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i`m your puppet now…

Category Archives: performance art

TimeoutNY has posted a review of our work-in-progress showing of last week. Read it here.


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hello, it’s been quite a while since i last posted. lately i’ve been working on the degenerate art ensemble‘s ‘sonic tales.’ this could be a tentative title or it could be the final. who knows…

last year, joshua and haruko, the main instigators/driving force of the dae, asked me if i’d like to collaborate on some song writing for the next album. i assented; working in a musical fashion with those two was something i’d been itching to do for years. unfortunately, my chops had never been proportionate to the task. luckily, all i was asked to do was contribute lyrics and some vocal lines. lyrics i can spit all day if given the impetus. melodies? much the same.

eventually the dae (which now includes composer jeff houston) asked if i’d consider coming on to their latest production as scripter, actor/dancer and to even perform some of those songs i’d helped to lyricise. i of course said yes and my life has been made much richer thereby.

DAE's Sonic Tales Flyer for NYC '09

sonic tales will debut in seattle in october over the 30th and 31st of october at the moore theater. in april we all fly out to manhattan where the new museum will be hosting us for a residency slash incubation. we’ll be doing some filming out there and probably play some public participation games (guerilla theater? does that still exist?); the new museum will be hosting a working production of whatever ideas we’ve generated and refined on the 16th and 17th of april. more details on that as they come.

that’s enough for now. if anyone has any ideas for promoting our work while in nyc please feel free to contact me at artofmulata ATsign gmailDOTcom. sorry for the dopey obfuscator. you can also go to the contact link at the top right of the page.

here are some far too dark photos of the dae recording some tracks at inphase productions here in seattle. i’m not in the pics as i was shooting them. make of them what you will.

pol is artofmulata

Degenerate Art Ensemble 2009 Recording Sonic Tales

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yesterday i had the pleasure of leaving work early to escape into the streets. it’s beautiful here in seattle right now and the last thing i want to do is be cooped up in anything. it’s terrible that trapped feeling.

i saw a theater performance last night by implied violence. there was a cage to one side of the performance space made of chicken wire. appropriately, they had a lot of baby chickens in it. my friend lindsey kept murmuring about wanting to take one home and bent down to pet them. i don’t pet chickens. i think they smell bad and i have been attacked by roosters one too many times to have any desire to play with them. and i have seen them do spectacular things, but i still don’t want to touch one.

so i wandered down to pioneer square. it’s an older part of seattle’s downtown where once all the migrant and poor white labor lived and worked. you could go to a dance hall and buy yourself a lady from the phillipines for the night. number girls they called them because they wore little numbers on themselves as identification. choose a number. take a number. it’s a numbers racket. number girls.

it was also where the whore houses were if you hadn’t guessed. i guess all those guys chopping down trees and refining them needed some kind of comfort. they were living in shanty towns on the edge of the city. hooverville is what it was called, the shanty. i don’t know why (editor’s note: president hoover was the president at this time, the great depression, and was blamed for the economic malaise, thus the populace named these rag and stick villages after him. metonymy in action or polysemy?) . i suppose i’ve heard before, but i just don’t remember. all the stories of that place, old pioneer square, sound miserable. nothing to romanticize here, folks; keep moving. keep moving. no wonder that this is one of the places from which the american labor movement rose.

but yesterday was a brighter day. yesterday, on 1st avenue between yesler and western avenues at a little after 5 pm, i saw a group of dancers walk down the street and stake a claim to a section of sidewalk. they were wearing very lovely dark hued costumes reminiscent of ballerina wear. small black shoes and hose. little bubbles of fabrics forming down from their waists. bare headed like frivolous nuns and never really smiling, they formed a single file line down the street. buttressed by two not so matronly matrons dressed as ushers, i think, bookends, maybe, to the dancers.

the dancers also had on these curious mesh aprons. really small ones. if you looked close enough you could see a couple of small speakers inside them. i didn’t notice any wires going to soundboxes so maybe they were using a radio broadcaster to get their sounds. i’ve done shows like that before and it’s a pretty exciting way to sonify a piece.

when you perform in the streets in america it’s really quite different than dancing or playing music in other countries. people react with an attitude that almost borders on hostility. they will make nasty comments. they yell stupid things that don’t really amuse their friends, but helps to diffuse the weird tension that americans have about street performers who aren’t clowns, breakdancers, folk musicians and those guys who use buckets for drums. it wasn’t so bad for the 5 ladies in esse aficionado and i suppose it’s because they looked so dazzling in those outfits and they never did smile. not smiles like you think of smiling, anyway. the tall woman in the middle kept looking as if she was going to grace us with some kind of bounty of joy, but she resisted and the mirth just seemed to play about her lips and eyes.

i should probably say something about their dancing. the 5 of them were in a line going down the sidewalk. motions were synchronized and generally began with one dancer at either end or the principle choreographer, who was the second person in after the matron closest to me, starting some gesture. an arm would go up here or a leg and then you could see it move through all of them. but it would take on a slightly different form depending on the body or personality of the mover.

