video by Ji Yang
Formidable Dreams is two short films exploring isolation, dysphoria, and dreams of potential transformation. Through tableaux, operatic voice, and their curious interactions, these trickster heroines explore desire, longing, and the quest for the external elixir (). Moving between conscious and subconscious places, these trickster characters enact both social and primal behavior, with an earnest desire to commune and elevate their status. Their vocalizations are hypnotic, reverent, absurd, and bizarre. Through images, movement, and sound, this film is an elusive narrative that creates a sense of bewilderment and curiosity.
Formidable Dreams takes place in urban, natural, and fantastical landscapes, using elements of Butoh, Opera, and improvisation as frameworks for exploration and development. Presentations and workshops evolve into interactive events featuring live performance with dancers, performers, musicians, and sculptural objects. Our dream is to represent Chicago’s fierce tenacity by traveling with these films to reach artists and tricksters the world over.
We, Eugene Sun Park and Sara Zalek, began to work together in 2012 and collaborated on some successful projects before beginning Formidable Dreams. With themes of identity and loss in mind—personal, racial, national, ethnic, gender—we have found many creative confluences. Our interests in displacement, myth, and the surreal; the search for our subconscious selves, our humanity, and dreams of potential transformation. We look to comparative mythology to reframe and recontextualize origin stories, to reshape current paradigms of cultural identity. The trickster hero characters in these films move in liminal and subconscious spaces. They rediscover their relationship to the world through their connection to architecture and each other. Through images, movement, and sound, these characters create a sense of bewilderment and curiosity as beings who continually seek to rediscover themselves. We consider the creative potential in all humans as powerful shapeshifters, mythmakers, and transformers of culture.
Key artists working on this project included:
Eugene Sun Park
Tracy Pitts, Lexi Midkiff
Gwyneth Zelany Anderson
Hereaclitus Here Vernon
Vocal and movement sequences
Glitch art and movement/sound
Hereaclitus Here Vernon
Art Direction and costumes
Sky Cubacub/ REBIRTH Garments
Associate Producer/Production Manager/1st AD
The film portion of this project is supported by Chicago Dancemakers Forum, an Individual Artist Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Cheney Foundation. Special thanks for development opportunities by Light Box, Detroit. For links to the full works, please contact me.