Thursday, August 13, 2009

"The Politics of Shoes"

"The Politics Of Shoes" The Politics of Shoes Exhibit @mobius – May 23 through May 31th, 2009
Mobius – 725 Harrison Avenue, Boston MA –

by Jill Furumoto

The Red Ruby Slipper, a twisted nest of wire coiled,

A powerful red shoe, bigger than you, stands alone at the front door

Let the games begin- here, in a place called

"The Politics of Shoes"



The defiled sole of a dirty shoe, A

Projectile weapon hurled at George W. Bush-

A dirty sole aimed towards another soul, tainted

with the blood the innocent.

Arrested, the shoe is shuffled away.

Step into the another puddle of sand,

Sand puddles on your shoes

Are tracked as you step across the floor to read about the

The 63 homicides that took place in Boston Last Year.

As you walk away, your footsteps

Drag the dirt around the room. Nobody is safe, even

running leaves traces of the crime scene-and panic spreads like

dust in a windstorm

Women's shoes in the corner window

High heels, pointed toes, fine leather and textiles of varied design.

These women are deceased, but their shoes endure to archive

intimate details of their lust for

beauty, style, fashion, and social acceptance...

I was told that people will judge me by my shoes (and my hair)

After I am dead, what tales will my shoes tell? No one will think much of me.

I didn't bother to dress up my feet. I have tried to free myself of

The Politics of Shoes.

Turn another corner and view- running shoes with steel protracting high heels

Can't a woman be athletic and feminine at the same time?

Where does the politics of shoes end?

Not in my backyard.

We hear these old songs, and we step over torn up sheet music.

Songs of racism and oppression are strewn all over the floor-

While scattered footprints cover their lyrics, the message is revealed

to those who look closely.

The Politics of Shoes-Where does it end?

Maybe with a click of a heel, a video loop

Two shoes knock to together, walk together, try to get along.

But this is not right, this is the bizarre tale of two left feet trying to act as a pair.

I'm ready to go home now, enough of the Politics of Shoes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

David Chin - "The People's Shoes"

David Chin posted each of his photographs for the Politics of Shoes exhibit with the accompanying text/comment by the wearer:

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Politics of Shoes: Artistic Profile Sam Tan

The Politics of Shoes: Artistic Profile Sam Tan

by Jill Furumoto

After viewing the Politics of Shoes art exhibit hosted by Jane Wang, many thoughts and feelings and images flooded my mind. There were so many ideas and so much to look at.

As I reflect on my experience with the Politics of Shoes show, a few of the exhibits stood out in my mind. One of them was the piece "63 in '08", by Sam Tan. This piece engaged me, and I immediate felt that I had literally "stepped into the artist's" medium when I crossed a sand puddle on the floor to read the names of the 63 homicide victims in Boston in 2008.

After reading their names, I stepped back across the sand puddle and tried to move on to the next piece. In doing so, I tracked the sand across the floor and realized that I was now part of the art piece. Yes, it made a direct impression on me. The interactive aspect of this piece grabbed me. The violence in the community rubs off on our souls or our soles, in this case, and when we try to walk away, the residue symbolically follows us. This was a great idea, and it made me stop and think about what the Artist was trying to say.

I decided that I would like to learn more about Sam Tan's artistic process and his journey towards making 63 so I interviewed him electronically and was glad he was willing to share some of his thoughts and background via facebook. Here is a summary of the interview.

Question: What is your background? Did you go to art school?

I am largely self-taught and my background was originally in psychology. I've always enjoyed visiting museums and galleries and was intrigued and inspired by the creative journeys that the artists went on. After following the programming of quite a few of the local galleries for awhile, I felt that I had the courage to jump into the deeper and see what would come out of it.

Question: What is your favorite modality?

I don't have a specific modality that I stick to. I don't like to box myself in, and I enjoy shaking things up now and then. That is why I found the open call to participate in "The Politics of Shoes to be appealing and challenging as I have not made site specific work in the past .

Question: What inspired you to do your piece 63?

