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The First Two Leaves installation video excerpt

Lissette Schaeffler, Bill Cruz

The First Two Leaves 2 Channel Video and Sound Installation; 26 minutes,15 seconds

As technology becomes the dominant force in our society, most of us have become disconnected from the natural world. Our perspectives have shifted to recognize man-made landscapes, while becoming more ambivalent, passive, and lost in natural environments. Still, there are underlying connections between all of us—and nature—that quietly evoke an inherent sense of togetherness. And in many ways, where we are makes us more acutely aware of who we are.

During a period that brought an unprecedented sense of isolation, my partner and I were awarded a project residency at the Deering Estate. A 450-acre natural, archeological and historical preserve located along the edge of Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida. The time spent on our work at the Deering Estate provided rare moments of tranquility and normalcy. Even as the “civilized” world was upended, the natural world just seemed to go on as it always has. It was the only place where we felt that nothing had changed. Our need for a connection with nature became more apparent, as did the realization that it had been sorely missing in our everyday lives. 

The First Two Leaves is part of a larger multimedia collaborative project. This installation is comprised of a synchronized two-channel video diptych presented alongside combined sound recordings of the corresponding locations. The concept explores ideas of awareness and place. As we start to realize that we belong to the natural world, our identity comes into focus. The scale of our existence reveals itself, and a clear sense of connection, place, and time develops. 

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