A Note from the Director of Genesis
Genesis started – well – the way most EMP projects inauspiciously begin: in the key of “Wouldn’t it be cool if…”
SCENE: A delirious night filming anthropomorphic roses offing each other. Steven Krigel, our favorite Stranger and Rose Puppeteer, speaks.
Have you read this book, Genesis? I think it’d make a really cool show.
Steven hands Maggie book. Two days pass.
Let’s do it.
And the schemes swelled and flowed from there.
In the mid-80s, Uruguayan journalist-turned-exile Eduardo Galeano collected just over 60 Pre-Columbian Native American creation myths for the first chapter of the first book in his trilogy: Memoria del Fuego: Los Nacimientos, Primeras Voces (Memory of Fire: Genesis, First Voices). It’s an historical dreamscape that captures the dreams, fires, and fears of the people who made our hemisphere their home before 1492. Each story ranges in geography and tribe – from Maya to Sioux, Guarani to Taino – and covers just about everything there is to know about the universe including: why the first women bled, why the armadillo sleeps during the day, how all of the many suns were born, the origins of language, companionship, and even Cooking Classes by Fish-whacking-you-in-the-head.
WHAT IS GENESIS?
So… what is our Genesis, then? Well… it’s an experiment.
We at EMP are experimenting with how we create our work. We’re highly inspired by the visual and visceral stories in Galeano’s collection – and we want to flesh them out into a fully realized mixed-media-theatrical production (yeah, the crazy A-D-D kind that you know you love us for). But we knew we wouldn’t be the only ones interested and inspired by these ideas.
In true EMP spirit, we decided to stage an artistic mixer to get other local working artists involved and stewing on the themes of this piece. Last month, we dove into the ether and found over 20 visual and performing artists from Baltimore and DC (with a few souls from New York, Miami, Chicago, and Kentucky thrown in the blend) to explore the origins of our universe and the nature of storytelling itself.
In collaboration with actors from both EMP and Single Carrot Theatre, we collected audio accounts of 9 of the stories in Genesis and invited artists of varying mediums to respond to them. These collected responses will culminate in opening receptions in both Baltimore (at EMP) and DC (at The Fridge as part of the Fresh Produce Festival). Each evening will differ somewhat, and each opening will be accompanied by gallery hours for the exhibition.
WHAT EXCITES US
Bringing different artists from Baltimore and DC together on short-term projects like these.
How different people interpret the same stories in different mediums.
The stories people are drawn to and reasons for the attraction.
How awesome and fun this is going to be!
WHEN IS IT?
Genesis will be staged as a one-night-only exhibition/performance in two cities this August, Baltimore (Friday, August 17, EMP) and DC (Friday, August 24, The Fridge).
Each city will have visual art gallery hours on the following Saturday and Sunday of the event (August 18-19, EMP and August 25-26, The Fridge).
“I’m not in love with the past, you know. For instance I’m a very bad visitor in museums because I get bored soon. And I always prefer alive life, I mean present days. But there is no frontier between past and present when you can revisit the past and make it alive again. And then it would be a good mirror to look at yourself and to understand, perhaps, it would help to understand your present actuality, your present reality. If you don’t know where you came from it would be very difficult to understand where you’re going.”
Maggie Villegas, co-founder and Producing Director