Oasis

OASIS

chinese-american performer singing with water images in composite

Imagine how different your life could be if you were gifted an hour of deep, dreamy, healing rest, a sonic tonic and contemporary performance portal for recovery. Join us in the OASIS.

It may only be a mirage, but we leave nourished none the less, more capable of doing the work at hand.

Amidst planetary conditions of grief, loss and fatigue, Oasis offers an unexpected site of respite, a living immersive installation for transformative community and creative recovery.

In this 90-minute immersive experience, participants are bathed in sound, stars, stories, and sensation as they move and create with the performers.

Welcomed in small groups of 10-20, participants robe themselves in special garments and find where they want to be, meandering among the landscape of screens placed at odd angles like rocky crags, oscillating images of resilience, and soft surfaces for resting. Performers cycle through four directions in varying constellations and gently guide the experience.

New work, premiering in 2022

OASIS is created in response to planetary loss and the need for both recovery and transformative change.

Resisting dominant narratives of disaster and decline, it offers a soft space for both breakdown and breakthrough.

Warm water flows through the themes of the work but so does mirage and the impermanence and precarity of any site of refuge on the planet today. The literal and figurative metaphors of physical and emotional oases provide fertile ground for the imagination.

“Oasis was everything I needed today. Rest, inspiration, time outside of time, and a new story for living and getting through the muck.”

-March 2022 participant

Grounded in anti-racist, queer feminist practice, the intercultural cast includes three embodied vocalists and an electronic multichannel sound bender (using custom software) and local community members.

Guiding questions for our artistic research include:

  • What is needed now and how do we create from this immediacy?
  • How might oasis ecologies serve as both literal and figurative metaphors for physical and emotional respite?
  • By creating our own performance oasis (or what we are calling Faux-asis) / living installation, can we offer a site of healing and recovery for audiences?
  • What might this sight do specifically for affinity groups of 10-20 participants, including women’s groups, interfaith communities, students…

We explore these questions through emergent practice. As movement-based intermedia artists, cast and crew alike are experienced innovators leaping easily between digital and live performance materials. We co-create through iteration, inquiry, and deep experience in emergent practices in dance, music, and media arts. Every aspect of the work is programmed, staged, and realized to push the boundaries of art, asking it to become social change.

CREDITS
Concept Norah ZShaw 

Co-creators:

Norah ZShaw, Oded Huberman, Byron Au Yong, Kathryn Nusa Logan

Dramaturgy:

Michael Morris

Contributing artists including local Columbus community members:

Dorian Ham, Katie O’Loughlin, Sarah White, Tobias Zuniga-Shaw, Daniel Roberts, Mollie Wolf, Sonia Baidya, and LROD.


Support provided by

A commission from Performing Arts at the Wexner Center for the Arts and grants from the Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme of The Ohio State University, and The Greater Columbus Arts Council. 
Dramaturgical references are deeply steeped in the compassionate posthumanism of Donna Haraway, Katherine Hayles, Octavia Butler, the ecopoetics of Joan Jonas, and queer Black Feminist thought leaders, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Audre Lorde, adrienne maree brown, and bell hooks. We acknowledge with gratitude, time spent listening to indigenous leaders in Aotearoa/New Zealand and Cahuilla Land/Palm Springs and owe credit to ancient Sumerian mythic structures and childhood songs. 

Studio photographs by Seth Moses Miller @sethmosesmiller and performance photography by Katie O’Loughlin and Byron Au Yong