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Peter Sellars' Multi-Disciplinary Performance Film THIS BODY IS SO IMPERMANENT Gets World Premiere

The multi-disciplinary performance film is a creative response to COVID-19, made in isolation by artists on three continents

Peter Sellars' Multi-Disciplinary Performance Film THIS BODY IS SO IMPERMANENT Gets World Premiere

At a moment when grief persists and hope seems more possible, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, the Boethius Initiative at UCLA, and Fisher Center at Bard will present the World Premiere of this body is so impermanent..., the latest project from renowned theater director Peter Sellars.

The premiere will take place virtually on March 17, 2021. The multi-disciplinary performance film is a creative response to COVID-19, made in isolation by artists on three continents as a call to learn and heal together, embracing reflections on the fragility of physical being and the liberation of conscious awareness.

"The year of 2020 is forever marked in human history by COVID-19. The role of the arts is to create a series of markers next to that marker, which can memorialize and commemorate this moment in time, and also offer a window of acknowledgement, understanding, and empathy. Our project is offered in the hopes of developing, deepening, and extending the connective tissues that link the practice of the arts and medical practice," said Sellars.

March 17, 2021, 4 p.m. PT / 7 p.m. ET - this body is so impermanent...
https://www.cinema.ucla.edu/events/2021/03/17/this-body-is-so-impermanent

The presentation will begin with a guided mindfulness meditation session led by Alisa Dennis Ph.D. (30 min.), followed by the World Premiere screening (75 min.) and a post-screening conversation with the audience and artists (30-40 min.).

MacArthur Fellow Peter Sellars is a distinguished professor in the UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance, where he has taught since 1988. Directed by Sellars, this body is so impermanent... is based on a passage from the Vimalakirti Sutra, a foundational Buddhist text from the 1st century CE. The multi-disciplinary performance film was born of a remarkable collaboration between Sellars in Los Angeles, California, and a trio of acclaimed artists across disparate geographies and time zones: South Indian devotional singer Ganavya from a Sufi chapel on traditional sacred land outside of Portland, Oregon; master calligrapher Wang Dongling from his studio in Hangzhou, China; and improvisatory dancer Michael Schumacher from his apartment in Amsterdam, Netherlands; all engaging with the Sutra and each other in an ensemble act of creation and healing.

The passage used from the Vimalakirti Sutra is one of the most profound and penetrating descriptions of the human body in early literature, one that understands illness as more than affliction - that it is also a messenger. The text contrasts the body that is impermanent, that is fated to be broken and destroyed, with the body of reality, the body that is formed by all our good actions, wisdom, generosity, love, patience, morality, transcendence, and shared kindness and courage. this body is so impermanent... becomes a memorial of shared suffering, and a message of beauty and hope.

"Art and medicine are both focused on healing, repair, and recovery. In art, as in medicine, diagnosis is essential in our practice, and early diagnosis is preferable. Ultimately insight and understanding have to move us beyond our natural reactions to frightening symptoms. On the other side of fear, both art and medicine are committed to the search for causes, and the discovery of meaning in the heart of suffering," said Sellars.


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