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Every Word was Once an Animal

Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 1:15pm to 2:00pm

Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA)
1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene, OR, 97403

Immerse yourself in an interactive dance exhibit directed by choreographer Darion Smith in collaboration with composer Juliet Palmer and dancers. The 45-minute interactive dance exhibit and performance is based on nonverbal communication through the lens of Carla Bengtson's work with Western fence lizards (Sceloporus occidentalis) commonly known as the blue-belly. Smith, Palmer, and dancers create a world where sound and movement challenge our senses to reexamine our surroundings and how gesture, innate or learned, reads and is read.

This exhibition is part of a collaborative creative project led by UO Professor of Art Carla Bengtson that merges art, science, dance, music, and olfaction. Inspired by the research of Dr. Emilia Martins (Arizona State University) on the group learned, gestural language of Western fence lizards, Every Word was Once an Animal explores the overlapping forces of nature and culture between humans, animals, and language. The interdisciplinary exhibition blends Bengston’s playful investigations into the lifeworlds of nonhuman animals with choreographer Darion Smith’s interest in embodied language, composer Juliet Palmer’s investigations into the material possibilities and constraints of human and nonhuman utterance, and artist Jessie Rose Vala’s evocations of the intimate relationship between sculptural form and the mythic mind.