Imaginary World

Trash Hosts Outbound To Wonderland

The stars–and the moon- were in alignment last week when Cody Braudt, a BFA-1 student at Cal Art presented his play “Outbound to Wonderland” at Trailer Trash during the New Works Festival 2011.

The play focuses on the relationship between a precocious seven-year old girl and her writer father, a dreamer who fights for his daughter’s right to develop her imaginative powers.  Cody describes Lizzie as “spunky, sarcastic and ironic with a strong sense of fantasy- and sometimes a lack of focus.”

Nora King as Lizzie and Casey Jackson as her father

When a school psychologist prescribes medication to improve Lizzie’s math scores and classroom behavior,  her father recoils, worrying that medication will squelch Lizzie’s creative side.  Together, father and daughter plan an evening together under the stars in Wonderland, their imaginary world that is a tip of the  hat both to Lewis Carroll and to the real-world name of the last stop on Boston’s Blue Line.

Several of the play’s scenes are set underground,  on a subway platform and inside a subway car.  Filmed images from a speeding subway window are imaginatively projected against the Spartan’s aluminum siding, in a superb use of space, sound and light.

The inspiration for the play came more than a year ago when Cody and his dad were visiting schools in Boston. To get Cody a real-world feel of student life in the city, his father insisted that they take public transportation. Descending the subway steps, they saw the sign, “Outbound to Wonderland.”  At that moment something clicked:  they both thought it would make a great title for a play.

photo credit: Thrillho

In the end, Cody chose Cal Arts over Boston.  But the idea for the play surfaced again when he first arrived at his new school and saw Sam’s trailer parked in the lower lot.  “I thought it would be a perfect place to stage a play,” said Cody.  Later when Sam gave a talk to one of Cody’s classes, the two agreed Cody’s new work could take place at the trailer.

Two days before the first performance, the crew descended on the trailer at midnight to set up.  Then, during the tech rehearsal it rained, underscoring the challenges of outdoor performances.  The challenges of working with a small venue was another element.

“It’s a creative challenge,” Cory explained. “It’s not easy to work with the constraints on space.   But that’s what makes it stimulating.  It’s difficult to imagine the play being staged anywhere else.”

Cody (right) and his fellow technical directors for Outbound to Wonderland.

Cody practically grew up in the theatre world, acting professionally as a child at the Guthrie Theatre and other Minnesota venues. At Cal Arts he wanted to turn his hand to the technical side of productions.  “It’s a whole new world of creativity.  As a director, I want to be able to bring all these aesthetics together, to understand sound and lighting design.”

The move to Cal Arts was difficult at first, having left a tight-knit group of friends behind.  “After high school, some of them stayed in Minnesota; others moved to Chicago.  I was the only one who went all the way out to California.”

As the school year comes to an end Cody has fallen in love with Cal Arts.  “I’ve made new friends and have still been able to keep my old ones – they’ve been very supportive.”

When discussing the importance of home and community to artists – a theme central to the Trailer Trash Project – Cody says, “Home is not about a place, it’s about the people you enjoy being with, people who will support you. People who won’t stifle your imagination.”

detail from poster designed by Cody Braudt for "Outbound to Wonderland"

As the crew stuck the set late last Thursday night, Cody’s thoughts had already turned to future, considering how to expand and improve on the play, and of new productions he would soon undertake.  But he stopped long enough to discuss ways that Trailer Trash could join him on his journey,  Outbound to Wonderland.

This post is part of a series documenting Sam Breen’a Spartan Restoration Project. Please see his first post here and check out the archive here. The CSPA is helping Sam by serving in an advisory role, offering modest support and featuring Sam’s Progress by syndicating his feed from http://spartantrailerrestoration.wordpress.com as part of our CSPA Supports Program.

Soundwave Festival ((4)) Green Sound » July 9

Featuring sound selections by Luc Meier with exhibition artists Jorge Bachmann, Agnes Szelag, Ben Bracken, Alan So, Suzanne Husky, Sam Easterson, Alyce Santoro, Reenie Charrière, Vaughn Bell, Elin Øyen Vister, Jessica Resmond

In Soundwave Festival’s most ambitious presentation ever, Green Sound mounts a special month-long exhibition and performance residency at The Lab. The Illuminated Forest is an imaginary world inside the gallery walls of San Francisco’s preeminent experimental art space that features a large immersive multi-media and interactive exhibit and performance installation from the collaborative minds of Agnes Szelag, Ben Bracken, Jorge Bachmann and Alan So, and environmental artist works by Vaughn Bell, Alyce Santoro, Sam Easterson, Reenie Charrière, Suzanne Husky, Elin Øyen Vister, and Jessica Resmond.

The main installation is manufactured by projections, sensors, MAX/MSP, sound, sculptural shapes and light/shadow where visitors become its inhabitants and part of its ecosystem: their presence activates both visual and auditory sensations, and leaves an imprint on the environment long after they are gone. It demonstrates our own connection to the environment and how we are all interconnected. Our presence in the environment affects this space and is forever changed (for better and for worse) with our temporal presence. This experiential exhibit actively reminds people what we do has impact: on our own lives, on others, and the world around us, both in the present and the future. It is a human reminder of the life existing outside our urban borders, its importance, and the power it can play in our lives while raising questions about a natural world lost.

