Automata Archives 2013

February 8-16, 2013
at Automata

Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)

Directed by Janie Geiser
Written by Erik Ehn
Music Composed by Valerie Opielski

Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)The premiere of Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone) Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone) is a multidisciplinary performance work that merges puppetry, projection, text, and music to explore the emotional landscape of inexplicable loss. Developed in collaboration by Director/Designer/Filmmaker Janie Geiser, Playwright Erik Ehn, and Composer Valerie Opielski, Clouded Sulphur's elliptical narrative imagines the emotional space around absence. Created in response to the tragic, unsolved murder of a 15 year old Los Angeles girl, Clouded Sulphur navigates a complex terrain of family, loss, revenge, and unexpected hope.

Set at the edge of Los Angeles, where the untamed landscape meets the city, we center our project on absence, on cognition in the wild place, on the range of feelings that flow through brokenness (revenge, disbelief, unexpected floods of compassion and hope). Clouded Sulphur gives home to stories that are adrift. The figures move inexplicably between life and death, city and forest, as gravity and time are unmoored.

Cast: Baxley Andresen, Catherine Adell, Park Cofield, Cindy Derby, Tane Kawasaki, Jesse Kingsley, Moira MacDonald, Gina Napolitan, Erin O'Donnell, Whitney Rodriguez, and Hilario Saavedra.

Designers: Set Design: Sarah Krainin
Video Design: Carole Kim
Lighting Design: Jeff Teeter
Costume Design: Catherine Adell
Technical Design/Direction: Sarah Sowell
Puppet Design: Janie Geiser

March 8-9, 2013
at Automata

by Pitch Like Masses and Magnuzaki Lab

Into the Sun, is a visual and sonic journey that utilizes live improvisational animation and music to lead the viewer through the life cycles of our most central cosmic body.

Magnuzaki Labs ( is a husband and wife team. They are Los Angeles based artists, and expats of Iceland and Japan. They create highly tactile moving images incorporating hand drawn animation, stop action and real textures to their digital work.

Pitch Like Masses ( is a electro-acoustic music quartet who formed in 2009. They have performed extensively around the Downtown LA art gallery scene, in Austria and Germany, have collaborated with boundary-pushing dance/performance art groups In-SENSO (France) and The Mob (Sweden.) They most recently performed at REDCAT’s NOW fest, where they composed and performed original music for Susan Simpson’s Exhibit A.

These two evenings also featured a window installation by Robbie Nock

March 15 - 17, 2013
at Automata

By Choreographer, Sara Wookey

Sara Wookey's new solo performance/lecture, Disappearing Acts & Resurfacing Subjects: Concerns of (a) Dance Artist(s) made its Los Angeles debut as part of Automata's 2013 Artist In Residence series, following presentations at the Ethics in Aesthetics Conference in Tilburg, the Netherlands.

The performance considers dance as a disappearing act, an erasure as construct, and questions recurring subjects floating in the public sphere - such as the preservation, ownership, and value of dance itself.

Through image, movement and text, Sara reflects on being a subsidized artist in Europe in the 1990's, a freelance artist creating site-based projects in Los Angeles, and a selection of responses to her well known Open Letter to Artists. She spins together large themes of legacy in dance, the economic condition of artists, and strategies for making it (Included is a humorously touching, but failed, Kickstarter campaign). The result is a funny, poetic and whip-smart consideration of dance in our time.

April 25 - May 5, 2013
at Automata


Directed by Susan Simpson
Music by MkatZ and The Boyfriend

EXHIBIT A blends historical fact with speculative fiction to explore the convergence of radical visionaries who populated the hills of Silverlake in the 1950s. Archival letters, manifestos and journal entries delve into the lives of landmark figures, such as gay rights pioneer, Harry Hay and architect John Lautner. Using model replicas and hand made video effects to generate a moody, disorienting vision, performers—both human and puppet—navigate profound shifts in consciousness.

Cast: Baxley Andresen, Hilario Saavedra, Moira MacDonald, Whitney Rodriguez, Stephen Schilling and Mark Simon.

Video Design by Gina Napolitan
Lighting Design by Heather Carson
Costume Design by Kate Mallor

An excerpt from Exhibit A was also performed in 2012 at the NOW Festival at REDCAT.


This project was made possible by generous support from The MAP Fund and The Jim Henson Foundation.

