Category: Forest Tales

The Smoldering Forest

In this episode of the project, the experimental forest at Sagehen Creek (near Tahoe, CA) and the experimental forest of the Om Corporation (which circulates in my narrative), collide, bringing history, mythology, and science into conversation with one another across time and space. Originally imagined as a film, the project had intended to use human-powered solutions for the production. However, since the most environmentally-friendly film is one that never gets made, the project now exists as a performance of the film. In this iteration, scrolling becomes the method that bridges between ancient forms and digital technologies.

Forest Tales: (Un)Becoming Sita/

2018, Performance, 45-60mins
Larval and shape-shifting, Sita reminds us that we must summon the courage and imagination to radically transform our stories as well in the present, if we are to survive and thrive in this age of climate chaos and the sixth extinction. Stories enact worlds, after all. This performative lecture introduces audiences to the many incarnations of my tentacular project, Forest Tales, offering a chance to encounter whole new worlds with Sita – ones that have been right below our noses all along! Audience members will ‘become-projector’ in order to participate in a cinematic experience about the project, unflattening process along the way, and paying due attention to the material ecologies of artistic practice. (Illustration by Fei Rost).

When Sita Was a Microbe

2017, Performance, 90mins
When Sita Was a Microbe was produced as a fundraiser for SF Women Against Rape in the summer of 2017. It featured two performances that brought together Deaf and hearing communities through dance and drama: I Have Never Known Two  was based on a poem by Aniruddhan Vasudevan, and explored the Ardhanareeshwara form of Lord Shiva. Ganga Satellite, charts the journey of a million sitas – microbes in space who arrive on earth to become a sentient forest. One of the many-pronged intentions of this production was to explore alternative narratives of the Ramayana, and surface Dalit and indigenous narratives that seek to dismantle a hegemonic, caste-reinforcing version of the epic.

Forest Tales: An Eco-Cinema in Two Acts

2014, Performance, Act 1: 90mins; Act 2: 60mins
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. (Illustration by Fei Rost)

Forest Tales: Proposal for an Ecological Cinema

2014, Booklet, Cover Collage + Text
Forest Tales: A Speculative Film
This proposal is for an exhibition that documents the production of the film, FOREST TALES – an eco-feminist reading of the Indian epic, The Ramayana, which is a ‘living’ text in South and South East Asia that examines notions of duty and dharma. Recast through the eyes of the primary female character, Sita, the story has the potential to take on ecological dimensions. Sita (whose name means ‘furrow’) is the daughter of the Earth and is literally ploughed out of the soil. Through her eyes, duty/dharma become relevant in relation to the earth. By providing audience members the modes of production, the visual design and the narrative, it challenges them to collectively imagine what this film could be.