and that is pretty wonderful. i have only seen one other piece by this group, but i liked it so much i went twice. this piece, late saturday afternoon: portrait, is an extension of that one, early sunday morning, and something i can say about it is that the choreographer, maki morinoue, has brought some movement of the birds to her work that i find enchanting. so watching these movements move serially from one body to the next, even though it’s something you see in a lot of performances, is not tiring or boring or cliched. it just feels very dream-like and almost but not quite sensual. or maybe that’s just me.

i have always loved bringing art that normally is done in theaters out into the public. it’s so fun to watch how people react. a lot of performers get turned off because it can be emotionally hazardous what with all those random folks making the occasional disparaging and loud remarks or doing mock versions of what you are up to, but for the people who are hungry for this sort of thing it’s pure joy when we stumble across it.

i should also say something about the musical element. as i mentioned before, the dancers were wearing these mesh aprons with very small speakers inside. the sounds of bells and gongs would come from them sometimes. other times it was children laughing. this seemed to really resonate with the crowds who gathered and the crowds who passed. looking at the sandwich board the matrons had set down as the group occupied their piece of the sidewalk i saw that the music was composed by morinoue. this is the choreographer’s last name, but i am not sure if she is being humble by identifying herself in this way or if this is a special name that connotes something else or something more. but it doesn’t really matter because the final notion i have is that the sounds played were well chosen and their sequencing was a choreography in itself.

esse aficionado.

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you will need:

1. a film or video to display

2. a projector

3. a lot of naked people.

paint your naked people white or yellow.

have them lined up as closely as possible. they can be trained to perform various movements if you like as long as they stay close. if your projection is long you will want enough naked people to rotate them out in rounds, as in, one person leaves as another person joins. this could go on indefinitely.

project the film or video onto their bodies.

you now have an installation.

from the matsumoto toshio film, ‘funeral parade of roses.’ i’d like to see this one dancing over a crowd of naked bodies.

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i’ve pretty much resisted dropping just straight links to other sites in the guise of updates or posts to artofmulata, but i just can’t resist. this is a link to an abbie hoffman interview from 1989 first published in 2007 and recently dropped on us again by the wonderfully fun Reality Sandwich webmag. pretty damn strange to find an interview with the gentleman from that time period, too.

mr. hoffman, for those of you not in the know, was a political activist from all the way back in the civil rights movement days. he was down south getting harrassed by the klan. moved out east at some point and got involved with those who came to be known as the hippies. went international and ran with sinn fein over in ireland. and got in so much trouble for having too much fun showing us how stupid the governments of this world are that he had to change his name and his face (plastic surgery. plastique surgery?), abandon his life and family, and go underground.

dearest abbie (pic swiped from

pretty shitty if you ask me, but, hey! those are the rewards you receive when you monkey with the powers that want to be a little too much. check out the history of the weather underground. or if you really want to get down to a system of rewards based on behavior go read up on the history of the black panthers or the george jackson brigade (those are 3 separate links). for their efforts at social/cultural revolution these cats were awarded the bullet, the trumped up charge, the erasing from official history and many more awards.


but enough babbling from my pop-revolutionary/post-political/pre-nuptial ass; go read this fine interview with mr. abbie hoffman. i know he would agree with me that no matter who wins this presidential election you can’t trust them or truss them. and remember it’s your job (after you foolishly vote these barbarian apes into office) to hold them continuously accountable. because they are out to get us. i promise you.

and when you have complaints about their behavior don’t talk to me about it. i’m warning you right now that i will have no sympathy for any of you who vote for the winner. because it will be your fault when they bomb iran or look the other way when israel does it. or whatever warped scheme the new guy signs off on that violates all his campaign promises; unless, of course, mccain wins. at least we know what a fucking nutjob that pickaxe is.

sorry. i am so happy this morning and whenever i get that sensation of sheer ‘goddamn-i-am-so-in-love’ i get to ranting. or kissing everyone around me. or throwing money in the air. i bet you wish you were here with me right now to catch some cash, don’t you? or maybe that you were in love, too? don’t worry. you are. it just hasn’t hit you yet.

until the next post, lovelies!


here’s the link again in case you missed it the first time through:

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so i have decided to join the northwest film forum‘s film challenge for 2008.

the challenge? to produce all your footage for a short film in 24 hours in one location specified by the film forum and turn out a film of no more than 5 minutes in length. by august. i think i can do this.

of course, since it’s an artofmulata production it’ll be a conceptual art film. how anyone does anything other than that i don’t know; who can be bothered to walk the finite lines of lateral thinking when explosions are happening all around us, infants sell us crack to be smoked from the barrels of miniaturized weapons appliances and barack obama is so boring to listen to (i’m sure history will deem him a nice guy)?

i am also looking for people to be in the film. no speaking necessary. no nudity or sex. it will hopefully be provocative in its imagery and something that you will hide from your parents. unless your parents are like that… i hope your parents are so very like that.

shooting will start in mid to late july. if you are interested in being in a small effort of conceptual and projectable media contact me at i will send you details asap.

and i promise i will be very grateful and willing to express that to you!

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1. Rent a hotel room

2. Invite a local performance artist to perform there

3. Invite interesting and fun locals to your room

4. Repeat in a different city


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