May 24-25, 2013
at Automata

Song of Yourselves
Created by John P. Hogan

Visual Artist/Writer/Musician/Performer John P. Hogan's new work Song of Yourselves is part performance art, part song cycle, part slide show, part karaoke. It looks at our world through the periscope of image, humor, puppets, text, and song.

As Hogan himself describes the piece: "It's an Irish Wake of sorts for American Exceptionalism. Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, Clint Eastwood’s iconic 'Chair Piece,' and the fragmented micromanagement of the self and others through art, poetry, and bureaucracy will all come under consideration.”

Audiences are encouraged to “bring your own barbaric yawp, as festivities will include contextually appropriate songs sung by the audience, live music, and other spectacular delights yet to be determined.”

John P. Hogan is an artist, writer, and musician based in Los Angeles. His work has been seen at venues including MCASD, Yerba Buena Center, Fritz Haeg’s Sundown Salon, MAK Center, and Machine Project. His work satirizes the grandstanding of dominant ideologies, with a focus on male anti-heroes in situations that dramatize imperialistic, colonial, and institutional struggles. Hogan is interested in the integration of entertainment culture with mythology, and the ways this is expressed in American subculture. My performance art evokes populist forms such as Community Theater and garage rock, which resist professionalization and celebrate untrained enthusiasm.

More at

July 21, 2013
at Automata


A performance by Polish electro-acoustic musician Jacaszek

Michal Jacaszek performed a live version of his album, Pentral, bringing his amazing aural interpretations of vast gothic churches to the intimate quarters of Automata.

PENTRAL is an attempt to describe a gothic church interior by means of sounds. A temple owes its special atmosphere not only to visual elements but also to characteristic acoustics – reverb, enhancing and prolonging a slightest whisper into infinity. I spent several days in three Gdansk historic churches (Oliwa Cathedral, St. Nicolas’ church, St. Mary’s Basilica) recording chanting, organs, and also a broad spectrum of accidental noises. Studio work and also the atmosphere of melody and arrangements were subordinate to the idea of portraying the church as a place filled with distant mysteries, a huge music instrument. - Jacaszek

Michal Jacaszek creates electroacoustic music that combines electronically prepared sounds with acoustic instruments. Composer of soundtracks and theatre music. He is a co-curator of C3 Festival /Club Contemporary Classical. Jacaszek received the Grand Prix at ”Dwa Teatry” Festival for music composed for the play ”Golgota Wrocławska” directed by Jan Komasa. He wrote music for two plays directed by Michał Siegoczyński: ”2084” and "SHOWTIME". He also created music for "There is no others, there is only us” a film directed by Marc Silver, as well as for ”Nigdy nie wrocisz do domu” (”You will never come back home”) a documentary movie by Jolanta Krysowata. His last work was the soundtrack for "Sala samobojcow” (Suicide’s Room) cinema movie directed by Jan Komasa.

July 26 - August 2, 2013
at Automata

So Long Observing The Ray

An exhibition by Dan Herschlein

An arrangement of temporary facades divides the space like the walls of an unfinished basement. Posters, projections, photographs and videos are embedded in the sheetrock and obscured by studs where traces of a frantic privacy struggle to be unearthed from the structure which supports them. So Long Observing The Ray negotiates the borders of personal space, where the individual begins and ultimately ends, within the home that he attempts to make his own.

Dan Herschlein lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work consists of projected handmade slides, as well as short videos made on outdated technology. Both explore the relationship between the degraded image and the physical body.

Opening night (with performance) July 26, 7-9 pm
A second performance during Perform Chinatown, July 27, 7-9pm

August 9th, 2013

The Southland Ensemble
Performing Christian Wolff's iconic composition Changing the System

This will be the first in a series of performances by The Southland Ensemble at Automata, focused on compositions with graphic and textual notation. The Southland Ensemble plans to create engaging and interactive displays of the notation as part of each performance.

The Southland Ensemble is a newly formed group focusing on performing music from the experimental tradition, specifically music that primarily deals with graphic and textual notation. The ensemble is flexible in size, with a core of eight members who possess a vast amount of experience within this musical tradition. The ensemble seeks to collectively share their experiences through the mediums of interactive concerts, workshops and lectures.

