Jessica Riley | Ed. Peter Traynor | 25 March 2022
Marcella França’s artistic practice utilises a multidisciplinary approach to create powerfully evocative and immersive experiential art that speaks to the physicality of the human form. Through her multimedia form and hybrid language of dance, digital technologies, and visual art, França expands the conventions of art to create a new extended reality in which the viewer is immersed.
The influence of ecofeminism on França’s work is powerfully evident in her exploration of the connection of the human form to the natural element of rain. Ecofeminism is rooted in the interconnection and mutual respect between femininity and nature and the identification of patriarchal systems that exert unjust dominance over both women and the natural world. Ecofeminism identifies the historical designation of both women and nature as chaotic and irrational beings in need of control, in opposition to the characterisation of men as rational, ordered, and capable of directing both women and nature, as the means through which patriarchal systems have been able to manifest and exploit which both women, marginalised groups, and the natural world. For example, both colonialist and capitalist expansions have asserted and justified their dominance through the creation of these binary oppositions that reflect and perpetuate paternalistic and patriarchal values. In response to this, ecofeminism recognises the close relationship between women and nature through cyclical biological processes such as menstruation or pregnancy and supports an egalitarian worldview that re-values non-patriarchal and non-linear structures to respect organic processes and promote respect for women and the natural world. The interrelation between women and nature is reflected in França’s exploration of the force of rain and the female form. The female body is integral to the artwork of The Face of Rain, creating a deep interdependence between the natural force of rain and the human body to show that these two entities are not in a binary opposition but, rather, inherently tied to one another.
Through the realisation that we are all born from water and become rain after our death, França evokes a deeply poetic experience that encourages introspection and reflection on the nature of the universe and our relationship to nature. This fundamental connection of the human body to nature and the artwork creates a profoundly immersive and embodied experience. Mixing the performance of dance with visual art and digital technologies transports the viewer into an extended and expanded reality through which time is relinquished from linear frameworks and can take on the fluidity and volatility of water.
França’s project The Face of Rain offers a poetic experience about mourning as her character tries to revive her father’s presence by interacting with the rain, and in this immersive emotional search, the artwork provokes the following questions:
- What is the face of the rain?
- Can the face of the rain be from any experience on this planet?
- Can the past and the present coexist in the same instant of life?
França’s innovative exploration of these themes in The Face of Rain, through her multidisciplinary artistic language, promotes the experience of the body as an integral component of viewing the art of this exhibition, moving beyond visual connection to elicit a powerfully embodied understanding of art that connects with the viewer on a profound level.