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What Else Is There?

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April 2011- Video Screening
Cheltenham Poetry Festival
Cheltenham, UK

Fall 2005-Video Installation
Time Space Limited
Hudson, New York.

“What Else Is There?” is a 5-minute visual poem/video directly inspired by William Butler Yeats' play, "At the Hawk's Well". This video overlays water-related rituals in the tea ceremony of Japan with the ritualistic art of dowsing and an intimate exchange of stories on water between two elderly women.

In the early 1990's, I discovered At the Hawk's Well, one of William Butler Yeats' Four Plays for Dancers written in the style of the Noh drama of Japan. Having grown up in Japan, the discovery of this work by Yeats was extremely exciting to me. Yeats' fascination was not only with the structure of Noh drama, but also with the parallels he saw between the traditional Irish myths/legends and those of Japan. A common denominator in both countries is the acknowledgement of spirits and how they play active roles in the present.

The discovery of this play led to research on the holy wells in Ireland and the parallels with sacred wells/springs and water related rituals in Japan. This research resulted first in the creation of two "Thirst" projects in which water is present, but not accessible for drinking (Thirst - 1999; Thirst (Elegy for Esther) - 2001). The video, “What Else Is There” followed in 2004.