A Multitude of Drops emerges from numerous projects and experiences around artistic responses to the climate crisis, and encompasses both pieces initiated and created by me in collaboration with several others, and projects where I have been invited on board as collaborator or consultant. The climate crisis is a global phenomenon, but extremely local in expression, and a complex of socio-political, economic and lifestyle issues rather than merely an environmental one. The series attempts to address this complexity, universality and specificity
Water – in its many guises – is perhaps how we most often encounter the crisis. Water scarcity is staring much of humanity in the face, even as tsunamis, cyclones, floods, and rising sea levels bombard us. Water gives life, and also takes it away – and this is our starting point for every collaboration. Each project in the series builds bridges between the Sundarbans mangrove forests in south Bengal, India – an area where the impact of the climate crisis is already seen and experienced alarmingly on a daily basis – and other parts of the world.
In the performance pieces initiated by me, the creative structures and methodologies share artistic work from process to performance, without necessarily needing to tour a whole company – thereby reducing carbon footprint. The series also proposes a different perspective on artistic ownership: each iteration adds co-creators and stakeholders to a growing and overlapping collective, encouraging responsibility to ourselves and others, as well as to the ecologies that support us and the planet we call home.
Lav Kanoi and Vicky Long are primary partners on this series where several of our individual interest areas and experiences have converged.
Lav Kanoi is an interdisciplinary academic currently undertaking doctoral research at Yale University jointly in the Department of Anthropology and the School of Environment. He is also drawn equally to text and performance, and has previously published creative and scholarly translations across classical and contemporary languages.
Vicky Long is a multi-disciplinary artist, interested in how cultural practice can affect and effect change. Her studio practice – studiolong.co.uk – is based in Vauxhall, London. It sets out to make surprising, life affirming work, creating installations, environments and telling stories in unusual spaces.
“The river is mother. The river is life. You have known her by many names. She roams far and sees much – prayer, ritual, love, sorrow, exploitation, devastation. She remembers every cruelty and kindness. She has been harnessed and subjugated for gain. But she remembers. And now she is full of fury.”
The Journey – research and development
Role: International Artist Consultant
Lead Artists: Ruth Stringer and Sara Lewis (Wales)
Supported by Arts Council Wales and Wales National Lottery Fund
The Journey researches the Taff River in the Rhondda Cynon Taff Valleys, and relates it to wider stories of rivers, in myth, history and situations across the world. Theatre designer Ruth Stringer and writer Sara Lewis invited me on board to gain some perspective on the significance of the Ganges in ritual and culture, and on the changes happening in the Sundarbans. This r&d is a first step towards a potential site-specific performance.
Visit the webpage…
Rivers of Memory – performance piece
December 2020 | Buffer Fringe Festival, Cyprus
Role: Concept and Direction
Collaborators: Lav Kanoi, Amlan Chaudhuri
Co-produced by Buffer Fringe Festival, Cyprus and Ranan, India
Rivers of Memory is a performance piece created entirely via Zoom with a group of Cypriot performers during the lockdown phase of the COVID19 pandemic. Moving fluidly between the Sundarbans and Cyprus, the piece was commissioned by the Buffer Fringe Festival. Developed over three months of weekly discussions and workshops, the actual piece was created in six days.
Visit production page…
“The Cyprus Buffer Zone…Greeks on one side, Turks on the other, and wildlife thriving in the middle!
Ecological protection incomplete, peace uncertain, conservation collateral.”
“We begin with a lighthouse that sits on the (future) coast path of Wales. The lighthouse is connected via the magic of global data systems to a town in Bangladesh called Chittagong, a port city on the eastern edge of the Bay of Bengal, opposite the mouth of the Meghna river and on a latitude with the Sundarban region. When the tide rises in Chittagong, the lighthouse in Wales flashes a warning to alert us to the risks the Bay of Bengal faces imminently from sea level rise, and to remind us that the storm will come to us in Wales too.”
Future Wales Coast Path / Impermanent Land – research and development project
September 2020 to January 2021
Project Initiator: Alison Neighbour (UK)
Collaborators: Vikram Iyengar (India), Ken Eklund (USA)
Supported by Pervasive Media Studios, UK
This project is part of the development of The (Future) Wales Coast Path, conceived by Alison Neighbour in response to flood map predictions of rising sea levels and displacement of people in Wales in the near future. The project is in collaboration with partners in countries where sea level rise is already proving a daily and devastating reality.
Three time zones, three hundred and sixty tides, and a chess game with the sea. How do we connect across time and place to imagine the future? Three interconnected, overlapping journeys beginning at a proposed meeting at a yet non-existent lighthouse in Wales, developing discussions, challenges, and collaborative artworks that emerge in response to our fears and hopes around the future of our impermanent land as sea levels rise.
Read our blog
Watch our presentation
Browse the project Miro Board
Water Bodies – dance-film
June 2021 | Everything Change (Wales, Bangladesh, online)
Role: Concept, Choreography, Performance
Collaborators: Kunal Chakraborty, Amlan Chaudhuri
Commissioned by Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea & The Cultural Institute of Swansea University Fringe Festival, Wales
Water Bodies was commissioned by Taliesin Arts Centre, Swansea University for ‘Everything Change’ (10 to 19 June 2021) – a series of discussions and events exploring the roles creativity, adaptive thinking and storytelling can play in overcoming the challenges of climate and ecological crises. The film served as an opening provocation for the panel on ‘Changing Water’, where I was also a panelist.
Visit production page…
Watch ‘Everything Change’ sessions…
The challenge now is more one of the imagination than application – how might we as individuals, communities, nations, a species, imagine a different future for ourselves and our children? How might creative thinking – across the arts, sciences, business, law, policy, activism and education – help shape that imaginative revolution and make it feel not just vital, but possible?