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We’re an arts publication that explores humanity’s complicated relationship to land.

Adela C. Licona + Cara Hagan

Adela C. Licona + Cara Hagan


"Shedding Skin: A Photo Poetics Exploration of the Im/Possibilities of Cohabitation” is from an ongoing collaborative project titled Shedding Skin. It consists of three photographs by scholar-photographer, Adela C. Licona, and a work of creative prose titled “Creation Story" by scholar-artist, Cara Hagan.

These works emerged for us during our recently awarded arts residency at PLAYA in Summer Lake, Oregon.* Working from a shared perspective on the body and its relationship to the natural world, I used photography to create visual images of Cara in the dried alkali lakebed of Summer Lake, Oregon. Our collaboration is an exploration of ways of experiencing and expressing the world through a visual and textual framework of relational inseparability in search of understandings of what it might take to achieve sustainable cohabitations.

*PLAYA in Summer Lake is located on the ancestral homelands of the Klamath Tribes. It was traditionally Yahuskin Paiute terriorties as well. The federally recognized Klamath Tribes are three confederated tribes, the Klamath, Modoc, and Yahuskin. You can learn more about the tribes at their website:  With gratitude to Ka'ila Farrell-Smith for teaching me.

Adela C. Licona Bio

Adela C. Licona is Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Arizona. Her research interests include space and visual rhetorics, cultural, ethnic, gender, and sexuality studies, race, borderlands studies, environmental justice, feminist pedagogy, community literacies, action-oriented research and arts-based inquiry. She was a Fall 2018 PLAYA Resident with Cara Hagan for their project “Shedding Skin.” Photographs from this project recently received an Honorable Mention in the non-professional category for “Women Seeing Women” in the 12th Julia Margaret Cameron Photography Awards. Her photography has appeared in numerous journals and magazines and has been exhibited in Tucson, AZ , San Francisco, CA, Arroyo Seco, NM, and Atlanta, GA. Her most recent collaboration, TENDER R/AGE :: RABIA TIERNA ~ an outcry of collective outrage is an art-as-intervention and public pedagogy project that functions as a coalition gesture, is circulating across the US as a POP Up Exhibit. She is a member of the Collectivo Fronteristas Arts Collective founded by Bernadine Hernández and Szu-Han Ho. Her co-edited book, Precarious Rhetorics, was published in August by OSU Press. There she introduces what she terms “the regime of distortion” which her work seeks to disrupt.

Cara Hagan Bio

Cara Hagan is an interdisciplinary artist whose practice is informed by movement, words, digital space, contemplative practice, and community. Ms. Hagan has the pleasure of sharing her artistic pursuits across the United States and abroad. Most recently, Cara has set choreographic works on students at the UNC School of the Arts, Missouri State University and on professional dancers at the Dance Barn Festival in Battle Lake, MN. Her recent guest residencies have included Thirak India, where she taught, performed and lectured across the north region of India, at James Madison University, where she taught a series of workshops on dance film, at UC Boulder, where she was a guest artist as part of the 2017 U.N. {W.R.A.P} Series, and at PLAYA Summer Lake, as a 2018 resident artist with collaborator Adela C. Licona. Further, Cara has made recent performance appearances at the Asheville Wordfest, the Taos Poetry Festival, the Performàtica dance festival, the Loikka Dance Film Festival, and the 40 NORTH Dance Film Festival. A recipient of several grants and awards, Cara received a 2017 OIED Grant from Appalachian State University, a 2015 Sustainability in the Arts Grant and a 2015-2016 University Research Council Grant and the 2014-2015 NCAC Choreographic Fellowship Award. Ms. Hagan serves on the dance studies faculty at Appalachian State University, as well as serving as director and curator for ADF's Movies By Movers, an annual, international dance film festival that hosts events at both the American Dance Festival and Appalachian State University. Cara's scholarly and creative work can be found in various publications, including the Snapdragon Journal of Art and Healing, Headwaters Journal of Expressive Arts, the International Journal of Screendance, and in the book, Dance's Duet with the Camera: Motion Pictures, edited by Telory D. Arendell and Ruth Barnes. Currently, Cara is under contract to complete her first solo authored book through McFarland Publishing.

 Creation Story by Cara Hagan: 

To say that I was roused from 
A deep slumber wouldn’t be wholly true;
More accurately
I was resting, fitfully,
Just below the surface of alert
When coyotes began their rounds of
Yips and howls in the hours
Before sunrise. 

Eyes wide open
Staring into the dark
I put my glasses on to see
The stars more clearly through the window
I sharpened my ears to listen well -
They were telling the story of how
The earth was made
Each adding details as they went
Collective memory helping the pieces fit:

“And then the dirt rained down from the sky.” 

“Then the rocks and mountains grew up.” 

“And the moon invited the waters to come fill the crevices and arteries like blood.” 

“Then the plants and trees were born from mud.” 

“And our ancestors were dreamed up by the wind.” 

“And then they stepped out of the den, hungry to eat, hungry for the world.” 

“We were born hungry, too.” 

“Now here we are, talking back to the sky that brought us.” 

. . . I had never heard that story told that way before.

Bryn Jackson

Bryn Jackson

Ramon Jimenez Cardenas

Ramon Jimenez Cardenas