In The Jungle 2017 HD 60min.
Equal parts musical, performance, and poetic lecture, In The Jungle is an experimental narrative originally created as a musical composition and live performance. In the summer of 2015 I shot the piece as a single channel video featuring Baltimore performers MC Schmidt and Cricket Arrison at The Theatre Project on a 4k R3D camera. The piece is currently in post production with a completion date of December 2016.
This theatrical video plays with the porous divisions between theatre and cinema, both conceptually and visually. The sets for In The Jungle are composed of video images of jungles collaged and projected through and onto the sculptural structures of trees and vines and mosses. The sets so clearly avoiding naturalism call into question our heroine's sense of reality; in this way the form of the piece suggests the unreliable nature of the character and her situation.
The jungle in this piece serves as an extended metaphor for excessive and continual growth and death and fear and sustenance; a metaphorical space of chaos in which the scientist finds solace and which stands in contrast to the human jungle of "civilization".
In The Jungle, playfully and sorrowfully tells the tale of an unreliable narrator in a self-imposed exile. Given a grant to study the equivalent of animal cries and whines in jungle flora our heroine has lived for 1, 612 days deep in an unnamed jungle. The piece opens with a musical journal entry through which we discover that she must return to "civilization" to deliver a lecture on her discoveries to the board which funds her work. The typewriter on which she impresses her thoughts about this upcoming journey is turned into a melodic instrument and accompanied by an antique toy piano and Berg-like vocal punctuations so that the entirety feels like a circuit bent atonal opera. What becomes clear is an encroaching madness and reluctance to leave the sheer terror of thousands of square miles of rapid life and growth.
The journey to “civilization” is represented by a tiger running, leaping through 300 design magazine living rooms to arrive at the National Association of Botanists.
A lecture on the epiphytic and resiniferous vegetation of the jungle is then delivered. Or rather, it is skillfully, strangely and poetically side-stepped and whipped into an emotional, philosophical frenzy. The lecture folds a poetic narrative into a roving philosophical inquiry and botanical primer.
The scientist then returns to the jungle just in time for her to listen to her favorite radio show which provides the courage and fortification of a direct god line to the jungle floor through a mellifluous dj and prescient pop songs.
Mostly she is terrified and interested in being terrified; thinking of all the implications of fear and understanding...the way these two ideas are constantly referenced, metaphorically, in the flora she set out to study.