Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shana Robbins
- "Tree Ghost" May 24 2009

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Shana Robbins
(Atlanta, Georgia):
“Tree Ghost”
May 24, 2009 - performance art with tree installation

Videos of Shana Robbins' "Tree Ghost":

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Part 1C:

Part 2:

Part 3:

A performance installation representing a hybridization of American military camouflage, an Islamic Burqa, a tree, and a "stripper" or courtesan in a ritualistic and sexually charged interaction with a dying, decrepit tree. Some of the inspiration of this work comes from:
Extreme Beauty: The Body Transformed--by Harold Koda: “..the platform sole's impairment of a woman's walk was seen as a way to control her morality, since mobility was directly associated in many cultures and times with the potential for unrestrained sexuality."

"..the Oiran of the Yoshiwara, the quarter of the "Floating World," wearing their dochu-geta, were known for their slow progress when walking through the streets. These shoe styles lifted women higher than the norm, endowing them with greater public stature. Their encumbered walking was also an asset; it imposed a slow ceremonial gait that allowed the crowds to study the courtesan's beauty and fashions more closely.”

Shana Robbins is a painter, performance, and multimedia artist based in Atlanta, Georgia. She has exhibited and performed internationally in a variety of galleries, alternative spaces, and natural locations. Many of Robbins’ performances occur in remote areas with no audience except for the natural environment. This year, her work was featured in STUDIO VISIT MAGAZINE, OFF THE STRIP at the Las Vegas Contemporary Arts Center, and the STATE OF THE NATION V: Tipping Point--Art and Performance Festival in New Orleans.

Creating drawings/paintings as visual maps or references for handmade costumes, performance objects, and ritualistic actions, Robbins is engaged in an ongoing exploration and dissemination of the ecofeminist character she calls Monstrous Feminine. Various iterations of Monstrous Feminine, such as Tree Ghost and Axis Mundi, “haunt” places in order to reclaim space and destabilize static notions of the female body and of the natural realm.

Links: (not fully updated)

Notes from the Curator:

1. First of all, I want to thank Shana (pronounced Shahna not Shayna) for her wonderful performance and for driving her tree all the way from Atlanta, Georgia to be a part of the Politics of Shoes.

2. Because all the other performances on Sunday night were going to be dance/movement pieces and were all relatively short (15 minutes or less), I told Shana that she could make her piece as long as 40 minutes if she w anted to. As Shana told me after her piece without laying the blame at my feet (although she could have most definitely), she would have made her performance 20 minutes or less.

3. There was a nine year old girl in the audience who was enjoying herself tremendously (throwing shoes at gongs and in the air) throughout the entire evening. When the performances ended that evening, her mother approached me and after some innocuois chit-char suddenly said that she thought Mobius should "warn parents" ahead of time of "unsuitable material". Needless to say, I could feel the surge of anger rising when I almost choked out: "You mean you think we should CENSOR the artists and performers?" and had trouble keeping myself from going into a long and angry discourse on Civil Liberties and pointing out that her offspring could see a hell of a lot worse on television and the trouble with the world is due to _ like you! and what do you think this exhibit and set of performances is all about and what is wrong with you, do you call yourself an AMERICAN? Fortunately, when I told Joanne Rice, one of the other Mobius Artists, about what had happened, she was able to calm me down.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Karen Klein
- "Brand Names installation artist

photos: Bob Raymond

Karen Klein
"Brand Names"
cedar, styrofoam, cardboard, paper, mixed media

The purpose of this installation is to call attention to the comodification of shoes and of art. The artist states that her work: “It is not part of any performance, but could be destroyed during a performance, or persons, could throw their shoes at the tower of shoe boxes, if they wished.”

Karen Klein is a visual artist and a dancer. As an artist, she makes wood and wire sculptures, installations, and ink drawings. A member of New England Sculptors and Studios Without Walls, she has had eight solo exhibitions and been in numerous juried and invitational shows. As a dancer, she is a member of Prometheus Dance Elders Ensemble and has also performed in works choreographed by Daniel McCusker, Emily Beattie, and Kee Chin.

Notes from the curator:

1. The small cedar shoe was hand carved by the artist.

2. Karen Klein generously donated the entire installation to Mobius including the cedar shoe and the sequined high heeled shoes which were used to activate John Murphree's gong installation by various performers, audience members and visitors to the exhibit. The artist said her days of wearing the sequined shoes are long over and if anyone can fit into them and would like them, they are welcome to them. Needless to say, the curator kept the cedar shoe as a memento of The Politics of Shoes.