The Forest will host experiential performances by some of the most compelling local, national and international artists and musicians. Inspired sound purveyors from across the sonic spectrum will explore themes of reinvention and recycling, real and imagined natural environments and creatures, endangered species, water, environmental awareness and responsibility, plantlife/animal life, and other artist imaginations.

In various eddies around the forest, artists re-imagine a place with Suzanne Husky’s textile trees and soft rocks, Sam Easterson’s animal-borne imaging, Vaughn Bell’s moving and wall mountains, Alyce Santoro’s Sonic Fabric, Jessica Resmond’s birds nests, Reenie Charrière’s Washed Up waterfall and Elin Øyen Vister’s Soundscape Røst installation on the birds of Røst archipelago in northern Norway.

Join us in celebrating the opening of The Illuminated Forest featuring sound selections by Luc Meier.

Born in Vevey, Switzerland, Luc Meierhas entertained an actively peripheral relationship to sound over the past decade. As a journalist, he has reported on contemporary music practices for magazines, newspapers and websites in Switzerland and elsewhere. At the same time, he has helped stage musical encounters and events in Switzerland, Japan, Korea and the U.S. Luc currently manages the art + technology programs of swissnex San Francisco (www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org) and has organized several sound art events in this capacity. Along the way, Luc has occasionally provided background music for the tinnitus crowd, with DJ-sets showing a clear bias towards accidental coherence over planned linearity. His collages typically run the gamut from the inaudible edges of electro-acoustics to Mexican techno via a shabby gotha of wayward tunesmiths and hauntologists.
http://www.swissnexsanfrancisco.org/

Jorge Bachmann is a photo-based, multimedia and sound artist. He has collected field recordings exploring the strange, unique and microcosmic sounds of everyday life. He creates sound atmospheres meant for deep listening and often composed in symbiosis with the sculptural installations exploring social and sensual constructs and experiences. [ruidobello] has exhibited and performed in North America, Europe, Japan and South America for the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, MoBu Dance Group, and Soundwave Festival, amongst others. He has been Soundwave’s Technical Director and Resident Artist since 2005.
http://anihilo.com/
http://ruidobello.ch/

Agnes Szleg’s music, video and installation art has been featured in national and international festivals, on the radio, television, and in podcasts. Whatever medium she is working in, Agnes creates work which focuses on change and transformation – the glue can be as important as the pieces it holds together. Agnes received her MFA in Electronic Music and Recording Media from Mills College and her BA in Radio/TV/Film from Northwestern University. Her solo EP No Summer or Winter on Aphonia was hailed as “a distinctive voice in the electro-acoustic field” by Textura, and “gorgeous” by XLR8R. Agnes currently lives and works in the Bay Area.
http://www.aggiflex.com/

For the past 15 years,Ben Bracken has been creating a unique sonic language utilizing electronics, acoustic sound sources, guitar, and field recordings. Interested in the possibilities of echo-relocation in sound-based art, his work has oscillated between performance and installation, often blurring the lines between the two. The location of the event becomes an active participant, intimately shaping the nature and direction of each work. In the spring of 2006, Ben received his MFA in Electronic Music from Mills College. He currently resides in Oakland, CA and works at Cycling ’74, the developers of Max/MSP and Jitter.

As an artist, designer, producer and curator,Alan So has created and supported innovative art for over 15 years. Alan founded ME’DI.ATE in 1998 to provide a forum for diverse artists to showcase works to a world in desperate need of innovative ideas. In 2002 he began his exploration of sound as an artistic medium and, in 2004, launched the Soundwave festival. Soundwave has been featured in numerous media outlets, including San Francisco Magazine (Best of 2007 Award), Resonance FM (United Kingdom), PBS, and BBC. Alan has exhibited his work in the US and Canada and is concerned with issues of identity, social structure and place with an interest in the experimentation of form and concept. He has organized exhibitions and events Online, in New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area and his native Canada where he received his BDesign from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design.
http://www.me-di-ate.net

Bay Area multimedia artist Suzanne Huskyobtained her MFA from Ecole des Beaux- Art of Bordeaux and has participated in artist residencies in Europe and the United States. Her art addresses environmental problems related to the exploitation of natural resources, landscape use and globalization. Suzanne’s sculpture, drawings and photography question the environmental, social and political agenda of the mainstream media. Her work observes and analyses in an inventory form that allows the nature of the subject to unveil and reveal its complexity. In the Bay Area, her work has been exhibited at the de Young Museum, Southern Exposure, Intersection For The Arts, The Lab, Headland Center for the Arts.
http://www.suzannehusky.com/

As a video naturalist,Sam Easterson is best known for his animal-borne imaging. His work has been exhibited in numerous museums, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, and featured on television networks, including the Sundance Channel and CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman. Sam also works as a museum professional; recently he developed video content for the Schad Gallery of Biodiversity at the Royal Ontario Museum. A graduate of The Cooper Union, he also received an MS in Landscape Architecture (University of Minnesota), and has received grants from the Durfee Foundation, the Creative Capital Foundation, and others. Sam is a recipient of the prestigious Louis Comfort Tiffany Prize.
http://www.sameasterson.com/

