/ Modified oct 4, 2013 8:32 a.m.

Performance Explores Themes of Mobility and Environment

4,000 mile journey through deserts of Southwest culminates with event at Tucson Museum of Art.



A traveling performance piece visited the Tucson Museum of Art. The Shuttle is the creation of a diverse group of artists who explore the theme of mobility, and contrast man-made environments with natural landscapes.

The project brought together ten international artists, designers and researchers.

"Shuttle is a 21-day journey with ten people, a Chevy van, and 4,000 miles traveling from Tucson in a counterclockwise direction through the deserts of the American Southwest," said Mick Douglas, senior lecturer at RMIT University in Melbourne, and a performance artist interested in topics surrounding mobility. "We're perhaps in an epoch, where there’s a shift from sedentary ways of thinking and living, towards a reengagement of the different levels in which movement is implicit in our lives."

Movement is a central theme of Shuttle, and each member of the team brought to the project a different set of skills as they made their way through the Sonoran, Great Basin, and Mojave deserts.

"Each person came to the situation with a project in mind… often those projects were thrown overboard very quickly because something else emerged, in the moment, of something of interest, and that became a project," said Beth Weinstein who is on the faculty of the UA's Department of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture, and also a member of the crew.

Weinstein said Shuttle presented the team with an opportunity to explore themes of movement, environment, and performance.

"(These are) performances that are happening not when you sit in an audience and watch, but where you walk right up to them and you walk around and by them," said Julie Sasse, chief curator at TMA. "This is very much in line with what is happening today in the world of art –dance, objects, poetry, all start to coalesce- and that’s what is happening here."

For 21 days, as the Shuttle crew members covered more than 4,000 miles across desert landscapes, many of the insights gained were not witnessed by an audience. But according to the members of the crew the results of the experience will likely resonate far beyond the confines of the Chevy van.

"The collective group of people… the constellations wrapping around (the experience)… we’re still in it… the notion of somehow having to conclude it is impossible and also somewhat undesirable," Weinstein said.

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