Apple – Sabrina Notarfrancisco

A performance art piece

Costume, projections, props – Sabrina Notarfrancisco

Lighting and environment – Tim Golebiewski

Performers – Louise Hamill, Gabriel Stalnaker

Photos – Sabrina Notarfrancisco

I created Apple as a way to explore the environmental themes of pollution and agricultural industrialization through the projection of images and video onto costumed performers. Designed to be a portable piece that can be performed in a theatrical space or in any darkened ambient setting, Apple uses costume, movement, shadow, projections, and props to tell the ‘story’ of Demeter, goddess of the harvest, and her attempts to navigate a modern world that is no longer in her control.

Apple fits within the PQ’s US Exhibition’s theme of weather in several ways. There are the obvious literal connections between pollution and the weather but there are subtle connections as well. For example, projecting images and video of chemical splashes, digital rain, dying bees, and digital seedlings directly onto the performer’s costumes aligns well with the “exploratory and forecasting” themes of the exhibition. To maximize the effectiveness of these projected images onto the costumes, I experimented with various textiles and decided to use an unusual material called spacer fabric for Demeter’s short white dress. Spacer is similar to neoprene and provides a smooth, projection-friendly surface that is lightweight, spongy, and futuristic-looking. To create a larger more diaphanous projection surface for Demeter, I also designed two sheer over-dresses made from white iridescent polyester and taupe silk organdy. The effect was translucent and magical. For the more sinister, Hazmat character, I used white Tyvek coveralls and a vintage gas mask. The crinkly texture of the Tyvek provided a really great effect, but the non-traditional use of the spacer fabric was the true star and most innovative element in this piece.

Apple also fits beautifully into the “transformative and urgent” themes of the US Exhibition. This piece challenges participants to think about the man-made chemical burdens placed on humans and the environment and raises questions about our health and food supply. We must rethink our use of toxic pesticides and make smarter choices when growing and buying our food.