Experiencing Interruptions?

Orange Magpies

Short Description

Dancers in bright orange utilitarian jumpsuits move through the landscape of Vancouver, Canada, acknowledging the traditional territories of Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.

Slightly Longer Description

Dancers in bright orange utilitarian jumpsuits move through the landscape of Vancouver. Fast, sharp editing, match-on-action techniques, multiple screens and a driving beat create a structural danced film. Projecting the dances through the cut-out mask of a neoclassical building (the Vancouver Art Gallery) is juxtaposed with the acknowledgement that these dances were shot on sites that are unceded and the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations.

Even More Explanation and Context

The title refers to the association with thievery that magpies hold in European folklore, such as The Thieving Magpie by Rossini (also used in A Clockwork Orange by Kubrick) or Heckle and Jeckle from The Talking Magpies animations of the 1950s. The nest of a magpie is sometimes described as a ‘bed of thievery.’ Physical gestures such as holding one’s hands out before wrapping them away also lend metaphoric meaning, as the improvisational choreography aggressively moves through the different, contested landscapes. The metaphor of the magpie is used through the film, from the title and lyrics of the driving music (Good Morning Mrs Magpie by Radiohead remixed by modeselector), to the impromptu conversation between the dancers about crows (a relation of the magpie). Orange Magpies is an acknowledgement of the legacies of colonialism, and addressing it from the perspective of the settler. The visual transgressions of dance media, that on the surface seem so simple and pleasing, are an entry point for feminists and activists to have their say, an allowance for a complexity of politics, enabled by the moving body through time and space.

  • Evann Siebens
  • Burrard Arts Foundation
  • Vancouver Art Gallery
  • 'Good Morning Mrs Magpie' by Radiohead, remixed by modeselector
  • James Gnam
    Choreographer + Performer
  • Vanessa Goodman
    Choreographer + Performer
  • Scott Morgan aka loscil
    Original Composition for Projection
  • Sunshine Frere
  • Joseph Tisiga
    Mural Artist
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Other
  • Genres:
    screendance, dancefilm
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 1, 2019
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    4K High Definition
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Facade Fest Projection Mapping
    September 4, 2017
    World Premiere
    Commissioned for large scale projection mapping on the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery by Burrard Arts Foundation and Vancouver Art Gallery
  • Capture Photography Festival Public Billboard
    April 1, 2018
    Public Billboard Instatllion of 3 images from Orange Magpies into a Moving Triptych Billboard
  • IMZ Dancescreen 2019
    November 21, 2019
    Preselected Nominee
  • Moving Body
    October 18, 2019
  • Raksa Dance Film Festival
    October 24, 2019
  • ScreenDance
    April 24, 2020
Director Biography - Evann Siebens

Evann Siebens makes media with movement. She has exhibited her projects at galleries such as Eyebeam and Centre Pompidou, while her documentaries have been screened at MOMA and on PBS. A former dancer with the National Ballet of Canada and Bonn Ballet, Germany, she studied film and graduated from New York University. Now based in Vancouver, she has participated in residencies at the Banff Centre, UNIT/PITT, Frankfurt Ballett and ACME, London with artist Keith Doyle. Evann recently exhibited a geodesic dome with a 360 projection at the Belkin Gallery in Vancouver, and also screened a commissioned work on the exterior of the Vancouver Art Gallery, exploring projection mapping technology. She showed a moving triptych billboard as part of Capture’s Photography Festival in Vancouver and also performed live with her media at New Media Gallery and the Western Front, Vancouver. Her films and installation works have screened in many countries including Russia, Greece, India, Italy, Brazil, China, The Netherlands, Germany and Mexico. She recently screened a film at Lincoln Centre in New York City and won the ‘Outstanding Overall Work’ prize at the Light Moves Festival in Limerick, Ireland. She is represented by Wil Aballe Art Projects in Vancouver.

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Director Statement

What does it mean to be a ‘settler’ in our times of post-colonialist reconciliation? I grappled with this question when asked to project a film upon the Vancouver Art Gallery – a traditionally neoclassical building, as well as a former courthouse and prison. I wanted to shoot dance in locations all around my city of Vancouver, but also to acknowledge that these sites were ‘unceded’, meaning they were never formally surrendered by treaty or otherwise. As a Canadian of European heritage, I want to enter the conversation regarding indigenous reconciliation, but not in a way that results in a new form of cultural appropriation. It’s challenging to find a metaphor for colonialism, but I think ‘magpie’ is a pretty good one, and if you listen to the lyrics of the Radiohead ‘Good Morning Mrs Magpie’ soundtrack, it kind of says it all…