I am interested in exploring an ancestral relationship with the ocean and the planet through developing a language of aquatic yodelling. Yodelling was originally a form of communication between alpine villages using the natural acoustics of the mountain top. Through this engagement of the earth, I see ancient yodelling practices as communication not only between the distant villages, but with the mountain as well. I want to employ this concept to communicate with the waters of Earth and the sacred unknown of its oceans. Using the improvisational embodied voice as communication, I will engage and connect with my body and the body of the planet, the oceans in me to the oceans on earth. I see this not through a spiritual lens, but rather as a basic and necessary skill.
I believe reclaiming our ancestral relationship with Earth is pertinent to our future. Through my work as an herbalist in the Wise Woman Tradition I have learned to listen to the plants, to hear what they have to offer us, and to call them Sister; to make herbal medicine with the plants and not simply from them. I wish to create a language for a similar relationship with the ocean. I have always found enormous reserves of healing energy in my contact with water and I would like to deepen my relationship with its living body. I will use the studio space and the location of Once Upon Water to develop the vocal language of aquatic yodelling in order to first communicate with the ocean and then to converse with it. Through these conversations I hope to listen to the stories the ocean surrounding Pico Island has to tell and to then reflect these stories into a series of songs with the improvisational core of the aquatic yodelling I develop. My idea is to then incorporate these songs and this language of aquatic yodelling into a performative healing experience in which I make space for participants/audience members to connect with their ancestral relationship to Ocean.
Alex Franz Zehetbauer is an Austrian-American eco-feminist performance artist, vocalist, and herbalist. He holds a BFA from the Experimental Theater Wing at NYU where he studied with Mary Overlie, Lisa Sokolov, Kevin Kuhlke and Karen Finley among others. In 2012-2013 he was a Black Studio resident at CAVE in Brooklyn, NY where he created and performed in pe2o. Other full-length works include: The Natural History of the Unicorn(‘s Horn), Meərwif, and The Natural History of Witches. While living in NYC Alex was also regular performer at Hypergender Burlesque Caberet and Circus of Dreams. In 2016, Alex released his debut album The Natural History of Franz, a shamanic autopsy. He recently moved to Vienna where in July he performed his work-in-progress installation, throw plastic at the (last) mermaid in the Leopold Museum as part of Impulstanz and the research project Fluid Contents.