SAVYNA INDRANEE DARBY
River’s Odyssey tells the story of a wandering child named River, who sets out bravely on a journey to find Beeja (camphor tree), in a world almost submerged by the rising ocean tides. The river he travels by is an overspill of seawater, replete with plants that have navigated, adapted to and are now thriving in an ever- changing landscape on the brink. Wildlife is present. Heard but not seen.
The dialogue River and Beeja exchange, via a transistor radio at first, “trees communicate at 220 hz frequency”, offers an insight into the connections between child and tree, through ancestral care, the breath they exchange and the site-specific memories they co-create. It touches on themes of colonialism, cultivation and creolisation, leaning on reciprocation, intergenerational and interspecies knowledge that is gained through communication.
The chrysalis-like hollow in the tree becomes an Immersive environment for deep listening, quantum storytelling, exploration, magical thinking and metamorphosis. Time spent in there enables the flowering of a different kind of connectedness, where a being who enters it, physically or spiritually, is never quite the same when they leave, forever embedded with a seed of intent and purpose.
It is presented as a 2-part experience with an audio-visual piece built in Unreal Engine. Where that story ends in the digital realm, a new one begins in the hollow of a physical miniature garden, as a plural multi-sensory installation with a bonsai tree in full bloom.