How Karen Klein's installation was used in performance:
If you want to experience a sped up version of what the audience experienced, watch Video #1.
If you'd just like to skip directly to where Karen Klein's is actually "manipulated", watch Video #2.

Video #1:

Moving Sound Meditation on Sam Tan's '63 in '08" The Politics of Shoes @mobius - Shorter version 7:20 mins from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.


Video #2:

Performance vs. Theater discussion:

The destruction of the artist's installation was referenced in a discussion amongst members of the Mobius Artists Group. I've included the salient points here:

From Margaret Bellafiore to the group in answer to Tom Plsek's question:
"RE answering the question:Theatre and/vs? Performance, the range of answers would be quite personal, I would think. For me, I find Performance converges with life, or "life" or LIFE, while Theatre, for the most part, does not, though sometimes it does. (!) I can think of a very recent example, where there seemed to be a convergence of Theatre, Performance and Life. Last night, Jane was dragging bells in the space in an improvisational way ( aha, improv seems more a part of Performance and not Theatre, again for the most part). Then another "performer and/or actor" (Karen Klein, I believe) charged into the space from outside wearing a wig and carring a large bright red pocketbook. She proceeded to smash up a small installation swinging that red bag, beating it to smithereens ( aha, the presence of smithereens might be key part of Performance or perhaps Theatre, or perhaps both!) Then, she left, storming out the front door. All during this time, Jane continued to drag bells. It seemed to me, that tit was the interaction of the two women in the space that felt like performance because it seemed neither one really knew (I assume) what the other was going to do next. (The actions of Karen if she had done it alone felt like Theatre.) Before I delete all of the above, as I am realizing I can't aswer your question-- I do want to note what felt last night like 100% Performance: Some people were walking outside the space on the sidewalk during some movement actions and stopped to gawk through the windows at the patio end. Then, they really started to pay attention and began slowly walking to the other side, watching and slowly becoming part of the piece inside. When they reached the far end, they waved and clapped and the audience inside did the same. Those moments of unpredictability and convergence: is that it? AHHHH!"

From Jane Wang to the group:
"hi all. would you believe that was actually Liz Roncka and also the piece being smashed was by Karen Klein (who is also a dancer a strange coincidence no?) i was originally going to just do a SHORT walk thru the gallery somewhat serious and somber even with my stupid wild outfit but i was thinking rashomon or some other trippy japanese film... but then the night before i told liz, longingly - that karen really wanted someone to destroy her piece (and i really wanted someone to do it) so liz said - ok i'll do it -- and then she came up with the idea of running in and smashing the thing and running out... she was further fueled by Haggai (the musician she performed with on Sat and Sun) basically saying he didn't believe she would do it -- a DARE if you wish... we thought about whose performance she could interrupt and then i thought well maybe i'll turn my piece into a durational "waiting for liz " piece and make it deliberately long and dreary and when will this stupid thing be over already... but that doesn't answer tom's question either... (-:"

video credits: Charles Daniels, Matt Samolis, Liz Roncka, Jane Wang

Email from Karen Klein - June 14, 2009:
"I loved seeing the video--you draped like some ancient figure and Liz romping through my installation. Also loved how she used the actual shoes as weapons. That made me realize that we do use shoes as weapons. Think of Nancy Sinatra's "These boots are made for walkin'" for the gender wars and the jackboots of thugs and paramilitaries who kick folks into submission. Our term 'kick ass' hides the shoe image but implies it."

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Joshua Kent
- "I Heart America ..." May 23 2009

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Joshua Kent
"I Heart America and America Hearts me, or How the mighty have fallen"
Sat May 23, 2009: Performance Art

Joshua Kent (Chicago, IL)

"I Heart America and America Hearts me, or How the mighty have fallen"Sat May 23, 2009 - durational performance art March 17, 1993 supermodel Naomi Campbell walked a Vivienne Westwood runway show wearing 10-inch platforms, causing her to not only fall, but also to create a moment that has since become part of a greater runway lexicon.
In May 1974, Joseph Beuys spent three days in a room with a coyote in a performance of his piece, I Like America and America Likes Me. In I Heart America and America Hearts me, or How the mighty have fallen I would like to combine the two events and create a hybrid meditation on politics in regards to; fashion, how we transcribe politics onto our bodies, the politics of our desires, and this complex thing called America.
Joshua Kent was born and raised in the Midwest. He attended The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003, where he received the Presidential Merit Scholarship for his portfolio. While at SAIC, he became interested in fiber and material studies and explored this area for some time in his undergraduate. Through his process oriented fiber pieces Joshua began to investigate labor in a more intentional way, which lead to his development of a performance practice. Within Performance art, Joshua found he was best able to explore his interests in labor, human interaction and the complexities of identity that he had begun to examine in his earlier work. He is in his last semester at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and his work has been in Minneapolis, Southern Illinois, Chicago, and its surrounding suburbs.

