Workspace Residency SILO CITY :
THE SENSE OF WONDER
At the end of her life, the mother of the modern environmental movement, Rachel Carson wrote The Sense of Wonder, a manual for embracing the natural world. Carson asks, what if all children had a connection with nature? Might they grow up to create a world in harmony with it? Today, a beloved setting like a creek or a tree may disappear by next season. The current state of the climate crisis has led us to witness—and for many, to directly experience—these losses caused by extreme weather conditions.
The Sense of Wonder, is a project memorializing the natural world through community engagement to provide support to one another as we make sense of real-time environmental change in relationship to intergenerational memory.
Last summer in a backyard in Berkeley, California I spent a week immersing myself in the project. I photographed local plants and natural settings then printed the photographs onto transparencies to use on overhead projectors. Friends, performers and local environmental activists gathered and experienced multiple sections; First reading love-letters between Rachel and her (then-secret girlfriend Dorothy), reading excerpts from The Sense of Wonder, while casting shadows of growing plants onto projection screens, for the final section we engaged in an improvised jam session, with instruments and overheads. Each person contributed sounds and visual mixes with provided images and analog equipment. Afterwards the participants shared feedback for further explorations. I created the video below highlighting the experience. The project's composer, Hil Jaegar was in attendance, I used her existing music for the edit.
4TRAINS I've created large-scale, cinematic performances with shadows for decades, incorporating multiple light sources, objects, and dancers. For each of my original works I have commissioned a composer. 4TRAINS incorporates each of these elements and relates to my proposed project in form and content; re-contextualizing the advent of the train, industrialization, and the destruction of the environment. Unlike 4TRAINS, THE SENSE OF WONDER will not intentionally tell a narrative story or have characters.
4TRAINS. Working behind the screen and on-stage, Christine Marie and her ensemble construct a live experimental film from shadows (sans computers or projectors). Reminiscent of silent-era cinema and enhanced by hand-built stereoscopic 3D technologies. 4TRAINS is poetic, visual storytelling exploring 19th-century American industrialization through the eyes of a young couple. This wordless fable reveals a nation forging full-steam into an unknowable future, one in which notions of time and toil are changing, and rail lines fuel an expansive transformation of the collective imagination. The expressionist story, while set in the past, explores the modern relevance of living with dignity in a rapidly changing world in which one feels little control over external events. Conceived, directed and designed by Christine Marie.
Example of remounting the work in an non-traditional venue, a barn in Sonoma county, CA.
PROJECT DESCRIPTION. Cultural mythology meets technological history in an analog, gliche-filled non-linear, kinetic experience. Concept design and direction by Christine Marie.
Personally inspired by a decade of creating performances with Balinese artists who devote their art to their gods, the experience of Ground to Cloud takes its form from wayang kulit shadow theater. During a wayang, the audience may view the performance on the shadow-side or walk around the screen to sit on the side of the dalang/puppeteer-priest, the gamelan and the puppets as they are illuminated by flame.
For Ground To Cloud, the performers, composer and myself worked together building the performance up from improvised movements and associated research in pursuit of an answer to the core question: how do we honor the gods of this art? –the ancient form –the electricity that fuels it –the masculine and feminine principles –the historical western mythologies of scientific discovery and religious folklore. Ground To Cloud, is a dynamic and open exploration upon the human need to be connected.
GROUND TO CLOUD relates to my proposed project in form and intention, to create a community ritual inspired by wayang kulit. GtoC is also a research-based, devised cinematic performance.
The visual story is woven from historical data relating to the invention and mythology of electricity including Saint Barbara –the patron saint of lighting and fire, Ben Franklin's kite, Nikola Tesla and the lightbulb, equations of power, electric shock and ground to cloud lightning.
Images from studying Wayng Kulit in Bali and
assisting dalang Larry Reed in San Francisco.
Large-scale Balinese gamelan performance with ShadowLight Productions and Gamelan Sekar Jaya at Zellerbach Hall at Berkeley. I worked as the assistant director of shadow scenes and shadow light board mixer.
ENVIRONMENTAL ART PROJECTS
Working with students and community groups.
Teacher, and co-director for Peace Dove Project with the Jane Goodall Institute and Council of Species with Roots and Chutes.
Project with Karuk elder Charlie Thom.