Denizen by Emma Polster
Coexisting with wildlife is an unavoidable part of living in the hills and less-trafficked sections of the Bay Area. The coyote is a native animal to California and despite the human development, found specifically in the Silicon Valley, the coyote has been able to thrive by adapting to it’s new surroundings. A group of Midwest based artists, eve Warnock, Tina Matthews, and Colin McDonald, focus on the coyote as the primary subject for their latest collaborative work, performance piece, Denizen. The work incorporates dance, sound, and video projection, and it is powered by a theme that challenges the ideas of progress and technology in Silicon Valley. Inspired by the nomadic Ohlone people who are native to California, these artists drew inspiration from the myths surrounding the coyote.
During the piece, characters will premiere original costumes designed by Warnock and Matthews. The costumes will help the performers become the creatures and elements of the landscape that at one point had been natural, plain, and desolate and give them the ability to transform their bodies to represent the progression of the Silicon Valley, which has become the center of technology and advancements. The performance presents the coyote’s constant presence in the area and known for his talent to adapt and observe the ever-changing world that surrounds him. The coyote’s ability to evolve and populate even though his natural habitats are diminishing. The artists made the coyote the main character, who will lead the audience through multiple story songs of his ancestry, successes and failures, and tactics of survival. He, along with the other performers, will use both his body and his voice to tell his perspective of the constantly growing human world that has merged with his own. An original soundtrack created by McDonald for this performance helps to bring life and a fluidity connecting the lyrics and dances in the stories that are told by the coyote.
This performance piece is meant to help the audience understand how Silicon Valley was created. Starting with the native people and using their myths of the coyote to explain how it has adapted to survive all of the human developments and technologies. This piece is unique to the ZERO1 Street Art Festival because it focuses on the origins, movements, and effects of technology rather than using the technology as an essential part of the artwork.
Please come out to support the artists and all of their performers this Friday, September 14th at 7:30 PM downtown San Jose.
And a special thanks to the Digital Arts and New Media Program at UCSC, who has helped to supply equipment and studio space.