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Freedom in Vagrancy

Kitra Cahana's Homeless Narrative Talk Explores the Notion of Freedom

— May 29, 2014 — Keynote Trends
In her homeless narrative talk, Kitra Cahana discusses the deep restlessness and primal fear she experienced as a child wanting to run away from home.

Now a documentary photographer, Cahana has had the opportunity to photograph fellow wanderers throughout the USA. This includes hobos, hitchhikers, vagrants and tramps. While some travelers take to the road by choice, eschewing a life of conventionality and materialism in favor of adventure, others come from societies underbelly, with little to no opportunity for upward mobility. In either case, what others see as a life of economic failure, can be seen through a lens of liberation and freedom. Many of these individuals would rather live off the excess of a consumerist culture -- one that sees 40% of its food production go to waste -- than labor tirelessly for an improbable shot at the American dream.

Though this lifestyle can offer space and freedom, it is also plagued with real-life dilemmas, such as addiction, harsh elements and laws that criminalize homeless existence. Still, a life on the open road is an alternative for those who aspire to live in a society where everyone is assured integrity in their labor.
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