Shadow Puppetry

A short about In and Out of the Shadows by Emmett Williams of MissionMan Media. This film appears on “The Form Appears,” a collection of shorts about artists and their makings.

A tribute to the Alaskan Yellow Cedar tree. Performed live in Sitka, Alaska, Nov. 11, 2015. Created and performed by Kimi Eisele, with assistance from Annika Ord. Music by Sarah Swong and AnnaLee Hirschi. Filmed by Emmet Williams.

Yellow cedar (Calliptrosis nootkatensis) grows in coastal Southeast Alaska and British Columbia. In the last 100 years, the tree has been dying off due to climate change. In the poorly drained soils of low-lying muskegs, it once thrived as snowpack insulating its delicate root systems from the cold. Now, warming temperatures have meant more rain than snow leaving the tree vulnerable to freezing.

Learn more about Yellow Cedar, its significance, and its decline, in my radio piece, “Listening to Yellow-Cedar,” which aired Oct. 25, 2015, on Raven Radio, KCAW in Sitka, AK.

This performance was created with support from the Rasmuson Foundation Artist Residency Program.

Saguaro Love is performed by Kimi Eisele with original hand-cut puppets and an overhead projector. Live music by Michael Dauphinais combines instrumentation and ecological recordings. The show reveals various kinds of duets with saguaros—human, bird, insect, and mammal—and chronicles one woman’s relationship with the cactus over a lifetime. It was inspired by Kimi’s 2014 dance and civic engagement project, “How to Duet with a Saguaro,” which explored movement, stillness, humanness, and cactusness, including one experiment in which she stood for an hour with a saguaro and then invited others to do the same for a contemplative and performative experience.

Saguaro Love premiered at the Open Embodiements: Somatechnics Conference in Tucson, April 2015 before a live and somewhat naked audience. Special thanks to Eduardo Guerrero for filming.

“How to be …” is an original show created in honor of the 10th Anniversary of Casa Libre en La Solana, a literary arts venue, home, and community in Tucson, AZ. It premiered in February 2014.