Green Currents | Paris
15 September 2020 - 31 January 2021
Fondation Groupe EDF, Paris, France
Green Currents curated by Paul Ardenne for the Fondation Groupe EDF unites an international roster of artists engaged in the ecological combat. Works presented explore the process of adaptation that humanity is currently undergoing and remind us of the essential role that art has to play in the climate transition, through its potential to ignite our imagination. Lucy + Jorge Orta present their latest work Symphony for Absent Wildlife, a film that draws together four performances staged in Banff National Park and the cities of Calgary, Milan and London, since 2014.
The film weaves a story of loss through the history of the point-blanket, an exchange commodity between First Nations peoples and the early European trappers and traders. The felt blanket was woven in the North of England and traded for beaver pelts in Canada, the resulting Capote gradually replaced the indigenous identity to install the notion of ‘democratic’ dress. Felt is also the material used for the orchestra’s costumes and masks designed by Lucy Orta. The masks are shaped to depict birds and animals connected with the spirit belief system of the indigenous peoples in Canada. These creatures –bison, wolves, eagles– hunted to near extinction, were once abundant across the Albertan plains. In the film, the quadrophonic symphony is played on simple wooden bird-whistles and recounts the cycle of disappearance, as the dawn-chorus closes with a heart-wrenching silence.