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Aug 8, 2024 at 7:30 pm

Lydia Greer: In Praise of Shadows

With Lydia Greer

Doors 7:30p
Program 8:00p

UnionDocs
352 Onderdonk Ave
Ridgewood, NY

We’re delighted to welcome Lydia Greer to UnionDocs! Facing West Shadows Artistic Director and Interdisciplinary artist Lydia Greer will present their work with shadows in cinematic sculptural installation, animation, film/video, expanded cinema performance, puppetry, and recent work with Facing West Shadows. Lydia will perform two live expanded cinema pieces and demonstrate and share her puppets and processes afterward. 

Facing West Shadows: The Endless End is a cinematic, sculptural installation and now a live expanded cinema performance that illuminates the perpetuation of extinction and survival. Through film, shadow puppetry, stop motion animation, and rich soundscapes, this immersive work addresses the endurance and demise of specific North American species and the interconnectedness of ecosystems. Using found historical footage, shadow puppetry, and early photographic studies, this work marks the passage of time and explores humanity’s complex role as prey, predator, caretaker, and destroyer. 

Hallucinations is an experimental animated film and now a live expanded cinema performance  by artist Lydia Greer featuring shadow puppets, performing objects, and cut-paper animation. It is inspired by the life and poetry of Mirabai, a legendary 16th-century poet and street performer in Rajasthan, India. Hallucinations tells Mirabai’s story of escaping societal violence against women, her survival, and her freedom through transcendent and ecstatic experiences with Krishna in the mountains set to Harbison’s Mirabai Songs. Hallucinations has been performed as a live opera with Shauna Fallihee at the Exploratorium Museum (San Francisco) and installed as a cinematic sculptural media installation at Kala Art Institute (Berkeley).  

*Title inspired by the book In Praise of Shadows ( a 1933 essay on Japanese aesthetics by the Japanese author Jun’ichirō Tanizaki.)

Facing West Shadows: Lysistrata is exhibited as a multi-channel animated/cinematic frieze/mural sculptural audio visual installation created with projected hand-made animation, puppets, and cast shadows and is also performed as expanded cinema. It takes its title from the striking mental image of Lysistrata (411 BC), an Ancient Greek Theatre Tragi-Comedy by Aristophanes, which tells a tale of a group of women Led by Lysistrata, whose name means “Army Disbander,” who boldly leads the efforts of women to end the ongoing decades-long horrors of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta to create peace between endlessly warring factions. Their tactic is to withhold all sex from the continuously warring men, to occupy the treasury (and re-distribute the money) and government buildings (Parthenon, the seat of political power in Athens), and to develop alliances with the women of Sparta (by breaking them out of prison) to bring the war to a close. Themes of ancient Greek feminine pursuits of weaving and spinning, the use of everyday domestic items, and bawdy sexual euphemisms are sprinkled throughout the play. The play of gender and power in dance, ancient Comedy Masks, Karagiozi shadow puppetry, looping images and visual echos, euphemisms, analogies, taboos, visual symbols, and symbols of protest and resistance within the long tradition of art taking on the subject of war and resistance across cultures and time. (Lydia Greer (artistic director of Facing West Shadows) collaborated with the artist and shadow performer YaWen Chien on Facing West Shadows: Lysistrata (2024, which was created at MeMeraki Artist Residency, Limassol, Cyprus, Artwork by YaWen Chien and Lydia Greer, editing by Lydia Greer)

Come through!

Program

Facing West Shadows: The Endless End

Created by Facing West Shadows and Performed by Lydia Greer

United States, 2022, RT: 25 minutes

Facing West Shadows: The Endless End is a cinematic, sculptural installation also performed as a multichannel expanded cinema by Lydia Greer that illuminates the perpetuation of extinction and survival, the disrupted life cycles of native plants and animals, aquatic systems, and fire ecologies as affected by anthropogenic climate change. The viewer’s attention is guided through projected moving images, hand-made animation, and cast shadows with a multi-dimensional soundscape. Collapsing and expanding time, North American species will live and die within a looping, overlapping, multichannel, and multidirectional projection. Our role as animals within a system and as the planet’s apex predator is illuminated in a sculptural environment. As in proto-cinematic cave paintings and ancient shadow theatre storytelling traditions, Facing West Shadows: The Endless End seeks to understand non-human species and our relationships with them.

