Tuesday 08/18/20 8PM
Performances · Exhibition-Related

Fortunes of the Forest: Divination, Dance, and Story

Cover Image:

Caitlin Franzmann and Man Cheung, Fortunes of the Forest, 2017, divination cards, 5 × 3 × 1 in. Photo: Man Cheung

A recording of this conversation is available here.

Fortunes of the Forest: Divination, Dance, and Story is a livestreamed, participatory performance that incorporates ritual, plant knowledge, movement, listening, and response-ability. This program is part of the digital residency “Ensayos: Passages.” Ensayos collaborators based in Eastern Australia, Dr. C.F. Black, Amaara Raheem, and Caitlin Franzmann each bring unique interpretations to divination cards, which they will pull in response to concerns and questions gathered collectively from participants.

Caitlin Franzmann created the divination deck with collaborator Man Cheung’s botanical photographs of plants, rocks, and insects, all of which are found in Karawatha, an urban forest in Australia. One of a number of decks and guidebooks Franzmann has created, “Fortunes of the Forest” prompts associations with living entities, with whom humans share primeval genes, and considers how their ways of being on the planet can guide us. Indigenous legal scholar C.F. Black, PhD, will call the audience to contemplate deeper meaning from the cards based on her understanding of plant consciousness and story. In an ongoing collaboration with Franzmann, dancer Amaara Raheem creates movement scores responding to the cards; for this program, Raheem will invite online participants to join guided movements prompted by the reading.

Fortunes of the Forest: Divination, Dance, and Story, celebrates the launch of artists in residence Ensayos’ online periodical Más allá del fin / Beyond the End, issue #3.5, bilingual essays edited by Carla Macchiavello and Camila Marambio, with guest editor Helen Hughes. Franzmann and Dr. Black’s shared card readings are published in this issue.

Dr. C.F. Black (Gold Coast, Australia) is an intellectual explorer and a writer. She has a Phd in Law, Griffith University, Australia. Her academic works include A Mosaic of Indigenous Legal Thought: Legendary Tales and Other Writings (Routledge, 2017) and The Land is the Source of the Law: A Dialogic Encounter with an Indigenous Jurisprudence (Routledge, 2011). Her intellectual training comes from her Australian Aboriginal ancestry and her travels throughout Native America and other Indigenous worlds. Both her research and travels have shaped her understanding of how to interact with both plant beings and other beings on the Earth in a lawful manner. She is now developing online courses to teach this knowledge to the general public. She is also an artist, photographer, author of short stories, and is now developing her skills as a playwright.

Caitlin Franzmann (Brisbane, Australia) is an artist who creates installations, performances, and social practice works that focus on place-based knowledge and clairsentience. Her work has been featured in exhibitions globally, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Naarm/Melbourne; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and Kyoto Art Centre, among others. Originally trained as an urban planner, she completed her Bachelor of Fine Art at Queensland College of Art in 2012.

Amaara Raheem (Black Range, Australia) is a Sri Lankan-born, Australian-grown dance artist who lived in London for fifteen years. She is now based in both Naarm/Melbourne and regional Victoria (Black Range) and is co-making a residential hub for reparative and speculative practices that investigate the blur between life, art, and climate. Currently completing a practice-led PhD at School of Architecture and Urban Design, RMIT University, Amaara’s practice intentionally crosses cultural, spatial, disciplinary, geographic, linguistic, and cosmic borders.

Accessibility Information:
This event will be live captioned.


New Museum Digital Initiatives are generously supported by Hermine and David B. Heller.

Artist commissions at the New Museum are generously supported by the Neeson / Edlis Artist Commissions Fund.

Artist residencies are made possible, in part, by:
Laurie Wolfert
The Research & Residencies Council of the New Museum

Presentation of “Fortunes of the Forest: Divination, Dance, and Story” has been assisted by the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.

Special thanks to Outer Space, Brisbane.

Support for New Museum Education and Public Engagement programs is provided, in part, by the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund; and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

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