The first video in the CHRYSALIS project part funded by the Humanities Cultural Programme has been released online.
CHRYSALIS is a series of five videos, spanning five countries, that explores the idea that a particular kind of metamorphosis, transformation, and hope is only possible in a place of darkness. Each video is a fusion of the media of classical music, dance, and film, featuring original choreography set to new compositions recorded by the Oxford Alternative Orchestra (OAO).
In the opening video, Aguibou Bougabali Sanou brings us to the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, for an exploration of the theme of Chrysalis. Sanou’s concept is one of magical realism, fusing the quotidian and the idealistic: he brings the images of wings and flight into the quotidian life of his home city. Abrupt camera motion follows the progress of Sanou, whose body transforms into various manifestations of a new butterfly taking wing. At the same time, as Sanou tries to take flight, ordinary life carries on around him - motorbikes, dogs, and chickens amble past him, heads turn of women on the way to their daily shopping. Interspersed with these images, however, is the orchestra in Oxford, set in a rooftop amphitheatre against a blue sky. This is the imagined world of Sanou’s mind, a sky where he can take flight and soar to music only heard by him. This fusion of locations should leave audiences with an uplifting sensation that taking flight is always possible - even if only in the mind.
The project is initiated by Oxford Alternative Orchestra (OAO). OAO is distinct among the UK’S orchestras: it aims to break classical music out of the concert hall and forge a vibrant dialogue with the city of Oxford, and it guides intriguing, under-represented classical forms back into the concert hall. Since its formation in 2016, OAO has staged operas and concerts, performed in refugee detention centres, homeless shelters, hospitals, and has also performed free concerts in traditional venues to encourage accessibility.
The films are produced by Four Eyes Productions , an emerging independent film, theatre, and opera company committed to creating innovative work that breaks new ground and revitalising media which are less frequently explored, particularly by younger generations.