Hawai'i Artist and Farming Residency | Photographer: Hope Delaney
Our movement research is focused on our intimate relationship with ecology, animism, and old-world mythology within the context of contemporary, interdisciplinary performance. We are motivated by the potency of movement to alchemize memories held in the body and the land (in relationship with the seen and unseen) as pathways toward profound transformation. We often create place-based or site-responsive works that activate, renew or revive spaces that have been forgotten. In our most recent film, we danced (with permission) on a land formation known by indigenous Hawaiians as a Kipuka, a resilient refuge. A Kipuka is a raised island of plants that survive or are born from the depths of a recent lava flow. A whole area can be obliterated, homes, plants, and land wholly covered over, but through her seeds, a Kipuka regenerates life. It is also said that these sites can be found within a person or people who carry an inner refuge for wisdom. They are considered an opening of blue sky amidst high clouds or a sanctuary from which one perceives clearly.
Last year, we created Fire in the Mountain/Fuego en la Montaña in collaboration with cinematographer Eric Koziol. We explored our relationship with mythic animals, ritual running, and states of exhaustion as a way to enter transcendent states of consciousness, as seen with the Raramuri of Northern Mexico. In 2016, we made Tlaoli: People of the Corn. We asked essential questions about cultural displacement and amnesia while observing the potential of the arts to restore soul memory. In times of forced or voluntary migration, what happens to the old stories and traditions that unite people with the land? How can we, as immigrant artists, create a refuge or a fertile ground for this wisdom to grow for future generations? We traveled to Oaxaca and Mexico City to investigate corn as essential to Mexican cultural identity, the mythical relationship between people and plants, and traditional sacred farming. In 2014, we made NOMAD: The Blue Road, a site-specific ritual performance that followed the (now primarily) underground Strawberry Creek in Berkeley. In response to the California drought and water crisis around the world, we invited the audience to walk along the path of the river to remember our vital, often forgotten relationship with water. The event was also held in continuous support of the international movement to "daylight" ("bring back") rivers in urban places.
We are currently performing research for a community-responsive piece entitled Breathe Here: Respira Aqui. This street installation will include a movement film of sequences explicitly designed to support public mental health during times of turbulent change that will be projected onto large public buildings. It’s a reminder for passersby to stop and take a break during a time when, according to the US Census Bureau, 53% of adults in the United States have been negatively impacted due to the pandemic. The piece is a way to reclaim public spaces for creative expression, self, and mutual care in a way that reflects the diversity of the people who live there.