Orbiting Together

In the winter of 2018, Tia Kramer and I were selected as a collaborative team to be the artists-in-residence at the Seattle Art Museum Olympic Sculpture Park. During the residency, we developed a multi-faceted project and a participatory performance in collaboration with choreography and somatic therapist Tamin Totzke.

We drew inspiration from Tia’s “Short Talk on GPS,” which had been created for a past project:

“Where we once used the horizon and stars to locate ourselves, we now look to our phones, rarely considering our bodies in relation to celestial objects orbiting overhead.”

From this point of departure, we created a participatory project playfully critiques ways we interact with technology. Over the course of the residency, participants who opted-in simultaneously received a text once a day when specific satellites flew over the Olympic Sculpture Park. Texts contained mindfulness exercises that investigated and reinvigorated participants’ connections to each other, their intuition, and to their surroundings. To create this system, I used public record data projecting the flight paths of satellites flying overhead and paired them with different instructions that Tia wrote. Each message aimed to help people hone their own intuitive sense of direction. By the end of the two-month residency, we had about 500 subscribers to the system and collected hundreds of responses on the project’s Instagram account and website. For this piece of the project, I designed all the promotional materials, built the project website, and developed all the software needed for the satellite-triggered text messaging service.

Building upon the research and experiences accumulated throughout our residency, Tia and Tamin choreographed a new participatory performance. Throughout the performance, participants received text messages directing them through a series of movements and imaginary landscapes. Performers embedded in the group responded to the collective experience. In addition to acting as an adviser and performer, I created the design, visualizations, lighting, projections, and text messaging system that guided the participants in the performance. During the residency, we hosted two different “Art Encounters” where the general public participated in different versions of the choreography.

Project Review: Tethers by Elissa Favero, published on the print & online art journal “SoFA”. Issue 2: Perception
Website (events, responses, more content): http://orbitingtogether.com

Text Notifications & Responses


Art Encounter 1 (images by Jen Au, copyright 2018)

Art Encounter 2 (images by Jonathan Vanderweit, copyright 2018)

Next two images by Robert Wade, copyright 2018

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