Some of my work; like abstract biomorphic paintings are more intuitive and fluid in its process while others like “63 in '08” and my other work which involves using gay pornographic imagery are more conceptually based and linear in its process.
I came across the Politics of Shoes through an open call posted on the net.

The inspiration behind my piece was that I had been basically (and continue to be) troubled by the homicides that took place in the city. I wanted to communicate the idea that we are all interconnected to one another even though we may live in much safer neighborhoods that have not been a witness to such crimes.

Question: What are you working on now?

I am currently working on abstract paintings that have collage elements. Its a continuation of the work that I have shown earlier this year at the artists foundation gallery in Boston. I have no plans to make other site specific installations like "63 in '08". Although I could conceivably create variations of that work in the future.

The responses I have gotten from my piece have been good. Because of the sobering content of the piece, some viewers have been moved by it while some others were able to make interesting cross-cultural connections.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Appreciating Sole Food: A Reflection on “The Politics of Shoes”

Appreciating Sole Food: A Reflection on “The Politics of Shoes”
The Politics of Shoes Exhibit @mobius – May 23 through May 31th, 2009
Mobius – 725 Harrison Avenue, Boston MA –

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

I thought I had a clear idea about the political nature of footwear when I arrived at “The Politics of Shoes” at Mobius in Boston on a muggy night at the end of May 2009. Seared among my preconceptions was the infamous shoe-throwing incident of 2008, when then-President George W. Bush ducked to dodge a pair of projectile insults that had, moments earlier, wrapped the feet of a Baghdad reporter. Shoes, I thought, were by definition the lowest of the low. They shield the skins of our feet from spit, spillage and everything else that ends up on the streets. To use a shoe in a political statement is to express unmitigated disgust, I assumed. I arrived ready to see what was making Boston’s artists angry enough to take aim with their shoes and fire.

At first, I got a taste of what I’d expected from Milan Kohout’s installation: "The Politics of Shoes". Shoes photographed on a flag-draped doormat took a swipe at America’s national symbol. Another sequence of photos depicted the Baghdad shoe-throwing episode. Shoes equal insults, I thought. What other targets have these presenters lined up?

But by the time I’d finished going through the exhibit, I was seeing shoes as instruments with much more to say than: “I loathe what you represent.” I came to appreciate how shoes are deeply personal items. Hence when they’re politicized, they pack a person’s identity – frailties and passions alike – into their punch. My coming to see shoes as multi-layered vessels with subtleties to speak was a testimony, I think, to the artists’ individual and collective success at presenting installations that stretched the mind into some unexpected territory.

Sam Tan’s
"63 in ’08" pushed me to a new place, even though I learned later that I hadn’t quite grasped the project. Since I visited at night, I couldn’t see the 63 Boston murder victims’ names listed on the window. I also thought the footprints in the chalk on the floor were supposed to be those of people killed (they were actually those of previous visitors to the show). But pondering the written message and studying the markings of soles in chalk, I got a strong and arguably rightful impression that a footprint – especially one of a person now deceased – is very personal, almost sacred sign. It seems to deserve protection of its integrity as an act of reverence for the one who left it. I imagined I was looking at actual footprints of young, imaginative people who’d been gunned down. Their footprints, at least figuratively speaking, were all they’d really left on this earth. How intimate it is to regard a person’s footprint, and by extension, the shoe that makes it! Perhaps a shoe isn’t merely a cold vessel of disdain and repulsion.

In the adjacent corner, my line of thinking about shoes-as-intimates found more fuel. "I dream of boots and an army of women" by Leigh Waldron-Taylor showed a semi-circle of paired shoes, all pointed at a loosely hanging ladder. Aha, I thought: a statement about social climbing. Women amass shoe collections, I inferred from the display, as a means to appear that they’re making progress up a ladder of social status. That’s so sad, I thought, but also so human. Later Jane Wang, who’d invited me to the show, noted offhandedly that these shoes had belonged to women who are now dead. That insight made the display all the more poignant to me. These women had donned what were in most cases fancy shoes. They tried to climb, never reaching the top, and then died. Now the casings that had wrapped their feet for years and protected them from the elements of New England weather were alone in this space to make a final statement. Again the intimacy, even the vulnerability, of the shoe form was palpable. These weren’t screams of insult; these were whispers of longing. Both, it seems, are woven into the power of shoes to make political statements.

