About the Grant

$22,000 to support We Are The Paper We Are The Trees (MAP 2014)
$5,000 to general operating expenses for LACE

About the Project

We Are The Paper We Are The Trees is a cross-disciplined performance and installation work by choreographer taisha paggett in collaboration with experimental filmmaker Cauleen Smith and sculptor Rodney McMillian. Delving into relationships between the Black body, belonging, nature, and urban environments, the artists will create a raw interior landscape that is built up, shifted around, and rebuilt over the course of two months. These artists ask, “What does it mean to be one with nature? When does nature conjure up questions of privilege, property and power?”

Rodney McMillian will build an immersive environment in LACE’s 3,500 square feet gallery, covered in deep layers of sand, clay, and soil, with video by Cauleen Smith projected onto two large walls. Visitors will be invited to take off their shoes and freely move through the space, and take in the simplicity and contrasting complexity of the performers’ task at hand.

Collaborating artists are researching historical movement of Black communities in Los Angeles, and developing a series of patterns. The shifting of the topographies from one settlement to the next will determine the sculptural models that McMillian creates, and the resulting shapes and patterns will also determine paggett’s movement scores. Performers will shift the soil throughout each day—crawling, pushing—and intently moving as they trace the movement of Black communities into the city during the Dust Bowl, and subsequent settlement patterns.

Related Websites


taisha paggett

Cauleen Smith


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