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Kim Farris-Manning. Photo by Peter Farris-Manning.

Discover “King of Chlorophyll: Imago” at Just Food Community Farm on September 17

By Sonya Gankina on September 13, 2022





Tree climbing. Drag. Aerial hoop performance. Experimental musical accompaniment. This is King of Chlorophyll: Imago, created by queer composer Kim Farris-Manning, and presented as part of the Ottawa Chamberfest’s 2022–23 concert series. The immersive creative experience will take place Saturday, September 17, at the Just Food Community Farm in Gloucester.

And it all started with trees. At the beginning of the pandemic, Farris-Manning, who has a background in contemporary classical composition, moved home to live with her sister when creative jobs were put on hold. Her sister hired an arborist to prune some trees on the property, and Farris-Manning spoke with him about the job and even tried on the gear. She ended up being offered a job as an arborist, which was the defining moment for conceptualizing this upcoming performance.

“This was right around the time I started doing tree drag,” says Farris-Manning. “I was getting a lot of inspiration from the trees I was working on and bringing that into drag. This was when I made the first version of the piece—it was a video project. I wrote an original piece of music, did a tree-drag photoshoot with my dad, wrote poems, and put it together.”

Kim Farris-Manning. Photo by Peter Farris-Manning.

Based on the first version of the piece, Farris-Manning created a book with original tree-drag photos, offering multiple perspectives of one image at the same time. The new rendition of King of Chlorophyll: Imago creates a connection between its title and the original musical score—imago is the last stage of an insect’s metamorphosis. Similarly, the music is structured in nine movements, featuring cyclical patterns that are mirrored in the dancers’ actions. Constant shifting and metamorphosis offer the perspective of changing and coming back different, but also the same.

Farris-Manning carefully chose four musicians to play the original piece she composed, focusing on artists who are good at improvisation and graphic score reading. “I am really inspired by visual art and collage, so the first score includes collage—some parts are completely notated like traditional music, but others are collage,” she says. “Almost everyone is queer and that was important for me, too.” Kathryn Patricia plays the viola, Rémy Bélanger de Beauport the cello, Carlie Howell the double bass, and Yang Chen handles percussion.

“The performance will also have six storytellers, including people working at the Just Food Community Farm, such as beekeepers, plant medicine healers, experts in forests and foraging, and people working on the Indigenous Healing Forest, which is a new project for the site,” explains Farris-Manning.

The artist hopes the audience will learn more about the farm and its community gardens, and feel called to get involved. The whole event is in English and will have live ASL interpretation.

“I am feeling grateful for everyone that’s helped with this massive project,” says Farris-Manning. “My production manager, my climbing coach, my hoop coach, Chamberfest, the funders that helped to make it all happen.”

The original book King of Chlorophyll is available for sale at three local bookstores: Octopus Books, Black Squirrel, and Books on Beechwood. All the proceeds go to two organizations near and dear to the artist’s heart: Forêt Capitale Forest, with which she volunteers and which focuses on mitigating the effects of climate change by facilitating the planting of forests, and Kind Space, a queer centre focusing on mental health.

Imago opens the Chamberfest series on September 17.

Everything you need to know about King of Chlorophyll: Imago is here. Learn more about Kim Farris-Manning’s work here. Purchase tickets to King of Chlorophyll: Imagohere.