Concept, design, animation and programming: Sabine Gruffat
Sound Designer: Paul Geluso
Additional animation: Ariel Li
Additional programming: Shaw Terwilliger

A Kiss of the Earth is a responsive three-screen computer-animated video and sound installation inspired by Sergei Diaghilev’s first production of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring. The sound composition is composed entirely of Stravinsky’s score performed digitally to emulate music and sound effects.This installation refers to the reconstructed Rite of Spring, with decor & costumes after Nicholas Roerich by Kenneth Archer and choreography after Vaslav Nijinsky by Millicent Hodson.

Act 1 of this animation utilizes real-time weather data from Paris, France (site of the original production of The Rite of Spring) downloaded from the internet as a driver for the animation. For example, when it rains in Paris, it will rain in the animation. In addition, viewers may use a text message to initiate the playback of Act 2,  “The Sacrifice”. For example, Visitors to the gallery may send the word "Sacrifice" via text message to a phone number that is posted on the gallery wall. The text message triggers Act 2 to play. In the original version, the sacrifice is embodied in the death of a young maiden at the end of an elaborate ritualistic dance. In this version, the sacrifice has been reconceived as a commentary on a real contemporary sacrifice, the increased exploitation of our planet and its natural resources in the face of economic and political pressure.

This project attempts to use digital technologies with the same spirit of formal innovation that marks the first performance of The Rite of Spring. In this way, the Internet and wireless network re-envisions how The Rite of Spring may be staged, exhibited, and received, by an audience, while drawing from the same iconoclastic and riotous energy of the original performance. We live in a world where violence and oppression occur most frequently anonymously, with high tech vision machines that can kill across great distances but we are disembodied from our experience of death. In this way, A Kiss of the Earth is a contemporary tragedy.

Act 1

Act 2