Semilla Seed by Nara Garcia

Premiered as part of Changing Music in a Changing Climate 

15 October 2020

“Like falling in love with Earth”

The concept came from discussions with the scientific advisors collaborating on the project. I felt that there is already so much scientific information about climate change, our knowledge has grown but yet our experiences with the environment grow distant day after day. This piece is called “Semilla” which translates to Seed. I wrote a poem because I wanted to sow an idea into the listener’s mind. I want them to ask themselves the question “What change would I want to see?” Because before we ask other people to change, we need to look at ourselves and our actions. “Be the change YOU WANT to see”.

At the beginning of the piece I recite the thoughts of the Chief of an indigenous tribe from the Andes region Araucania, Abel Kurüwingka who explains that human beings are like seeds [1].

The artwork and animation reflect the colours of carbon emissions that grow worse year after year [2]. The opal in the middle is shaped as the Earth and behind it is the flower of life. When I introduced my idea to the group, I explained that I wanted the feeling of a miracle, like turning ice into diamonds, something impossible but yet beautiful. After hearing this, the Climate Scientist Freya Mitchison told me about the opal, explaining how “diatoms, which are made of biogenic silica, can also become opal, which is very jewel-like”. I did some further research on this and found that the opal is also known as the “Queen of Gems” [3] which suited my concept.

The performance reflects on nature. The busyness of the video is meant to make the audience feel a little uneasy – there are many things happening at the same time. The performers are naked to reflect on nature, and how exposed we are because of climate change. There isn’t anything protecting us. We need to understand that without becoming vulnerable to the situation that we’re currently in, nothing will change.

[1] Acosta. L.M and Acosta. N (2014) “Semillas del Conocimiento Verdadero” Compilation. Arandurã Editorial. This issue was funded by the National Fund for the Culture and the Arts (Fondo Nacional de la Cultura y las Artes- Fondec). Asuncion: Paraguay. ISBN: 978-99967-42-18-7

Translated by mapuche professor Juan Kurüfüta from thoughts by the “Cacique” Chief Abel Kurüwingka. Recollection by Ziley Mora Penroz of oral transmission from the indigenous area of Araucania.

[2] The Earth Has Lungs. Watch Them Breathe by Robert Krulwich, National Geographic, 9 March 2016

[3] Opal: the queen of gems by Don Emerson, Preview – Magazine of the Australian Society of Exploration Geophysicists, December 2016

Click below to listen to an introduction to the piece by the composer, followed by the performance.


Music composition/ production: Nara Garcia

Science Advisor: Freya Mitchison

Artwork and Animation: Melinda Aung

Performers: Nara Garcia and Valerie Rosa

Video Editing: Nara Garcia