Tag Archives: mobius

ha ha

from Signs of Our Times | Mobius | Katie Nadworny [ 124 ]

Making a show of it

Artist Vela Phelan of Gang Clan Mafia — photo provided courtesy of JONATHAN WIGGS / GLOBE STAFF

Artist Vela Phelan of Gang Clan Mafia — photo provided courtesy of JONATHAN WIGGS / GLOBE STAFF

Its totally exciting to see the recent press about the vibrant performance art scene in Boston as covered by Cate McQuaid in The Boston Globe in her article Making a show of it { for some reason delivered with a re-imagined headline ‘Performance art is thriving in Boston‘ in the eVersion on bostonglobe.com }

The amazing historic reference to Raphael Montalez Ortiz’ destructive Fluxus work aired on Johnny Carson’s Tonight Show way back when — direct references to Mobius all over the article, and deservedly so — mention of all the groups and spaces that’ve come and gone over the years, like Meme, Oni Gallery and others { they failed to mention Cambridge’s legendary venues, like: Zeitgeist Gallery; Out of the Blue Gallery; Open Faucet Productions; Squawk; Naked City Coffeehouse; the Art Cheerleaders; and Burlesque Revival Association ( better known as BRA ) as well as other more musicky venues that regularly support performance art on a regular basis, like: Lizard Lounge; TT the Bears Place, Middle East Café; Precinct Bar; PAs Lounge; Milky Way Lounge and Lanes; Midway Café; Middlesex Lounge; Book Cellar Café; Jorge Hernandez Cultural Center; The Actor’s Guild Workshop; Club OBERON; and so on, etcetera }

Of course, front and center and most vital to the performance art scene to me and to SO many others growing up in the Greater Boston Area is the legendary and incomparable Marilyn Arsem — the founder of Mobius and such a passionate performance artist, educator, mentor and performance artist community leader in Boston and around the world — without her contributions and the amazing and gentle spirit she brings to performance art, and without the photodocumentary contributions of her incredibly visionary and talented late husband Bob Raymond — I think the Boston performance art scene wouldn’t be what it is today

And what better time than now to experience and celebrate live performance art? The article quotes Arsem’s definition of performance art as:

‘An action designed and executed by an artist that takes place in time and space with or without an audience’

… and as vague and confusing as that might seem, its such a refreshing and honest way to describe this rather unique and elusive artistic, expressive medium — and its actually far more specific than the now seemingly rather outdated, original New York City definition of performance art by RoseLee Goldberg from her book Performance: Live Art Since 1960. Goldberg says performance art is:

‘Live art by artists’

Seems a lot simpler than Arsem’s definition, right? I think Goldberg does go on to elaborate more on the extreme interdisciplinary tendancies and potentials for performance art, as do most folks trying to help drive better understanding about what performance art is and isn’t — but I prefer Arsem’s definition mostly because it describes an audience, and as a user-centered and experience design professional this concept of audience is at the core of what experience and performance art is all about — and then, in the end, I also tend to trust Arsem’s definition of performance art more just due to the fact that Marilyn is a living, breathing, passionate performance artist, whereas Goldberg comes from the comfortable and removed distance of being an art critic and historian

Anyhow, back to the point — so cool to see this recent press about performance art and the promotion of such amazing professionals as Marilyn Arsem, Bob Raymond, Vela Phelan and others working in this space — you can read the full article here on Boston Globe dot com — and if you’re not quite up to speed on the vast and interesting history of performance art as a medium, you can check out more context on Wikipedia here, which I personally hope will lead you to deeper research and reading on the topic in books, journals, magazines and on Amazon’s Kindle eReader { but not The Nook }

the prostitution of art

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i miss Mobius

this weekend i got to return and visit my friends at Mobius for a very sad occasion — Carol and i went out to Studio Soto to see Bob Raymond’s phenomenal photography on display and to celebrate his life and work and to show support for his amazing family

i still can’t believe he’s gone

in fact, i refuse to believe he’s gone — its really impossible to believe people simply disappear when they die, that they go away forever

i’m not sure i believe in heaven, my beliefs are more complex than imagining a ‘good place’ and ‘bad place’ for people to go when we all die — i do, however, believe that we live a self-created heaven or hell right here on earth, and that we, in fact, build these scenarios through our own actions, beliefs, participation and contributions in life

