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.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Scott Rummler
- “Politics and Tabloid Headlines and Shoes”

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG):

video stills:

Scott Rummler
“Politics and Tabloid Headlines and Shoes”
xeroxed collage from newspapers and magazines

Scott Rummler "Theme: Politics and Tabloid Headlines and Shoes" - The Politics of Shoes from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Images are of Adlai Stevenson with a hole in his shoe, Howard Dean's famous scream, and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in dress shoes.

Back story:

Stevenson's picture was taken showing a hole in his shoe, unusual since he was very sharp and well dressed. His team claimed it showed his common-guy pavement pounding approach. Those opposed to him may recall differently: that he lost the election because the photo made him look bad.

Howard Dean had to yell to be heard in a giant noisy room because the audio wasn't working. Journalists used a special mike to drown out the background noise making him sound like a yelling madman. Journalists acknowledged the piece was fake, but said Dean should have expected it, therefore he wasn't presidential, and replayed it endlessly.

Bloomberg is in favor of green projects. He doesn't quite fit in here with his fancy shoes. At a city pool opening he wore a white t-shirt and shorts to go swimming. Here he is in Bermuda shorts - he is criticized for going to his Bermuda mansion and being out of pocket on weekends. He is sometimes thought out of touch. His financial info company was used to create the derivative products that ruined the economy; he is the only top billionaire to get richer last year. He sent his former deputy mayor to be the new co. president and restructure the company as the housing bubble burst, so some think he knew what was going on. Used cosmetics kingpin pal to change city law allowing him to run for a third term, on grounds his expertise is key in handling the financial crisis. Owns giant news conglomerate.

Scott Rummler is a creative artist in New York City. He has shown his art work in a number of alternative spaces and currently is in a show at Gravity Arts in Norwalk, CT. He has an MFA from RIT, and works in other areas including Web design, writing, and acting.

Note from the Curator:

The original proposal from the artist transformed due to time constraints. Here is the progression:

Initial proposal: "These are images painted on newsprint. Multiple copies will be sent to the Curator. General performance specs are to distribute images to audience, or to tear up by performers, or both, or in any way that best suits the performance, in keeping with the general tenor of this message and final discretion to the Curator."

Version #2: "What I have now is photocopy collages. Not high production values, but there is a precedent for that type of thing and the concept is solid. I'll mail in an envelope tomorrow. Might be nice to do something more high fidelity but not enough time, so I hope you can use these."

Further Clarification: "The connection is tabloid journalism: both guys brought down by doctored news media. Keep or leave as you like. I'll send a few more more that highlight that.. but if they are not shoe-ey enough you can leave them out."

David Chin and the Curator weren't sure how to use the xeroxed collages in an audience participatory action. Many people potentially didn't even know who Adlai Stevenson was and would be puzzled by the headlines. For this reason, the Curator decided to use them in the exhibit and scattered them on the floor in a somewhat haphazard manner (and stepped on them for good measure). The artist was fine with the resultant installation of disposable media and presumably disposable politicians.

A side note: when the journalist G. Jeffrey MacDonald came to visit the exhibit, he commented that when he was reporting on Howard Dean before he became a presidential candidate, Dean was seen as a conservative by the press and his constituents, a far cry from his later "liberal" platform. Waffles anyone?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sara June & Joleen Westerdale
- butoh May 24, 25 2009

May 24, 2009:

May 25, 2009:

photos: Bob Raymond (MAG)

Sara June and Joleen Westerdale
May 24-25, 2009 - butoh dance performance


Sara June / Joleen Westerdale Untitled #1 @mobius 5-24-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Sara June / Joleen Westerdale Untitled #2 @mobius 05-25-09 from MobiusArtistsGroup on Vimeo.

Butoh performance with human installation (Joleen Westerdale), power drill and taped music by Richard Lainhart.

Sara June is an independent choreographer and artistic director of the Umi no Bodi dance troupe. Her movement work is known for its odd, humorous, and other-worldly qualities; she finds her dances through stripping away the foundations of movements we create in our daily lives to uncover states of stillness, birth, and the primitive qualities of animals and machines.

Sara founded Umi no Bodi (a Japanese phrase meaning ‘Ocean’s Body’) in 2008 with the goal of creating large-scale, site-specific installations that transform outdoor spaces not traditionally used for performance. Umi no Bodi dancers create isolated movement studies that explore a range of states and conditions in nature; troupe members train through an image-based choreographic process that results in spontaneous improvised work based on each mover’s internal process developed during rehearsals. Essential elements of the site environments feed this process; dancers train using methods that will help them to experience and transform these spaces on several sensory levels, (e.g., through blindfolds and partner work). The installations are shaped by thematic structures and each performance includes innovative costuming, original sound compositions performed live, and the use of machines as non-human dancers.

In addition to Juddertone, Sara co-curates the Zeroplan performance series with musician Max Lord. This series was created in order to offer seasoned experimental musicians and dancers an opportunity to improvise together in informal performance settings. Other projects include the Anywhere Performance Project, an online collaboration with California-based artist Deborah Butler that utilizes remote video technology as a basis for dialogue between the two dancers. Sara’s training and background is based in a decade of study in butoh, a Japanese avant-garde form, and other indigenous dance forms. Since 2000, she has shown solo and group work at venues in Boston, Providence, Philadelphia and New York City. Sara is a former member of the Boston-based Kitsune Butoh (2003-06) and the NYC post-modern butoh troupe, the Vangeline Theater (2006-08). She has performed with Master butoh artist Katsura Kan (Curious Fish, 2002, 2008), and trained with international artists Hiroko Tamano, Su-En, and Diego Pinon. She received her formal education at the Rhode Island School of Design (BFA, 1997), and Harvard University (Ed.M., 2005).