Star Magno­lia

kind of spe­cu­la­ti­ve-fic­tio­n­al inter­stel­lar novel

the visu­al album

The Visu­al Album is ano­t­her seed of the thea­ter pro­duc­tion “Star Magno­lia”, an Inter­stel­lar­no­ve­la by cho­reo­gra­pher and per­for­mer Jere­my Nedd.

It con­sists of five tracks that are based on the thoughts of Octa­via E. Butler’s “Earth­seed. The Books of the Living”, a belief and thought sys­tem, which she deve­lo­ped in her two novels “The Para­ble of the Sower” and “The Para­ble of the Tricks­ter” and which are taken and brought to after the year 2094.

The tracks take the noti­on of “Earth­seed” to space and allow it to time-tra­vel. They stay true to the under­stan­ding of humans and huma­ni­ty as being seeds, which to grow must take root among the stars. The Visu­al Album gives glim­p­ses in to the cos­mos of both Octa­via E. But­ler and our future spe­cu­la­ti­ons. They open the ima­gi­na­ti­ve field from a human-cen­te­red per­spec­ti­ve to extra-ter­restri­al encoun­ters. The images ming­le and morph real peop­le and pla­ces with images gene­ra­ted from an AI, which ima­gi­nes what this new outer space ‑never “dis­co­ve­r­ed” by NASA- would be.
The vide­os in the Visu­al Album were thought as seed-cap­su­les to tra­vel online, tra­ver­se the vast digi­tal space across all boar­ders, appro­pria­ting adver­ti­se­ment spaces, busi­ness spaces, shop­ping spaces etc. – but all with no clear objec­ti­ve of sel­ling or pro­mo­ting anything, but rather to plant seeds for chan­ge in all territories.

Con­cept: Hayat Erdoğan, Juan Fer­ra­ri, Jere­my Nedd

“star magno­lia” the visu­al album

Track 01: Change

The text is from Octa­via E. Butler’s “Earth­seed: The Books of the Living”, a belief sys­tem which she deve­lo­ps in the two novels “The Para­ble of the Sower” (1993) and “The Para­ble of the Tricks­ter” (1998). The most pre­vai­ling idea of “Earth­seed” is to embrace the idea of Chan­ge equa­ling what reli­gi­ons named God. The abi­li­ty to adapt to the ever­ch­an­ging of ever­ything, which one shapes and chan­ges con­stant­ly, to trans­form and be trans­for­med, and allow dif­fe­ring per­spec­ti­ves is key to be-in-the-world, to beco­me-with, to exist-fur­ther, pro­teus-like, so we can grow.

“All that you touch, you chan­ge. All that you chan­ge, chan­ges you.”

Video*: Juan Fer­ra­ri
Voice-Over: Bran­dy But­ler
Music: Cami­la Fer­ra­ri
Dra­ma­tur­gy: Hayat Erdoğan 

*The video was filmed in a per­for­ma­ti­ve encoun­ter bet­ween Juan Fer­ra­ri, Cleo­phée Moser and Cami­la Ferrari

Track 02: Time

The text was deve­lo­ped and writ­ten by Edwin Rami­rez during the rehe­ar­sal pro­cess of the thea­ter pro­duc­tion “Star Magno­lia”. In this text, Edwin thinks about time and space, tri­es to find an approach to the dif­fe­ring sci­en­ti­fic ide­as and theo­ries about time and space and con­fronts and ques­ti­ons them from a per­so­nal point of view. What if thin­king about space and time, thin­king about sci-fi-futures would inclu­de diver­se bodies? What if the­re was no retro-topic nost­al­gia based on nor­ma­ti­ve anthropo­centric world­views? Edwin pro­po­ses to try to over­co­me the nor­ma­ti­ve anthro­po-cen­te­red ide­as of time and dive into non-linea­ri­ty, which breaks with noti­ons of past, pre­sent and future and which fol­lows the “Earthseed”-idea of diver­si­ty: “Embrace diver­si­ty, or be destroyed.” 