as we gathered to say goodbye to Bob Raymond and potentially make sense of this strange mystery, the idea that we all die one day — as we try to fathom how the show goes on after the death of such an extraordinary man — i couldn’t help but see the 80 or so photographs from his oeuvre on display around the room as the most inspiring and unbelievable peek into Bob’s personal heaven on earth through his life with Marilyn and with his family at Mobius — each moment captured on film in these amazing prints hung in little clusters of 6, 8 and 10 around Studio Soto seems to now represent a blink, a heartbeat, a pulse, a little glimpse into what Bob saw and how he actually saw it — and in many ways he lived always with his eyes glued to the world of the fantastic, moments painted into the retina by the always memborable and fascinatingly ecelectic body of work performed by members of the Mobius Artist Group over the course of the several decades since the organization’s official establishment in 1977

Bob somehow magically seemed to appear at every single Mobius event i have ever attended — we’d talk in the moments before and after an evening of performance art, somehow catching up on the latest personal small talk, minutae, details that usually led a happy bursts of laughter — he would be the person i’d return to for additional guidance when helping physically set up equipment out at an Artrageous Fundraiser — or maybe i’d have a question or 2 about the PA setup for a Radio Pu gig or some other Works in Progress event — when i think of Mobius, of going to Mobius and being there, Bob is just always there — and I refuse to believe that he now just goes away because of his passing

i mean, i truly want him to rest, i don’t mean to imply that even after his death he needs to somehow continue to serve Mobius and the MAGs from the other side, please don’t take my sentiment here as some sort of command to continue your hard work for Mobius and the international world of experimental performance art — please don’t misinterpret my words here

i guess what i mean is that from here on in, even after his passing, when i come to attend or participate in a Mobius event Bob will still be there — i am certain i will feel it — i will see those future moments, new glimpses into the fantastic, into the unreal and otherworldly, and i will see with Bob’s heart and spirit — his energy will continue to be with us, will continue on, and we will make our art for Bob to see some other unimaginable world that isn’t up in a castle made of clouds above the earth, but instead we will carry Bob in our hearts, in our minds, in our bodies and our souls — that heaven is a place deep inside that we open up to him, where we accept the pain of his passing and savor the joy that he left behind

noted progress from Laugh Foundation

not long ago Deb Mascara + i had the pleasure of presenting a score for laughter called ‘laughStream 2.0’ at Mobius Works in Progress … as Laugh Foundation, Deb + i walked on stage with music stands + followed the very loosely constructed score seen below:

some of our laughs followed a pre-recorded audio soundScape that included canned audience laughter from sitcoms, real laughter that i recorded as well as some surreal inclusion of animal noises { dogs barking, monkeys screeching, rooster cock a doodle dooing } … at other points Deb + i passed the laughter back + forth between us as a caricaturish demonstration of contagious laughter

our performance aimed to conduct the emotional feelings of the audience using nothing more than our onstage presence + laughter … through volume, direction, intensity, texture, and other parameters we targeted certain individuals as well as the entire group + overall the results interestingly proved to me just how complex human laughter can be

pre-recorded applause at the opening of the performance almost immediately triggered happy, willing applause from the audience, but laughter, no matter how hard we tried, in this particular artificial + strange set up, proved to be a very difficult response for us to elicit from our captive onlookers … there were smiles, eye contact + a certain need to look away when directly visually engaged midlaugh, but only a nervous laugh here + there … a giggle or titter at best

the social dynamics of misplaced energy … behavioral oddity + the reactions from the general public … these seem to be a key component of what i do naturally in life right now … there is a lot of confrontation … an angry outlet … i often wonder what will happen when our technology not only shapes our behavior but when the tools we create start to have a mind of their own, perhaps even when these technologies attack us + behave unexpectedly … how will we react? what will we do then? when the seemingly benificent devices we dream up + create suddenly turn on us, in an era where machines gain their own individual consciousness + like upset little teenagers they begin to argue, rebel + upset us? what if conscious machines don’t even like us? how will we handle our little monsters?

ha ha … who knows? … but maybe we can set up a few projects + test the waters, right? maybe we need to set up some user-centered prototypes + do some usability testing … or maybe, in the end, it would be the beginnings of a sort of technology survival training

