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Black Crows Invaded Our Country Awarded City of Sydney Grant

Living Room Theatre and the Sydney Environment Institute partner for an upcoming performance on climate migration.

The Living Room Theatre (LRT) will partner with the Sydney Environment Institute (SEI), University of Sydney, later this year to present the performance of ‘Black Crows Invaded Our Country’, an exploration of the one of the world’s greatest challenges – the succouring of humans in need. Crows are a metaphor for human migration caused by climate change and war.

LRT, founded by SEI Executive Administrator Michelle St Anne, has received A City of Sydney Matching Grant – Cultural projects, to present the work on Thursday and Friday 24 – 25 November 2016 as part of the Global Ecologies – Local Impacts Conference. Presented at the University of Sydney’s Charles Perkins Centre, the site specific nature of the work will include the audience as players who become the new topographer inside the built environment.

“The positioning of the audience is very important as it will represent Man’s imprint on the world – an illustration of the concept of the Anthropocene, in which humanity has profoundly marked the Earth,” Ms St Anne said.

Based on the Humboldt Foundation research of environmental scholar – author, Dr Thom van Dooren (UNSW), The Unwelcome Crows: Hospitality in the Anthropocene, the performance will be an artistic contextualisation of the public lecture – an ideas and sound installation that will merge academic research with poetry, performance, live sound art and architecture.

Van Dooren’s research sees this haunting and complex issue of human migration through the lens of the eradication program in Holland. He examines the parallels, the inconsistencies of logic, scapegoating, justifications and fears of what promises to be a problem in a perceived future. In addition, inspiration will be drawn from two poems of environmentalist Dr Tom Bristow who explores cross-species metaphors within the context of the contemporary moral panic over refugee ‘invasions’.

Ms St Anne, who is currently producing her upcoming performance ‘I Love Todd Sampson’, says the inclusion of field recordings, voice samples, loops and piano will also “allow the audience to reflect on the content in an emotional and intellectual way”. In addition, she believes using performance will provide “a less confronting” platform for the audience to reflect on the deeper issues of climate migration.

Professor Iain McCalman, Co-Director of the SEI, believes this performance will “perfectly illustrate the social mission and creative methods of the SEI”.

“It is a colourful and haunting production that takes environmental research out to the public in dramatic artistic forms, telling stories of animal extinction, human migration and cultural loss in a way that will move viewers and participants at both intellectual and emotional levels,” he said.

Stay tuned. More details about the production will be revealed in the coming months.

Article by Rebecca Simpson