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40,000 Trees: A Postcard from the Tsunami

Benedetta Piantella Simeonidis

A multimedia performance that employs video, audio, dance and theater in an attempt to share an important piece of personal history, part trauma and part love story.

http://www.40000trees.org



On December 26th of 2004, I was sleeping on the beach of Unawatuna, Sri Lanka when the Tsunami hit. I miraculously managed to survive the fury of the wave, but it was only thanks to the generosity and selflessness of the people of Sri Lanka that I managed to return home safely. Surviving this catastrophe of incalculable proportions, I feel like I have received not only an enormous gift but also a great responsibility. The Tsunami of 2004 represents a great moment to reflect upon those events that go so much beyond our comprehension and understanding of the world; those we can't define as either positive or negative. They just ARE. Just like life itself: a constant cycle. New life follows destruction. With the use of projections and sounds, props and choreography, recorded media and live acts, 40.000 Trees narrates a developing love story, the terror and the joy of finding love, the murderous and the nourishing side of Nature, while asserting the power of meditation and the indisputability of Karma and mortality. This performance inaugurates a series of works that I am developing around this profound inspiration. It will culminate with a site-specific performance that will include the planting of 40.000 trees along the coasts of Sri Lanka, in remembrance of the 40.000 lives lost on the island. The trees will also help the reforestation of the affected areas and will constitute a small natural barrier against future rages of Nature.

Background
http://itp.nyu.edu/physcomp/sensors/Reports/Tsunameter