As I made my way around the exhibit, I got a sense that the artists behind these artworks were in tune with the close bonds that people feel with certain favorite shoes. Lauren McCarthy’s "Dress Shoes for Spontaneous Departure" spoke of how important a shoe can be. She rendered these sneakers as her freedom, her ability to run at any second. If fashion demands heels, she seemed to suggest tongue-in-cheek, then she would absurdly weld them onto the sneakers that give her autonomy in a world rife with threats and constraints. Along the wall, David Chin’s "The People’s Shoes" conveyed how much people love their old, well-worn, simple shoes – and how ambivalent they are toward the rest. Captions to some of his 20 or so photographs of shoes worn by Mobius visitors during a SoWa Art Walk spoke to the contrast. “These are my favorites. I can wear them without socks,” said one. “These are new and don’t make me feel any different,” said another. Shoes, when loved, become a part of you and me, I gathered. Nothing the well-worn ones say – in any assemblage or act of defiance – can be divorced from the earnest aspirations of those who’ve given them a unique shape and contour.

My new appreciation for the intimacy of shoe-packaged statements made the rest of what I saw resonate on a deeper level. J. Ellis Coleman’s
"Stay in Your Own Backyard" depicted oversized footprints in a suggestively enclosed space. They stood on sheet music with such racist lyrics as “a coon like you” should stay in his own backyard. I saw these footprints as a symbol of one person’s deep longings to be free, to explore and to achieve. Perhaps I would have seen them in a similar light had this installation been my first stop at the show, but the other artists’ works had sensitized me to just how inseparable are a person’s footprints from his or her being. To confine mobility, either literally or figuratively, is perhaps to muffle humanity.

It seems I don’t see shoes in quite the same way as I did before this show. More importantly, I think I appreciate the frailty of human existence more than I did before. Even the most coarse and blunt of instruments for delivering insults is apparently inextricably connected to an individual’s personal story and deep longings. And if a weapon can have such a tender human dimension, then perhaps human beings too are capable of more than a little humaneness.

G. Jeffrey MacDonald is an independent journalist specializing in religion, ethics and social responsibility. His articles have appeared in TIME magazine, USA Today, MS. magazine, American Executive, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor among others. His stories in USA Today are archived here:

Jeff is a recipient of religion journalism’s top award, the Templeton Reporter of the Year prize from the Religion Newswriters Association. The American Academy of Religion has also honored him four times for his in-depth reporting on religion. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Yale University and Bachelor of Arts in American history from Brown University.

His forthcoming book, “Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul,” will be published by Basic Books in Spring 2010.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Milan Kohout
- installation & action May 23-25 2009

composite photo:

photos: Milan Kohout (MAG)

Milan Kohout (Mobius Artists Group)
photographs, collage & political commentary
& audience participatory action/performance art

Videos of Milan Kohout's Participatory Action:

Video #1 - May 24 2009:

Milan Kohout : Action for The Politics of Shoes @mobius 05-24-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Video #2 - May 25 2009:

Milan Kohout : Action for The Politics of Shoes @mobius 5-25-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

"Shoe is the dirtiest think in Iraq as you know .. therefore I put it on the hands of that tortured person american cowboys boost.. -also taken immediately when the abu graib prison scandal was exposed... even my mobius comrades were pissed about me... well while it was so so so so so obvious what this empire was doing.. but in some ways the native americans were so brainwashed and blind and did not admit that... and are still unfortunately...there is so deep propaganda bullshit embedded in the heads of the people here that I can believe that... well fascist Germany was a similar story..

Something about our export of "democracy" ; what is also intensely interesting is that after each big bombing in IRAQ the reports said that there was a lot of shoes all around and some of them were falling from heaven seconds after the explosion...

Something relating to Bush & Shoe performance in Bagdad. This picture I took in the rebel camp in Bangkok where I performed two weeks ago -just the illustration how strong is a symbol of a shoe in those cultures.

