As part of my performance for the Arte Laguna Prize, I performed in solitude on Lazzaretto Nuovo, a small island in the Venice lagoon that houses a plague quarantine warehouse built in 1468. The performance was intended to connect people and places across time that have witnessed plague. Echos of breath acted as the conduit. I combined footage from Emigration Canyon shot during the height of the Covid epidemic with my performance in Venice. While on the island, I recited this letter to the wind and sea birds.
A Love Letter to Mother Earth
Isola del Lazzaretto Nuovo
Laguna di Venezia
7 March, 2023
I sit here in stillness wrapped in the wind at the edge of the ocean on this tiny island that has harbored travelers and witnessed plagues for half a millenia. The marsh grass sways with stories grown from the dew of fallen tears. And yet, an echo of breath amid your vast love is what remains.
Thank you for holding me gently these many years
Thank you for the love of the trees
and for the magic in my fingertips
I will carry with me
the smell of sage from the desert at sunrise
the feel of heat waves rising up at the end of a hot summer day
the silence after a snowfall
the image of Orion shining down upon me out of the darkness
Warm summer breezes carrying the salty taste of the ocean and the sweet aroma of fresh blossoms
The memory of birdsong
Your existence stretches long before and after this moment.
You bear witness to hatred and wars, hardship, hunger and pandemics.
And you restore.
Thank you for giving birth to the people who have risen to sustain, restore and heal us.
Their very existence lies in the balance so that others may live. I recall their exhaustion and grace daily as I offer them a gratitude that I will hold forever.
Protect us all.
As we are called to protect you.
An Echo of Breath Arte Laguna Prize Performance
7 mins: 58 seconds