“radiant…[and] amorously evocative.” Steve Smith, New York Times
Visuals by Erika Harrsch
Performed by Hila Plitmann and Jeffrey Zeigler
Projection Design S. Katy Tucker
A VisionIntoArt and Beth Morrison Projects Production
Body Maps is a 15′ multimedia work scored for soprano, cello, and electronics.
A Concept by Paola Prestini, Erika Harrsch and Jeffrey Zeigler, commissioned by VisionIntoArt for the Whitney Live series. Performed at Sound Res, Italy, the Whitney Live and Galapagos Art Space, NY.
This personal portrait explores the plurality of certain human experiences, highlighting our strengths and vulnerabilities, particularly those of our own bodies. The work is a collaboration with visual artist Erika Harrsch, and maps the body by the songs, myths, and traditions that define us. The stories are based on several found tales: a blind canary (depicted with an eye in its beak): “A canary, blinded by lightning, had to be taught to bathe and where to find its seed and water. Not being able to recognize daylight, the bird would often start singing at midnight.” (Margaret G. Zackowitz’s writings on Patrick Lambert, an amateur bird medic). Feet, tired from journeys: “We stand, feet to earth, with our hands liberated, enabling us to look at the sky.” (Inspired by writings in National Geographic). The arm, translated into a metaphoric butterfly wing, allows the imagination to escape: “The body in death. The wingspan if this butterfly is petite. 3/8 of an inch. The violence that can be done to 3/8 of an inch.” (Excerpted from writings by Neela Vaswani). And the human hand, with its power to touch and heal, holds within its palm a visual synthesis of the human experience. The piece explores the range of both the cello and the human voice (itself a body part), structurally balanced by both a choir of voices and a choir of cellos. Though essentially a duo, the layering and counterpoint represent the complexity and scope of the theme.