To call somebody a dog is the worst offense in Iraq- therefore I used a dog as a symbol for our soldiers (picture taken at the beginning do the iraqi war - of-course some people here wanted to kill me for that at that time)..

Let us express the solidarity with our real performance artist from Baghdad!!!!! Those shoes on the american flag were the homage to the painting of a surrealistic artist Magritte called This is not a pipe. Did you notice? On the side of the flag there is Made in China and it is a scarf."

Milan Kohout (now a US citizen) is originally from The Czech Republic.. Here he got his M.S. in Electrical Engineering. He was an independent artist in so-called “Second Culture”. Later he becomes a signatory member and art activist of the dissident human rights organization CHARTER 77 (group of mostly artists from “Second Culture” was nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1985 and initiated non violent Velvet Revolution which toppled totalitarian regime in 1989). Following many interrogations he was forced by CZ security police to leave his country in 1986 due to his political art activism. After several years in a refugee camp he was granted asylum in the United States.

In 1993 Milan received his Diploma from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. Since 1994 Milan has been a member of the Mobius Artists Group ( Here he has created many full-scale Performance Art pieces (both collaborative and solo) His work concentrates mostly on the subject of human rights (recently rights of Roma/ Gypsies) and politics (critique of totalitarian capitalism and fundamentalist religions) As Mobius Artists Group member he has participated on numerous international art exchange programs and festivals around the world (China, Thailand, Croatia, Taiwan, Czech Rep, Poland, Cuba, USA etc). and has been the recipient of number of awards, grants, residencies (Grant from The Fund for US Artists at International Festivals, Tanne Foundation Annual Award, First Prize at International Theater Festival in Pula, Best National Czech Independent Film Award, Arizona State University residency, PSi conference in London 2006 etc.)

Note from the Curator:

Perhaps this was really meant to be published on July 4th - Independence Day.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


1. For some strange reason, the last two automatically scheduled Featured Artist of the Day posts didn't occur as scheduled:

6/29/09 Jane Wang and Karen Aqua was just published (on 6/30/09)
6/30/09 Milan Kohout's post will publish on 07/01/2009 at 9:00pm EST

2. Had forgotten to add Sam Tan's links to his post - they were just added.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jane Wang & Karen Aqua
- installations





photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Karen Aqua/Jane Wang

"Meditation on The Politics of Shoes
" mixed media

shoes and death
shoe bombs

cancer cells radiation skulls
animation/cartoons cute fuzzy animals?
vicious animals?

violence in Sunday morning cartoons?

shoes flung over telephone wires...

is it about ennui in youth

is it about something as innocuous as getting a new pair of shoes?

is it a neon sign saying“drugs here”?
is it about gangs and territory?

is it about someone died here/a child's sneakers?
could you fry if you touched a live telephone wire?

white for bones, red for bodies which have been skinned alive

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Jane Wang
"Giant Red Ruby Shoe"
electrical wire installation (outside on patio)

"Keep tight inside of them -- their magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn't want them so badly!"
- from the Wizard of Oz film with Judy Garland

Lermontov: When we first met ... you asked me a question to which I gave a stupid answer, you asked me whether I wanted to live and I said "Yes". Actually, Miss Page, I want more, much more. I want to create, to make something big out of something little – to make a great dancer out of you. But first, I must ask you the same question, what do you want from life? To live?

Vicky: To dance.
- from the Michael Powell film “The Red Shoes”

“Dance you shall,” said he, “dance in your red shoes till you are pale and cold, till your skin shrivels up and you are a skeleton! Dance you shall, from door to door, and where proud and wicked children live you shall knock, so that they may hear you and fear you! Dance you shall, dance—!”
- from Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale “The Red Shoes”

"Something about the power of ruby/red footwear – either to empower or overpower the wearer. It's strange that both although the ruby slippers and the red shoes ostensibly represented these two very different kinds of power, the end result was similar - for wasn't Dorothy flung back (even though through her own will) from a dreamland in lurid color to an arid, Grapes of Wrath type existence in black and white – a kind of living death? And in both cases, one could only remove the red shoes/ruby slippers by dying.

