Whatever your political views and personal opinions on the values or strategies of the Occupy movement, it appears as though the action has made an impression on the public imagination, for better or for worse. It is 1:54 am, EST, and I am sitting at home in Florida, watching live streaming video of Occupy L.A. as the Los Angeles police department line up in the streets under the overhead chatter of helicopters. I have been watching the Occupy Movement grow from the seed of an idea sent from Adbusters magazine to my email inbox many months ago, and have been variably aghast and amazed at the tenacity of occupiers, around the world, to gather in committed action to voice their personal, political, economic and environmental concerns – and hula hoop.
Hang around long enough to snap a photo of any occupation and you’ll likely catch a hoop in motion. Occupiers have hoops and they are neither afraid nor ashamed to spin them in the streets, on the sidewalks, atop vehicles, in parks, around parks, and pretty much EVERYWHERE. As the weeks turn into months, and as fall lurches into winter, I have been wondering about the hoops and occupation connection. What is the function that hooping fulfills in this exceedingly strange ongoing global event?
First, let me slap my own head. There are hoops-a-plenty these days and in ANY arena where a large group of young people gathers, publicly or privately, amidst drumming, chanting, singing and dancing, we are bound to see a hoop or two. Or twelve. Be it a music festival, a house party or, perhaps, a large-scale public protest styled as an urban encampment. Having said that, what relationship exists between personal expression in hoop dance and the spectacle, power or experience of protest? What passion for transformation, personal or political, is driving people to Occupy The Hoop?