How to Build a Forest is a theatrical installation, created by PearlDamour and visual artist Shawn Hall, that meditates on creation, destruction, biodiversity and ecological sustainability.  PearlDamour and Hall will be in residence at Duke University October 10-21, 2012.

“How to Build a Forest,” an interactive performance-art installation created by Obie Award-winning duo PearlDamour and visual artist Shawn Hall, will be presented October 19-21 at Duke University’s Page Auditorium.

The show is free and open to the public.  No tickets are required.

Performances will take place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 29; and from noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 21.

Part visual art and part theater, “How to Build a Forest” begins with an empty stage.  Over six hours, choreographed crew members transform the space into a simulated forest made from fabric, rope, wire, small-gauge steel, plastic and found objects  collected in and around New Orleans in the wake of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The forest remains intact for just 30 minutes before crew members begin to tear it down. The next day, the cycle begins anew.

Audience members can stay for the entire eight-hour performance, or stop back in throughout the day to see how the work is progressing.  At points during the show, they will be able to tour the stage and interact with crew members.

Send email queries to howtobuildaforest@duke.edu.**

This residency and performance/installation is funded in part by a Visiting Artist Grant from the Council for the Arts, Office of the Provost, Duke University, and a grant from South Arts in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the NC Arts Council as well as support from Duke’s Department of Theater Studies and the Nicholas School of the Environment.

Associated K-12 programming is supported by the Duke Environmental Leadership program in partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation.

How to Build a Forest was developed with generous support from: the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP fund (a program of Creative Capital, supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation), The Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Appalachian State University, The Moore Family Fund for the Arts of the Minneapolis Foundation, and many individual donors.  How to Build a Forest was originally commissioned by The Kitchen Center for Video, Music, Performance, Dance, Film and Literature and premiered there in June, 2011.

Main sponsors

Visiting Artists Grant, Council for the Arts, Provost’s Office, Duke University

Department of Theater Studies, Duke University

Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University

Additional sponsors

**UPDATE 10/2/12. It has come to our attention that this email address had some  technical difficulties. Those have been corrected. Please resend your message!

1 thought on “About

  1. “Welcome to the forest. I’m Ranger Hope.”
    Over the course of eight hours, the staff of “How to Build a Forest” constructed and deconstructed a forest in Page Auditorium made of over 30 materials, taking full advantage of contrast. The props contrasted in texture and appearance, like our ecosystem does, from galvanized wire to nylon netting. The sharp contrast also existed in the atmosphere. The building was done in a meticulous manner, the builders lightly and methodically changing their environment, but then, the sharp, rapid clang of metal on the wooden stage began, and ended just as quickly. The calm, serene periods of subtle change are interrupted by brief phases of orderly chaos, of great change. What from a distance seemed to be a random collection of movements was actually what created the environment, and all of the gardeners are strangely in tune, doing different things, but on the same page, working toward the same goal- creation.
    The irony in the building of the forest was that the shadows the “trees” cast on the auditorium were reminiscent of smokestacks on a horizon. The creators of the performance used an artistic and sculptural medium to argue that unlike the stage, our environment cannot be repaired and rebuilt in 4 hours. This theme is consistent throughout the exhibit; it is portrayed through the subtle details, like the fact that all of the materials they repurposed for the use of the performance will ultimately be thrown into a landfill. We are destroying an earth that cannot be rebuilt.

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