acclimatized is a new collaborative project between dance artist Kelly McInnes and designer/sound artist Roxanne Nesbitt. It is a domesticated continuation of Kelly's outdoor site specific work ree-wahyld. Both pieces question our relationship with our bodies, carnal pleasures and our natural habitat. acclimatized at Interplay goes further to explore a dystopian reality in which we endure a deficiency of nature and a guilt resulting from simultaneous awareness of climate change and the inability to act.
From: Deanna Peters
To: Roxanne Nesbitt, Kelly McInnes
Are you picking up somewhere you've left off previously?
Kelly: We started making Acclimatized as a continuation of our collaboration in my work ree-wahyld, that we performed in multiple festivals this summer. We see Acclimatized as a sort of future with a dystopian nature. Instead of 'ree-wahylding' outside with nature, we are isolated to a plastic sheet and even the 'nature' we have is artificial.
What's different this time around?
Kelly: We're co-creating and performing this work together. It's been a new kind of collaboration for us. It feels like we've been developing a way of working together while also creating the work. It feels like we've been on a slow upward flow, developing the world a bit more each time we meet.
What sort of material(s) are you working with?
Roxanne: Plastic sheets and bags, plants, dirt, grass turf.
Kelly: ...computer keyboards and a mic.
Why are you working with them?
Roxanne: Our interactions with the plants and dirt express this longing to be outside. I wish that we didn't have to use a large plastic sheet but I'm not sure how else we would perform inside a theater-like space and rehearse in our bedrooms.
Kelly: We are interested in how the artificial of the plastic contrasts the turf, but also how the turf in itself is also artificial. Contrasting these both to the organic nature of our skin becomes quite interesting visually. We wanted to keep the materials simple and utilize them for multiple reasons in the work. We're working with computer keyboards as they are a simple way to reference work and technology. They also make an interesting addition to sound in the work. Roxanne has created a soundtrack, but we also have a mic to amplify the sounds of the performance from the keyboards, the breath and plastic.
How do you feel about them, inside or outside of your process?
Kelly: Sometimes I feel a lot of resistance in my body to working with the plastic and turf. The plastic doesn't feel that good and working with the turf is quite different than when we were working outside with real grass and trees. I think part of it has to do with being inside. The reality of not wanting to make a giant mess sometimes creates that resistance. I've found it to be a welcome addition to my intention in the work. The idea that I resist this thing even though I desire it and then I desire it so much that I can resist it - then there is a combination of desire and resistance inside all of it. Feels like it could be a metaphor for how I feel about my impact on the environment.
Roxanne: The grass turf is an interesting one, it doesn't really represent the natural world. For me it represents a more domesticated reality.
Are you carrying a lot of stuff around?
Roxanne: To run/explore our performance we carry: a projector, a large sheet of this plastic, a portable amp, mics, loop pedal and various bags of plant/dirt and grass turfs
Kelly: I am ALWAYS carrying a lot of stuff around for my work. Although this one isn't as much as others. I did have to drive out to Abbotsford last week to pick up 8 rolls of turf. Roxanne and I then planted them in her backyard. We've been digging them out one by one to rehearse with. Other than that there's not a lot of 'stuff' to carry around as we've mostly been rehearsing at her place.
photos: top, Kelly McInnes by Sheng Ho; bottom, Roxanne Nesbitt by Ben Brown