GroundedAdelka_byKGulick

Grounded

by Adelka Polak with
percussion on slate by Chikara Miura

performed 4/12/08, Rebound Festival, New Haven, CT

“Grounded”

Lightness of being overcomes me when feeling the intense energy held within an unusual ancient stone protruding from a hillside. The ages of history bound up within a rock is not easily measured or imagined by humans. We know from centuries of use, the earth’s outer layer consists of magnificent materials that we use in life as tools, containers, and a foundation for much art, but nothing in nature is as heavy as the rocks we encounter, especially in the New England landscape where boulders are commonplace. Living in a rural community for several years now has altered my consciousness to become much more attuned to the seasons and natural rhythms of our world. I would have never imagined this kind of consciousness when I was living in the old steel city of Pittsburgh. Landscape affects our minds and therefore our art and actions.

The video element of "Grounded" was created for several reasons. I set out to do a video and dance piece involving stone, but stone does not move easily without great force. How was I to capture stones in any intersting way that would complement dance in a live installation piece? My previous piece “Anthropic Bathing” created in 2007 examined the movement of water in close-up shots, so my eye already wanted to focus on some details not usually examined on large scale. When I looked closely at the stone, gray or moss-covered, I noticed softly dancing shadows cast from the branches moving in the sunlight on that breezy afternoon. The light played so perfectly in the tiny landscape that I realized that no digital tricks were necessary to create the multimedia piece. Everything that I needed for an affective movement piece existed in the natural world.

The close-up on camera was magnificent and when this small frame was projected on a huge screen, a vast moving backdrop exists for fluid, organic dance. The movement of the performer and the shadows became pure and simple, forming something copacetic between human, nature, and technology. The moments where the body relates to these naturally moving lines displays humankind’s direct link to the environment, which I hold precious. My video reveres that link above all else, allowing a lightness of being to overcome the tremendous weight of human existence. That lightness makes me dance.

-Adelka Polak