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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
Watch Video
Open to the public
Free of charge

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 the Wasser­man Projects gallery in Detroit (3434 Rus­sell St.) from Sep­tem­ber 252021.

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.