The Sky is Coming
Two-channel video installation & olfactory component
The Sky is Coming is a multisensory two-channel video installation that depicts an ecosexual encounter between a thunderstorm and its human lover. A spunky smelling perfume created from the blooming Bradford Pear Tree serves as an olfactory component. This work ponders the technological mediation of our natural surroundings and the erotic forces at play in the efforts to erode anthropocentricity.
The installation premiered in the group exhibition Home Bodies (April 13 - May 7, 2021) at the Center for Art Design and Visual Culture at University of Maryland, Baltimore County. The film has since screened at Gardenship in Kearny, NJ and as part of MoCA L.I.ghts in Long Island, NY.
Written, Directed & Edited by Danielle Damico
Photographed by Amy Oden
Acted by Aidan Spann
Production Audio Engineer Safiyah Cheatam
My human character is a fulgarophilic - someone who is sexually aroused by thunderstorms. Ecosexuality refers to intersections between sexology and ecology though it is popularly used to describe humans who engage in sexual or sensual relations with elements of the earth. The ecosexual movement utilizes an intersectional approach that breaks down the intimidating guise of mainstream environmentalism and allows for people to come together to celebrate and connect with the earth in a way that emphasizes community building and reciprocity.
The ecosexual movement is included in queer ecological scholarship which examines how humans are included in (not separate from) a natural world and its systems that are ever changing as the result of social and historical influences. The Bradford Pear tree is a hybrid that was created by scientists in Prince George’s County, Maryland in the late 1950s. Envisioned as a decorative, durable tree that could survive various conditions, it was planted all across America starting in the 1960s. Today, the Bradford Pear is considered an invasive species. The root structures of the clones choke out nearby native plants and the supposedly “sterile” trees can reproduce through cross-pollination. The scent of the Bradford Pear tree is popularly associated with the scent of human ejaculate and thus I’ve used them as a metaphor for how we sensually engage our environment.
The two channel film concludes with a ‘facial’ which is a euphemism for the act of ejaculating on someone’s face. From a sex-positive feminist perspective, I interpret and have constructed the facial in this particular romp as a playful act in which both giver and receiver are enthusiastically consenting. At the same time, I acknowledge how this conclusion could be interpreted as an act of degradation or a power play. Storms have the ability to overwhelm, devastate, and at the very least instill fear in humans, partly because they’re beyond our control. Yet, we know that human-related climate change has manifested in drastic shifts in weather patterns. The intermittent fast-forwarding (and rewinding) of the storm by the human character meditates on our role in that equation while alluding to the ways we watch video content on our mobile devices. The cell phone video as a medium recognizes that the digital tool, the body, and the resulting images are entangled, rather than separate, entities.