Upwelling is a visual and sonic poem assembled from cellphone video and audio messages shared by 27 people living through pandemic lockdowns and the global reckoning with racism on three different continents and in both hemispheres. Together these recitations, incantations and offerings create a collective register of a transformative moment on the planet—in short, they leave a trace.

Premier 2022 Wexner Center for the Arts: 14 minutes, single channel video

“A beacon of presence.”

-Wexner Center for the Arts


Moments and days go by untraced. In May 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe and lockdowns were put in place, intermedia artist Norah Zuniga Shaw (ZShaw) assembled a group of 27 friends, artists from two hemispheres and three different continents to “leave a trace” of their lives by participating in a voicemail quarantine diary. Using WhatsApp as a platform for message exchange and collection, ZShaw and her prompt to fellow artists activated individual practices to create a nourishing creative community during a period of isolation and uncertainty. The resulting short film, woven together from the archive of video and audio messages, moves from learning to live in lockdown to the Black Lives Matter protests in response to the police killing of George Floyd. Each experience chronicled in Upwellingis but a partial trace, a glimpse into experiences that varied widely, but it is also a beacon of presence. Viewed from almost two years later, the project can be seen as act of care and remembering or what the artist calls “a form of memory work, a way of recalling to deconstruct, to understand, and to remain in the moment of planetary need and urgency.”

Concept, Editing, and Sound Design:  Norah ZShaw 

Upwelling is assembled from cellphone video and audio messages, traces of life left for each other by 27 artists during COVID-19 lockdowns around the world during the month of May 2020. 

Contributing Artists:

Gabri Christa, Improvisation/incantation on the beach, Staten Island, NY 

Jack Gray, Distance dances, beach walks, Hawaiian chant, rituals w/ Atamira Dance Company, Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand 

Marianne Kim and Bondo, “I see myself better when this thing is off,” Drawings, videos, sound, Tempe, Arizona 

Jen Rae, “Days between two days floating, ” Images, sounds and video, Melbourne/Naarm, Australia 

Michael Morris, Reading bell hooks’ “All About Love,” Columbus, OH 

Andre M. Zachery, Reading Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, “Hapticality or Love,” Images, sound, video, Brooklyn, NYC 

Jazelynn Goudy, “Hands up don’t shoot,” Images, sound, video, Boston, MA 

Sandra Babli, Reading Audre Lorde, “A Litany for Survival,” Munich, Germany 

Naree Vachananda, Reading Carlo Rovelli, “The Order of Time,” Melbourne/Naarm, Australia 

Kaustavi Sarkar, Odissi dancing, Charleston, SC 

Awilda Rodriguez Lora, San Juan, Puerto Rico 

Susanne Martin, Berlin, Germany 

Ale Jara, Cologne, Germany 

Peter Chan, Columbus, OH 

Katherine Borland, Columbus, OH 

Ben McCorkle, Columbus, OH 

Kathryn Nusa Logan, Overbrook Ravine, Ohio 

Sara Wookey, London, England 

Carol Brown, Melbourne/Naarm, Australia 

Upwelling converges paths with two other works that emerged during 2020: 


Animations and virtual Journey sketches by Vita Berezina-Blackburn and 

The Sonic Arts Ensemble Networked Performance improvisations 

Director Marc Ainger, Ann Stimson (laptop and flute), Fede Camara Halac (electronics—Argentina) Jacob Kopcienski (altered saxophone and electronics) Berenice Llorens (guitar), James Croson (piano), Joe Sferra (clarinet), Scott Deal (vibraphone, percussion), Norah Zuniga Shaw (vocals, body percussion) Oded Huberman (laptop), with special guest the Honorable Elizabeth A. Baker (new renaissance artist) 

Post-production animation, Taylor Olsen

Post-Production sound, Paul Hill, Wexner Center for the Arts 

Support provided by

Performing Arts and Film/Video Studio at the Wexner Center for the Arts,  The Global Arts and Humanities Discovery Theme and The Greater Columbus Arts Council 

Studio photographs by Seth Moses Miller @sethmosesmiller and Snapshots by Guy Delancey @studiokin and @lrod_work