Kulturfolger will be going to press in 4 days. I've just received the proof of their page featuring my work along side an exquisite passage from Etel Adnan's Journey to Mount Tamalpias.
Here's the brief bio they wrote up for me as well. I kind of love it.
Sasha Petrenko. Oakland, San Francisco.
The multitude of mediums utilized makes her work united and fluid, transversing between performance and visual media. Her natural and human relations explore unseen networks for understanding life. Her soft voice and aura lead one to explore their relationship with the outside world.
Anima|Animus is a collective performance illustrating the importance of diversity in nature and in society. Up to a dozen performers, each wearing a different colorful, cardboard and paper mache animal head, will roam the grounds of Montalvo Art Center, interact with nature, and the public as we dance, play, voice our concerns and finally sit in silence, and conclude with extinction.
In April, as part of the Public Square on Labor and Ecology at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, I performed the work for the first time along with 14 or my University of San Francisco students. Over the course of 3 hours we moved through synchronized and interpretive scores, and carried picket signs and voiced our opinions on ecology and community. For our final scene we performed a silent sit-in followed by an extinction, where each performer, one by one, stood up in silence, removed their head revealing their humanity, then left the scene, in the end, leaving a solitary species, in silence, alone.
For the Montalvo performance I will enlist a team of friends, former students and volunteers to perform with me. A core group of 8 - 12 may be be supplemented by members of the public who can join the performance on the day of the event. We will perform 5-6 scenes, roughly 15-20 minutes each over the course of the event. Our performances will seem spontaneous and appear at first in the periphery, gradually moving to the fore. During breaks the public is invited to try on heads and enlist in the next scene. My hope is that the public will ultimately displace part of the core group. In the least, the public is invited to indulge in animal head selfies in lieu of performing with the core.
The imagery of all the species walking together, performing as a collective is a powerful vision of the strength of diversity. Some animals have beaks, others have trunks or snouts, some are magenta or silver, blue and yellow yet they work together, collaborate and come to the aid of the other, despite their obvious differences.
The project also ties to ideas about ritual masks and the role of becoming other to gain a higher consciousness, empathy, gender and Jungian concepts of anima/animus or the inner other. At the same time it also exhibits fetishistic qualities relating to animal worship and a kind of back to nature escapism that prevents society from facing the gravity of our collective responsibility to the planet and each other. In the end however when the performers reveal themselves as human the intention of the performance clarifies and the audience learns that there is no other, and realistically we will all suffer from climate change and the powers that prevent us from acting to stop it.