Alyce Santoro, an internationally noted conceptual and sound artist with a background in science and scientific illustration, is a kind of archivist – a compulsive collector of snippets of the natural environment (auditory and otherwise) – who incorporates her specimens into her art. Her multimedia “philosoprops” and “subtle reality technologies” employ sound and video, assemblage, and performance as part of a grand investigation into everyday phenomena. Santoro is best known as the inventor of SONIC FABRIC, an audible textile woven from recycled audiocassette tape. SONIC FABRIC has been the source of exhibitions and performances in museums, festivals and galleries around the world with features from the New York Times to the Sundance Channel to People Magazine. Her works are in private collections of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, FIT Museum New York, FIDM Los Angeles and that of Phish percussionist Jon Fishman and legendary performance artist Laurie Anderson.
http://www.sonicfabric.com
http://www.alycesantoro.com

Reenie Charrière: I am an investigator of the environment surrounding my everyday actions. Art is a way to be present and reveal what may be blurred and discarded. I am a tourist wherever I go. I invite others to tour unadvertised locations, which may be right around the corner. I am most interested in the potential of under-noticed sites, and the juxtaposition of what is natural to what is synthetic. I look for what has gathered over time, and what continues to develop. Light, and line motivate the way things are situated in space. Living in the West but not being originally from here has broadened my sense of vastness and the potential of open spaces. Being overly curious and having my studio in Jack London Square has led me to collect from the Oakland estuary and compelled me to experiment with what is there, the tides, the salty water, and the tremendous washing up of plastic. I am deeply concerned about the pollution accumulating all around me. As a mixed media artist my work may take on a multi-sensory form in sculptural installation amplified by video or digital projections.
http://web.mac.com/rcharriere/

Vaughn Bell creates interactive projects and immersive environments that deal with how we relate to our environment. She has exhibited her sculpture, installation, performance, video and public projects internationally. Most recently, Vaughn created a commission for Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art and another for the Edith Russ Site for New Media Art in Oldenburg, Germany. Her work has been featured in Artnews, Afterimage, and Arcade Journal, among others. Vaughn received her MFA from the Studio for Inter-related Media at Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA and her undergraduate degree from Brown University. She currently is based in Seattle.
http://www.vaughnbell.net

Child of Klang aka Elin Øyen Vister is a Norwegian sound artist and composer. She has studied sound engineering, music technology, and popular musicology in Norway and England. She is also known under the alias DJ Sunshine, one of Norway’s most versatile and eclectic DJ´s. She was one of the pioneers on the Norwegian drum´n´bass scene in the 90íes. She has organized, curated and run festivals, festival programs and club programs nationwide and she has played records all over the world from Svalbard to Costa Rica.
http://childofklang.wordpress.com
http://www.myspace.com/childofklang

Jessica Resmond is a French American artist who received her BFA from California College of the Arts, San Francisco. Resmond’s work is conceptual and tactile. Its main interest lies within the existing tensions between biological rhythms & organisms, and the fast pace technology/economy driven global landscape. With a scientific background in molecular biology and a deep interest for nature’s ever evolving creative designs, her process, is one of constant research. Borders and boundaries are where exchanges take place, where transformation is possible and new understanding arise. Her work includes site specific installations, interactive or multimedia sculptures and experimental collaborations.
http://www.jessicaresmond.com
http://www.meicollectiv.com

via Soundwave Festival ((4)) Green Sound » July 9.

ADM Tries to Take Down Funny Video; Big Business Has No Solutions; Now What?

A legal complaint from agribusiness giant ADM has resulted in the removal from Youtube of a fake video of ADM’s CEO making over-honest pronouncements. (The video is still available herehere, and, for download and reposting, here.)

Last week, the filmmaking team behind The End of Poverty? partnered with the Yes Men to create a parallel, imaginary World Economic Forum in which world leaders came up with real solutions to poverty. The leaders seemed, in a < a href=”http://www.we-forum.org/en/events/AnnualMeeting2010/index.shtml”>series of videos, to be supporting a set of initiatives based on 10 Solutions to End Poverty, a petition for which the filmmakers are trying to get ten million signatures by the end of 2010.

Each of those initiatives pages has links to organizations that are fighting hard for change on these issues.

In contrast, the actual World Economic Forum ended Sunday with a profound lack of results, some seemingly satirical but all-too-real headlines (like Goldman Sachs’s Lloyd Blankfein’s rumoured $100 million bonus), and one fruitless complaint to Youtube.

“If we can bail out bankers to the tune of trillions of dollars, surely we can solve poverty, which will just take a few structural changes, plus a whole lot less money,” said Beth Portello, the producer of The End of Poverty?

“All the crises we’re facing are rooted in massive inequality and poverty,” says Philippe Diaz, the film’s director. “If these leaders really wanted to make a difference, they would work towards ending poverty, however uncomfortable that might be for business.”

“It’s easier to remove funny videos from Youtube,” added Portello.