Who we are
the plastic orchid factory is not a production plant for synthetic flowers. It is a made-up place where ideas, individuals and context collide to manufacture a product. Over the last four years, the plastic orchid factory has created work that fearlessly explores notions of beauty, fragility and failure; challenging and redefining the cultural function of classical and contemporary ballet for the Pacific Northwest.
Why we exist
the plastic orchid factory is energized by investigating the ways in which classically trained bodies relate to and inhabit contemporary ideas. Our work melds the formal with the informal, the representational with the somatic, and the past with the present. Our lineage as classical artists tethers us to the realm of formalism and tradition while our interest as contemporary artists compels us to explore, by whatever means possible, what it means to be human and alive today. Through our work, we create a conduit between the classical and contemporary, the past and the present. To reflect on where we are by considering where we have been.
What We Are Making
We are making a new contemporary ballet called chunking.
Directed and choreographed by artistic director James Gnam, chunking explores the function of memory - particularly aspects that describe how the mind organizes and compartmentalizes information into retainable, accessible data.
Consider, for example, how we break phone numbers into three distinct segments of 3-3-4 digits as a way to make complex number combinations easy to recall - this highly complex psychological phenomena is referred to by psychologists as ‘chunking’ and serves as the starting point for the creative process of this new work.
Why this Work is Important
We live in an age of information - every day, we are bombarded with a multitude of facts, figures and data. As a result we are constantly chunking our experiences as a way to give them significance in our memory. With this new work, we are curious to explore how this chunking phenomenon can relate to a dance performance. Using movement, media and sound, we hope to shape and alter an audience’s traditional interaction with a dance piece. We wish to invite our audience to be stimulated in the visceral exchange of the performance by involving them in a kind of invisible puzzle that triggers curiosity, play, recognition and, hopefully, surprise.
Who is Involved
This work would not be possible without the incredible efforts of our collaborators. As with all of our projects, we place our artists at the centre of the process, their contributions and implication makes our work unique and relevant to the lives our community. For this project we are fortunate to once again be creating with media artist Josh Hite, sound designer Kevin Legere and lighting genius James Proudfoot, and Vancouver dance artists: Vanessa Goodman and Jane Osborne (founders of The Contingency Plan dance company); Bevin Poole (independent artist who appeared with the factory in _post), and Connor Gnam (soloist with Ballet BC).
When it Happens
chunking premieres at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts in Burnaby this November 28, 29, 30 & December 1 and promises to be an edgy ballet that’s sure to amaze!
What We Need & What You Get
For the artistic work of a dance company to exist and thrive, the financial needs of each production must be supported at every stage of development. For this project to date, the plastic orchid factory has been fortunate to receive creation support on many levels, including project funding from the Canada Council for the Arts, The BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver and an artistic residency at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. However, because the factory resides in British Columbia and operates on a project-to-project basis, our ability to see such large-scale endeavour as chunking from concept to completion is dependent on successful partnerships. Not only with arts organizations, but also with individuals such as you.
the plastic orchid factory is invested in creating “fair-trade” dance. For us, the political, thematic and theatrical value is placed where all dance begins and ends - the artist. In all our projects, the artists are at the centre of the process and our budgets clearly reflect this philosophy. More than 75% of our total expenses for chunking are dedicated to artists fees.
Your help today will go directly to supporting the most important and integral aspect of this project: our artists.
With a donation to our project, you are helping to support the work of dedicated artists and the local arts community. Your gift directly impact our ability to fulfill our vision and mission. As a donor, you are helping to shape a unique and innovative performance experience. Your gift goes beyond supporting only one project, but is integral to continuing to bring awareness to the importance of the arts in our society and it’s role in defining and expressing humanity.
WITH EACH DONATION YOU ARE HELPING TO SUPPORT THE WORK OF DEDICATED ARTISTS, THE LOCAL ARTS COMMUNITY AND THE IMPACT OF THE ARTS IN OUR SOCIETY.
YOUR GIFT TODAY BRINGS US CLOSER TO CREATING A UNIQUE AND INNOVATIVE PERFORMANCE EXPERIENCE - EVERY DONATION COUNTS!
Other Ways You Can Help
Though we suggest a financial contribution, we understand that some people just can’t contribute....but that doesn’t mean you can’t help. the plastic orchid factory asks you to consider helping us get the word out and make some noise about our campaign. Facebook, Twitter, and the Indiegogo share tools can help you to do this.
James Gnam artistic director
Natalie LeFebvre Gnam artisitc producer
Team on This Campaign:
natalie lefebvre gnam