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The Fortunetellers
2011
performance, running time: 1 hour
live narration, video, slide and overhead projections, recorded sound

The Fortunetellers is a narrative-based performance that combines memories with a vast array of documents created and archived along the way (photographs, videos, annotated sketches, maps, travel log). I superimpose live storytelling, recorded sound, still and moving images, to conjure up the terms and rituals of daily life in the Arctic night.

Standing at the front of the dark theater, Ellie toggled between video footage and transparencies of photographs, sketches, maps and diary entries which were projected from a light-box. You could see shadows of her hands against the light as she laid down each image. She delivered a monologue, which was interspersed with recordings of conversations with the crew, and sounds of the Arctic—the groan of polar ice, the squeak of an anchor being lowered. The narrative had the shape of a boomerang: she’d begin in the surreal day-to-day minutiae of polar life, draw tangential connections outwards to mythology, archaeology and philosophy, then return again to the ice. It felt like a haunted, dream-version of those lectures that Victorian explorers would deliver upon returning from the edges of the world.
--Will Hunt (excerpt from interview in The American Reader).



Selected performance stills





The Fortunetellers, performance excerpt from Ellie Ga on Vimeo.





The Fortunetellers has been performed at:
The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (US), 2019
Storm King Art Center, New Windsor, New York (US), 2018
Guggenheim Museum, New York (US), 2015
FRAC-Franche-Comté (FR), 2015
EMPAC, Troy, New York (US), 2015
Block Universe, London (UK), 2015
Le Consortium, Dijon (FR), 2013
The New Museum, New York (US), 2013
Grand Arts, Kansas City (US), 2012
Kunsthall Oslo–Diechmanske Library, Oslo, 2011
Paris Photo, Grand Palais, 2011
Playground Festival, Leuven, Belgium, 2011
The Fortunetellers, Le Printemps de Septembre, Toulouse, 2011
Signal & Noise New Media Festival, Vancouver, 2011
Images Festival/The Power Plant, Toronto, 2011
The Fortunetellers, The Kitchen, New York, 2011
The Fortunetellers, UNT on the Square, Denton, TX, November, 2010

The Fortunetellers (excerpts and works in progress):
The Fortunetellers:Arctic Circles, Milliken Gallery, Stockholm, 2011
The Fortunetellers:Arctic Circles, Espace Louis Vuitton, Paris, 2011
The Fortunetellers: Arctic Circles, Triple Canopy, New York, October, 2010
The Fortunetellers: Arctic Circles, Betonsalon, Paris, October, 2010
The Fortunetellers, ICI, Berlin, September, 2010
The Fortunetellers, CP Playhouse, Tokyo, September, 2010
The Fortunetellers: Arctic Circles, Edifying at 21/21 salon, New York, June, 2010
Edifying at Bruce High Quality Foundation University, New York, 2009
PS1 Contemporary Art/MOMA, New York, October, 2009
Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Palermo, Italy, May, 2009
Ecole Supérieure des Artes, Bruxelles, Belgium, 2009
PNCA, Portland, Oregon, 2009
Projekt 0047, Oslo, Norway, 2008