Isn't that kind of weird that so many children's stories turn out to be about death?"

Jane Wang is a member of the Mobius Artists Group. Although she primarily composes music for dance, theater and performance art theater-based work, her principal instruments being double bass, piano and toy pianos, she has recently returned to her on-going love of sculpture and 3-dimensional structures. Inspired in part by the touring exhibition, Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting, and the performance artist Hanne Tierney who she frequently collaborates with, she started working in the medium of wire to create large sculptures.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Leigh Waldron-Taylor
- “I dream of boots and an army of women”

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Leigh Waldron-Taylor
“I dream of boots and an army of women”
mixed media installation

Original intention was to place a very tall aluminum ladder resting against the window. Pairs of varied types of women's boots are placed around the base of the ladder enclosing and encircling it.

The artist states in an email to the curator:

"In my perfect world, the ladder would be an unextended aluminum extension ladder affixed to the floor invisibly with very strong double-sided tape and the top resting against the window. I would put some soft material such as fleece invisibly between the metal and glass to protect the window. The boots would surround and fill in the space at the bottom of the ladder to form a circle. That's what I see in my mind's eye.

That said, the height of the ladder issue is important and an interesting challenge to be reconciled as I think about it and your suggestions. There's a solution somewhere"

Leigh Waldron-Taylor explores what is the same but different through various genre and media. Leigh’s recent work is conceptual and organized as performative installation in which anything is up for scrutiny and rendered in any way possible. This represents a movement away from work done previously which focused on visual representation via painting and printmaking. Leigh has studied in Providence, Toronto, and Provincetown and exhibited in Boston, Toronto, Provincetown, Berlin, and San Francisco.

Notes from the Curator:

1. A few visitors to the exhibit said they wished that the artist hadn't divulged so much of the process in her statement about her work. I told them that that was entirely my fault. Actually the artist hadn't really said anything in particular about her work, other than the title. I was the one who was fascinated by the process of how to take an initial thought and transform it into reality.

All that said, everyone had different interpretations of what the installation and "dream" was about. Some thought all the shoes/boots belonged to the same person and perhaps it was a commentary on the excess of shoes and upward mobility. Others thought it might be something about going to heaven especially after I revealed that the artist said that since she had found many of the more ornate high heeled shoes at second hand shops or estate sales, perhaps some of the shoes were from elderly ladies who had passed away. If one interpreted the piece that way, it's interesting to note that the boots, which might represent the working class, are closer to the ladder and the more ornate shoes, perhaps representing the aristocracy, fall further behind. Finally, I must confess that when the artist first mentioned "army of boots", I wasn't sure if this might be some kind of "support our women in the armed forces tribute" of some kind.

The artist never revealed to me what the true meaning underlying her work meant to her. Perhaps that is best and as she intended.

2. I especially loved how beautiful this installation looked at night with the shadow play of the ladder against the white pole. Sara June in her two performances made use visually of the artist's installation and had encounters with some of the shoes. Fortunately Leigh was fine with having her shoes and boots moved around during the performances and wasn't attached to a particular arrangement even during the ensuing exhibit.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Sam Tan
- "63 in '08" installation

Video stills and photos showing gradual
disintegration of Sam Tan's "63 in '08"
Variation and Original Concept:

unless noted otherwise, all photos taken by Bob Raymond (MAG)

Day 1: Curator forgot to move chairs around installation
(video still)

Day 2: Rectangle still remains intact
(video still)

Day 3: Showing chalk puddles and initial installation

Sam Tan
“63 in '08”
site-specific installation

There were 63 homicides in Boston in 2008. The installation offers the opportunity for the viewer to question oneself the degree of connectedness to such crimes in the city as well as ruminate on ways that everyone could help to lower violent crimes in the future.

Sam Tan is an emerging artist who is based in the Boston area and he has been exhibiting extensively for the past eight years. He currently has works in The Boston Drawing Project at Carroll and Sons Gallery in Boston, as well as Pierogi Flat Files in Brooklyn. He recently had a solo exhibition at the Artists Foundation Gallery in Boston. Tan’s works have entered into private and corporate collections, and have been acquired by public companies. He has been awarded scholarships from the Bertha Walker Foundation and his works have been published in various publications, including the Harvard Advocate.

