YIELD: WE BELONG TO THE LAND
Workshops: March 20-May 14
Public performance: May 26
SPARK! Creative Lab invited the public to experience and participate in creating YIELD: WE BELONG TO THE LAND, a 10-week creative investigation into our collective presence at 11 NW 11th St. — the site of Oklahoma Contemporary’s new home — which culminated in an immersive, interactive public performance on May 26.
In the decades since Oklahoma’s iconic line, “we belong to the land,” was written, both we and the land have changed. Who are we? What does belonging mean now? How does this land inform us? If we were to engage, imagine and interact with the land beneath us in new and memorable ways, could we accurately reflect and honor its heritage while adding layers of the physical, cultural and social identities that shape its character? How might the exploration itself create new pathways for belonging?
Responding to Maren Hassinger’s sculptural installation, Nature, Sweet Nature, on view at Oklahoma Contemporary, SPARK! Creative Lab sought to combine in-depth community dialogue and multidisciplinary artistic response to embody the rich complex layers that inform one small parcel of land in Oklahoma City. We warmly encouraged artists of all disciplines and the general public to participate in open workshops and contribute their unique voice to YIELD’s creation.
Tilling the Soil: Panel Discussion | Open Workshop 1
12-2 p.m. March 20 | Te Ata Theater
SPARK! Creative Lab kicked off YIELD with a panel discussion and community dialogue exploring some of the complex layers that inform the land beneath us, including (but by no means limited to) indigenous, historical, cultural, civic and environmental perspectives. Lively questions and personal reflections were welcomed! This workshop was open to the public. Participants also had the opportunity to contribute to the collaborative poem that served as the bedrock of YIELD’s artistic work over the next nine weeks.
Dr. Bob Blackburn, historian
Stephanie Jordan, Nature Conservancy/Okies for Monarchs
Dr. Henrietta Mann, Cheyenne activist and educator
Thuan Nguyen, Asian District Cultural Association
Dr. Elisha Oliver, biocultural anthropologist, visual ethnographer and DEI consultant
Adam Soltani, CAIR Oklahoma
Gloria Torres, Calle dos Cinco
Pat Webb, Oklahoma Artist in Residence; The Silence Foundation
Moderated by Suzette V. Chang, cultural anthropologist, founder/CEO of Thick Descriptions, chair of Oklahoma Humanities Board of Trustees
Sowing the Seeds: Dance | Open Workshop 2
12-2 p.m. March 27 | Te Ata Theater
YIELD’s artistic work began with the body in space. In this interactive workshop, led by choreographer, dancer, filmmaker and YIELD Co-Director Jessica Ray, we explored kinesthetic response to the first line of our collaborative poem. Then, by translating text prompts into movement while mining our relationship to nature, dancers explored avenues that allowed these experiences and questions to manifest in the body. This workshop was open to dancers of all backgrounds and members of the public (ages 15+).
Sowing the Seeds: Music | Open Workshop 3
12-2 p.m. April 3 | Te Ata Theater
Utilizing contemporary techniques for improvisation and composition, Chickasaw composer J. Cruise Berry and live composer and SPARK! Creative Lab Executive Director Nicole Poole offered pathways to discover sonic and rhythmic responses to the second line of YIELD’s collaborative poem. This workshop was open to musicians of all backgrounds and members of the public (age 15+).
Sowing the Seeds: Theater | Open Workshop 4
12-2 p.m. April 16 | Te Ata Theater
OKC Rep Artistic Director and Co-Leader of the Public Theater’s Devised Theater Working Group (DWTG) Kelly Kerwin led an interactive workshop using the third line of YIELD’s collaborative poem as a basis for building linear and abstract narrative and emotional expression. While all with a background in theater were encouraged to attend, prior experience was not required.
Sowing the Seeds: Visual Art | Open Workshop 5
12-2 p.m. May 8 | Te Ata Theater
Local guest artists joined SPARK! Creative Lab to create visual elements that embody the fourth line of YIELD’s collaborative poem. Guided by participating artists, workshop attendees experienced the physicality of artmaking with an array of recycled materials to realize scenic and interactive elements to be featured in our public performance.
Cultivation | Open Workshop 6
12-2 p.m. May 14 | Te Ata Theater
In this final open workshop before YIELD’s public performance, the entire company of SPARK! Creative Lab gathered for a “show and tell” to experience the lines of our collaborative poem as told through disciplines of dance, music, theater and visual art. The company then began to shape the material as a group, layering multidisciplinary responses with individual disciplines. Workshop attendees had the opportunity to participate and offer valuable feedback that helped us fine-tune the work into an exciting audience experience.
YIELD | Performance
6-7 p.m. May 26 | Sculpture Garden
SPARK! Creative Lab invited the public to an immersive, interactive performance centered on community and the land beneath us. YIELD: We Belong to the Land was inspired by Maren Hassinger’s sculptures on view in Oklahoma Contemporary's Sculpture Garden. This multidisciplinary performance was the culmination of a 10-week creative investigation into the human experience that shapes our current, shared reality.
Commissioned by Oklahoma Contemporary.
Images: SPARK! Creative Lab. Photo by Zachary Burns. Maren Hassinger, Paradise Regained (detail), 2020. Wire rope and concrete. © Maren Hassinger. Photo by Sarah Ondak.