“The lessons of queer social structures, of families not based on biology…might be instructive in facing both our non-human progeny and a world filled with increasing uncertainty. Instead of biological children, our plasticized, microbial progeny will offer a decidedly queer world.” – Heather Davis, Toxic Progeny, PhiloSOPHIA, Summer 2015
Ogygia is a container dedicated to performances of queer futurity. On a structural level, Ogygia exists as a multidimensional immersive installation where one is invited to consider and contemplate the meetings of human and plastic within an underwater world. A multiscreen film expands and envelops the space, displaying an underwater reel of dances between human and plastic in a sea of spectral toned light, as if both are being birthed from one another or merging together. The filmic choreographies between plastic and human are inter-spliced and overlaid with footage of non-human entities, presentations of bacterias multiplying in radioactive wave patterns, and slow underwater decompositions into darkness on screen, while a sculpture is slowly illuminated at the center.
A living sculptural installation is in relation to the film, made of a large mass of hanging ice, slowly melting, dripping onto a plastic glacier-like area, containing the melted water. The sound of the ice dripping is amplified and softy distorted with water-based contact microphones to create a temporal sound score for the film, as if this is a future cave or tomb where the memory of the birth of plastic could be regarded as alchemical, immortal, or sacred.
Ogygia is also a space intended to be dynamically utilized for live performative actions and events building upon the works of Heather Davis, Roland Barthes, and other theorists who are also merging the worlds of queer theory and plastic. It is intended to move the theories and ideas of these thinkers toward artistic representations and empathic manifestations inspired by conditions of non-reproduction, toxicity, and extinction to inspire new ways of thinking as a force of change for audiences.
Ogygia is representative of a queer future where one can develop relationships to a new earth, one we are currently inhabiting. Acting as an aesthetically charged space designed to shift perspectives towards a collectivity that decentralizes the human. The aesthetics and actions inside of the project, Ogygia, speaks to more than simply pollution; also to non-reproductivity, infertility, absence, internal geologic landscapes, the deep time of the earth, the effects of colonization, human-animal intelligence, currents of water, and the endless unfolding and collapse of life on earth.
It is through an education of what we understand as difference and exposure to what is ‘other’ that Ogygia acts as a catalyst for change through ideas in action, representative thought, and empathic embodied pathways. Ogygia is a siren song intended to shift the way we perceive community while re-establishing a trust in the fundamental metabolism of the earth.
The Three Actions – Interactions with the Public
*Plastispheres, Toxic Kin, Queer Futures and You : A Roundtable Conversation on Queer Futurity & Plastics Hosted in front of a live audience with video and sound recording for public viewing on the internet. The physical program for this event would be an in-depth zine on the aforementioned topics, outlining queer ecologies, petro-subjectivity, the problematics of plastiglomerates as art objects, poetry, non-binary perspectives and more diverse perspectives from an international community of queer and queer-ally movers and shakers. The zine would be available online as well, as an art object under Ogygia. It would be through the conversation, and subsequent documentation, that these materials would then become available to a wider audience for educational purposes. Some questions that could work as starting points: What is the relationship between queerness and plastic? What can queer social structures teach us about our non-human companions, including plastic? How do we make social order queerer while mitigating the destruction of life forms and queer forms of life? Possible panel members could include Heather Davis, Kirsty Robertson, Susan Freinkel, Shelley Etkin, Donna Haraway, Jared Gradlinger, Liz Rosenfeld and other thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs and scientists.
*honest plasticities (( letting go is not giving up )): a Somatic Laboratory exploring human embodiments of non-human perspectives. Exploring empathy, grief, and collective care in relation to plastic objects and uncertainty. Using movement scores and healing practices to experiment with disorientation, metabolic systems of the body and porosity within environments. Most ideally, honest plasticities would be a land and water-based movement laboratory. No One Turned Away for Lack of Funds.
*it can bloom now: a Site-Specific Ensemble Performance in extended duration; exploring common spaces to insight public activations in queer communality, collective care and togetherness, highlighting relationships to plastic materials while working with deeply physical metabolic choreographies, drag aesthetics, state-based plastic processional scores and active installation building. A performance-of-relation between human bodies, plastic bodies, and bodies of water, maintaining a queer speculative gaze from within, intending to be seen from any witness. This could also be adapted to a gallery setting.
***All of these actions can occur in any space Universal Seas would like to support their happening. DEEP FEMME FUTURES has collaborators and connections in Amsterdam and Helsinki whom can also support the activations within these areas.
Ogygia has been in research for a year and a half and is evolving into its ripeness. Test shots of underwater choreography between body and plastic occurred in the summer of 2017 as well as a residency culminating in a dance performance with the above mentioned sculptural ice installations in the fall of 2016. thomas Anthony Owen has been researching petro-subjectivity and plastics in relation to artistic performances since early 2014.
DEEP FEMME FUTURES is a production company founded by Thomas Anthony Owen in collaboration with other queer-trans identified artists working under a femme-forward umbrella of intersectional creative practices based in movement studies, installation, poetry, film-making and sound design inspired thru collectivity, speculative fictions, low-fi/DIY aesthetics, & non-human logics.