We Are Crawling. We Are Hopping. We Are Flying.
New ARTiculations was taking a nap. Some of the sleep was deep. Some of it was restless, filled with thoughts and questions: What’s the best way to get audiences interested in the work? What is the best kind of work to make? Who really cares about dance in this town? How can we invite more people to be moved? How can we pay for our productions? How can we pay ourselves?
We rolled over. We yawned.
We slept some more. We let things stir around in the darkness. We dreamed. We like our dreams.
Then someone knocked at the door. A photographer and a lover of wild places and a communitarian. He said, “Can you help? This thing is happening and it’s really painful and we need to do more. We need to make people see what is happening and feel something about it. We need all the artists to help do that.”
We rubbed our eyes. We felt something stir in our feet, in our spine, in the space inside our ribcage.
“Okay,” we said. We believe in seeing and feeling. “We will wake up now.”
The thing that is happening is in a place called Rosemont Ranch, a patch of land thirty miles away, south of I-10, east of Highway 83, on the northeastern slopes of the Santa Rita Mountains. The region supports a wide diversity of plants and animals. The common: hawks, ground squirrels, hawks, agaves, oaks, sotol, bluebirds, warblers, hedgehog cacti. The threatened and endangered: Rosemont talussnails, yellow-billed cuckoos, Southwestern willow flycatchers, Coleman’s coralroot orchids, lesser long-nosed bats, Pima pineapple cacti, ocelots, and jaguars. Yes, jaguars.
Nearby is the Cienega Creek, a significant riparian area in the desert, from which water would be drawn to sustain mining activities. The creek is home to coatimundi, lizards, flycatchers, warblers, Sonoran dace, and the endangered Chiricahua leopard frogs, Gila chub, and Gila topminnow fish, among other species.
These are prized and beautiful places inhabited by prized and beautiful creatures.
The other prize is copper, 243 million pounds a year for 20 years, to be mined from a 4,500-acre pit by a Canadian company called Augusta Resources that bought the ranch in 2005. The company is currently awaiting approval from the U.S. Forest Service for its mining operations.
There is also water, which is perhaps the biggest prize of all. Mining operations would potentially result in contaminated surface and groundwater; decreased flow or drying up of springs, seeps, wetlands, and streams; increased sediment load in streams; and changes in aquifer recharge.
There is wind. There is sky. There is rock. There are systems. There are tiny lives. There are stealthy lives. There is flight. There are subtle underground shifts. There are minerals. There are decisions. There are values. There is beauty. There is convenience. There are cell phones. There are electronics. There is paying attention. There is listening. There is consciousness. There is a sting in the heart. There is danger. There are livelihoods. There is saying no. There is saying yes. There is capital. There is no capital. There is little water. There are impacts. There are sides to stand on. There are petitions. There is waiting. There is hoping.
There is the body. There is movement.
“Okay,” we said. “We will wake up now.”
And so now we are making trips to the mine site and to the Cienega Creek and we are embodying the plant and animal species that will be impacted by the mining. We are working with a filmmaker to capture our movement on location. The filmmaker is Ben Johnson. You can see some of his work here.
We are learning how to become intimate with the land and with these species with our bodies. We are learning that it is both possible and not possible to fly.
We are aiming to show how we, as humans, are very much like these special species and also how each of these species is entirely singular. Maybe our efforts will help other humans see and feel something about these plants and animals.
Our project is not called “Rosemont Mine,” but “Rosemont Ours.”
And it is also yours.
Please learn more about it by following our blog at www.RosemontOurs.com.
Rosemont Ours will likely be shown as part of the Lens on the Land photo exhibit as well as at other future events, TBA.
A fundraising campaign will begin shortly. We’ll be knocking on your door, too. We hope you will wake up in whatever way you do best.
-Kimi Eisele, co-director
Ben Johnson captures Katie's hawk dance.
Katie Rutterer as Zone-Tailed Hawk.