I’m creating a web-based interactive story called Shanidar, a sequel to my 2019 piece, TimeBefore Memory (https://paleolithic.ceciliadougherty.com).Shanidar takes place in Paleolithic times and tells a story of a small band of Neanderthals and Cro Magnons on a migration through France, Italy, the Balkans and southward to what is now Iraqi Kurdistan, to a site called Shanidar, which is the location of the famous Neanderthal “flower burial.”
I started Shanidar, while we were, more or less, in lockdown. And while I had traveled to sites in Spain and France to research Time Before Memory, I had to do a most of my research for Shanidar from my desktop. Unable to travel to Europe to gather source materials and take photographs of paleolithic sites, I decided to draw the background imagery for the story and imagine my fictional characters more clearly as people and less as (pre)historical elements.
Both stories have involved research into human species, climate change, patterns of human migration over thousands of years, and most wonderfully, into Paleolithic art, ritual, and behavior. There’s queer and trans influence in the storyline and characters as well, acknowledging a long history of multiplicities of gender.
Shanidar is speculative fiction, and is not science. It questions and critiques scientific findings and observations, nonetheless. I expect to finish this piece in mid-2022. I’m using Twine game software to create the story and am adding not only original imagery, but also an original soundtrack.
Walter & McBean Galleries, Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute. Margaret Tedesco & Leila Weefur, Curators
The San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI) celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2021 with A Spirit of Disruption, an exhibition that reflects on the school’s profound and sustained influence on contemporary art and highlights the contributions of generations of diverse artists and individuals often overlooked in the historical narrative of SFAI. A Spirit of Disruption includes the work of more than thirty alumni and faculty from the 1960s to the present; a dynamic media installation drawn from SFAI’s vast archive; and a section dedicated to artist model Florence “Flo” Wysinger Allen, the subject of countless paintings, sculptures, and drawings made at the school from 1933-1997.
A Spirit of Disruption also includes a dynamic media installation drawn from SFAI’s Anne Bremer Library archive featuring artists Rigo 89, Karen Finley, Cliff Hengst, Doug Hall, Debora Iyall, Jun Jalbuena, Jennifer Locke, Paula Levine, Cecilia Dougherty; and George Kuchar in collaboration with Tim Sullivan, among many others.
The ferry, the bus, the subway. Walk, too. Walk around the neighborhood in the early morning hours, especially, when few people are up and about and you can occasionally take off your mask and enjoy the air, the colors of dawn, and the fragrance of the fall.
Announcing the launch of my new web-based essay, RIDE, about what it feels like being in public and being on public transit in New York. A complete environment for daydreaming, people-watching, and finding your place, your role, in the city.
Interweaving archaeological evidence with speculative fiction, Cecilia Dougherty’s web-based drama Time Before Memory (2019) interrogates the origins of our species and prompts reflection on its present state. Set during the Paleolithic Age (29,900-40,000 years ago) the multimedia play unfolds in three acts, each containing an indefinite number of scenes. The multimedia work was created with Twine — an open-source, engaging story generation platform — and combines elements of video games, literature, photography, and video. The tension between individual autonomy versus collective action, alongside interrelated issues of land, migration, and competition, is a major theme throughout Time Before Memory. Given such motifs, Dougherty’s inventive work of electronic literature resonates in our immediate moment, one marked by toxic individualism, scarcity of resources, and widespread fear stoked by nativist rhetoric.
Read the entire review HERE – it’s a really good read. Tony Huffman understands this piece.
Today, fundamental changes are taking place on our planet, and our entire lifestyle is being re-examined. We’re seeing other forms of life existing in what feels like a parallel universe – which we used not pay such close attention to – now invade our lives. Such inalienable rights as freedom of movement, meeting friends, socializing, and saying our last farewells have suddenly become impossible. The pandemic caught us unaware. Like in Noah’s Ark, we are locked up with our families and pets, or on our own as we move towards a new technogenic life. Virtual reality has suddenly crept into our lives and is asserting its rights. Social networks are becoming the only form of contact with the outside world, with friends and family. If personal QR-codes contain all the information about a person, including biological data, then where will the boundary of state interference in our private lives be? Perhaps, this crucible of changes will change society and our everyday reality drastically, help us to shed the unnecessary and superficial things in life, and to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the people around us. –theme description from the Cyfest/Cyland site
Francesca Fini (Italy), /S)CONFINAMENTO — first chapter, 2020
Announcing my new mobile and web-native story game, which I produced in Twine and which has just been launched (Dec 8, 2019) by Microscope Gallery in Brooklyn as the first project in their new web-based artspace, Platform. Thank you, Andrea and Elle!
You can play the game online here. Play the story on your phone, your iPad or tablet, laptop, or computer. It’s Paleolithic!
On Saturday, June 15, 2019, Kevin Killian passed away. I shot this video of Kevin and Cedar Sigo in 2004, Kevin is reading one of Cedar’s poems, Theme, and his own poem, Who.
Kevin played the demanding and unforgiving father in my 1991 video, Coal Miner’s Granddaughter, and he played Peggy, the enterprising literary agent of Joe Orton, in the collaborative bio-pic, Joe-Joe, which I created with Leslie Singer in 1993. Kevin was not an interpretive sort of actor. He created his characters from a sense of the total intention of the communicative enterprise and his contributions were enlightened and enlightening.
In the letter I received with Mirage Period(ical) #5, Kevin said he would like to talk to me on the phone. I emailed him saying I’d love to talk and when would be good for him. I was definitely completely out of it, didn’t know that he was dying, and had no sense of his invitation for one last conversation as a wish that he knew would not be granted. Not a wish from me, but just from time itself.
Kevin Killian and Dodie Bellamy edited two more issues of Mirage Period(ical). Issue #5 December 2018, cover above, finally brings my 1997 conversation with Yvonne Rainer to light. Thank you! You can read the conversation here. Read about Mirage here.