Composing the Future: Extinction/Loss

Participatory performance as part of Boston Coastline: Future/Past with Catherine D’Ignazio.  Part of the DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum’s exhibition Walking Sculpture: 1967-2015
Performed on June 16, 2015

This project invited participants who attended the performance walk Boston Coastline: Future/Past to create a collaborative sidewalk-stenciled timeline of the future vis a vis extinction and loss.

Since 2011, through an ongoing series of dialogue-based performances, Sutton has collected over 300 future extinctions: ideas, behaviors, plants, concepts, creatures, and other things that conversation participants hope, fear, or mourn will disappear from the earth in the years to come. She has used this data to create a series of stencils which participants used to compose their own timeline for future extinction.

Do you hope that racism goes extinct by 2040 or 2075? Do you fear that fresh water or public funding for the arts will disappear by 2100?  This project invited participants to ask these questions of themselves and each other, wearing these hopes and fears, engaging in dialogue with passers-by, and marking them semi-permanatly on the ground with colored sand that was hand dyed using non-toxic, biodegradable mineral dyes.

(mixed media, dimensions variable)

Photo credits: Kevin Sweet

During the performance walk, designed by D’Ignazio, participants traced a route driven from the Climate Change prediction of the city’s future coastline which is similar to its historical one before the bay was filled in and buildings were built on top. The goal of the walk was to build an embodied understanding of the future and past of a city changing at scales that are difficult to see and comprehend.

As a guest speaker on the walk, Sutton presented Composing the Future: Extinction/Loss. Other guest speakers include: Eric Gordon, Director of the Engagement Lab at Emerson College, Brian Swett, former Chief of Energy, Environment, and Open Space for the city of Boston, and Vivien Li, President of the Boston Harbor Association.