Soil and Spirit: Artist-in-Residence Marina Tsaplina

Marina Tsaplina talks to Theater Studies students
Artist-in-Residence Marina Tsaplina (John West/Trinity Communications)

Marina Heron Tsaplina is a performing artist, scholar and disability culture activist who forms participatory poetic enchantments through puppetry and site-specific performance. Whether on the stage, in a classroom or in an ancient forest, she invites collective community participation into her artistic process and vision. 

Tsaplina was in residence at Duke for two weeks in March, working in Sheafer Theater on the creation of a piece called Soil and Spirit, a large-scale performance-installation in ancient, endangered and disappeared forests that investigates how the land holds spirit of all things that have passed in a place.  

The artistic development of Soil and Spirit was one of the culminating outcomes of the Bass Connections project Socially Engaged Art and Tech at the Intersections of Ecology, Disability and History. While at Duke, Tsaplina engaged with students in Johann Montozzi-Wood's class, The Moving and Sounding Body (THEATRST 347S). The students and Tsaplina also worked with local dancers, puppeteers, and actors to devise the piece.

The photos below were taken in Montozzi-Wood's class by John West/Trinity Communications.