Origins, the story: Melding the beauty and creativity of several art forms, Origins inspires viewers to see possibilities—to see themselves in a revitalized, awakened being. In this performance art video, Jennifer Davis portrays Queen Zenobia of Palmyra as a being who reconnects with her origins by interacting with nature, music and sculpture.

The Origins video was written and directed by Tayeb Al-Hafez. As an entrepreneur, Al-Hafez founded Al’Myra. Through Al’Myra, he facilitates the work of compelling artists. He works with professionals with a range of media backgrounds, and always includes community members. Al-Hafez started making films in 2010 and was recently inspired by David Ruth’s work to explore the themes portrayed in Origins. Al-Hafez’s films include Replikaaa, a film about trafficking which won best Vision of the Future at the Silicon Valley Film Festival in 2011. See Film

Origins features cast glass sculptures created by David Ruth.He is a San Francisco Bay artist who is internationally known for setting cast glass in architectural spaces, as we see in the use of a space designed by Faulkner Architects. The sculptures are formed of composite patterns of rock and ice taken from Antarctica and California landscapes.

The Geologic Editions represent a continental collision in deep time. David Ruth’s work showcases technical prowess and artistic mastery as it uses patterns of geology to tell a human and time-based story through light.

Origins’ score was entirely conceived by Luciano Chessa at and for the piano. As such, it only incorporates piano sounds, be that orthodox and heterodox. The motif heard at the very beginning of the film is in juxtaposition to percussive sounds obtained by playing the open piano strings with the palms of the hands. This motif returns cyclically in various incarnations, and culminates in the lyrical core of the soundtrack, a presentation of the piano, traditionally played, which anticipates the point in the film in which the piano, approached by Jennifer Davis, is finally shown. As Ms. Davis’ performance is dance-like and dance-inspired, most of the music cues are conceived as stylized dances.

Luciano Chessa is a composer, conductor, performance artist, and music historian. His performance of “intensely visual scores” in a concert he curated for NYC’s Roulette on December 2020, was characterized as “gripping” by New York Times critic Anthony Tommasini. Chessa’s compositions include 1462 Willard Street, for viola, commissioned by the U.S. Library of Congress. 

Concept & Direction: Tayeb Al-Hafez
Glass Sculpture: David Ruth
Choreopgraphy & Dance: Jennifer Davis
Music and Sound Design: Luciano Chessa
Photography: Frazer Bradshaw

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