Note from the Curator:
1. I have to confess that I loved the artist's initial concept of the 63 chalk puddles (as we both called them) on the floor. When the artist proposed a variation on his initial submission, I said, why not do both and said we could get some extra people to help create the puddles (which in reality turned out to be David Chin of course) if we could install the puddles on Monday right before the evening's performances. My hope was that someone would make use of the puddles in their performance. As it turned out, Monday had fewer performances (and shorter ones - being almost all dance/movement/butoh oriented) so I decided to perform myself with the intent of doing something meditative with the puddles. Once again, events transmogrified as I also wanted Karen Klein's installation to be destroyed. How these disparate actions were accomplished was revealed and described at some length in a previous post (Karen Klein - June 12 2009 ).

(video still)

2. In case there is some confusion about this, Sam Tan installed two versions of his concept. The first was actually a variation on his original proposal. It is the installation of the names on acetate enclosed by a red frame on the window with a rectangle of white chalk on the floor. The second is 63 chalk puddles on the gallery floor which he installed (with help from David Chin) during the afternoon of Monday May 25 2009.

Comments from Visitor's Book:

"63 in '08 seemed very heartwrenching for me - the transparency on the window with tiny black text of deaths (so how come so many in Dorchester??) yet, as you read the names my eyes also took in the flowering shrubs outside and the beautiful blue flowers. Why is it like this?"

"63 in '08 is powerful. The chalk (now dispersed) on the floor reminds me of ground drawing in voodoo ceremonies for spirits that are carefully created (hours of work) and then erased/dispersed in an instant when the actual ceremony begins and people dance over/through them. Such are the momentary portals between the living and the dead/spirits"


Friday, June 26, 2009

Ival Stratford-Kovner (CT)
- "Voting Shoes 1970's Edition #2

video still

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Ival Stratford-Kovner (CT)
"Voting Shoes 1970's Edition #2
mixed media installation

"I was studying at Boston University College of Fine Arts and living in Cambridge with eight other artists/architects/students when the presidential elections rolled around. We were voting for president of the United States for the first time in our lives and I was voting for the first time ever. I was eager to feel this important step in my life and decided to hand paint my pump shoes - stripes of red and white with big, white stars on a field of blue - on both shoes. I recall that the day of the election the town mothers looked a little bewildered by the fact that we'd also painted our faces, red, white and blue. Years later, I would be a poll checker at that same election site when I worked for Carolyn Mugar's late husband who was then running for Congress. Many decades had passed by the excitement of that first election remained in my mind clearly. I was asked to join a show with twelve women called "Fitting" and I thought of how I fit into those shoes each time I voted - wearing them proudly in various states where I'd lived over the years. My fellow artists could not believe I still had the shoes -and they ended up in our show - now formally presented within a white box with flag and wooden stars. I have made many assemblages as well as my large format oil paintings over the years - and one small box was called "Little Dig" about our big dig in Boston - with monopoly pieces of battleships glued on the inside lid with small hotrod pieces driving through a white bone within the box.”
Ival Stratford-Kovner has a BFA from Boston University, MS, MFA, from Western Connecticut University Ival is a certified Art Teacher in Massachusetts, also in Computer Graphics/Web Design (Clark U.), and has an Arts Management Certification (UMass Amherst). She was awarded a fellowship in 2006 and 2008 from the Vermont Studio Center. Ival has taught at Rivier College, Newbury College, Bunker Hill Community College, Harvard GSD (faculty workshop offered), BU (alumni drawing), WCSU. She is currently with the Cavalry Trooper of 2nd Co. Governor's Horse Guard, studying hippo therapy and equine riding therapy for NAHRA certification. Ival has had solo exhibitions internationally & nationally including: Milan, Italy, Ukraine, San Diego, Nashville, NYC, Boston, NH, Maine etc.