The Southland Ensemble founders/directors include:
Eric Kenneth Malcolm Clark,
James Klopfleisch
Christine Tavolacci / Flutes -

October 19th, 2013
at Automata

Video Musics lll: Floating Oceans
by Alexis Gideon

Video Musics III: Floating Oceans is a 38-minute stop-motion animation video opera based on the works of the early 20th century Irish writer Lord Dunsany, and inspired by the time and dream experiments of the Irish physicist John William Dunne. The piece is dedicated to Flann O’Brien. Video Musics III: Floating Oceans contrasts the vivid dreams of its poet-protagonist with the foreboding routine of pedestrian life. Parts operate under the tow of dream logic. This work is the third in a series of animated video operas that reimagine myths and folklore through modern techniques. During screenings, the film is accompanied by live musical performance. The live music mirrors the action exactly, and the animated characters' mouths are perfectly in sync with the sung lyrics.

September 23 - 29 2013

Radar L.A. 2013 Presents:

Clouded Sulphur (death is a knot undone)
at Automata

Directed by Janie Geiser
Written by Erik Ehn
Music Composed by Valerie Opielski

Radar L.A. 2013 was presented by REDCAT and CalArts in association with Center Theatre Group

"A glorious convergence of contemporary performance." ---L.A. Times

Some of the world’s most influential performing ensembles are featured alongside innovative Los Angeles artists in this vibrant festival highlighting interdisciplinary approaches and new forms. Using multiple venues, the program features work from Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Colombia, New Zealand and Japan, and includes premieres of local and international collaborations. Curated by Mark Murphy, Executive Director of REDCAT, Diane Rodriguez, Director of New Play Production at Center Theatre Group, and Mark Russell, Director of the Devised Theater Initiative at The Public Theater in New York.

November 22nd-23rd, 2013

Moira Lael MacDonald

An Illuminated Lecture with Song

With Additional Vocals by Argenta Walther and Erin Barnes

Margery and You, an Illuminated Lecture with Song, is a multimedia presentation on the life of Margery Kempe, a medieval mystic and the author of what is considered to be the first autobiography written in English (circa 1436.) Chronicling her life experience, The Book of Margery Kempe depicts the madness following the birth of her first child, her several attempts to run her own business, and her many pilgrimages to distant lands. Conceived and performed by the incomparable Moira Lael MacDonald, Margery and You is a meditation on Margery’s life and her struggle to follow a spiritual path. Drawing on the centuries old forms of Picture Performance and the Illustrated Lecture, Margery and You is also a chronicle of MacDonald's obsession with The Book of Margery Kempe, and issues of autobiography and the depiction of the self; the mystical journey, and the thin line between reportage and myth.
Margery and You features live vocal performances of early American shape note singing, as well as songs written by Hildegarde von Bingen and Morrissey.

Moira Lael MacDonald is a multidisciplinary theater artist and filmmaker. Iterations of the Margery cycle have been mounted at CalArts and Redcat, directed by Deena Selenow and Julianne Just, respectively. Other work includes The Life of the Bee, an adaptation of the book by Maurice Maeterlinck, and Letter from the Bees. Her short hand-processed film, The Visible Woman, was screened at Concord Space in LA, in the show Heavenly Directives. Moira holds an MFA in Puppetry and Integrated Media from CalArts, and a BFA in Acting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She was born and raised in Sitka, Alaska.

December 12 - 23, 2013
at Automata

SparkleBlob's Doublewide Roadside Holiday Snowflake Show!

Join Silverlake's most well-adjusted family as they spend their holiday vacation in the rustic, arid climate of the California desert, where the tumbleweeds tumble, and murmurs on the wind blow cool wind through your hair. Young Judy Haversham would love to be just about anywhere else, and is not in the mood for a journey built of a curious mixture of reality and imagination, which is, of course, just fine.

SparkleBlob's 6th annual Holiday Puppet Show delivers expressly to you a hilarious and somewhat existential musical excursion through time and space that will warm your heart into happy holiday goop! The show will once again include before and after rides on the famed 'trike' plus delicious pre and after show treats and libations for sale and even reproductions of this year's beauteous puppet design paintings for purchase, as well.

Written by Julianna (JP) Parr and Shannon Gallagher
Directed by JP
Music by:The DingleBell Hollies (a live band!),

Surprises galore! Don't miss the fun--adults and kids alike will love the show!

Here is what KCRW had to say about last years show:

"It’s not easy finding holiday entertainment that both kids and adults can agree on. But here’s an idea: a bizarre puppet show featuring an ice-skating dinosaur, telenovelas, a disco dreidel, and the L.A. River."