White Mountain Apache, b. 1973; Diné, b. 1975; Diné/Puerto Rican, b. 1965
I Lost My Shadow, 2011
Single-channel video with sound on continuous loop 3:51″
Courtesy of the artists
Laura Ortman, Nanobah Becker, Jock Soto
In I Lost My Shadow, a collaboration by Laura Ortman, Nanobah Becker and Jock Soto, blurry cityscapes underscore the ethereal music of Laura Ortman as familiar figures connect on New York subway platforms, then fade back into shadow. The video features two figures: artist/composer/musician Ortman and former New York City Ballet principal dancer Soto. Ortman composed and performs the song I Lost My Shadow in the film, which originally appeared on her second solo album Someday We’ll Be Together, released in 2011. Meandering through the streets of Brooklyn, Ortman seems to be moving toward an unknown destination. Soto encounters Ortman entering the subway, then follows her up the stairs and onto the train. He then begins to dance elegiacally in the train car while the melody of Ortman’s violin hangs in the air. The two figures act as shadows to one another, following each other but never lining up.
Laura Ortman is a musician, composer, and collaborator working predominantly in amplified violin. Her work emerges in deranged crumpled forms, with sparkling nuance, oily slick transitions, and a brightness mixed with heavy use of amplification and sound distorting effects. Her use of tempo as a storytelling device produces a slow-motion grittiness through a combination of scored and improvised compositions. Ortman has received numerous fellowships and awards, including the Rauschenberg Residency, the Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Composers and Sound Artists, and the National Artist Fellowship through the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Her work has been performed and exhibited at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA PS1, Centre Pompidou, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Nanobah Becker is an award-winning writer/director who earned her MFA in directing from Columbia University. Her first two short films, FLAT and CONVERSION (Sundance Film Festival), were selected to screen at numerous festivals in the U.S. and internationally. THE 6th WORLD, a sci-fi short she wrote and directed, was Episode 6, Season 3 of online series FUTURESTATES and premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival. The National Gallery of Canada selected the film for inclusion in its prestigious exhibition SAKAHÀN: International Indigenous Art. She directed I LOST MY SHADOW by Laura Ortman, which won best Music Video at the imagineNATIVE film + media arts festival. Her second video collaboration with Laura Ortman, MY SOUL REMAINER, was part of the 2019 Whitney Biennale. Nanobah is a citizen of the Navajo Nation and was a dialogue director on the Navajo language dub of Disney Pixar’s FINDING NEMO. Nanobah hails from Albuquerque, NM and lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Jock Soto is a dancer, choreographer, and a former principal dancer of the New York City Ballet, where he had a 24-year tenure. Soto has held leading roles in numerous works by George Balanchine, Jerome Robbins and Peter Martins. He retired from professional dancing in 2005, but he returned to the stage in 2007 in Peter Martin’s production of Romeo + Juliet, taking on the role of Lord Capulet. A longtime friend of Nanobah Becker and Laura Ortman, Soto has collaborated on numerous projects including My Soul Remainer (2018), featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial. In 2011 Soto released his memoir, Every Step You Take (Harper Collins).