Climb in the trees. Slide. Aerial hoop performance. Experimental musical accompaniment. This is King of Chlorophyll: Imagocreated by a queer composer Kim Farris Manning, and presented as part of the 2022-2023 Ottawa Chamberfest Concert Series. The immersive creative experience will take place on Saturday September 17 at the Just Food Community Farm in Gloucester.
And it all started with the trees. At the start of the pandemic, Farris-Manning, who has a background in contemporary classical composition, moved to live with her sister when creative jobs were put on hold. His sister hired an arborist to trim trees on the property, and Farris-Manning told her about the job and even tried out the equipment. She ended up being offered a job as an arborist, which was the defining moment to conceptualize this upcoming performance.
“That was around the time I started tree dragging,” says Farris-Manning. “I was drawing a lot of inspiration from the trees I was working on and dragging it in. That’s when I did the first version of the piece – it was a video project. I wrote an original piece of music, did a photo shoot with my dad, wrote poems and put it together.
Based on the first version of the play, Farris-Manning created a book with original photos of trees, offering multiple perspectives of an image at the same time. The new interpretation of King of Chlorophyll: Imago creates a link between its title and the original musical score – imago is the last stage of an insect’s metamorphosis. Likewise, the music is structured in nine movements, presenting cyclic patterns that are reflected in the actions of the dancers. The constant shifting and metamorphosis offers the prospect of changing and coming back different, but also the same.
Farris-Manning carefully chose four musicians to play the original piece she composed, focusing on performers who were good at improvisation and graphic reading of sheet music. “I’m really inspired by visual arts and collage, so the first score includes collage – some parts are completely notated like traditional music, but some are collage,” she says. “Almost everyone is queer and that was important to me too.” Kathryn Patricia plays the viola, Rémy Bélanger de Beauport the cello, Carlie Howell the double bass and Yang Chen the percussion.
“The performance will also have six storytellers, including people working at the Just Food Community Farm, such as beekeepers, herbal healers, forestry and foraging experts, and people working on the native forest of Healing, which is a new project for the site. says Farris-Manning.
The artist hopes the public will learn more about the farm and its community gardens and feel called to get involved. The entire event is in English and will have live ASL interpretation.
“I am grateful to everyone who helped with this colossal project,” says Farris-Manning. “My production manager, my climbing coach, my hoop coach, Chamberfest, the backers who helped make it all happen.”
The original book chlorophyll king is available for sale at three local bookstores: Octopus Books, Black Squirrel and Books on Beechwood. All profits are donated to two organizations near and dear to the heart of the artist: Forest Capital Forestwith whom she volunteers and who focuses on mitigating the effects of climate change by facilitating the planting of forests, and kind spacea queer center focused on mental health.
Imago opens the Chamberfest series on September 17.
Everything you need to know about King of Chlorophyll: Imago is here. Learn more about Kim Farris-Manning’s work here. Buy tickets for King of Chlorophyll: Imagohere.