Lighting and set designer Dante Olivia Smith manipulates light with water and salt in response to the theme of healing and 2 Kings 2:21:
And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the LORD, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land.
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Untitled, Salts, Rice Paper, Light, 2014
From the Artist:
Light is transformative, the presence or absence of light can completely change what we see and how we see it, literally and psychologically. Our relationship to light is primal, light and heat have been historically in-separable until only recent technological advances. We require light as fuel for the food we grow. Light is a need for human life akin to breathing and yet we almost never think about it unless it is absent.
Light as a medium presents a bit of a conundrum. On one hand everything you see is light. Everything. When light shines on a object- say a red shirt, and the shirt absorbs all portions of the visible spectrum except red, which the shirt reflects back to your eye- condensed, you don’t see the red shirt you see light. On the other hand, with out an object to reflect it, light is worthless to a viewer. In theatre, outside of perhaps a laser light show, there is little point to lighting an empty room, an audience is there to see actors. As a lighting designer, my job is to structure how and what the audience sees.
This section of text speaks to me much in the same way that light does. The transformation of the earth from barren to fertile, A return of life and the discovery of it anew.
Dante Olivia Smith is a lighting and set designer based in New York. She was drawn to theatre and lighting at an early age when awestruck by a shadow puppetry performance. This moment cemented her trust in the power of storytelling to inspire imagination and encourage change.
Recent work- New York: Sarah Flood in Salem Mass (The Flea) Carcass (HERE Arts) Waiting for Waiting for Godot (The Collective) Tender Napalm, Love in Transit (The Shop)Suicide?! Romeo & Juliet (Empirical Rogue, Resident Designer) Stabat Mater Fabulosa (Morningside Opera), In the Company of Jane Doe, Modern Dance for Beginners (Cake Productions).
United States: Warren (or) Those People (Boise Contemporary Theater) Monopoly, How Theatre Failed America (Mike Daisey) Final Broadcast (Umo Ensemble).
She also had the pleasure of designing the first production of Tony Kushner’s The Henry Box Brown Play. In addition to her own work Dante has been fortunate to travel around the country and world as a lighting assistant and supervisor.
She is an avid Seattle sports fan (Seahawks/ Mariners!), and keeps a blog of her travel adventures at travelingforwork.tumblr.com. MFA, NYU/Tisch Department of Design for Stage and Film; BFA, Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, WA. www.danteoliviasmith.com
This work was curated by Michael Markham.
Images are copyrighted by the artist and used here by permission.
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