Orange Magpies, 2017

4K Video + Projection Mapping

In Orange Magpies, dancers in bright orange utilitarian jumpsuits move through the landscape of Vancouver. Fast, sharp editing, match-on-action techniques, and a driving beat create a structural danced film. Projecting the images and familiar locations overtop the neoclassical architecture of 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.

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.


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 wanted to enter the conversation regarding Indigenous reconciliation, but not in a way that resulted 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…

In collaboration with choreographers/performers
James Gnam and Vanessa Goodman

Music Composition by
Scott Morgan aka loscil +

Radiohead 'Good Morning Mrs. Magpie'

Assisted by Sunshine Frere

Mural by Joseph Tisiga
used with permission + respect

Commissioned by Burrard Arts Foundation + Vancouver Art Gallery

6 minutes 50 seconds long


Stockholm, Sweden
September 2020

Selected nominee Wuppertal, Germany

Public Moving Triptych Billboard
Vancouver, Canada
April 2018

Vancouver Art Gallery
Commissioned film for
projection mapping festival
Vancouver, Canada
September 2017


The Evolving Story of Dance on Film: An Overview of new forms then and now
Feature in Dance International Magazine
by Kathleen Smith
May 2018

CBC News
Featured in Façade Fest article
by CBC Authors
September 5, 2017

Façade Festival Breaks Barriers
by Shannon Griffiths
September 7, 2017

Daily Hive
by DH Vancouver
August 2017

On the Coast
Host: Gloria Macarenko
Radio Interview
September 3, 2017

Facade Festival Artist Interview
Burrard Arts Foundation
by Genevieve Michaels
August 4, 2017