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Brown Arts Initiative presents Your Ocean, My Ocean in collaboration with UC Irvine and Rhode Island School of Design

  • PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island
  • /
  • March 15, 2019

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YOMO/Intermedia at UCI, 2/9/19 – Emergence. Choreographers Lindsay Gilmour and Lisa Naugle. Director John Crawford. Photo Leandro Damasco.


Experimental performance examines environmentalism, climate justice and community engagement April 1, 2, 2019 at Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University

Providence, RI... The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University will present Your Ocean, My Ocean /Intermedia (YOMO/Intermedia), an experimental dance, music, media and visual art project, at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University on April 1 and 2, 2019. YOMO/Intermedia was developed by University of California Irvine’s (UCI) Institute for 21st Century Creativity (21C) and produced in collaboration with the BAI and Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The presentation at Brown will be an expanded version of YOMO/Intermedia that premiered at UCI’s Contemporary Arts Center in February.

Breaking down traditional boundaries between disciplines, the 80-minute performance features dancers and musicians onstage with a larger, virtual cast appearing in video projections integrated with footage of ocean and coastal locations and fragments of animated films. Together, they evoke aspects of the natural beauty of oceans and environmental degradation.


Your Ocean/My Ocean (YOMO) is an ongoing art and technology project at UCI’s 21C concerned with environmentalism, climate justice and community engagement. YOMO brings together artists and designers across disciplines to create a series of experimental performances and exhibitions responding to the beauty of oceans and coastlines and detrimental human impacts on ocean ecosystems, including habitat destruction, overfishing and pollution.

The presentation of YOMO/Intermedia at Brown is organized by UCI’s Associate Professor of Dance and Media Arts John Crawford, who is Director and Media Designer of YOMO/Intermedia, in conjunction with RISD Professor of Architecture Kyna Leski and the BAI leadership team: Butch Rovan, faculty director and music professor; Anne Bergeron, managing director; and Chira DelSesto, associate director. Students from all three universities will participate in the presentation at Brown.

Butch Rovan said, “YOMO goes to the heart of BAI’s Arts and Environment programming. We are delighted to partner with John Crawford and Kyna Leski on this special project. We look forward to working with them to stimulate even broader engagement within the Brown and Providence communities and contributing to the global conversation on the plight of oceans and their conservation.”

John Crawford said, “Our goal is to create something that speaks both to the extraordinary beauty of the oceans and coastlines and their tragic vulnerability. Thanks to students and faculty at RISD, Brown and UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts, we were able to imagine and develop YOMO/Intermedia as a compelling call to action. I’m very grateful to Kyna Leski and composer, violinst and UCI Professor of Music Mari Kimura for their important and highly creative contributions and look forward to presenting the project at Brown.”

YOMO/Intermedia at UCI, 2/9/19 – Oil Slick. Choreographer Tong Wang. Director John Crawford. Photo Leandro Damasco.


The multi-faceted, experimental production combines dance sequences with music, sound, multi-channel video and imagery. The choreography features elements of ballet and contemporary dance, performed by live dancers, accompanied by other dancers in the projected video. A string trio led by Mari Kimura is accompanied by electronic music generated in real time by an interactive computer system influenced by wireless motion-sensors worn by the musicians and dancers. Selected crowd-sourced text fragments are played through the system as synthesized voices that are also influenced by the movements and gestures of the musicians and dancers. Interactive video creates an immersive environment composed of multiple layers including footage of dancers in coastal water settings and curated crowd-sourced images and video fragments.

The four-part performance begins with images and sounds of waves crashing on shore in Emergence. Five dancers work with a 20-foot square white silk sheet, making it into one enormous costume undulating like waves. In the second dance sequence, Gyre, a sailboat races across the ocean until it encounters a massive garbage patch. Dancers become engulfed in plastic detritus and fishing line tangling them to a point where they stagger off stage. The next piece is a balletic duet of dancers seemingly enjoying their day at the beach until they are surrounded by an Oil Slick in the form of a dancer dressed in black who enshrouds them in his cape and sweeps them off stage. The production ends on a melancholic note in Refuge, with all the dancers performing in a modern vocabulary. They interact with more plastic filaments coiled and spooled on stage making it clear the devastating impact of humans on oceans.

Between each section are intersticials in which the performing arts, science and technology converge to create audience interactions with the sea through music, movement and video.

This BAI/21C/RISD collaboration supports the work of established and emerging artists, students and scholars while offering hands-on learning opportunities to students and providing meaningful, immersive experiences for constituents of all three organizations.

Click here to register for tickets to attend YOMO/Intermedia - April 1, 2, 2019 at Granoff Center for the Creative Arts at Brown University.

About Institute for 21st Century Creativity (21C)

UCI’s Emergent Media + Design (EM+D) program launched the Institute for 21st Century Creativity (21C), a new initiative designed to support interdisciplinary practices linking art, technology and design across the entire campus and beyond. 21C is directed by UCI Professor John Crawford, who also serves as EM+D director and is an intermedia artist and technology developer. It supports faculty-led and graduate-student initiatives in various ways including through graduate student fellowships. 21C expands upon UCI’s departments of Art, Dance, Drama and Music through experimental approaches that interconnect art, technology and design, cultivating transdisciplinary research and creative projects in which faculty and students re-imagine the world afresh with each iteration,

About Brown Arts Initiative

The Brown Arts Initiative (BAI) at Brown University seeks to cultivate creative expression and foster an interdisciplinary environment where faculty and students learn from one another and from artists and scholars in a wide range of fields across the campus and around the world. A consortium of six arts departments and two programs that encompass the performing, literary and visual arts, BAI works collaboratively to enhance curricular and co-curricular offerings, directly engage students with prominent artists working in all genres and media, and supports a diverse program of concerts, performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and symposia each year. BAI takes full advantage of the University’s Open Curriculum and builds on Brown’s reputation as a destination for arts exploration, contributing to cultural enterprise through the integration of theory, practice and scholarship with an emphasis on innovation and discovery that results from rigorous artmaking and experimentation.

BAI comprises and integrates History of Art and Architecture; Literary Arts; Modern Culture and Media; Music; Theatre Arts and Performance Studies; Visual Art; the David Winton Bell Gallery; and Rites and Reason Theatre/Africana Studies. 

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Brown Arts Initiative
Brown University
154 Angell Street
Providence, New York

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