PLAYA Audio + Video

PLAYA Environment

These videos feature experts in their field talking about topics in biology, geology, archaeology of the Summer Lake Valley.

PLAYA Impact

Residents often insist that a stay at PLAYA creates lasting influences on their thinking and work. These videos exhibit residents’ experiences at PLAYA and the continuing influence of PLAYA on their work.

Gravity and Light by Cameron Scott

Video Details

Of the three professional parts of my life, being a writer is the hardest to find balance in. Both times I’ve attended PLAYA have been incredibly generative and given me time to work through larger collections of poetry and prose without life’s distractions (a collection of poems was published shortly after each residency–as a teacher and fly-fishing guide I can be distracted very easily).

And as I watch the pressure mount on the waters I love to fish and advocate for social justice in my local community and classroom, it is hard not to feel a bit of a dystopian bite to the air. Is our country just experiencing growing pains during a global pandemic or an unraveling? Writings like this “Gravity and Light” series allow me to explore this question along with finding some spiritual solace and perspective in the surrounding world (and sometimes I get to branch out into visual arts and play on the PLAYA, too).

Pink Moment: Hyphenated-Landscape by Pepper Pepper

Video Details

A Hyphenated dance for the landscape and privacy in the wide open desert, in a dust storm, and then shared on the internet. A pink dress, perfect to dance in on any occasion. I made this dance in the middle of a dust storm early on at my stay at Playa Summer Lake. This moment generated an entire body of work for me. This dance connecting me to a long tradition of dancers waving fabric in playa winds. It was perfect because it caught me off guard and I didn’t have a chance to prepare any of my other materials besides my pink dress my body and my camera. I choose to vividly remember this moment as if it were a martian or moon landscape. I choose to rewrite my memory to allow for the gaps of uncertainty fluttering between the choreography occurring between the land and my body. I choose to present my memory as a hyphenated landscape. Extending beyond the margin and re-framed with technology. My practice changed here because this moment allows for my movement practice to become a visual one. This is the moment I hyphenated between my dance/theatre practice and a visual arts practice. This is the moment I stepped between one world and into the next. A very private moment, you’re allowed to see the extension of. By Pepper Pepper 2020 Made at Playa Summer Lake during an Artist Residency Fall 2019

Hero by Jamie Rose Shanahan with Dan Shanahan

Video Details

As the fires burned, Jamie and her husband made this video as a prayer for the space and rain to come. The poem/song was written while at Playa and was published by Musehick Publications in March 2020

Expanding the Contraction

We believe the landscape that envelops PLAYA acts to expand the imagination. In this time when so many are experiencing a sense of contraction, the work offered here highlights the quality of expansion.

Changing Woman, Changing Man by Kristin Berger

Video Details
I came to Playa as a poet-mother in need of deep sleep. I stared for weeks at the horizons, as many as I could take in at once. My skin dried out, my hair turned brittle. My brain learned to stop telling time by clocks, and the body’s appetite became a slow-burning, easily-tended need. Words came loose. Sleep filled in the spaces where wasps and dust also sang. I wrote for other voices, other characters, for the elements and the birds and the weather. Or, tried to attach to words, to systems that were beyond language. Residency after residency (there were 3) throughout the years, I came and went from Playa as different versions of myself: My children grew into teens; my marriage unraveled; jobs changed; friends forged and lost. Books got written, drafts got burned. So much weather imprinted me, I still hear it six hours from Summer Lake. I came to long the ways in which I would be changed, taking cues from the subtle and dramatic ways of the High Desert. Though I wouldn’t have expected it, I found my soul’s home.

Someone remarked recently about how our current pandemic refrain is “When this is over, I will…,” as if we are waiting for an unknown, fixed mark on the horizon to blaze in order to resume life again, a safe harbor. As if the life we are living right now, with all it’s uncertainty, anxiety, poverty, pain, exhaustion, and disappointment, isn’t life. Definitely, there are things I will do when this is all over: I will fly to my mother and hug her; my children will watch the stars with their friends in a puppy-dog jumble; I walk through the six feet and kiss my lover. I will take nothing for granted, not even the rare gift and privilege of a residency hundreds of miles from city lights and distractions.

But this life is not over, and here we are in the middle, with the expanse of the unknown on our side. If we’re lucky, we’re in a safe place. If not, community’s reach is finding ways of connecting and supporting in ways it never has before. Commutes are becoming a relic, and gas stations, too. We are calling people on the phone again. We are baking more bread and swapping recipes; letting our gardens go to seed and saving them; hanging herbs from our ceilings and preserving everything that comes our way. This is the time of preservation, and action. We are chomping at the bit to vote. When what we depend upon gets stripped away, we can see more clearly what needs to be changed, what works, what will no longer serve. I will continue to make eye contact with strangers, and with the ones I love. I will understand, finally, and not abstractedly, what it means to be interconnected. When this is over, if I’m still here, I will lean into the new-normal like a friend I didn’t know I needed.

During the pandemic, and throughout the racial justice uprising here in Portland, poetry hasn’t been very available to me, but I trust the words are biding their time, being present and listening. They are quietly lamenting and cheering the change they will describe, eventually, in all combinations of twenty-six letters. If I’m just as tuned, I can hear their pivoting and expansion, like fire popping dormant seeds, or ice cleaving rock. Like a dust storm beginning as a dim lifting spot on the horizon, a miracle of earth talking straight to the sky.

PLAYA Alumni

These videos were made by artists in residence of PLAYA.