Every Word Was Once An Animal

interdisciplinary performance installation merging dance, music and olfaction, 2020.

Every Word Was Once An Animal merges art, science, dance, music, and olfaction. An ongoing collaboration between visual artist Carla Bengtson, composer Juliet Palmer, choreographer Darion Smith and video artist and ceramicist Jessie Rose Vala.

Every Word was Once an Animal explores the overlapping forces of nature and culture between humans, animals, and language. The interdisciplinary exhibition blends Bengtson’s playful investigations into the lifeworlds of nonhuman animals with choreographer Darion Smith’s interest in embodied language, composer Juliet Palmer’s investigations into the material possibilities and constraints of human and nonhuman utterance, and artist Jessie Rose Vala’s evocations of the intimate relationship between sculptural form and the mythic mind. Inspired by the research of Dr. Emilia Martins (Arizona State University) on the group learned, gestural language of Western fence lizards.

Presenter: Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene, Oregon, March-December, 2020.

Funding: JSMA Academic Support Grant, the University of Oregon’s College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Art + Design, the Oregon Arts Commission, the Ford Family Foundation, Spring Creek Projects’ Long-term Ecological Reflections Program, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Center for Art Research.