This installation were generously offered for sale by the artist. 100% of the proceeds were donated to Mobius.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Jennifer Hicks (& Matt Samolis)
- Country Shoes May 25 2009

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Jennifer Hicks (former MAG) and Matt Samolis
"Country Shoes"
Mon May 25, 2009: butoh performance with live music

Video of Jennifer Hicks and Matt Samolis "Country Shoes"

Jennifer Hicks / Matt Samolis : Country Shoes @mobius 05-25-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Jen's in depth study of Butoh and other forms of movement are a natural pairing for Matt's unusual flute style which also draws largely on eastern cultural influences.

The politics of shoes is the politics of leather, which is the politics of meat, which is the politics of land use and corn and fuel and hunger and of poverty. It is of confinement and freedom, allowing one to do something one could not do otherwise, while also restricting so much on another end. But this is a simple dance in a complicated world, a series of movements which will be performed in shoes made of only wood and rope from China. These are shoes of the land and shoes of the poor and shoes that limit ones movements.

Jennifer Hicks M.F.A., R.Y.T, director of CHIMERAlab Dance Project, is a performer, choreographer, teacher and visual artist. She received her MFA from Naropa University in Contemporary Performance, her BFA from Tufts University and Degree in Fine Arts from The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, in Boston. She is a guest artist for the 4th year at Naropa University in the MFA Contemporary Performance Department directing The Embodied Poetics Project. Jennifer has won several prestigious awards for her work including The Traveling Scholars Award from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and Franklin Furnace for an installation/performance about medicine called “Training For Uncertainty”. She is an alumni of the experimental performance collective called Mobius and a founding member of the former Pan 9 in Boston.

As a dancer, Jennifer studied ballet, modern and jazz since childhood but began her interest in Butoh back in the mid 1980's. She began to study Butoh seriously in the early 1990’s at the San Francisco Butoh Festival. Her main performance influences are Tatsumi Hijikata, KATSURA Kan, Maureen Fleming, Wendell Beavers, Barbara Dilley, puppet work, early cartoons, nature and silent films. She has been dancing in KASTURA Kans International Dance Company for over 8 years and has her own company based in Boston and Boulder CO. She has been teaching movement, creating original work and performing for over 25 years. Ms. Hicks is a certified Shintaido Instructor, certified TranceDance International Facilitator and a Yoga Instructor registered with the National Yoga Alliance. Her training also includes graduate level training in The20Viewpoints with Wendell Beavers, Roy Hart Vocal Training with Ethie Friend and Jonathan Hart, Body Mind Centering® principles with Erika Berland, Suzuki Actors Training with members of SITI Company, Contemplative Dance with Barbara Dilley, Vocal Training with Meredith Monk, Lecoq Neutral Mask with Amy Russell, Grotowski Based Physical Theater with Stephen Wangh, Performance Art with Marilyn Arsem (founding director of Mobius) and Moment Work from Moises Kaufman and Leigh Fondakowski.

She has also studied shiatsu massage and acupuncture at Boston School of Shiatsu and New England School of Acupuncture. She studied her puppetry with Julie Szabo ( who worked with Bread and Puppet for over 10 years) and Julie Morrison (who trained at the University of Connecticut's Puppet Arts Program). Both Julie’s enjoys “putting an edgy twist on traditional forms of puppetry, as well as exploring connections between the puppet, the audience, and the performer”. This work translates into puppetry techniques for the body which Jennifer uses as a tool in choreography.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Anne Stanner
- "If the Shoe Doesn't Fit, Wear It Anyway?"

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

video still

Anne Stanner (NYC)
"If the Shoe Doesn't Fit, Wear It Anyway?"
mixed media

"This is a welded woman's high heel shoe, life size, created with welding rod, sort of like a fanciful cage, and a copper piece for the heel. Inserted inside is an old wooden shoe stretcher with a metal handle. I think of this as a commentary on the pain and discomfort, as well as lack of full mobility (ie, ability to run) that women have had to endure in order to seem fashionable and more attractive."

