Automata Archives 2014

January 16 - 25, 2014
at Automata

Kristen Smiarowski, Choreographer/Director and Automata present

THE KEY GAME PROJECT: Sleep, Staring, Well

an immersive multimedia performance event and installation about the construction of cultural memory. It is the third phase of Smiarowski's multi-year series, THE KEY GAME PROJECT. Reflecting upon the attempts to create a coherent history of the Holocaust by the generations who did not live through it, this series echoes the very subject it contemplates: each work in THE KEY GAME PROJECT is a memorial to the one that preceded it.

Audience members experience Sleep, Staring, Well on foot as they move freely through the performance and gallery space. As they walk, they encounter dance performances, live music, video and sound installations, and art objects.

Within the performance space there are dedicated areas that invite audience members to add their memories to the work through movement, drawing, and written word.

This project is a collaborative effort between Smiarowski, Los Angeles-based dancer and featured performer Rosalynde Loo LeBlanc, Berlin-based dancer Arianne Hoffmann, composer and visual artist Douglas C. Wadle, video artists Ann Kaneko and Andrea Keiz, archivist Kathy Carbone, designers Caitlin Lainoff (set), Jesse Garrison (video) and Pablo Santiago (lighting) as well as a host of dancers, writers and audiences who have participated in performances and workshops to generate material for the work. The Gnarwhallaby Quartet will premiere a new musical work by Wadle, titled Erasures and Additions.

Kristen Smiarowski is a Los Angeles-based choreographer and director whose projects investigate the relationship between performance and cultural memory. Her work has been performed nationally and internationally, and she has received awards and commissions from The Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, Durfee Foundation, Music Center Education Division, Skirball Cultural Center, The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts, and The Wooden Floor, among others. Her work has been called “meditative” (Lewis Segal, The Los Angeles Times) and “raw....chilling in its unflinching simplicity” (Elizabeth Schwyzer, The Santa Barbara Independent). GROUNDSWELL, her environmental performance at Los Angeles’ Ballona Freshwater Marsh, was presented in the 2011 World Festival of Sacred Music.

The performative installation loops every hour.

Sleep, Staring, Well is supported, in part, through The Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists.

February 20-23, 2014
at Automata

AUTOMATA and She World Productions present: CYRK

is an uncanny history of the She Clown recalled through music, immersive performance, installation and film. Mementos and relics assembled from the SHE WORLD Archive of artist Ursula Brookbank disclose a life's story as the audience moves through a topsy-turvy world of nomadic recollection.

Produced by Stephanie Kern

With Emily Lacy, Sallie Merkel, Natalie Shriver, Laura Steenberge, and Dan Rae Wilson

Ursula Brookbank is a Los Angeles based artist, who works in the mediums of film, video and photography. She received a BFA in Painting at the University of Florida in 1975. Relocating to LA in 1976, Brookbank started as a darkroom technician in a commercial photo studio, and has been an Art Director for still photography and video productions since 1979. Her image-based work currently engages the feminine detritus of her SHE WORLD ARCHIVE in an ongoing participatory and collaborative dialogue. Her work has been recently shown in Los Angeles at the Echo Park Film Center, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Craftswoman, the Center for Living Arts in Mobile, Alabama and Krowswork, Oakland, California..

March 8, 2014 at 8 PM


Kyle deCamp

Award-winning New York theater artist Kyle deCamp's Urban Renewal is a meditation on perception, public policy, and the significance of the buildings we live in, from a child’s rigorously unsentimental point of view. “BESSIE”-award winning performer Kyle deCamp maps an experience of growing up in Chicago in the chaotic ’60s, caught in the crosshairs of power and history.

In a multimedia environment of projected space, Urban Renewal maps a piece of land in Chicago, drawing world history into a clash with individual lives. deCamp vividly spotlights her experience of growing up on a block razed by the last demolition of urban renewal in Hyde Park in 1963.

