Fragmenting Ymir

immersive backyard myth

April 2018

Installation art by Kellie Masterson
Choreography by Riley Bartlett
Music, poetry, and conception by S. Wellington

Fragmenting Ymir was an immersive backyard theater project involving over 40 collaborators. The performers included musicians, actors, dancers, and witches that helped hold the project as large-scale ritual. 


The project explored the Norse creation myth of Ymir, laying the primordial landscape of the place of fire, the place of ice, and the yawning gap between. Within a two hour time period, visitors approached the entrance where they were greeted and given a map and two verses describing the myth and asked to draw a Tarot card. After passing through the entrance, the visitors freely explored the garden. Throughout the garden, they were invited into various forms of interaction, which included reading poetry tied to tree branches, receiving tea from an actor, writing responses to question baskets in the garden, playing percussion instruments, and even dancing with some of the performers.

Besides laying the landscape of the myth and exploring various emotions associated with fragmentation, the project also included a unified section in the middle, demonstrating the chaotic grief of fragmentation, then quieting into the collective hope for healing and reunion. The project intended to explore the mysteries of creation myths, as well as the grief I personally found in feeling this myth - the loss and literal fragmentation of Ymir.

Beyond the myth itself, I intended the piece to explore broader experiences of fragmentation. Whether this is a spiritual fragmenting or the fragmenting of connections between living beings, the project invited visitors and performers to reflect on their disconnections and consider paths to wholeness.