Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee!

97 3Arts supporters
$6,592 raised of $5,000 goal
3ARTS MATCH
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on July 25, 2021
    • 3ARTS MATCH
    • 132% contributed

In a Nutshell

Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee! is my current project-in-development, a visual and textual essay exploring the relationships between people, flora, and fauna in landscapes and cityscapes of North America, giving special emphasis to prairielands and their native grasses. The project will accumulate into a short film of multidisciplinary works put to video and shot in varied and seemingly idiosyncratic locations—from neighborhoods in Chicago, to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts, across the tallgrass preserves of Strong City, Kansas. Capturing distance and a sense of expanse is important in this work, and I am asking for your help in achieving that. My background is in experimental theater, so this is new territory for me. Making Chicka-Dee into a film is born out of physical constraints that continue to affect my work, but it is also intentional. Through this project, I want to direct attention toward our surrounding ecology and the constant threat it is under, while expanding our capacity to participate in its recovery. The title, Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee!, comes from the Black-capped Chickadee, a common non-migratory bird throughout the region whose namesake chatter serves as a warning across species of potential predators and other dangers. I am crafting this work as a call to activate my own senses to the actual, living, and speaking world, hopefully motivating others to pay attention as well. Your donation will support the success of this developmental phase, help fund collaborating artists, and provide the resources and equipment to work in a new form.

 


The Full Story...

The seedling of Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee! came from a very short, very lucky video I took in summer 2020 in the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary by Lake Michigan. A curious and extremely brave Black-capped Chickadee landed on a thin branch just over my shoulder, and I managed to capture on my phone its particular, inquisitive head movements. Later, I used the clip of the bird’s tiny performance to inspire a short play-to-video I made for the remote version of The Infinite Wrench, the weekly flagship show of The Neo-Futurists Theater where I am an ensemble member. The play, titled Chicka Dee Dee Dee! (After Thierry), was an adaptation of the composer and filmmaker Thierry de Mey’s experimental short film, Floreal (1983), which provided much-needed inspiration for the adjustment to making online theater.

Because of the pandemic and its effect on creative spaces, it was and continues to be challenging to make art that feels grounded in actual, lived-in space, a feeling that is exceptional to live performance. De Mey’s work taught me a visual language that fully captured the tone and tempo of a small community’s exterior life, and I wanted to see how that language could translate to early-pandemic Chicago as people were frequenting parks more often. I was happy with the results and the unexpected convergences between nature, people, and architecture, and I wanted to see how the piece would change if I expanded its geographical boundaries.

In this early stage of development, I will continue creating outside the black box theater, stretching its limits. In the past I have made writing and performances pointing at nature and the prairies, birds and wildflowers, and preservation and the act of “prescribed burns.” Getting into the practice of doing theater outside, I thought it made sense to go directly to these sources of inspiration and create from there.

While the final product of Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee! is best categorized as a short film, I consider the project a creative essay, using elements of text, images, movement, and sound. A period of site visits to nature preserves throughout the country will provide me with the research to inform my writing and serve as the visual backdrop of the piece. For sound, I will work with a composer to make an original soundtrack in the spirit of the de Mey film. I also hope to collaborate with movement artists to add a lyrical, physical language to the collected images.

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $15
    A personalized thank you on social media ($15.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $20
    Above, plus your name in the credits of the final film ($20.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $35
    Above, plus a commemorative Chicka-Dee postcard ($30.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Above, plus a private link to an original short play-to-video featuring Kurt and Neo-Futurist Nick Hart, shot at the Montrose Point Bird Sanctuary ($35.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $120
    Above, plus a handmade, custom-designed postcard from one of the on-the-road shooting locations ($85.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $400
    Above , plus a 1-on-1 “Zoom and snack” chat with you and Kurt on the progress of the project, to take place from an onsite nature location ($365.00 is tax deductible.)




Kurt Chiang

Make a Wave Artist

Kurt Chiang is a theater artist, writer, and performer. He is Artistic Director Emeritus & Ensemble Member of The Neo-Futurist Theater, where he wrote/performed more than 300 very short plays in the prolific weekly show, The Infinite Wrench. …

View Kurt Chiang's profile
  • Update 1: Update 1 -- 3Arts grant matched!
    Posted on June 21, 2021
     a hearty stem of milkweed is shown growing out from under a mulched path, close up at ground-level.

    Good news, everyone: in just about over a week, the campaign for “Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee!” reached its first-third of the $5000 goal. This is significant because A) your contribution helped raise $1667 towards paying collaborator fees and supporting intensive research/development costs to make this idea come to life, and B) 3Arts generously matches that total, bringing us well within grasp of the finish line.

    I’m thankful and humbled by everyone’s generosity, and all the words of enthusiasm and encouragement. It is a big gift.

    In the coming weeks, I’ll continue to spread the word about the homestretch of the campaign. If you can take a second to “Like/Heart/Share/all-that-stuff” when you see it, that is a big help. Even better, drop a line in conversations, forward the link to someone you think might be interested; word-of-mouth, artists depend on it.

    Thank you again! -KC

    misc. note on process: (pictured) some milkweed bursting away from the threshold dividing the preserved grasses from the mulched walking path. it’s awesome. walls, divides, and thresholds have always seemed like clues into how to present visual information in this show/film. show where the humans cut into what isn’t supposed to be cut, and how the more-than-humans come back at it. also read that milkweed is being planted in California to bring back monarch butterflies, which apparently are going extinct. can you believe that? monarch butterflies. it’s like, the first butterfly you learn about. how do you let a monarch butterfly get in trouble?

    Update 2: Goal met! Stretch goal, ahead!
    Posted on July 14, 2021

    Everyone, you are the best.

    With the generosity of over 60 people and the fine folks at 3Arts, Chicka-Dee-Dee-Dee! has met its fundraising goal. Yes!

    For the remaining 10 days of the campaign, we’ll be working toward a stretch goal of $6,500. These funds will go directly towards a more competitive rate for a composer to create a soundtrack directly inspired by the original play for The Infinite Wrench, which in turn was inspired by a Thierry de Mey composition.

    If you are moved to say, “How can I help?” here are some clues:

    -- If you haven’t donated, click “Contribute” at the top of the page! Anywhere from $20-$60 will be more than enough to get us to the stretch goal.

    -- If you have donated already, keep an eye out for social media posts, which you can like/share/talk about out-loud at the next cookout you attend!

    -- Shoot me an email at chiangkurt@gmail.com, and tell me “I think Chicka-Dee will speak to this person I know!” We can make a connection to see if they would like to contribute, or simply follow the project.

    And that’s it, really. Easy.

    While I have you here and before I go, let me direct you to the campaign efforts of the two other active 3AP artists: Dorian Sylvain’s “Resilient Voices,” and Yoshinojo Fujima’s “Kurokami E{m}Urge.” Both are excellent projects, and I encourage you to chip in there if you are able.

    Thanks! More soon, positively.

    - KC

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