By weaving multiple moving images of Bay Area/North American ecologies, mycorrhizal networks, mirror neurons, fire, and water, Facing West Shadows: The Endless End takes the viewer on a time-based and immersive journey through cycles of ecological and species extinction and sometimes, survival.

The Endless End was created at the DEAR residency for time-based arts in 2020 (Oakland, CA) during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the skies were apocalyptically tinged orange with wildfire smoke. The piece was then installed as a looping 750 sq ft multi-channel cinematic sculptural installation at the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art for five months in 2022. Facing West Shadows worked together to create the installation (principal members: Lydia Greer (artistic director) and Caryl Kientz (theatrical director) in collaboration with artist Ya Wen Chien with additional artwork provided by John Hundley Greer and children who created and sent bird and insect puppets to Facing West Shadows during the pandemic. Music composed by Kristina Dutton and Fay LaRoque.

Hallucinations

Created and Performed by Lydia Greer

United States, 2018, RT: 10 minutes

Hallucinations is an experimental stop-motion animated film by artist Lydia Greer featuring puppets, performing objects, and cut paper. Hallucinations is inspired by the life and poetry of Mirabai, a legendary 16th-century poet and street performer in Rajasthan, India. Hallucinations tells Mirabai’s story of escaping gender-based violence, survival, freedom, joy, and ultimate transformation. On her husband’s death, she refused to join him on the funeral pyre, escaping to the mountains to find freedom as Krishna’s lover, enveloped in the supernatural. Performed at UnionDocs is a 10-minute expanded cinema iteration of a longer version of Hallucinations, usually performed as a LIVE “animated” opera (Mirabai Songs by John Harbison performed by my collaborator, the operatic vocalist Shauna Fallihee) or used in a large-scale multiple-channel sculptural installation with the same title. 

Facing West Shadows: Lysistrata

Created and Performed by Lydia Greer

United States, 2024 work-in-progress, 15 – 20 min

Facing West Shadows: Lysistrata is exhibited as a multi-channel animated/cinematic frieze/mural sculptural audio visual installation created with projected hand-made animation, puppets, and cast shadows and is also performed as expanded cinema. It takes its title from the striking mental image of Lysistrata (411 BC), an Ancient Greek Theatre Tragi-Comedy by Aristophanes, which tells a tale of a group of women Led by Lysistrata, whose name means “Army Disbander,” who boldly leads the efforts of women to end the ongoing decades-long horrors of the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta to create peace between endlessly warring factions. Their tactic is to withhold all sex from the continuously warring men, to occupy the treasury (and re-distribute the money) and government buildings (Parthenon, the seat of political power in Athens), and to develop alliances with the women of Sparta (by breaking them out of prison) to bring the war to a close. Themes of ancient Greek feminine pursuits of weaving and spinning, the use of everyday domestic items, and bawdy sexual euphemisms are sprinkled throughout the play. The play of gender and power in dance, ancient Comedy Masks, Karagiozi shadow puppetry, looping images and visual echos, euphemisms, analogies, taboos, visual symbols, and symbols of protest and resistance within the long tradition of art taking on the subject of war and resistance across cultures and time. (Lydia Greer (artistic director of Facing West Shadows) collaborated with the artist and shadow performer YaWen Chien on Facing West Shadows: Lysistrata (2024, which was created at MeMeraki Artist Residency, Limassol, Cyprus, Artwork by YaWen Chien and Lydia Greer, editing by Lydia Greer)

Program Duration: 35 mins

Watch the conversation between Presenter1, Presenter2 and Presenter 3 on the UnionDocs’ Membership hub.

Bios

Lydia Greer is a widely exhibiting interdisciplinary visual artist, filmmaker, animator, and the artistic director of Facing West Shadows, a Lumia arts collective working with shadow casting/ hybridizing art forms to create magical acts of rebellion as experimental art in the gold rush climate of the San Francisco Bay Area. Expanding into film/animation, theater/opera, puppetry, and sculptural installation, Facing West Shadows creates surprising experiences for the audience by seamlessly combining old and new technologies and art forms. 

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Details

Date
Aug 8, 2024
Time
7:30 pm
Cost
$10.00
Program:

Address

352 Onderdonk Avenue
Ridgewood, NY 11385 United States
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