The work exploits simultaneity of perception: extremes of scale, animations, multiple narratives, locations and timeframes create portals for the audience’s own memories, both private and public, individual and collective.

"Smart, feisty, imaginative solo performer”
—The Village Voice

Read more about URBAN RENEWAL on CultureBot


March 15-16, 2014 at 8 PM

An installation/performance by Peiyi Wong

A multi-media installation / performance that attempts to examine the many ways we have of looking, in hopes of uncovering the ideal way forward.

The latest research and findings of an anonymous amateur archeologist-explorer who remains inexplicably drawn to the ruins of Llano del Rio, a failed socialist utopian commune built on the edge of the Mojave Desert.

Written, directed, and performed by Peiyi Wong

Sound / Music composition by Michael Day
Sound / Music performances by Jenica Anderson, Michael Day, and Braden Diotte
Puppetry by Miriam Jones
Lighting by Jesse Baldridge
Video by Jesse Garrison

Cinematography by Matt Broach, Jessica Li, Sanmu Lin, Abraham Osuna, and Masha Tatarintsev

Direction & performance developed w/ Miriam Jones, So-Ok Kim and Alexis Macnab

MAY 2-11, 2014

Concrete Folk Variations
Written, Directed and Designed by Susan Simpson

Live Musical Score by Eric Potter

When a prominent society maven and philanthropist who secretly slums at lesbian dives is murdered, L.A.P.D. beat cop, Loretta Salt, turns reluctant investigator and steps into an infested swamp of corruption, brutality and subterfuge.

A soulful, gripping noir, Concrete Folk Variations is told through Simpson's intricately crafted puppets, projections and a minimalist mid-century Los Angles cityscape. This cultural excavation of the moment just before the rise of the modern gay movement unearths secret codes, clandestine homosexual societies, flamboyant transgressions and soul crushing silence. Concrete Folk Variations is a hypnotic tale of the formidable times.

Puppetry by Dan Rae Wilson, Moira MacDonald, Zachary Schwartz, Jonathon Williams

Voices by Hilario Saavedra, Mark Simon, Kendra Ware, Anne Yatco

Video Design: Dustin Neiderman

*** For those familiar with Concrete Folk from past iterations you might like to know that this performance will contain all three episodes collected into one evening.****

SATURDAY, MAY 17, 2014

A celebration of ten years of sublime experimental puppetry and performance in Los Angeles.

An amazing evening of small wonders, puppet shows and tiny spectacles in all varieties, fine food and drink, and lots of live music.

Sunday, June 8th, 2014 at 8PM

Southland Ensemble returns to Automata!
Performing Robert Ashley: Early Works

Presented in part by Creative Underground Los Angeles and as part of the Dog Star Festival

excerpt from the She was a Visitor score

Southland Ensemble explores beautiful graphic and text scores by Robert Ashley, one of America's most inventive and original composers. A mixture of theatrical and musical works. Come experience a rare performance of these compositions.
To be performed:
> Trios (White on White)
The Entrance
She Was a Visitor
In Memoriam Esteban Gomez

Southland Ensemble is
Casey Anderson, Matt Barbier, Eric KM Clark, Orin Hildestad, James Klopfleisch, Jon Stehney, Cassia Streb, Christine Tavolacci

*** A distinguished figure in American contemporary music, Robert Ashley held an international reputation for his work in new forms of opera and multi-disciplinary projects. His recorded works are acknowledged classics of language in a musical setting.

The Southland Ensemble focuses 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 Southland Ensemble seeks to collectively share their experiences through the mediums of interactive concerts, workshops and lectures.

For more information on South land Ensemble click HERE

Friday, June 20, 2014

Odeya Nini


VOICED Is a performance for experimental solo voice and movement, and compositions for voice, bassoon and percussion. Inspired by meeting points, parallels, polars, the power of subtly, and unearthed expression. The voice is thought of tangibly, and sound is treated as a physical sense to be fully immersed in it.

