2017 Honorable Mention – Bianca Gallina

Time: An Epoch Connection

As a dancer I am influenced by my experiences and surroundings. An area that often captivates my interest is viewing the world through a geologic lense. From fiery beginnings to cycles of ice ages, continental collisions, and ocean formations, the history of the Earth is vastly ranging and widely stretching to a point incomprehensible by humans. Humans are such a small fraction of the timeline of the history of Earth, yet we must know and understand its past to prepare for the future. While the Earth is a dynamic system of complex layers and tectonics, humans seem so small in comparison. My focus is an effort to shift common mindfulness to the significant role of the rocks, plates, layers, and core of Earth. Although today there are many great efforts geared towards ecology and conservation, there is a lack of knowledge of the geologic foundation on which living things are established. Realization that geology of the Earth has a direct and major influence on the environment will motivate humans to find a deeper connection with the archival story that Earth’s rocks tell.

People often separate science from art, but I find the unification of the two is what is most powerful and influential. Both an emotional and effective way to communicate, dance brings attention to issues plaguing society. Through movement I wanted to show the strength of human connection with the Earth with relation to time. Despite the fact that humans play a small role in Earth’s history, they can contribute a significant role to Earth’s future. Although my original artistic vision included more dancers, dramatic lighting, and intricate costumes, I found that during the creation process, an organic and natural habitat of a dancer in the simple space of a studio was more fitting. The power of simplicity contrasts and gives emphasis to the complexity of Earth. A dancer is a small person in a large studio, but movement can fill up and transform the space just as humans can have a larger impact than we realize. Dancers also train and learn in a studio, which sparks the idea that more people should be educated about the geologic past of Earth.

I used the song “Time” by Hans Zimmer to evoke the geologic history of Earth and to establish a powerful sense of time including its complexity. There is an urgency in Hans Zimmer’s piece that gives a sense that time is running out and we must act now in understanding Earth’s past. Additionally, I used a mirror to show human need for reflection on Earth’s past. Variation in the speed of my movement mimics geologic events such as seafloor spreading, continental collisions, and volcanism. There are some abrupt transitions in the video presentation to represent unconformities in Earth’s rock record from faulting and missing layers due to erosion. Fundamentally, it is these geologic processes through time that humans must understand to impact the future.