Note from the Curator:

In a conversation with Joshua Kent about documentation of his work, he said he preferred photographs to videos because he felt that videos fail to capture the essence of his live performances. For this reason, included are a series of photographs taken by Bob Raymond along with two video clips. I found a lot of humor in his piece and couldn't stop laughing until the very end when things turned suddenly dark and almost unfathomable. Josh's performance far exceeded my expectations and I was honored that he flew in from Chicago to perform his piece. When I asked him why he chose to do so, he said that Mobius is one of few venues where he is able to perform his work.
It is my hope that we, the Mobius Artists Group, will continue to be able to host/present the work of experimental artists in all media.  Videos of this performance were removed on 6/27/2012 by request of the artist.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Kate Hanrahan
- "The Drowned Children"

#1 - BEFORE artist reset piece ...........#2 - AFTER artist reset piece

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Kate Hanrahan (Brooklyn, NY)
“The Drowned Children”
mixed media installation

The artist wrote:

"I have been working on a series called “The Drowned Children”. It encompasses the effects of war on children as well as today’s political and societal effects.

This piece focuses on the recent war waged by Israel against the Gaza Strip which has resulted in the deaths of 1434 Palestinians. These deaths included 960 civilians, among these were 437 children under the age of 16, 110 women and 123 elderly, in addition to 14 doctors and four reporters. These statistics show that the number of children who died amounted to more than 45% of the total number of civilian casualties of the war. Nearly 1500 children have joined the already lengthy list of orphans in Gaza.

The installation is an old, dilapidated wooden chair, with white painted, children shoes piled on the seat. Distorted, silver forks file down stuck through the shoes. Part of the bottom of the seat is broken through where a single shoe lace hangs down bound around a dangling silver fork."

Kate Hanrahan was born in Pennsylvania. She received a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia also studying on their campuses in Lacoste, France and Atlanta, Georgia. She is currently living and working Brooklyn, New York. In the last two years she has been pursuing her painting, installation work, performance pieces and experimental video to explore the psychological effects of war and society on children. Memory, loss of life, and loss of innocence are common themes in her mainly figurative work.

Note from the Curator:

During the first evening of performances, the installation had to be moved slightly. I hadn't had the foresight to take a photo of exactly how Ms. Hanrahan had installed her piece so when the artist came to de-install, she noticed that it was not exactly as she had set it. Fortunately, she was willing to reset her piece and Bob Raymond took several photographs of the installation as originally intended before she had to take her piece back to Brooklyn on May 25th.

For the remainder of the exhibit, with the artist's consent, two photographs of "The Drowned Children" were placed in the windows adjacent to the corner shown in the photograph labelled:
#2 - AFTER artist reset piece

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Chuck Chaney
- "Old Style Ways: Shoes from a simpler time" May 23 2009

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

video still: Jane Wang (MAG)

Chuck Chaney “Old Style Ways: Shoes from a simpler time”
Sat May 23, 2009:
audience participatory performance led by artist
and resultant installation of a completed pair of woven sandals for exhibit

Videos of Chuck Chaney's "Old Style Ways: Shoes from a simpler time"

Part 1A:

Part 1B:

Part 2

Part 3

An audience interactive performance of weaving sandals in an old style manner from Banana or Ki leaves. These sandals will then be offered to audience members to create a social relationship and bond of unified experience as we will walk together in them, and perhaps even work together in producing them, depending on time and willingness. Having this shared experience that is one one hand the everyday, walking, it will also be unique as we will all feel the sensation through our feet of the way it may have felt to walk the land before the adoption of animal and eventually synthetic based footwear.

