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In the Winnipeg debut of their play, The Local Sky Tonight, two of Canada’s best-known performance artists, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, explore the human experience of wonder and the ways it can lead to belief in an unseen order.

In The Local Sky Tonight a whimsical rabbit hi-jacks a planetarium show and imaginatively reads the star charts // Image: Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

U of M teams up with renowned performance artists to answer grand questions

January 31, 2019 — 

Although it is sometimes dismissed as childish in these austere times, wonder, according to some scientists and thinkers, might well be the original and most important human emotion, one that unifies sensory, cognitive and spiritual experience.

In the Winnipeg debut of their play, The Local Sky Tonight, two of Canada’s best-known performance artists, Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, explore the human experience of wonder and the ways it can lead to belief in an unseen order. Dempsey and Millan invent powerful new ways of seeing that furnish fresh perspectives on the world in which we live.

Whimsically playing a rabbit that hi-jacks a traditional planetarium show, Shawna Dempsey reads the star charts, imaginatively re-mapping the heavenly canvas upon which we cast our beliefs.

The Winnipeg debut of this performance (approximately 45 minutes) will be followed by a discussion of the cosmos and the imagination featuring a panel of local scientists, artists and thinkers.

Collaborators since 1989, the Winnipeg-based duo of Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan are among Canada’s best-known performance artists and received the 2018 Manitoba Arts Award of Distinction from the Manitoba Arts Council. Their humorous, provocative, and acclaimed work has been described as “one of the high points of contemporary Canadian artistic production” (Border Crossings Magazine).

Panelists include Katrina Dunn (Department of English, Theatre, Film & Media, University of Manitoba), Helga Jakobson (transdisciplinary artist), Vesna Milosevic-Zdjelar (Department of Physics, University of Winnipeg). Moderator is Serenity Hee-Jung Joo, Director, University of Manitoba Institute for the Humanities.

What: The Local Sky Tonight: A Shawna Dempsey & Lorri Millan Performance
When: Sunday, February 3, 7:00 pm – 10:00 p.m.
Where: Gas Station Art Centre, 445 River Avenue

The University of Manitoba Institute of the Humanities (UMIH) was established in 1990 to foster research and scholarship in the Humanities at the University of Manitoba, to promote cross-disciplinary research in the Humanities, and to help obtain external funding for Humanities research. Located in the Faculty of Arts, the Institute addresses the needs and interests of researchers in a broad range of subject including literature and languages, film and visual culture, philosophy, history and religion, and also the literary, philosophical, theological and historical aspects of the social and physical sciences, mathematics, the arts, and professional studies.


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