We perform public water rituals for tenants who have been displaced from or who are in the process of fighting a no-fault eviction in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Tenants hire us to perform the Ritual Of Bitter Water at the site of displacement. Names and addresses are written, then washed away with water. Mourners ingest this bitter water, transforming it into a performative act to publicly mark the site of displacement. Bitter circumstances enter the body as bitter water, and escape as a chant, as tears, as a gesture of survival.
The service has been workshopped with performers at UC Berkeley and performed initially at San Francisco City hall for residents of Yerba Buena Island protesting their eviction.
During initial workshopping and testing, some tenants expressed were moved by seeing others willing to acknowledge and witness their loss, while performers spoke of their own displacement or personal loss, experiences they drew upon in the act of mourning for others.
We hope others will also find the service meaningful on a personal or political level.