When On The Shore

Large-scale Multimedia Installation and Performance

Immersive installation and performance that also served as my MFA thesis. Features choreography, set desing, lighting design, and the very first iteration of my motor arrays.

Program Notes

Aiming to unify seemingly separate entities, this performance-installation piece explores the relationships of consciousness between human, animal, earth, and the synthetic. Conceptually, the structure of When On The Shore follows that the energy of all individuals is linked, but the conscious realization of this unification only becomes apparent through the struggle with one’s own interior labyrinth coupled with the confrontation of and familiarization with the “other,” or the unknown.

In the performance, the audience is guided through an otherworldly realm, being physically transported through the phases of an eclipse. Simultaneously, a series of events heighten illusion and disillusionment in the space. Upon the approach of the “eclipse,” the room slowly changes--small electronic creatures, discrete colored lights, movement of the audience and dancers, and the resultant rhythmic patterns of this movement, all begin to join together to form a single intensified unit.

At the point of full eclipse, the separation between human and the “other” disappears. Everything that inhabits the space, the audience, light and electronic creatures (noisemakers) included, forms a single energetic mass. The space reaches its point of maximum transformation, emulating the aura of the ocher glow of the moon in an actual lunar eclipse.

Video documentation from April 2011


Rachel Boyajian, Choreography
Alex Gaines, Scenic Consultant
Maddie Keller, Costume Design
Anna Martin, Lighting Design
Sound, electronics, set, and original concept by Stephanie Smith

Performances / Premiere

April 14, 2011, 3:45, 9:15, and 10:15 PM
Black & White Gallery, CalArts

April 15, 7:30 PM
Black & White Gallery, CalArts


  • Polycarbonate sheets
  • Polarization film
  • Vibration motors
  • Metal scrap
  • Arduino mini
  • Contact microphones
  • Quad sound
  • Laptop (live processing)