"I have worked in metal sculpture for over 25 years, and have been a technical instructor in the Art Students League of NY’s metal program since 2003. I also taught art in New York City public schools and served as an assistant welding instructor at the Educational Alliance Art School. I have also more recently created figurative sculpture in clay, plaster and concrete. Professional affiliations include the Sculptors Alliance, Inc. (President), the New York Society of Women Artists (Vice President), and the City College of New York Art Alumni (Treasurer). I have curated group exhibitions at the Theatre for the New City and Third Street Music School. I have held one-person exhibitions at the Ellenville (NY) Public Library and Museum, Pace University, Long Island University and the City College of New York. Two-person exhibits include The Brooklyn YWCA and Middlesex County College (NJ). I participated in numerous group shows in galleries and other venues including the Godwin-Ternbach Museum at Queens College, Pleiades Gallery, Noho Gallery, Broome Street Gallery, 2/20 Gallery, Salmagundi Club, Cork Gallery at Lincoln Center, Pfizer, Inc., and A.I.R. Gallery, all in New York City, and Bertoni Gallery in Sugar Loaf, NY, Northern Westchester Center for the Arts, Hopper House Art Center in Nyack, NY, Kleinert Gallery in Woodstock, NY, Flinn Gallery in Greenwich, Conn. I have an MFA from the City College of New York."

work can be seen on the following group website:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Karen Krolak & Jason Ries
- dance and spoken word May 25 2009

May 25, 2009 - Improvisation #1

May 25, 2009 - Improvisation #2

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Karen Krolak & Jason Ries
“a series of dance improvisations using shoes”
Mon May 25 - dance performance (Piece #1 and Piece #2)


Video of Improvisation #1, Part A:

Video of Improvisation #1, Part B:

Video of Improvisation #2, Part A:

Video of Improvisation #2, Part B:

Using a character by the author, in 1999, named Princess Pamplemousse, Karen plays with how shoes make us move and how they make us feel. As part of the performance she initially planned to record people's shoe stories or encourage the audience to write their stories down.

Karen Krolak is choreographer, performer, costume designer, teacher, and writer. Since 2000, she has been the Founder/Artistic Director of Monkeyhouse ( , an award winning nonprofit that connects communities to choreography. Through Monkeyhouse, her work has been presented at First Night 2009, the Cool NewYork Dance Festival 2009, Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Mobius, and fringe festivals in New York, Minneapolis, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Winnipeg.

She recently traveled to Italy for a workshop and performance and danced in David Parker and the Bang Group’s Nut/cracked, was invited to the Jacob’s Pillow Choreographers’ Lab, and became the Artistic Director for the BoomTown Festival.

She is a professional shoe blogger and was quickly dubbed Fitness Footwear Guru for (

Karen choreographed Coriolanus for Actors’ Shakespeare Project. For the last 13 years, she has been a faculty member at Impulse Dance Center in Natick, MA where she developed the Modern Dance curriculum. In 2005, she co-taught two workshops on movement and technical design at Theater Methods 05 in Malpils, Latvia with her favorite collaborator Jason Ries.

Notes from the Curator:

1. Due to a last minute variation in the program, I asked Karen Krolak if she would be willing to do two improvisations instead of one (her proposal suggested the possibility of more than one performance). Fortunately, she was willing and able. The start of the program for the Monday May 25 2009 set of performances was:

i. Improvisation #1: Karen Krolak & Jason Ries
ii: Moving Sound Meditation on Sam Tan's "63 in '08": Jane Wang
iii: Improvisation #2: Karen Krolak & Jason Ries

2. A technical note: Charles Daniels and the curator had to swap out ultraflip video cameras between Parts A and B of Improvisation Piece #2 (hence the jittery camera work and loud sound of a screw turning).

3. The "true" endings of both pieces were almost sabotaged unintentionally. As Karen Krolak and Jason Ries' Improvisation #1 was ending, I started the next piece too early because I had misunderstood my start cue - thus not giving the audience a chance to give Karen and Jason much well-deserved applause. For Improvisation #2, David Chin was trying to wait until both dancers relaxed into "we're finished" body language but since that didn't happen, Jason got up and ran to pick up all the shoes which I actually thought added a nice tag to the ending.