The artist and choreographer Brendan Fernandes conceived of 72 Seasons as a movement-based public artwork and installation at the Lurie Garden in Chicago’s Millennium Park. For this project, Fernandes considered classical ballet’s longstanding engagement with the passage of the seasons—from Alexander Glazunov’s 1899 Les Saisons to John Cage’s The Seasons, choreographed by Merce Cunningham and designed by Isamu Noguchi in 1947—and reenvisioned it for the twenty-first century. Fernandes was inspired by the Japanese calendar, which is divided into micro-seasons known as ko¯, each lasting around five days. Over the course of three iterations from August to October 2021, Fernandes brought together a group of dancers in acts of utilitarian choreography. Their movements—informed by practices of tending, foraging, and propagating—posit an ethos of sustainability while responding to the garden’s landscape, designed by Dutch architect Piet Oudolf in 2004, and its maintenance, determined by human labor as much as by natural processes. For this feature in BOMB Magazine, the artist collaborated with Everything Studio to create a visual and graphic score as an interpretive language and archive for the live performance.
The three performances that comprise the basis of this score respond to the calendar as Thick Fog Blankets the Sky, Thunder Lowers its Voice, First Frost Falls; movements to be adjusted throughout dance according to date.