College of the Atlantic senior Keira O'Brien ’18 working on a Swedish production of “These Are the People in Your Neighborhood,” a performance art piece by Mammalian Diving Reflex, where O'Brien has worked for two years as a junior artist. PHOTO COURTESY OF FELICITY NICOL

O’Brien to talk about performance art in Sweden, Canada

BAR HARBOR — College of the Atlantic senior Kiera O’Brien will share her experiences working for two seasons as a junior artist with Mammalian Diving Reflex, an international research-art atelier based in Toronto, Canada, at College of the Atlantic’s weekly Human Ecology Forum. The event is set for McCormick Lecture Hall on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 4:10 p.m., and is free and open to all.

Founded in 1993, Mammalian Diving Reflex (MDR) is a performance company specializing in site and social-specific performance events and theater productions that aim to dismantle barriers between individuals of all ages and cultural, economic and social backgrounds.

O’Brien will provide a brief background about the company and how she came to work with them, focusing her talk on her collaborations with youth in the U.K., Germany and Sweden on such MDR productions as “Haircuts by Children,” “These Are the People in Your Neighborhood,” “Nightwalks with Teenagers” and “Teentalitarianism.” She will discuss the company’s aesthetic dedication to a very simple premise – that talking to strangers is often as worthwhile as it is entertaining – and the ways in which play forms a vital component of building socially responsible, engaging artwork.

It is MDR’s mission to bring people together in new and unusual ways in their home-base and around the world and to create work that is engaging and challenging, and that gets people talking, thinking and feeling. Their productions recognize the social responsibility of art, fostering a dialogue between audience members, between the audience and the material, and between the performers and the audience. Much of their work is rooted in playful collaborations with children and teens.

The Human Ecology Forum is a free, weekly speaker series based on the work of the academic community, which also draws on artists, poets, and political and religious leaders from around the world. Members of the public are invited to attend.


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