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Forest Tales: An Eco-Cinema in Two Acts

The “Ramayana” is a phoenix rising, a tale told and retold a thousand times, a tradition that is as much about storytelling as about the story itself. Originally imagined as a film, this project intended to extend the ethos of ecology into artistic practice by finding human-powered energy solutions (bicycle-powered, hand-cranked, etc.) for the production. However, since the most ecological film is one that never gets made, the project now exists as a performance of the “film.” Staged in two acts, Forest Tales is therefore not only the story of Sita, but also the story of cinema itself.
Forest Tales
Forest Tales: Act I
Saturday, Dec 10 
2–4 PM
Samsung Hall
Free with museum admission  
Presented as a character study of Sita, the first act is a storytelling session featuring live drawing of the storyboard for the film. In this sci-fi bio-punk retelling, Sita — hacker, shaman, daughter of the earth and the force of life itself — drives the narrative into new and uncharted terrains.  

Forest Tales
: Act II

Sunday, Dec 11
2–4 PM 
Samsung Hall
Free with museum admission  
A study on the process of cinema, the second act features a live shoot of a scene from the film, a press junket with the cast and crew, an opportunity to interact with the costumes and sets, and a sneak peek of the trailer, culminating with a reading of the film's script. Given the narrative, visual design and modes of production, audience members are invited to imagine what this cinematic experience could be.    

Anuj Vaidya About the Artist 
Anuj Vaidya is an artist, educator and media curator whose work straddles the cusp between performance and film and addresses issues of gender, sexuality and ecology. Vaidya received his B.H.A. in English/Theater Arts from Carnegie Mellon University and M.F.A. in Film/Video/New Media from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His own artistic practice has grown from addressing questions around the constructed nature of gender/sexuality (through films like “Chingari Chumma” and “Bad Girl with a Heart of Gold”) to the constructed nature of nature/culture (“Miss Piggy, Live with Diane Sawyer”). Another project, Larval Rock Stars (a collaboration with artist/scholar Dr. Praba Pilar), is a conceptual multi-modal undertaking at the intersection of the bio-techno-critical and the absurd. Vaidya is pursuing a Ph.D. in Performance Studies at UC Davis. Since 2008, Vaidya has also been co-director for the 3rd i South Asian Film Festival in San Francisco. More details on his various projects are available at: handspuncinema.wordpress.com.