Forest Tales: An Eco-Cinema in Two Acts

2014, Performance, Act 1: 90mins; Act 2: 60mins
Presented as part of the exhibition The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe at the Asian Art Museum, SF in December 2016.

The “Ramayana” is a phoenix rising, a tale told and retold a thousand times, a tradition that is as much about storytelling as about the story itself. Following the revolutionary potential of the tradition, Forest Tales speaks to the injustices of our time through the voice of Sita, daughter of the earth. Originally imagined as a film, this project intended to extend the ethos of ecology into artistic practice by finding human-powered energy solutions (bicycle-powered, hand-cranked, etc.) for the production. However, since the most ecological film is one that never gets made, the project now exists as a performance of the film. Staged in two acts, Forest Tales is therefore not only the story of Sita, but also the story of cinema itself. Please click here for a list of collaborators on this project: Forest Tales Performance Program.

ACT I: Presented as a character study of Sita, the first act is a storytelling session featuring live drawing of the story-board for the film. In this sci-fi bio-punk retelling, Sita — hacker, shaman, daughter of the earth and the force of life itself — drives the narrative into new and uncharted terrains.

ACT II: A study on the process of cinema, the second act features a live shoot of a scene from the film, a press junket with the cast and crew, an opportunity to interact with the costumes and sets, and a sneak peek of the trailer, culminating with a reading of the film’s script. Given the narrative, visual design and modes of production, audience members are invited to imagine what this cinematic experience could be.

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