Lo Lo is an opulent work that examines the strange flames of inspiration, iconography, myth, and environment. This project was made possible by the Fulcrum Fund--a grant program of 516 Arts & the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Video trailer above, full video below.
In the spring of 2017 Allie Hankins and I worked together for two weeks on an installation and performance inspired by the life and work of Loie Fuller. The piece culminated into a multimedia performance featuring live music by Heather Trost and Jeremy Barnes (A Hawk and a Hacksaw), an all female choir, textile art by Colleen Davy and video by Jesse Littlebird. The performance was held outside under an enormous cottonwood tree at the Los Poblanos open space, beginning just before dusk, and ending with the arrival of the night’s darkness.. During the performance, a nearby pack of coyotes howled repeatedly, their howls harmonizing with the live music, as if in a call and response to our performance(if you listen closely you can hear them when Jeremy is playing santur in the full video below). The most meaningful part of this opportunity for Allie and I was having two weeks for daily creative ritual, which included singing, dancing, research, making and filming. Together, we gained more frameworks and understanding for developing performance and installation. Fuller used fabric as an extension of her body and movement. She obscured, hid and transformed her body with patented costumes crafted from silk and bamboo poles, which she enhanced with her patented lighting systems that illuminated her from below. We used rope as a similar transformative tool, experimenting with string figures and lines in space. I was surprised by how easy we could make Cat’s Cradle and other string figures using our bodies as fixed points in space with the ropes creating literal tethers between us (It’s a lot of fun!) It was inspiring to learn more about Fuller through such a generative process, and Allie and I had a chance to familiarize ourselves with each other’s respective practices, allowing us to grow as collaborators. As part of our daily creative rituals, we developed a song that we sang to each other each day as we began working. It was based on the two journal entries below--one written by Fuller and another written by 14 year old Gabrielle Sorere who would later become Fuller’s life partner.
“The mirror was placed just opposite the windows. The long yellow curtains were drawn and through them the sun shed into the room an amber light, which enveloped me completely and illumined my gown, giving a translucent effect. Golden reflections played in the folks of the sparkling silk, and in this light my body was vaguely revealed in shadowy contour. This was a moment of intense emotion. Unconsciously I realized that I was in the presence of a great discovery, one which was destined to open the path which I have since followed. Gently, almost religiously, I set the silk in motion, and I saw that I had obtained undulations of a character heretofore unknown. I had created a new dance. Why had I never thought of this before”?
A crackling flame in kindled. It turns, twists and glows . . . In the midst of the tumult, licked by torrent of foaming fire, a mask, also a strange flame, is outlined in the reddish air. The flames die into a single flame, which grows to immensity. You might think that human thought were rending itself in the darkness.