Winter Wolf (Canis Lupus Hibernus) and Shadow Wolf (Canis Lupus Umbrus), performance, 2014
The most notable characteristic of this species pair is their symbiotic relationship: Shadow Wolf is in fact Winter Wolf’s shadow. Although this connection is occasionally tenuous and violent, the Winter Wolf is never without its shadow for more than a few moments at a time. In fact, one cannot survive without the other and Winter Wolf and Shadow Wolf rely on each other for nourishment and companionship.
A performance by Really Large Numbers (Julia Oldham and Chad Stayrook)
Really Large Numbers performed Whale Star at Artists Alliance, Inc. in New York City, D-Center in Baltimore, MD, and we will be performing it again on November 15 at Emerson-Dorsch Gallery in Miami, Florida.
Whale Star is a dreamy, musical performance by Really Large Numbers which takes place on board a sailing ship fashioned from a laboratory table. In this piece, The Captain (Chad Stayrook) and Figurehead (Julia Oldham) sing a duet about their shared pursuit to capture each others individual perception of a whale seen in both the sea and stars.
The Captain is tracking a whale in the sea, while his ship’s wayward Figurehead has fallen madly in love with the navigational star Mira, a point in the equatorial whale constellation Cetus. By day, the Captain records a ship's log revealing his confusion and conflicting desires as his navigational efforts are mysteriously thwarted. When night falls and the Captain sleeps, the Figurehead undoes all of his sailing progress in pursuit of her beloved whale star in the skies above.
This piece was developed during Really Large Numbers' residency with Artists Alliance Inc in the LES Studio Program during summer of 2014. Special thanks to The Clemente for their support of this performance.
From These Woods
An Exhibition by Really Large Numbers (Chad Stayrook and Julia
Institute of Contemporary Art, Baltimore @ D center Baltimore
From These Woods is an exhibition of projects, objects and
ephemera from the Really Large Numbers laboratory, the
creative expedition of multidimensional artists Chad Stayrook
(Brooklyn, NY) and Julia Oldham (Eugene, OR). Stayrook and
Oldham’s partnership began in 2011 when they encountered
each other spontaneously as characters in dreams of mythic
adventures. This dream thread led them inexorably to a
collaborative relationship that combines science, fantasy and
dream language to blur the boundaries between the Real and the
The titular installation for this show is a series of animated
videos chronicling the story of a deer who can travel through
dreams. Originally inspired by the true story of a buck
swimming from Jersey City to Governor’s Island in 2010, RLN
reimagines the buck’s adventure as a celestial journey.
The artists cast their own minds as the “islands” he moves
between. The videos have a lively fairy tale structure. Each
incorporates a mysterious, geometric teleportation device that
allows the deer to move between realms and travel deeper and
deeper into bizarre brainscapes.
This and other projects showcased at D center in October
exemplify a persistent strategy of Really Large Numbers’
practice—fantastical interpretations of the natural world
blended with empirical research of human relationships,
communication structures, and symbols. From These Woods will
be the first installation of Really Large Numbers work in
Really Large Numbers created this work while participating in
the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Swing Space residency
on Governor’s Island in Upper New York Bay, and Artists
Alliance Lower East Side Studio Program in Manhattan. Their
work is supported by the Oregon Arts Commission in Portland,
D center Baltimore - dcenterbaltimore.com
D center Baltimore is a broad cross-section of disciplines and
individuals invested in improving and encouraging design—in
all its iterations—in the Baltimore region. D center’s members
believe design thinking has the capacity to change the world
and that banding together in creative collaboration will
greatly improve the quality of urban life.
ICA Baltimore - icabaltimore.org
ICA Baltimore is a collaboration of volunteers working to
stage contemporary art exhibitions in available spaces in
Baltimore. From These Woods is the thirteenth exhibition by
the ICA since 2011.
Here are a few stills from the From These Woods video triptych, which follows the adventures of a deer who can travel through dreams. Our videos are based on the true story of 10-point buck who swam from Jersey city to Governor's Island in 2010. We conceptualized this project while participating in the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's Swing Space residency on Governor's Island in New York, and completed the series while participating in Artists Alliance Inc. Lower East Side Studio Program in Manhattan.
And here are some of the drawings from our Diving Geometry series, which we exhibited in From These Woods as well.
Really Large Numbers (RLN) is a laboratory that encompasses the individual and collaborative experiments/expeditions of Chad Stayrook and Julia Oldham. Early in 2011, the two artists spontaneously began to dream about each other as characters in mythical dream adventures. Soon after the development of their Dream Thread, they had a series of discussions that led them inexorably into a collaborative relationship. For the majority of their collaboration, Oldham and Stayrook have lived on opposite coasts. Luckily, a copper wire connects their minds and allows them to communicate instantaneously, making the distance between them shrink to nothing. This need to use the copper wire has given them both a keen interest in communication and connection, and in the psychological space between two individuals. Together they create a mythology and physics of this space. When working in physical proximity, Really Large Numbers always establishes a laboratory as their base of research and making, and they engage in laboratory experiments to understand their surroundings. Using technomagical devices designed by Stayrook, Oldham unlocks secrets from landscapes. Using coyote skulls as a medium, the artists reveal dreamtruths, and they charm insects with bone instruments. As a team, Really Large Numbers combines science, fantasy and dream language to blur the boundaries between the REAL and the unREAL.
The Really Large Numbers Laboratory on Governors Island.
We attempt to learn about flight.
We communicate with dead animals.
Dream creatures move from one brainforest to another.
We charm grubs and make golden offerings for deceased squirrels.
Arctic Wolf and Shadow Wolf come to life.
Copper wires are tuned and mysteries of the universe revealed.
Experiments and expeditions are planned and executed.