Chuck Chaney is the director of a summer artist residency in Alaska, The Homestead AK. He is also teaches at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. He received his Master of Fine Arts in 2008 from SMFA/Tufts. Before graduate school Chaney worked in the photographic industry, from owning a commercial studio to managing professional retail entities. The artist’s current multidisciplinary practice spans photography, performance, and installation. Recent exhibitions have included venues such as Seven Stars Center (VT); VQS (Puerto Rico); Palac Mastactva (Belarus); Firehouse 13 (RI); Mobius, Studio Soto, Gallery 1581, and Space Other (MA).

One Was Too Many

Monday, June 8, 2009

James Ellis Coleman
- "Stay In Your Own Backyard"

James Ellis Coleman: "Stay In Your Own Backyard"
mixed media installation

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

video still: Jane Wang (MAG)

video still: Jane Wang

An installation that examines the subtle relationships between the images of shoes and the coded messages of turn of the century song lyrics about African Americans and the Irish.

As the Artist states:
“Lyrics that were intended to be humorous but are in fact racially insensitive."

James Ellis Coleman has an MFA and a BFA from Massachusetts College of Art. He has had solo shows at the Sherborn Public Library, Sherborn MA., Harris Berman Diversity Gallery, Tuffs, Watertown MA, Gallery at Concepts, So. Natick MA, and The Center for Art in Natick, Natick MA. He has also shown in group shows at the Fuller Museum of Art, Brockton, MA, Cambridge Art Association, Cambridge, MA, MPG Contemporary, Boston, MA, Limner Art Gallery, Hudson NY, Amazing Things Art Center, (juried), Framingham MA, Brush Art Gallery and Studios, Lowell MA, Hera Gallery, (juried), Wakefield RI, and the annual juried show at the Zullo Gallery, Medfield MA.

He was honored to have a commission from Urban Arts, in Boston Ma. in 2004 as well as a residency at The Vermont Studios in Johnson Vermont in 2005 and won first prize at the Amazing Things Art Center in Framingham Ma.

Notes from the Curator:

1. You can see/hear a brief conversation with James while he is de-installing his piece if you watch the two videos posted on June 6th from the POV of a visitor to the exhibit.

2. A couple of visitors responded to and "got" this piece instantly: the journalist G. Jeffrey MacDonald who often reports on social and religious issues and the other is the jazz pianist and vocalist Carolyn Wilkins who previously had heard about the song but had never previously seen the lyrics.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Liz Roncka / Haggai Cohen Milo
- movement/music May 23, 24 2009

Photos from Saturday May 23rd, 2009 performance:

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Video from Saturday May 23rd, 2009 performance:

Liz Roncka / Haggai Cohen Milo: Improv. #1 @mobius 5-23-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Photos from Sunday May 24th, 2009 performance:

video still: Jane Wang (MAG)

video still: Jane Wang (MAG)

video still: Jane Wang (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

photo: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Video from Sunday May 24th, 2009 performance:

Liz Roncka / Haggai Cohen Milo : Improv. #2 @mobius 5-24-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Liz Roncka and Haggai Cohen Milo
"a site-specific improvisational duet of movement and music"
May 23, 24 2009 - movement and live music performance

The piece will be a structured improvisation and will incorporate interactions with the audience, artists and installations in the space. The architecture of the space (physical, sonic, energetic) will also heavily inform the improvisation. Thematically, the question of what it means to be "political" in one's "art-making" will be explored.

Liz Roncka is an avid practitioner of movement improvisation and contemporary dance. Her early training was in the tradition of classical ballet at the School of the New Bedford Ballet. In college, Liz’s focus shifted toward contemporary dance and improvisation. She was a member of the Dance Collective of Boston from 1998-2005.

Liz has had the pleasure of performing modern dance and improvisational work under the direction of: Ramelle Adams, Emily Beattie, Ruth Benson-Levin, Debra Bluth, Alissa Cardone, Sean Curran, Andrew Harwood, Dawn Kramer, Light Motion, and Micki Taylor-Pinney.
Her improvisational work has been presented in Boston, NYC, Paris and Budapest. In addition to her own improvisational work, current performance projects include the Falling Flight Project, Moving Sound, The White Box Project and the Moment Quartet.

Liz has a daily blog "The Dance-a-Day Project" wherein she creates and videotapes improvised dances on a daily basis: "The intent of this project is to deepen my practice of improvisation. The commitment to and repetition of this process will inevitably lead to the evolution of my work. I am seeking information regarding patterns and themes in my work; my personal responses to the dances; the viewers' responses; what is my technique/my method; what characteristics define my work; where are the blocks; where is the magic; where is the "truth"?!"