Format: Research project
Dates: Apr — Jun 2023
Language: English
Publication: Online

Research, text, film: Aslan
CROWS researches the imagery and performative storytelling potential of the crow. Crows are a vivid presence in urban and rural landscapes and live in almost every corner of the globe. As such, proximity to crows is a common human experience crossing geographical, cultural, and political boundaries. Crows have always fascinated me. It is easy to imagine that these flesh-and-feather creatures can see things we cannot, move between quantum worlds, and act as portals into non-ordinary realities.

As a performance maker and storyteller, I am fascinated by how performance can transport us into non-ordinary experiences of reality; places where normal rules are suspended and deeper, dreamlike functions of our brains are activated. These states can help us make links and insights unavailable to us in our day-to-day lives. Inspired by the use of animals as symbols in medieval drama, I will explore how the crow can act as a trigger to access non-ordinary realities in my Queer performance making practice.
I will observe and document crows in the landscape and use this archive of images, film, and written observations to create a series of dramatic and poetic writings. I will work with the imagery and film alongside the writings to explore the symbolic potential of the crow with an audience.

Can imagery and words evoke a sense of transportation in an onlooker?  Can the crow trigger a non-ordinary reality within which we encounter shared emotions and ideas?

List of Contents


#1.      03 / 04 / 2023
#2.     05 / 04 / 2023
#3.     08 / 04 / 2023 (contains workplan)
#4.    12 / 04 / 2023 (contains questionnaire)
#5.     17 / 04 / 2023 (contains performance plan)
#6.     25 / 04 / 2023 (contains a poem and some photos)
#7.     01 / 05 / 2023
#8.     04 / 05 / 2023 (contains a bit of analysis)
#9.     05 / 05 / 2023
#10.   08 / 05 / 2023 
#11.   22 / 05 / 2023 (contains analysis of play draft)
#12    23 / 05 / 2023 (contains some analysis of questionnaire)
#13    27 / 05 / 2023
#14    07 / 06 / 2023
#15    12 / 06 / 2023 
#16    29 / 06 / 2023 (contains a kind of round up)


This portion of the research will consist of practical research into movement and costume. 

The movement of Crows
A roundup of questions arising from this work


The final part of the research will consist of a short experimental film.

Notes on the film


I will work on this script ongoing through the research period. The drafts of the script and notes can be found on the links below.

Draft One (working document)
Notes on Draft One (working document)

Draft Two (replaces Draft One; working doc)

Draft Three (replaces Draft Two; working doc)
Notes on Draft Three (working document)

Some feedback on the third draft

Costume Progress (working document)
Costume photos 


A list of links from Catherine
A link about crow language
The sound of a crow
Cooperative research on the American crow
Ologies podcast with crow researcher Kaeli Swift
Kaeli Swift’s blog page Corvid Research

The above image is House Crow Corvus splendens by Raju Kasambe.

Crows is a #TakeHeart research project by Aslan, supported by Fonds Darstellende Künste with funds from the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media within the program NEUSTART KULTUR.

Additional thanks to: Tom Oldham; Chris Gylee; Catherine Lajoinie.