Design Seminar 2 » Blog Archive » one cozy minute of isolation

one cozy minute of isolation

By lou suSi March 4th, 2009

a crisp, saturday evening in autumntime

down in the fort point area of Boston, the mobius annual artrages fundraiser party takes over an entire floor of commercial space to create an atmosphere of surreal, unbound creativity — the crowd warms the space — the rawness of the space goes unnoticed as people walk through and enjoy the art installations, participatory music and performance art, roving performances, and the company of so many amazing, creative people — lights and sound cascade and echo across the hardwood floors — there is a sense of celebration, uncanny premeditation and a joy for the subconscious enjoyment of this ocean of possibility

the night sings of timelessness — suspension of clocks and watches — a quarternote of one moment

i am waiting in line — the half hour passes fairly quickly as i talk with the waiting people — there is an installation up ahead — conversation in the line compresses time even further — there are people to watch, performances to figure out and discuss, distractions and thoughts pouring in like sunlight

as i get closer i see a man in a dark suit — very much a sombre sight — serious and cleancut — either a bit of business is being conducted or there may be a funeral, i can’t quite figure it out — but he is opening and closing a wooden door { the door to the installation } — letting people in and out, one by one — he is pleasant enough, but tall and calm in demeanor

every once in a while there is another person — shorter, wider — dressed in overalls and a thermal shirt, workboots and a red and black plaid hunting hat — he seems to have tools and occasionally goes into the wooden space between the flow of the line — he’s a bit nervous, but all smiles —  almost a living contradiction to the suit

as i get closer i can see that the wooden door opens into an outhouse construction labeled with a large ‘#1’  above the door — the man in the suit talks to each person at the head of the line — he literally helps each person in and out of the installation — i can see each person being pulled up and out from behind the door — everyone that emerges from the installation seems happy, pleasant, a bit relaxed

i look at the artrages map — apparently the piece is called ‘claustrophillick enclosure #1’ — i am almost at the front of the line — people are wondering what’s inside

i finally get to the front of the line and the man in the suit welcomes me — he explains that one person is allowed in the space for exactly one minute — he warns that the space is tight and if i have any fear or phobia of being alone, enclosed in a tight space, then i may want to reconsider experiencing the enclosure

he opens the door, reaches in and helps a young woman get up and out of the space — the interior of the outhouse is lined with a pink, floral cushioning material — the woman stands up, readjusts to the light of the mainspace and moves to re-gather with friends at the party — the man then helps me curl up inside the womblike fabric of the inner space — as he closes the door i am completely alone, surrounded by darkness — it is warm — the scent is that of flowers, perhaps the previous visitor to the enclosure

since i am enveloped in pitch black — my attention is drawn immediately to a subtle soundtrack — no real music, or at least no instrumentation — just many sounds, a soundscape — water dripping — passing traffic — a jet flies by — little girls singing together — songs from a playground — hopscotch or jumprope comes to mind — a muffled heartbeat becomes the most overwhelming sound in the mix

the space is warm and soft — very accommodating

my eyes begin to grow accustomed to the dark — i see what looks like someone moving, directly in front of me — just the silhouette — a little scary — i am looking into a mirror — a mirror on a medicine cabinet that is clearly marked ‘PRIVATE’ — an image of an angel dangles from the edge of the cabinet — i am facing my reflection in the mirror of the medicine cabinet — i notice a sign that says ‘Open Me’ — i open the door to the cabinet and can see restroom signs, the symbols for ‘Men’ and ‘Women’ — between them is a small jar with a magazine clipping — the image of child inside the jar — just the child’s face — there is also another clipping that says ‘True Love’ — and then i notice a sign that says ‘Close Me’ { very reminiscent of Alice in Wonderland | Through the Looking Glass } — i close the medicine cabinet and quite suddenly the door opens up — the man in the suit asks me how i am doing, let’s me know my minute in the claustrophillick enclosure is up, and reaches down to help me exit the outhouse — my eyes hurt a bit as they begin to readjust to the light

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blogpost to Design Seminar 2 for The Dynamic Media Institute @ MassArt :: in response to Kevin Brooks’ session on Storytelling and Narrative …