lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Earth’s Flesh (2003)

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(Images are excerpts from the Daisy Sequence projected during the performance, based on Goethean science, with thanks to Ernest Harris Jr. for his assistance)

performed June 11-14, 2003 as part of Shared Habitat Festival of Art and Science at 376 Dufferin St., Toronto

Earth’s Flesh is based on Neil Meikleham’s thesis, Toward a Gaian Phenomenology: Exploring the Relationship Between Body and Earth. The performance site was a large, raw warehouse and the audience moved amongst performance and projection sites. It had three parts:
Part 1:     The Scientist’s Body
Part 2:     The Philosopher’s Body
Part 3:      Earth’s Body

Earth’s Flesh seeks to embody the longing to heal the Cartesian mind/body split at the root of environmental destruction. We reveal culturally constructed metaphysical underpinnings of science, which are denied under the label of objectivity, and alternatives (Goethe and Gaia). We set up dialogues between this science and art with two frameworks: the audience has an opportunity to actively build their experience and the dancers bring culturally diverse embodied knowledge to the work. Most importantly, we want to honour our beautiful Earth.

Conception: Elizabeth Chitty
Text: Neil Meikleham (Part 1: The Scientist’s Body & Part 3: Earth’s Body) and quotations from Descartes, Goethe, Lovelock, Abram, Seed & Macy (Part 2: The Philosopher’s Body)
Choreographers: Elizabeth Chitty, Penny Couchie, Yvonne Ng and Gauri Vanarase
Sound artist: Darren Copeland
Lighting designer: Chris Clifford
Dancers: Penny Couchie, Yvonne Ng and Gauri Vanarase
Computer media: Ernest Harris Jr. and Elizabeth Chitty
Text editor: Elizabeth Chitty
Camera: Elizabeth Chitty
Video editing: Berenicci Hershorn and Elizabeth Chitty
Costume designer: Angela Thomas
Voiceovers: Neil Meikleham, Penny Couchie, Yvonne Ng, Gauri Vanarase and Elizabeth Chitty

The artist gratefully acknowledges the support of The Canada Council for the Arts for the production of this work. This work was made possible with the support of a Chalmers Art Fellowship at the Ontario Arts Council. Thanks to Toronto Dance Theatre/School of the Toronto Dance Theatre, volunteer Diana Groenendijk, the staff at Charles Street Video, Niagara Artists’ Company and Nell Chitty for her love and support.

Thanks to Huron Wind – Ontario’s first commerical wind farm for their generosity in allowing us access to their site. Video footage was shot at Comfort Maple, a 500-year old Acer Succarum, stewarded by the Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority. Video footage was also shot in Temagami and thanks to Sid Bobb, Nimikii Couchie, Carol Guppy, Aubrey Guppy, Temagami Asishnaabe land, Dan and Eva Couchie.

Shared Habitat 2 was co-produced by Bill James (Atlas Moves Watching) and Rebecca Todd (Offshoots) in collaboration with Ana-Francisca de la Mora. Shared Habitat 2 was conceived and curated by Bill James, Rebecca Todd and Natasha Myers.


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