T H E W I L D S
Through her graduate research within the Department of Dance and ACCAD, Mollie Wolf engages in facilitation as making, exploring the ways that multi-media design can facilitate embodied participation. Her MFA thesis project, T H E W I L D S was a series of multi-media installations that require audiences to engage with the work through embodied interactivity. Presented at Urban Arts Space on January 20-28, 2023, T H E W I L D S was developed in iteration at MOLA with the support of ACCAD staff and resources.
Graduate Researcher – MFA Thesis Project:
Mollie Wolf, Facilitator & Director
Cody Brunelle-Potter, Collaborator for COMPOSE Jamar Morris, Collaborator for KIN
Katie O’Loughlin, Collaborator for ZONE 74 Frankie Tan, Collaborator for COMMUNE, Tom Tsai, Collaborator for WAKE
Dr. Harmony Bench, committee chair, Associate Professor, Department of Dance
Norah Zuniga-Shaw, committee member, Professor, Department of Dance
Alex Oliszewski, committee member, Associate Professor, Department of Theatre, Film, and Media Arts
Grants & Funding Initiatives that supported this project:
Global Arts and Humanities Society of Fellows Graduate Research Grant Alumni Grant for Graduate Research and Scholarship
Arts & Humanities Graduate Research Small Grant
Department of Dance Semester Funding Initiative
Presented at Urban Arts Space in downtown Columbus, OH on January 20-28th, 2023, my MFA project, T H E W I L D S started as a series of dance films and later became an interactive installation that invited audiences into a reimagining of their relationships to wilderness landscapes. The larger research inquiry at the foundation of this project was the investigation into how intentional, socially conscious art can contribute to incremental change in human consciousness—inviting audiences into small acts that will combine over time to make the world a place where diverse humans and diverse non-human life can mutually thrive. The methods within this research centered around the idea that present creative collaboration can scale, influencing the individual lives of the artists involved, the relational workings of the local community, and the unthinkably large problems we face in society. In this way, the work was created in stages that scaled over time. It started as personal investigations within one-on-one collaborations in specific natural locations, the results of which were combined in order to usher the local audience-community into a facilitated enactment of a dynamic world in which diverse human and non-human community mutually thrive through relationship and reciprocity.
The immersive installation was a collection of digital ecosystems, each constructed from one-on-one collaborative processes with Cody Brunelle-Potter, Jamar Morris, Katie O’Loughlin, Frankie Tan and Tom Tsai. Congregating their stories, perspectives and contributions into one physical space for the gallery presentation created an emergent, communally-driven work of art. The act of bringing these collaborations together and arranging the digital ecosystems in close proximity created a dynamic space in which diverse perspectives and lived experiences wove into one another—a physical, spatial, and experiential acknowledgement that substantive change will occur only through the collective efforts of diverse peoples and perspectives. T H E W I L D S, was not simply an interactive installation, it was also a facilitated enactment of a the future world my collaborators and I imagined in our making: a world in which diverse human and non-human community mutually thrive through relationship and reciprocity.
I approached the physical and digital construction of the installation as an act of facilitation. Constructing immersive digital ecosystems was not for the sake of making immersive work; rather, the immersive nature of the work was used as a tool within my goal to facilitate an embodied experience for the audience. In order to engage with our surroundings and interact with the dynamic world around us, we must be in our bodies, sensing each other through our flesh, empathizing with others by acknowledging that our bodies affect and resonate with one another. This was the embodied experience I wanted to curate for the audience who came to see T H E W I L D S.