Created with sustainable materials through discerning production methods, the monument embodies what it aims to inspire-nonviolence.
An early version of A Kind Word. This design is intended for outdoor use and is currently in development for installation in Kingston, NY.
It's an auricular space activated using an infrared sensor to recognize a participant's presence. Once triggered, it then envelopes them within a verbal embrace of kind statements recorded and submitted by strangers. As the project grows, more and more messages will be present, potentially offering participants hours of vocal care. In addition, it is also available to anyone who has an internet connection at https://ourmonument.org/akindword. Finally, anyone can contribute their own kind words by calling (929) 390-2121 and leaving a voice message after the prompt. We encourage you to participate and share a bit of kindness with the world.
A Kind Word illuminates the complex discussion around sexual violence and the exponential trauma it creates. It offers a potential solution to the profound challenge of transforming our society towards care, love, and eradicating violence. While it doesn't address sexual violence overtly to prevent potential re-traumatization of survivors, it seeks to inspire participants to receive and perpetuate care. Kindness begets healing. Healing begets kindness. Imagine what our world would be like if public access to care was available everywhere. This healing is inspired by sexual assault survivors but is intended to support all people on a healing journey from traumatic experiences.
This rendering, created by Coby Kennedy, offers viewers an opportunity to understand how the exterior version of A Kind Word might look and feel in an outdoor setting.
We seek mission-aligned organizations, companies, and individuals who share our vision for a future free of gender-based violence. We are actively engaging with groups that can help in the following ways:
- Access to spaces to host healing retreats for survivors
- Access to financial support, including fundraising and individual donors
- In-Kind donations such as building materials, engineering and design support, art therapists, documentation, promotion, and publicity.
Our current partners include:
The Rhode Island School of Design
The YWCA of Ulster County, New York
O+ Art Festival
If you are interested in hosting A Kind Word in your community or would like to be involved in other ways, please contact the head of our production team: Sam@negativespace.rocks
A one-to-one scale rendering of the original A Kind Word in the artist’s studio.