GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky
Zhooniyas has fallen from their home in the stars onto Earth, shrouded by light pollution. Interdisciplinary artist Ty Defoe and the All My Relations Collective merge augmented reality installation, performance and story circles to explore the intersections of science and sacred knowledge. Utilizing Anishinaabe star maps, astrophysics, and personal narrative, GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky creates a lens to view indigiqueerness and the current climate crisis.
An All My Relations Collaboration
Ty Defoe, Katherine Freer, Lux Haac, Marika Kent
Guest Collaborator/Producer: Hannah Fenlon
In partnership with Mythic Imagination
The experience begins with an installation: inviting blankets, camping chairs, and ipads live underneath a projected starscape. Stepping through this portal audiences are encouraged to shed the stresses and noise of life. By preparing audience members to listen and receive stories in this way the space is indigenized.
This self-driven immersive installation is a living database of Anishinaabe astrological knowledge, all deeply tied to the themes explored in the theatrical work: identity, reciprocity, and the interconnectedness of all living things past, present and future. Using the Augmented Reality (AR) application on the ipads provided or available for download on personal mobile devices, audiences can explore not only the cosmos, but stories (both visual and auditory) that are linked to stellar bodies and constellations.
The indegenized space then gives way to the narrative of Zhooniyas (embodied by Ty Defoe), a Queer/two-spirit shapeshifter who lives with his family, the consellations, in the Sky World. One day Zhooniyas notices a bright light coming from earth. He bends down for a closer look… and falls out of the sky, landing on earth. His Grandmother Moon (Nokomis Neebagizis) had once shared with him that “in the Sky World, it is a blessing to get to live under the stars.” But when he looks up from earth he cannot see his family. They have been hidden by smog and light pollution, clouding the view of the stars and the knowledge that they hold.
Zhooniyas conjures stories out of the cosmos. He shares with us his journey across Turtle Island to find stories of his family, adapted from the traditional Anishinaabe stories of the fischer (ochek), loon (maang), moose (mooz), and panther (mishi bizhiw). These stories come to life through movement, music, multimedia design, language, shadow puppetry, and mask work. Zhooniyas, like the stars, strives to find points of interconnectedness. He must overcome the challenges of being a Queer/two-spirit-shape-shifting-person-of-color in contemporary society.
Zhooniyas invites us to join in this journey with him. Share the stories we hold of our personal and cultural connection to the stars. The performance concludes with community story circles. In this facilitated space the stars are a metaphor to ask questions like: how does a contemporary Queer/two-spirit person keep their culture alive today and at the same time find new ways to explore identity within themselves and their chosen family? How do we as a human species take care of mother earth so pollution does not hide the lessons that live all around us?
Utah Presents - Fall 2020
Boom Arts - Spring 2021
GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky in grateful for the support of New England Foundation for the Arts/National Theater Project, BRIC Arts and Media, The Public Theater Devised Theater Initiative, and La Mama Umbria
StarStories is an Augmented Reality App experience for GIZIBHAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky. The StarStories App will trigger content in the live projected environment by pointing the camera at the different markers. To use the app outside of the space, please view the images in the gallery below.
Download App on the App Store
BRICLabxHome (April 2020)
In the midst of COVID-19, artists continue to find new ways to innovate and evolve. Adhering to physical distancing and stay-at-home guidelines, a previously scheduled BRICLab residency featuring the All My Relations Collective went digital! For two weeks the collective underwent an experimental, online residency process - using video platforms and asynchronous collaboration strategies to connect, grow, and deepen their latest project, GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG | Revolving Sky. The residency culminated in two streamed sharings on Instagram Live, Facebook Live, and Youtube Live.
Collaborators: Ty Defoe, Lux Haac, Marika Kent, Kate Freer, Ari Berk, Desne Wharton, Francis Ramos
Under the Radar, INCOMING! (January 2020, The Public Theatre)
An in process sharing and the 2020 Under the Radar Festival at the Public Theatre.
Collaborators: Ty Defoe, Lux Haac, Marika Kent, Kate Freer, Daniel Banks
C.U.R.A. Next Generation Residency (Summer 2019)
An exploratory residency focused on narrative, character, script, multimedia and puppet design.
ACCESS: Space Exploration Festival (Fall 2018, NY Hall of Science)
NYSci produced initial development residency for Revolving Sky | GIZHIBAA GIIZHIG as a part of the New York Hall of Science ACCESS: Space Exploration Festival.