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“I Was Born For This” Comes to DPAC

| Thursday, April 3, 2014

I Was Born For ThisKeri O'Mara

Tonight at 7:30 p.m., the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center will open “I Was Born for This” in the Philbin Studio Theatre.

The art installation “I Was Born for This” was inspired by C.T. Dreyer’s silent film, “The Passion of Joan of Arc” and an article by Notre Dame medieval history professor Daniel Hobbins discussing how film directors reveal their opinion of the meaning of the history of Joan of Arc. The title “I Was Born for This” was influenced by Joan of Arc’s famous words as she went into her first battle.

The presentation tonight will consist of the art installation, the “Passion of Joan of Arc” film and an oratorio recorded by Notre Dame’s Sacred Music program. According to the blog of Sacred Music at Notre Dame, the art installation was created by Christopher Preissing, Gwendolyn Terry and Charlie Simokaitis, who honor “The Passion of Joan of Arc” by “abstracting some of its most powerful images and ideas and placing them in an immersive space, where the audience can spend a moment of reflection, before or after viewing the film.” The art installation itself aims to work as an experience on the impact of Joan of Arc in the world and her role as a model for women who have changed history.

Preissing is the composer and sound artist for the project, and has collaborated with a number of filmmakers, visual artists and theatre and opera companies in the past. He says that the installation will have two sets of sound, the first representing the sounds of the outside world and our day-to-day lives, while the second will consist “of voice, whispering and speaking words of encouragement” to represent the voice of God that Joan of Arc heard.

Simokaitis did the videography for the project and hopes to “both honor Dreyer’s ‘The Passion of Joan of Arc’ as well as re-contextualize specific segments of the film to support the poignancy of the installation.” He has altered the speed and construction of the video narrative in order to create an emphasis on the timelessness of the message of Joan of Arc’s life.

Terry worked on the installation itself and has designed and installed a number of theatrical sets, architectural facades and retail window displays. The images in her installation are heavily influenced by some of the final scenes of Dreyer’s film.

The project received its funding from a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of an initiative to develop works that, according to the project’s website, “would reflect on important issues in culture and society through a dynamic interaction of the humanities and the arts.”

The three works will be presented to the Notre Dame and South Bend community at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center on April 4 6. Tickets are free and are available at the center’s ticket office.

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