The Olimpias present:

Landscaping Women

A Cross-Arts Site-Specific Project Series 2001 -2003

Earth Stories Landscaping Writing/Mapping Ogham Wind Stories Links


Brecon Beacons landscape

The LW series interrogates relationships between the natural environment and our rich symbols, discursive conventions and languages for it. The moving human body, as sign-maker, place-maker and meaning-maker, provides the lens through which we approach the symbolic structures of landscape.

Project 1: Move the Earth with Stories/Earth Stories - You Tube link

Funded through a Mind Millennium Award, this project took shape in community sessions with people in mental health settings, at self-help centres at the margins of the Brecon Beacons national park. We looked at our life stories through storytelling and theatre, using local myths as masks to speak about our experiences. The project culminated in day trips into the beautiful Beacons, where we created a video, Earth Stories, about our lifes, our connections to our home, and our understanding of what 'natural' might mean for disabled people and their history of cultural oppression.

image from Earth Stories video

Landscaping Women

mapping spaces

owning one's story

creating new myths

weaving connections

celebrating diversity

dancing our bodies

singing our songs

questioning traditions

image from Earth Stories video

taking control

feeling space

listening to each other

creating access

Project 2: Landscaping

Landscaping was a research project funded by Chisenhale Dance Space, London. Two disabled performers/choreographers and a geographer explored stairwells in the Chisenhale, searching for access and entry ways, colonising and reshaping spaces. New maps and new stories emerged as strange landmarks appeared... With Petra Kuppers (Wales/Manchester), Kanta Kochhar-Lindgren (Mount Pleasant, Michigan, US), Derek McCormack (Bristol).

Performance/Installation: 6th of April 2001 (production photos)

Landscaping: Meditations on Everyday Space. Performance Video

Project 3: Writing/Mapping

Writing/Mapping were creative writing workshops in Llanelli Hospice, with people in the terminal stages of cancer. We were re-using, reinventing our local myths and landmarks, setting them in relation to our lives, and put ourselves on the map of our local histories. Facilitators Anna Marie Taylor and Petra Kuppers, funded by Swansea University Adult Education Outreach.

fictional map
photo of map

Project 4: Ogham

This dancevideo brings a city woman into the Welsh mountains. The camera follows and choreographs her struggling explorations of unfamiliar places - making them spaces to move in. Following Michel De Certeau's analyses of place, space, and practices of living, this video uses the ancient Ogham tree alphabet to structure a woman's carving of a room for herself on a lake shore in the Beacons. Collaborators: Sophia Lycouris and Petra Kuppers

Project 5: Sleeping Giants

In January 2002, the Ystradgynlais Mental Health Drop-In Centre and Swansea University Continuing Education Department hosted The Olimpias for performance workshops spread over a month, followed by a video-production. We investigated a local myth, the Sleeping Giant, focusing on our relation to time, duration and age. The resulting video presents the changing wintery landscapes of the Brecon Beacons and Ystradgynlais village as a mask to speak about our experiences of time.



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Interesting Related Links:

Between Nature: Explorations of Ecology and Performance

Association for the Study of Literature and Environment

Art, Culture, Nature