Cosmic Abundance: Locating the Body in Space

Written and Directed by H. Gene Thompson

Performance November 18, 2021 at Wyatt Pavilion Theater at UC Davis


Seongmin Yoo

Phillip Byrne

Luka Carlsen

Jada S. Haynes

Zhang Zhenglin

H. Gene Thompson

Sculptures and Wearables — H. Gene Thompson

Music, Interaction and Tech — Arvid Tomayko

About the Performance

This work is about seeing and being seen in the world, which is an experience most people can relate to in some capacity. As a trans, non-binary person, I struggle with feeling seen. This is an experience that many people share in different ways. I’m interested in ideas that intersect between an experience that is one that a human with a body might have generally, and something that is very specific to a person, marking their experience. 

In that in-between space I see opportunities to help people connect through performance, through wearable sculpture, and through directing movement. In this work I am bringing together a small cast of people to move through a series of themes and sculptures that are inspired by the overarching idea of the body as a material that is derived from stars. That romantic idea is one that is based in scientific evidence, but also allows the mind to wander to many different questions and ideas of how we came to be. This performance explores concepts around how we as humans communicate with one another and what is at the essence of us being human. 

Fabric is the language of nomads. It is a symbol for community. The fabric connects performers to each other in space. Performers push against the fabric, using the resistance as a way to locate one’s body in space. Using bodily awareness, Thompson asks performers to make maps with movement of their bodily experience, using the wearables as a guide for locating one’s body in space.

I’m excited to utilize Contact Improv and Authentic Movement as tools to connect more with our physical bodies in ways that give the performer a chance to become more present with their material body and work into an intuitive approach to ancestry. This work is a product of fascination with the unknown, as there is so much about the origins of each of our bodies that is unable to be known. 

Special Thanks

  • Susie Owens
  • Patrick O’Reilly
  • Zahra Hooshyar
  • Brendan Yoo
  • Seongmin Yoo
  • Phillip Byrne
  • Luka Carlsen
  • Jada S. Haynes
  • Zhang Zhenglin

I would like to give a special thank you to Aramo Olaya, who is a PhD Student in performance studies here at UCD, and has been in conversation with me about this piece. Some concepts pertaining to water and our bodies are particularly inspired by these conversations and by a workshop recently led by Aramo Olaya.

Another special thank you to Whitney Vangrin who’s hard work led me to learn about this wonderful space.

And a very special thanks to Arvid Tomayko-Peters, who stayed up late and helped engineer so much. This project could not have been done without their genius.