“There is generally an ongoing investigation of the body in space in my work, be it the human body, the planetary body, or the galactic body. The idea is about the relational aspect of these bodies in space, about linking a moment, or a gesture, through time and space. I choose a site for a project to bring attention to it, and at the same time, the marks I make or the objects I place or the people performing there are in concert with the site and activate it.” - Lita Albuquerque
For Desert X, Lita Albuquerque chose to work at The Annenberg Retreat at Sunnylands Center & Gardens because of its history as a gathering place. An oasis within the desert, Sunnylands perhaps is best known as the Camp David of the West, frequently hosting Presidential vacations, retreats and summits. However, it is also a place where scientists and authors, individuals with varying backgrounds and experiences, offer different thoughts and ideas. It is a place of welcome and dialogue. An opening performance at 3pm on February 23rd and a sculptural installation with an audio component compose Albuquerque’s artwork for DesertX, hEARTH. A play on words – a gathering site for storytelling, the ear, Earth – the artwork’s title speaks to art’s ability, here, through movement, voice and sculpture, to both listen and become a catalyst for action. Working in close collaboration with Kristen Toedtman of the Los Angeles Master Chorale and dancer and choreographer, Jasmine Albuquerque, the performance gives mass and volume to the silent act of listening. As audience in general, the implicit task is to watch, to listen. The silence of the desert compounds this task. Taking instructions from the desert, Albuquerque gives the act of listening bodies in which to move and voices that sing on its behalf. The sculpture is a life-size resin cast of the female form painted in ultramarine blue. The viewer encounters her in the center of a field of white sand, she is on the ground and upon closer inspection we see that she is indeed placed with one ear down, listening. Speakers placed in the surrounding garden intermittently play an audio track featuring a libretto written by Albuquerque. Through performance and installation, hEARTH posits that listening can be embodied and that through this embodiment true dialogue is achievable.
Sunnylands Center & Gardens
Rancho Mirage, California, USA
Desert X 2017