Trailer for "wait", Emily Bartsch, Abigail Campbell, C. Olivia Valenza
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photos by Brennen Steines



Devised and Directed by Brennen Steines, Composed by C. Olivia Valenza

My collaboration with Brennen Steines (artist/painter), Kelly Rademacher (performer), Don Russell (performer), and Liz Faraglia (choreographer).

The “Cambrian Explosion” was a massive event in Earth’s evolutionary history, wherein life diversified dramatically and split into most of the phyla we see in the present day. Cambrian trace fossils act as the ghost of life’s activity over 500 million years ago. Cambrian, a sound and movement based performance, explores themes of life, evolution, and physical form. The performers isolate forms of their body and subsume materials in the space to alter their physicality and their environment. Set in a minimal achromatic setting; light, sound, and movement aim to capture the evolution from organic material to sentient life. The show explores the interdependence of life and solid earth while inviting audiences to think about the current state of humanity in the Anthropocene. Will we innovate and ensure a future for our species or are we destined become a fossilized curiosity like life in the Cambrian? -Brennen Steines

When considering the music for this project, a phrase Brennen had used early on connected with me, "fossil curiosities".  I wanted the music to feel primordial and to sort of grow and change as the piece unfolded. I chose to combine my clarinet playing with material from records that I could play with in the context of the piece, mashing up concepts of solid earth, life and what we put out and leave behind in the world. How I could relate my music to that of what fossils signify, was also a consideration. For me, the records I am using are the fossils, moments of life preserved in one time to be studied and interpreted by another.

-C. Olivia Valenza

performed at the Cooperativa Gallery and Studio supported by Cooperative Performance Milwaukee



An app for simple visual and sonic art, where you influence the scene unfolding before you on the iPad.

installed at UWM Arts+Tech night (2016) and Maker Faire MKE (2016)