The zeitgeist is electric with speak of South Louisiana as the next Atlantis. Will my beloved home be swept back into the sea in my lifetime? In my son’s?
Jeanine van der Loo and I have begun work on an experimental documentary inspired by this notion. Our project, The Last Atlantis, combines media art, visual art, music and allegory to tell the story of the potential future of South LA.
To develop content and involve the community in the project, we are conducting “in character” interviews with South Louisianans, as if participants were speaking from the future as residents of the “Last Atlantis”. In the interviews participants are asked to speak about why South Louisiana is important, went wrong and caused it to become “Atlantis” and what people in 2011 should do to prevent that from happening. Speakers are depicted as mermaids/men, sea creatures, mutant creatures, wreckage and plants- all set in the underwater world of the “Last Atlantis”. We use handmade paper puppets during the interviews to help people get into character…because puppets are fun! (email firstname.lastname@example.org to become a resident of the Last Atlantis). Audio from community interviews will be used in the film, along with an original soundtrack created by local musicians (in the works…). A range of techniques (animation, live-action, experimental editing) are being used to create the 30- minute film. In the film, a live-action performance-art-inspired mermaid (the lovely Shannon Eaton) guides viewers on an underwater journey through the sunken remains of South LA to meet talking creatures, plants, and architecture common to South Louisiana. Ceramic sculptures of these characters will be created for use in the film, exhibition and sale. Prints from the film, as well as props and scenic backdrops will also be available for sale (and given as prizes for donors).
The project is inspired by Terrebonne parish’s increasing vulnerability to natural and man-made disasters and the unique culture of South Louisiana. Our goal is to inspire discussion about our artistic methods and the environmental & social issues addressed by the project.
In December 2011 and August 2012 we will present work from the project at the Waterlife Museum and for Jenny Authement’s fine arts classes at L.E. Fletcher. Beginning in January 2012, we will present a series of six public workshops in the media & visual arts techniques used in the project. Artwork from workshops will be presented through the project website (currently under construction) and a gallery show at the Waterlife museum during Fall 2012.
The project is supported, in part, by funds from the Terrebonne Parish Consolidated Government’s Arts Funding Program as administered by the Houma Regional Arts Council. The project is sponsored by the Bayou Terrebonne Walterlife Museum. We are very thankful for this support!