Uphold (from below)

still from Uphold (from below) © 2019 Cherie Sampson and Charles Gran

Directed and Performed: Cherie Sampson
Music Composed and Produced: Charles Gran
Elaine AuBuchon, oboe; Brian Kubin, cello.

This video-performance was created at the site of a large, half-alive cottonwood tree in a Northeast Missouri woodland. The tree had been struck by lightning several years prior to the shoot on-site and weathered the storm. In June 2017, when this was work was produced, the artist had recently completed her last round of chemotherapy after a diagnosis of hereditary breast cancer earlier that year. The video is comprised of footage shot just days before Sampson’s body was forever altered by surgery.  It was the last opportunity to create a site-based piece with her body in the landscape as she had known and worked with it throughout her life as an artist. Multiple superimpositions of the figure appear, including a momentary image of the post-surgical body shot later, representing different states of process and being.
–Cherie Sampson

So often, behind stillness there is an energy, even a tension.  Seekers often yearn for peace throughout their quest for enlightenment, which is born of restlessness (spiritual and intellectual).  When Plato writes of the daimon and Saul of Tarsus the soul, it is not fixed, but the bearer is in motion, striving.  In my understanding of Uphold, the figures seek and are never still.  The music is slow, not static, but by the end we glimpse that peace.
–Charles Gran



Signes de Nuit International Film Festival, International Short Films Competition, Desterro (venue), Lisbon, Portugal.


  • Midwest Women Making Art Because the World Matters, Heuser Gallery, Bradley University, Peoria, IL. Part of the “Midwest Women Artists “Champions of the Environment, 1960’s to the Present” symposium at Bradley University.
  • North Star Music Festival, Truman State University, Kirksville, MO.
  • Outlet Dance Project, 15th Annual Festival at Grounds for Sculpture, (screendance festival)Hamilton, NJ.
  • Movimiento en Movimiento, Festival Internacional de Danza Para la Pantalla,

Screendance festival. Center of Digital Culture, Mexico City, Mexico.

  • Jeju International Experimental Art Festival,  Republic of Tamnala, Jeju-do, South Korea. Presented as a video installation with several other of my video-performance pieces.
  • Evolving the Forest, Creative Summit, Dartington Hall, Devon, UK.  Screened the video in its entirety in the Film Programme for the summit as well as presented it as a 10-minute video-essay describing the experience of making the work.