66 million years ago, a massive asteroid struck the Earth with the force of a billion Hiroshima bombs. The ensuing apocalyptic extinction event ended the 150+ million year reign of the dinosaurs, and marked the dawn of the age of mammals. Artistic director Ari Rudenko presents Prehistoric Body Theater’s GHOSTS of HELL CREEK, a feature performance telling the story of Acheroraptor temertyorum, the last of the fierce bird-like raptor dinosaurs, who roamed the Hell Creek flood forests of prehistoric Montana before their obliteration in the terrifying impact. GHOSTS OF HELL CREEK then tells the survival story of Purgatorius unio, our earliest known primate ancestor, who rose from the ashes of the extinction, and thrived on the first fruit, as the world was born anew.
GHOSTS of HELL CREEK has been staged in Indonesia and the US, as both a live performance and experimental film. The first full-scale live productions of GHOSTS of HELL CREEK were commissioned by the Bergstrom Award for Art-Science Interface, in collaboration with Burke Museum curator of paleontology, and Hell Creek Project director Dr. Greg Wilson. The work showed at Meany Studio Theater, in Seattle, USA, on May 5-6, 2018. The Kickstarter funded film was shot in Indonesia, and will premiere as a museum video-art installation in Seattle in 2019, sponsored by 4Culture.org.
Prehistoric Body Theater was founded by artistic director Ari Rudenko in Indonesia, inspired by the myriad of animal characters in Indonesian traditional dance, and the unique strengths and perspectives Indonesian dancers bring to the work. GHOSTS of HELL CREEK is currently under development as an international touring production, starring a cast of Indonesian contemporary dancers. The piece will be in residency in Indonesia during 2019, and in 2020, we plan to launch a world tour of GHOSTS of HELL CREEK. Stay tuned for details.
The Oxford University Press Integrative and Comparative Biology (ICB) Journal, a leading publication for the biological sciences, released their first ever volume on art-science collaboration in fall 2018. This edition features an article by artistic director Ari Rudenko on the concepts, mission, and history behind Prehistoric Body Theater. This article is oriented towards the science community, framing GHOSTS of HELL CREEK as an innovative form of global public outreach for paleontology.
This article was based on a talk Ari Rudenko gave at the 2018 Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Conference (SICB) in San Francisco, USA, as part of a special symposium called “Science Through Narrative: Engaging Broad Audiences.” Ari presented alongside Hollywood companies such as Industrial Light and Magic, Pixar, and Dreamworks, discussing how art can bring scientific ideas and collaborations to the mainstream.