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"...By using media to communicate about the environment and creating an immersive environment, Bella Gaia is a form of ecomedia pedagogy that expands people’s consciousness about the state of and value of our environment...."
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CultureNet, a new virtual arts education platform, and BELLA GAIA, the award-winning NASA-powered arts experience, are partnering to share the first digital livestream of the groundbreaking performance in a Virtual Earth Day celebration on April 22 at 5 p.m. EDT. The digital premiere is followed by a live discussion with BELLA GAIA founder Kenji Williams and astronaut Ron Garan, author of “The Orbital Perspective” and the upcoming, “Floating in Darkness.”
As we navigate the current cultural and ecological shifts, BELLA GAIA is turning its canceled shows into a gift for the world to share a new planetary vision of unity for humanity. The family-friendly concert will celebrate the awe and wonder of witnessing the Earth from orbit, guided by the live vocals of BELLA GAIA Ensemble artist Kristin Hoffmann. A special interactive Q&A inviting viewers to share their vision for the future will follow the 20-minute livestream.
“The only way we can get through this crisis is to come together as a functioning planetary community, said astronaut and fighter pilot, Ron Garan. “Once we do that, our unity will enable us to tackle any crisis we face.”
“BELLA GAIA is wonderful and timely in light of the planetary crisis we are facing." - Sting
The event is made possible by CultureNet, BELLA GAIA, and the SINE network.
This past July, Kenji Williams was invited to be an artist in residence at Columbia University's new Groundbreaking Hi-Tech "Movement Lab" at Barnard College. Working with Choreographer Irina Akulenko, Digital Designer Khairul Rahimi, and dancer Allison Costa.
The mission was clear - we needed a way to track the body, real-time, through a layer of scrim that also creates tracker-distorting holograms. The residency tested various ideas to overcome this challenge, testing thermal cameras, and various infrared triggers and cameras. This was an extension of Kenji's previous artist residency at the U. of Colorado Boulder, where the original holographic production was created and presented live. .
Thank you to Movement Lab director Gabri Christa, Guy de Lancey and Georgia Michalovic.
Bella Gaia's newest piece by composer, director Kenji Williams, & Sufi Whirling artist Läle Sayoko:
First performed at the United Palace of Cultural Arts for UNITY EARTH, and again at Miller Outdoor Theatre and many more during our 13 show Spring Tour, Coriolis Engine was added to Bella Gaia's finale section, ending the show with ecstatic power and meaning. Please Share!
Sufi Whirling: Lale Sayoko
Vocals: Kristin Hoffmann
Koto: Yumi Kurosawa
Wind: Premik Russell Tubbs
Composer, Director: Kenji Williams
Tour Management and Curation: Rhiannon Catalyst
Camera: Ben Doyle Runaway Productions
"I mean, that's part of the reason we visit these countries and see this beautiful dance or music, is that humanity has beauty, and we have a creative role in the universe. We're not just cancerous parasites. I do think humanity has a role to play in the evolution of the universe. And we are at a difficult point in the evolution of our species where it is an existential moment for us. So we need to be reminded of this moment, but also of the beauty amid the peril." - Kenji Williams Full Article->
“Bella Gaia was already planned to be the 10th anniversary celebration of Artosphere, Arkansas’ Arts + Nature Festival,” said Peter B. Lane, president and CEO of Walton Arts Center. “Now we will also celebrate the generosity of our community by turning this performance into a community fundraiser.”
..."“I really wanted to create an experience that transformed people,” Williams said. “There needs to be a new emphasis and value in emotional connections to very abstract things, like climate change.”
”Bella Gaia” turns the stage into a planetarium-like display with NASA-powered imagery. (NASA)" - Herald.net
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BELLA GAIA is on the front cover of the fall issue of Cadenza Artists Magazine featuring an interview with Kenji Williams inside. Among other things, he discussed the BELLA GAIA's exciting interplay between technology and live performance, sharing a deeper look into where the imagery comes from: "Everything is real data - not just pretty pictures. We use an earth visualization software that downloads NASA satellite data and maps it onto a 3D globe with a flight simulator. The more complex scientific visualizations are created by NASA's SVS (Scientific Visualization Studio), and they curate and send me updated visualizations of their latest data from missions." Read the full interview on pages 8-9 of the magazine.
The NASA-sponsored live multimedia art and science program titled “Beautiful Earth,” (Solvang Festival Theater), an under the stars countdown for the ICESat-2 satellite launch, featured BELLA GAIA with the latest NASA data visualizations, remarks by Project Scientist Thorsten Markus, and a 'first of its kind' ‘hold the Earth' augmented reality experience using HoloGLOBE (guided by VR expert Lia Oganesyan and envisioned and designed by Kenji Williams.)
Photo credit: Len Wood / Santa Maria Times
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