Lungs in the Air, 2016
Made in collaboration with H. Gene Thompson
With a special commission by Reiko Yamamato Ceramics Studios
Fresh Works Residency
Kelly Strayhorn Theater
Pittsburgh, PA
Residency: November - December 2016
Performance: December 5, 2016 at 8pm

About: H. Gene Thompson and I made Lungs in the Air during our month long creative residency at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater. Fresh Works is focused on supporting innovation, creativity and professional development for artists who have not collaborated together before and can benefit from exploring where their two distinct practices, and their specific media, can intersect. We focused on our mutual interest in the body: H. Gene is a fabric sculptor whose work questions the body and its form with her exploration of wearable sculpture. I focused on my work as a sculptor who works with slate and narrative (in song, writing, text, character) as ways to interrogate and relate to the earth body/ body earth. We created a 30-minute piece that used water as an element in each of the chapters, as a unifying thread that moved, fluidly, throughout the performance.  Lungs in the Air was highly influenced by the events taking place around us during the residency: Trump had just been elected "president", the DAPL Protest Movement at Standing Rock was at its height, and the true story about how dangerous our drinking water is in Pittsburgh, with high levels of lead and other heavy metals, was finally beginning to surface in the media.  We were moving closer towards chaos as a city, country and world, and Gene and I brought that attention, and insecurity, rage, and stillness, into the work. We asked Reiko Yamamato to design small ceramics cups that fit just in the palm of your hand that contain water, and the audience were given these to hold these throughout the performance.  We felt it was essential to bring the audience into the work in a way that demanded a certain attention, at all times, to what was in their hands: the smallest token of water - which is actually the most sacred resource we have on this planet.  

H Gene Thompson Artist Website
Reiko Yamamato Studios Website

Five-minute trailer of the 30-minute performance