The Fortunetellers is a narrative performance inspired by American artist Ellie Ga’s six-month residency on the Tara, a research boat frozen in the Arctic ice, drifting near the North Pole to gather scientific data. The work mixes live storytelling, recorded sound, still images and film to bring new insight and intimacy to Ga’s Polar adventure. Combining her memories with a curious mix of photographs, videos, annotated sketches, maps, and travel logs she archived along the way, Ga conjures up the rituals of daily life in the Arctic night. The Fortunetellers tells an eclectic mix of stories, from the history of the yoyo to the evolution of oceanic currents and their impact on planktonic life, all framed against a study of ancient and modern forms of fortune telling, which Ga uses as a metaphor for the past and future of the Arctic landscape.
Ellie Ga's multimedia essays are part field dispatch, part artist’s notebook, part home-movie, part poem. Her narratives are inspired by the indeterminacy of exploration and the human desire to contact and chart the unknown. Her projects often develop in collaboration with scientific and historical institutions such as the Explorers Club (New York), Tara Arctic Expeditions (France/Arctic Ocean) and The Center of Maritime Archaeology, Alexandria (Egypt).
Ga was recently the subject of one-person exhibitions at M-Museum, Leuven (Belgium); Le Grand Café, Saint-Nazaire (France); Art Basel Statements, Basel (Switzerland); Grand Arts, Kansas City and Bureau, New York. She has presented performance works at The Playground Festival, Leuven, Belgium; The Kitchen, New York; Le Consortium, Dijon, France; and the Fondation Cartier, Paris, France. Upcoming performances and group exhibitions include the Guggenheim Museum, New York in June 2015. Ellie Ga is a co-founder of Ugly Duckling Presse in New York and is currently a recipient of a three-year grant from the Swedish Research Council. Ellie Ga (b.1976, New York City) lives and works in London.
Research and production for The Fortunetellers is funded in part by Grand Arts, Kansas City and The Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm
"The collective unconscious becomes very palpable when you’re in the middle of nothing. I guess that’s how mythology starts—people in a limited world, with limited knowledge. You have to invent why it thunders. The guy pumping kerosene has to be a symbol of something, because he’s doing it every day.” - Ellie Ga