The Planets

2011, 76 min, color, sound

Writes Sanborn, "The Planets is an epic, 77-minute video feature commissioned by the new music ensemble Relâche. The score took composer Kyle Gann twelve years to complete and became a multi-media immersion into the myths and mystery of the planets when Relâche commissioned video artist and director John Sanborn to take viewers on a journey out into space, and inside the play between reality and fantasia.

The work is in ten parts, each focused on a single planet, and blends together things we know and elements that we imagine about the heavenly bodies in the sky. We see them only through lenses, mental and physical—and we dream up more about them than we understand. We have praised them for the origins of humankind and we have blamed them for controlling our fragile lives from moment to milestone.

The piece is richly orchestrated abstract storytelling that blends particle animation, poetry, dance and video artistry to address our fascination with the planets; the mysteries we ascribe to them and the magisterial influence of the ancient gods the represent.

Dancers Margaret Cromwell and Joseph Copley, master improvisers, provide sinuous body gestures, to project powerful persona traits, and ground each planet with humanity and gender identity. The result is a journey through the historical fabric of myths and legends, energized by modern day digital artistry."

Video by: John Sanborn. Music by: Kyle Gann. Performed by: Relânche. Dancers: Margaret Cromwell, Joseph Copley. Executive Producer: Lloyd Shorter. Producers: Lloyd Shorter, Michele Kelly, Chris McGlumphy. Sound Recording Produced and Engineered by: Andreas K. Meyer. Clarinets and Sax: Bob Butryn. Piano and Keyboards: Andrea Clearfield. Percussion: Chris Hanning. Bassoon: Chuck Holdeman. Flutes: Michele Kelly. Viola: Amy Leonard. Bass: Douglas Mapp. Oboe and English Horn: Lloyd Shorter. Funding by the William Penn Foundation