Miwa Matreyek combines animation, video, and her own shadow silhouette for a fantastical exploration of Earth’s transformation
Visit the cross-section of the cinematic and theatrical, the fantastical and tangible, with animator, designer, and performer Miwa Matreyek, who brings her captivating works to the Moss Arts Center for four unforgettable evening performances.
Matreyek performs "This World Made Itself" and "Infinitely Yours" on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 7:30 and 9 p.m., and Wednesday, Sept. 29, at 7 and 8:30 p.m. The performances will be held in the Moss Arts Center’s Cube, located at 190 Alumni Mall.
The Moss Arts Center adheres to the guidelines of the Virginia Department of Health and Virginia Tech in its operations, including protocols for distancing, face coverings, and cleaning and sanitation. In accordance with current university policy for indoor events, all faculty, staff, students, and visitors to the Moss Arts Center are required to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status.
Matreyek blurs the line between real and unreal through layers of projected animation, video, and physical form, interacting with the different elements as shadow silhouettes. Creating work that exists both in the realm of handmade and tech, she takes on plastics in the oceans, deforestation, drought, and super storms with magical imagery. Her work exists in an ethereal visual space that makes invisible worlds visible, often weaving surreal and poetic narratives of conflict between man and nature.
Her work “Infinitely Yours” explores global warming and the vastly changing Earth, attempting to physicalize and emotionalize the non-stop barrage of news streaming through screens and the environmental transformation that seemingly cannot be stopped or undone.
A companion to “Infinitely Yours,” “This World Made Itself” combines projected animation and Matreyek’s own shadow silhouette as she interacts with the fantastical world of the video, merging film and theatre to create something that is its own kind of spectacle. A visually- and musically-rich journey through the history of the Earth, from the universe’s epic beginnings to the complex world of humans, “The World Made Itself” is at once semi-scientific — like flipping through a children’s encyclopedia, or viewing a kaleidoscope — and also emotional and dream-like.
These performances continue Matreyek’s relationship with Virginia Tech. She connected with students and faculty this past spring to discuss “Infinitely Yours” and shared insights about her creative process and transdisciplinary approach during a live discussion hosted by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT).
Traveling as a one-woman show, Matreyek performs her shadow work all around the world, including animation/film festivals, theatre/performance festivals, art museums, science museums, and technology conferences. Past presenters include TED, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), White Light Festival at Lincoln Center, Sundance New Frontier, Fusebox Festival, Time-Based Art Festival, Future of Storytelling Conference, ISEA Conference, and Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Matreyek is a recipient of the Sherwood Award (2016), Creative Capital Award (2013), Princess Grace Award (2007), and Princess Grace Foundation’s Special Projects Award (2009, 2012, and 2019).
She received a master of fine arts in experimental animation and integrated media from California Institute of the Arts and is a co-founder and core-collaborator of the multimedia theatre company Cloud Eye Control.
Panel: “The Art and the Anthropocene”
An interdisciplinary panel of Virginia Tech faculty will discuss “The Art and the Anthropocene” prior to Matreyek’s performance on Tuesday, Sept. 28, at 6 p.m. in the Moss Arts Center’s Merryman Family Learning Studio, room 253.
The mid-20th century to present day has seen unprecedented impacts on ecosystems and climate as a result of human activity. This trend has prompted coinage of the present epoch as the Anthropocene. What role can the arts play in communicating science, contending with climate anxiety, illuminating ungraspable environmental realities, and manifesting a brighter future? These questions and more will be considered by the panel, which includes Meredith Drum, assistant professor of creative technologies, School of Visual Arts; Scotty Hardwig, assistant professor of movement, performance, and integrated media, School of Performing Arts; Patty Raun, professor of performance and voice, School of Performing Arts, and director of Virginia Tech's Center for Communicating Science; and Todd Schenk, associate professor, School of Public and International Affairs, and affiliated faculty, Global Change Center and Center for Coastal Studies.
The panel is free and open to the public, but registration is required.
Matreyek will visit several Virginia Tech classes during her visit. She will meet with undergraduate students in visual arts and geography to discuss working at the intersection of animation, performance, and environmental advocacy; attend an urban affairs and planning course to examine thematic connections between her work and legislative efforts to mitigate and combat harms to the environment; and connect with students in a graduate-level course in Virginia Tech’s Alliance for Social, Political, Ethical, and Cultural Thought (ASPECT) program for an in-depth exploration of the political inspiration and goals as a multimedia performer.
Tickets for the performances are $25 for general admission and $10 for Virginia Tech students. Tickets can be purchased online; at the Moss Arts Center's box office, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; or by calling 540-231-5300 during box office hours.
Parking is available in the North End Parking Garage on Turner Street for $6. Visitors may park in the garage by taking a ticket at entry and paying with Visa or Mastercard upon exit. Virginia Tech has also partnered with ParkMobile to provide a convenient, contactless electronic payment option for parking, which may be used at any parking meter, campus parking space, or lot with standard F/S, C/G, or R parking.
If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Jonathan Boulter at 540-231-5300 or email firstname.lastname@example.org during regular business hours.