Field of Twigs (2014)

a site-specific solo dance installation and quiet dreamscape environment

Field of Twigs

Conceived and Performed by Maré Hieronimus as part of The Oracle Project 

Painted twig site installation Maré Hieronimus

The E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Artist Residency, Earthdance, Plainfield MA, Friday February 28, 2014

Field of Twigs (2014), is a solo, site-situated performance installation created at The E|MERGE Interdisciplinary Artist Residency at Earthdance Center for Creative Living, Plainfield, MA, February, 2014. The work is conceived as an extension of my ongoing solo rise, in which bundles of twigs and branches are used as imbued objects, becoming an extension of the body, and conductors of the dance. rise is also concerned with the notion of body as field or instrument through which forces of sound, light, thought, image, emotion, space and time are passing through.

Field of Twigs is a portion of a larger collaboration that occurred at Earthdance, through The E|MERGE Residency: The Oracle Project, which was conceived by project leaders Cory Neale and Nicole Nigro, with Christos Galanis spearheading the blazing of a lost mile and a half long trail from Earthdance to the West Cummington Church.

For the construction of this site installation Field of Twigs, I gathered fallen branches from the woods of the lost trail, and the Earthdance surrounding area. I also drew direct inspiration from Walter De Maria's epic land art, The Lighting Field. This long-term installation in the plains of Western New Mexico consists of a field of 400 stainless steel lightning poles arranged in a grid like rectangle, 1 mile x 1 kilometer in scope. These poles become conductors of the forces of electricity, lighting up the sky and bringing bolts of light directly down to the earth. I am specifically philosophically and experientially interested in the notion of body as conduit, instrument and conductor of forces, much like the lighting poles in De Maria's work. For my intimate homage to this large-scale piece, I planted the deadened, painted, fallen branches and twigs into the frozen feet of snow beside the West Cummington Church, allowing them to stick upward, simulating the lightning poles, and directing the eye towards the sky. Within the performance installation, the moving body was to act as the conductor of forces, rather than specifically the twigs themselves. By night the installation was lit through candle light, and a quiet dreamscape was created, haunting and remotely post-apocalyptic in feel. I inhabited this environment through dance on the frigid evening of the performance event, when the audience members arrived at the West Cummington Church, after walking the lost trail.

The Oracle Project collaboration was conceived as a four hour performance event, which consisted of moving the audience through several experiences. After an "oracle ritual" in the Barn Studio of the Earthdance Center, audience members had the choice of taking part in the 1:30 hour, 1.5 mile walk on the lost trail that meandered over a small wooded mountain which was buried under frozen feet of snow. After the walking portion of the event, and guided by Christos Galanis, the audience members came upon a separate trapeze site installation in a nearby tree, by the Oracle Project resident trapeze artist, Adriana Segurado Mendez. Journeyers were then directed to the final site of the Performance, at The West Cummington Church, which included the outdoor surrounding area of the church building, as well as it's indoor environment. Two separate site installations bookending the outside of the church were created, including Field of Twigs, and separate site installation by Nicole Nigro.

The Oracle Project Culminated inside the church itself, with a separate collaborative dance site work by Nicole Nigro, Adriana Segurado Mendez, and myself, with a soundscore by Cory Neale, and song directed by Oracle Project Collaborator Alex Kramer, as well as additional music by the Church Choir.

Field of Twigs was developed while at the E|MERGE Artist Residency, and was made with support by the West Cummington Church.

Photos by Maré Hieronimus