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Ocean Body

Shara Nova, Helga Davis, Mark DeChiazza

A silhouette of a women in a long white dress standing against a dark, black back ground.

Thursday, October 21, 2021
8:00 pm


Virtual Event


Penny Stamps Speaker Series
Open to the public
Free of charge
Watch Video

Ocean Body is a multi-screen film and music installation directed and designed by Mark DeChiazza and collaboratively created with composer — vocalists Helga Davis and Shara Nova who embody a sculpture built for two by Annica Cuppetelli, artist and Lecturer II at the Stamps School of Art & Design.

Ocean Body examines the decade-long close friendship between Davis and Nova and seeks a necessary bridge for the division that exists not only in our society, but in ourselves.

Shara Nova​is the founder of the chamber pop band My Brightest Diamond. She has composed works for yMusic, Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Young New Yorkers’ Chorus, Brooklyn Rider, Nadia Sirota and Roomful of Teeth, among others. Her orchestrations have been performed by the North Carolina Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, American Composers Orchestra and the BBC Concert orchestra. Her baroque chamber opera You Us We All premiered in the US at BAM Next Wave Festival in in 2015. Nova is a Kresge Fellow, Knights Grant recipient, and a United States Artists fellow.

Helga Davis​is a vocalist and performance artist with feet planted on the most prestigious international stages and with firm roots in her local community. Davis was principal actor in the 25th-anniversary international revival of Robert Wilson and Philip Glass’s seminal opera Einstein on the Beach. She is artist in residence at National Sawdust and Joe’s Pub, host of the eponymous podcast HELGA on WQXR, winner of the 2019 Greenfield Prize in composition, a 2019 Alpert Award finalist, and the 2018 – 21 visiting curator for the performing arts at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Mark DeChiazza​is a director whose multifaceted practice encompasses filmmaking, choreography, scenic and media design, and installation. His work has been presented in national and international venues including Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lincoln Center, John F. Kennedy Center of the Arts, Guthrie Theater, Singapore International Festival of Arts, Les Subsistances, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, and many more. He first collaborated with Shara Nova in 2019, when they co-created the massive outdoor music-performance work Look Around, celebrating Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s 125th anniversary season, featuring over 600 performers from over 30 local groups.

Ocean Body is on view at Wasser­man Projects in Detroit (3434 Rus­sell St.) from Sep­tem­ber 25 through December 18, 2021. Visit Wasserman Projects for more info and to book your appointment to visit.

How to Watch

This Penny Stamps Speaker Series event will première on October 21, 2021 at 8pm and can be viewed on this page, at dptv​.org, or on the Penny Stamps Series Facebook page.

Presented in partnership with Wasserman Projects. Our Fall 2021 Series is brought to you with the support of our partners, Detroit Public Television and PBS Books.


Content Notice

In accordance with the University of Michigan’s Standard Practice Guidelines on Freedom of Speech and Artistic Expression, the Penny Stamps Speaker Series does not censor our speakers or their content. The content provided is intended for adult audiences and does not reflect the views of the University of Michigan or Detroit Public Television.