Video: Juan Fer­ra­ri
Per­for­mer: Edwin Rami­rez
Sound: Tomas Segu­ra
Dra­ma­tur­gy: Hayat Erdoğan

Track 03: Baumfreund

The text is based on the thoughts of Ema­nue­le Coc­cia, phi­lo­so­pher and bota­nist, which he deve­lo­ps fur­ther in the text “Quer­cus”. He con­si­ders humans from the point of view of trees, ques­tio­ning our sen­se of domi­nan­ce and how much we as humans are inter­de­pen­dent from and with trees. The text pro­po­ses an important shift in per­spec­ti­ve to find new ways of living tog­e­ther and pro­tec­ting our eco­sys­tems that we are des­troy­ing. The idea of ent­an­gle­ment, the con­nec­ted­ness of ever­ything can be lin­ked to thoughts found in Octa­via E. Butler’s “Earth­seed”. The ques­ti­on of humans being earth-seed that still need to grow so they can take root amongst the starts, i.e. trans­form, adapt and bring the pro­ject huma­ni­ty to the level of adult­hood, are shi­ning through the­se thoughts. The noti­on of over­co­m­ing ter­ra-cen­trism to save ter­ra is the key thought

Video: Juan Fer­ra­ri
Voice-Over: Legi­on Seven
Sound: Legi­on Seven
Dra­ma­tur­gy: Hayat Erdoğan

Track 04: Power Struggles

The text is from Octa­via E. Butler’s “Earth­seed: The Books of the Living”. In the­se ver­ses about igno­ran­ce and power strug­gles, the poli­ti­cal noti­on of the book’s tru­isms come as warnings. While in the two novels of But­ler, in which she also descri­bes the rise of a cor­rupt, opp­res­si­ve, dog­ma­tic poli­ti­cal world­view that sub­ju­ga­tes ever­ything to its explo­ita­ti­ve ideo­lo­gy and divi­des huma­ni­ty into tho­se who domi­na­te and tho­se who must be per­se­cu­t­ed and/or oppres­sed, the­se ver­ses are also meant to rai­se awa­reness for the power of igno­ran­ce, which can be unders­tood in terms of post­co­lo­ni­al thin­ker Gaya­tri Spivak’s “sanc­tion­ed igno­ran­ce”. The­se ver­ses also demask the idea of com­pe­ti­ti­on and colonial/capitalist idea of growth and pro­po­ses rather to col­la­bo­ra­te, to learn, to think.

Video: Juan Fer­ra­ri
Voice-Over: Bran­dy But­ler
Sound: Legi­on Seven
Dra­ma­tur­gy: Hayat Erdoğan

Track 05: Normalcy

The text was deve­lo­ped and writ­ten by the per­for­mer Kiha­ko Nari­sa­wa during the rehe­ar­sal pro­cess of the thea­ter pro­duc­tion “Star Magno­lia”. It was deve­lo­ped as a ship log, a video-mes­sa­ge sent to a very clo­se per­son that might still be some­whe­re on Earth.

Kiha­ko descri­bes how the noti­ons of a dis­tinct world­view in bina­ries, like e.g. nor­mal-spe­cial have been mixed and don’t make any sen­se any­mo­re and how the things that were regar­ded as being nor­mal have beco­me so rare that they can be con­si­de­red spe­cial, extra­or­di­na­ry from her now. Nor­mal things like being human, empa­the­tic, the fee­ling of being tog­e­ther in something.

So here, again, the pre­vai­ling ide­as of Octa­via E. Butler’s “Earth­seed”, i.e. how we as huma­ni­ty can work on being human and humans, on real con­nec­ti­vi­ty and respon­se-abi­li­ty with Earth and huma­ni­ty beco­me only visi­ble when you lea­ve the ter­ra-cen­trist world­view and pro­ject it into a future. We have never had reached normalcy.

Text by Kiha­ko Nari­sa­wa
Video: Juan Fer­ra­ri and Jere­my Nedd
Per­for­mer: Kiha­ko Nari­sa­wa
Dra­ma­tur­gy: Hayat Erdoğan

director’s gui­de to star magnolia

A con­ver­sa­ti­on bet­ween Jere­my Nedd (direc­tor) and Hayat Erdoğan (direc­tor of Thea­ter Neumarkt).

visu­als for “Star Magno­lia” by Lau­ra Knüsel: