4th International Conference
Digital Culture & AudioVisual Challenges
Interdisciplinary Creativity in Arts and Technology
Hybrid - Corfu/Online, May 13-14, 2022
'The Sky is Coming' is a multisensory two-channel projection installation that depicts an ecosexual encounter between a developing thunderstorm and its human lover. Two rectangular channels are projected adjacent to and pressed against each other in a dark space. Astroturf is laid out on the floor in front of the projection and the audience is welcomed to sit or stand on the synthetic simulacrum. Atop a pedestal is a perfume bottle filled with a distillation of Bradford Pear tree blossoms and a small stack of sample cards. Visitors are encouraged to spray the perfume onto a sample card or their skin.
My human character is a fulgarophilic - someone who is sexually aroused by thunderstorms. Ecosexuality refers to intersections between sexology and ecology though it is popularly used to describe humans who engage in sexual or sensual relations with elements of the earth. The ecosexual movement utilizes an intersectional approach that breaks down the intimidating guise of mainstream environmentalism and allows for people to come together to celebrate and connect with the earth in a way that emphasizes community building and reciprocity.
The ecosexual movement is included in queer ecological scholarship which examines how humans are included in (not separate from) a natural world and its systems that are ever changing as the result of social and historical influences. The Bradford Pear tree is a hybrid that was created by scientists in Prince George’s County, Maryland in the late 1950s. Envisioned as a decorative, durable tree that could survive various conditions, it was planted all across America starting in the 1960s. Today, the Bradford Pear is considered an invasive species. The root structures of the clones choke out nearby native plants and the supposedly “sterile” trees can reproduce through cross-pollination. The scent of the Bradford Pear tree is popularly associated with the scent of human ejaculate and thus I’ve used them as a metaphor for how we sensually engage our environment.
The two channel film concludes with a ‘facial’ which is a euphemism for the act of ejaculating on someone’s face. From a sex-positive feminist perspective, I interpret and have constructed the facial in this particular romp as a playful act in which both giver and receiver are enthusiastically consenting. At the same time, I acknowledge how this conclusion could be interpreted as an act of degradation or a power play. Storms have the ability to overwhelm, devastate, and at the very least instill fear in humans, partly because they’re beyond our control. Yet, we know that human-related climate change has manifested in drastic shifts in weather patterns. The intermittent fast-forwarding (and rewinding) of the storm by the human character meditates on our role in that equation while alluding to the ways we watch video content on our mobile devices. The cell phone video as a medium recognizes that the digital tool, the body, and the resulting images are entangled, rather than separate, entities.