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MEMORY LAB

Katt Lissard

Upcoming & Ongoing Work

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Memory of a Drowning Landscape

 

Community, Performance, and Regeneration

Next Residency:  January 11th-30th, 2018

Roma and the Malealea Valley, Lesotho

Since April 2016, I’ve been involved in a three-phased experiment to perform the resonance of place in Lesotho, southern Africa.  Memory of a Drowning Landscape built on the work of the Split the Village project, trying to articulate the global threat of climate change by looking at local loss.

In collaboration with students and colleagues from the National University of Lesotho’s Theatre Unit, we began to explore the intangible cultural heritage lost to communities visually, acoustically and orally along the flooded Phuthiatšana River Valley in rural Lesotho – the end result of the construction of the Metolong Dam.  We started by playing with ideas of giving and receiving directions to places that are dependent on disappearing landmarks and flexible concepts of time.  

Creating Community Conversation

 

The Winter/Summer Institute in Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

Summer 2017

I'm the artistic director of The Winter/Summer Institute (WSI) which has been making theatre that makes a difference since 2006. We primarily work in Lesotho, southern Africa and New York City, but this past summer we teamed up with people in Chattanooga for a three-day intensive weekend residency, "Creating Community Conversations" - bringing our collaborative theatre-making process to a region that, like the United States as a whole, is deeply divided along political, religious, class, and racial lines.

The residency drew participants from across Chattanooga and included community organizers, neighborhood activists, professional actors, working-class youth and current and former students of Chattanooga State’s professional actor training program (our host and co-sponsor).

Lesotho, Africa

 

Much of my recent artistic work/life has been connected to Lesotho, Africa. Since January 2005, when I arrived on my first Fulbright to teach, research and direct shows at the National University in Roma, I’ve been navigating the tricky cultural terrain of the small, mountainous country and making collaborative projects there involving students, colleagues, professional performers, NGO staff and members of rural village communities. My time in Lesotho continues to transform the way I look at and understand the world. My creative work is an attempt to take those disparate observations, stories, lessons, absurdities and incongruities and feed them into performance, writing and community projects. One form that has taken is a performance, installation & archive project exploring the global impact of local loss called Split the Village.

Split the Village uses performance and installation to capture the essence of place and begin to build a transitory cultural archive. The project’s inspiration is a 14 kilometer stretch of the Phuthiatšana River valley in rural Lesotho which was flooded in late 2014 when construction of the Metolong Dam was complete.

 

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The spiraling Aloe polyphylla, pictured at the right and above, grows up to three feet across and is native only to the mountains of Lesotho. Like the country itself, it is unique and endangered.