10 minutes

a video sculpture
dance improvisations by
Rulan Tangen
music by Joan La Barbara
sandstone and video
10″ H x 42″ W x 35″ D

The configuration of the stones in the sculpture is a reference to the Indian ruins of the Southwest built by the Anasazi who are thought to have left the area, vanishing due to drought. The circular opening may be interpreted as a Kiva representing Native American spirituality or a dried up well suggesting vanishing water, symbolizing the fragility of the source of life.

The video in the “well” reveals the Native American communion with the earth. The image of the performer blends into the stone walls of Copper Canyon (Abiquiu, New Mexico), suggesting how Native culture and all that it honors is deeply rooted in the earth.

Videographer Susanna Carlisle and indigenous choreographer and performer Rulan Tangen interpret the indigenous ancestral blood memory of the stories nestled deep within rock, bone and antler. An expression of animism – the belief of spirit inherent in all things- is revealed as the camera becomes a quiet partner to the human body meeting the textures of the earth and other life forms in a continuing song of merging and individuation.

The performance with skull and antlers honors the Native American belief that it is the deer who choses the hunter instead of the other way round. It is the animal’s choice to whom it wants to give its life.

The music was composed by Joan La Barbara. Musicians Polly Tapia Ferber, Erika Duke Kirkpatrick, and Kristina Melcher joined La Barbara performing this work. Most of the voice and percussion recordings were done at a location high up in the rocky cliffs of Diablo Canyon (outside Santa Fe, NM), utilizing the natural acoustical environment of the land with ravens, echoes, and thunder.

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