Black Swans, an opera poem© is envisioned as an international community and collaborative project. Multidimensional and interdisciplinary in scope, this performance installation weaves personal and cultural heritage stories inspired by the significance of the black swan. Aesthetically, Black Swans integrates the visual expansiveness of an opera with the intimacy and depth found in the poem form.
Artist-scholar L. Martina Young imagines the black swan image as a bridging and unifying symbol. She explores how diverse cultural and human narratives relate to the significance of the black swan and how those narratives inform and interact with one another—culturally, ecologically, and aesthetically. As a humanitarian, Ms. Young hopes to identify not only real and imagined qualities evoked by the image, but also to address the modern ecological challenges endangering the species itself. Ms. Young’s approach constitutes a creative process and artistic product that is capable of yielding ways and possibilities for critical conversation, healing, and reconciliation among peoples and cultures in our modern times.
Most significantly, Black Swans’ content evolves as it reflects the living stories, poetries, dance, and musics of the people involved in re-imagining and performing the work: indigenous and non-indigenous, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal alike. When we can locate and retrieve something of ourselves in one another’s stories, we deepen our connections. Currently, U.S.—based artists are developing an excerpt of the work for a 2018 October performance relevant to their lives and cultures.
Black Swans, an opera poem© is a site of inquiry. It is also a universal symbol that beckons global consideration, response, and active engagement. The final outcome of this work is exemplified by the image audiences are left with: a constructed and illuminated installation of the celestial stars forming the Cygnus (Swan) constellation.