June 20 at 8PM

Odeya Nini is a Los Angeles based experimental vocalist and contemporary composer. At the locus of her interests are textural harmony, gesture, tonal animation, and the illumination of minute sounds, in works spanning chamber music to vocal pieces and collages of musique concrete. As a vocalist she is devoted to redefining vocal interpretation and song through an exploration of extended vocal techniques, resonances, and how they communicate in conjunction with the physical body's language. Odeya has collaborated extensively with dancers, choreographers, animators and film makers as both a performer and composer, taking part in works by artists such as Meredith Monk, Butch Morris, Maureen Selwood, and the Yelleb Dance Ensemble. Her work has been presented at art galleries, museums, concert halls, festivals and under the open sky, around the US and internationally such as the Whitney Museum of Art in NY, REDCAT, Joyce Soho, Art Basel Miami, and from Tel Aviv to Odessa and Mongolia. Originally from NY with Yemenite Israeli roots, Odeya holds a BFA in Vocal Performance from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music, where she studied with vocalist Theo Bleckmann, and an MFA in composition from California Institute of the Arts.

Friday, June 26th-28th, 2014

Image Action Text

By Laurel Jenkins Tentindo

Performers take a kinesthetic journey through a sonic field created by Miguel Frasconi’s instrumentarium of glass objects. Physical edges extend via an interplay between Maria Garcia’s paper costumes and shadows cast by mobile lights. The resulting large-scale imagery evokes idiosyncratic characters in a a modern-day mythology.

Performance by: Barry Brannum, Milka Djordjevich, Samantha Mohr, Madison Page, Alexx Shilling, and Laurel Jenkins Tentindo

Original Live Music by: Miguel Frasconi
Costumes by: Maria Garcia

July 11-13, 2014

Keith Skretch


The iconic western standoff is a wholly cinematic invention, and its tense juxtaposition of character and action, gaze and gun, is etched into American mythology. The climactic three-way duel of Sergio Leone's 1967 spaghetti western masterpiece The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly is both an innovation and an apotheosis of the form, using a barrage of closeups, cutaways, and musical scoring to draw the fates of three archetypal characters toward a singular end.

LOOK/KILL examines the impossible pre-violent moment of anticipation by stretching it into an absurdity. The film's careful montage is dismantled, separated into three distinct channels, and expanded into a durational and immersive installation, a living stasis which never repeats and never resolves.

A version of this installation was first presented as part of CATCH 57 in Brooklyn, NY.

July 18th-20th, 2014

Object of Her Affection

Conceived, Written, Designed and Performed by Marsian De Lellis
Directed by Michele Spears

photo by Steven Gunther score

Object of Her Affection follows, the protagonist, Andrea Lowe, on her journey through life and love starting with her first love, a baby blanket. During adolescence she attracts a bad-boy hunting rifle and later becomes infatuated with a controversial wall. As Andrea evolves, so do her desires. In adulthood, she seeks companionship from monumental structures: a high-profile statue who becomes vacant, tragic twin skyscrapers, a bridge who cheats, and a crumbling tenement who ultimately fails her. Over the course of her evolution, we see how each relationship changes Andrea.

Object of her Affection explores the synesthetic relationship between objects and personalities as they collide through the eyes of an Object Sexual, and ways that objects can occupy more than one meaning at any given time. Object is a visual narrative about human beings - flesh and blood - developing intimate relationships with inanimate things.

Part staged reading, part performance workshop, these viewings at Automata are the culmination of a developmental residency in which De Lellis teamed up with director and choreographer, Michele Spears, to explore the initial staging of the performance.

Marsian De Lellis is a visual and interdisciplinary performance artist, who constructs visual narratives, spectacles, and installations, centered on seemingly “weird” people that illuminate something essential about contemporary life. De Lellis’ performances have toured throughout the United States, Canada, and Edinburgh; and his installations have been featured in Scar Of Visibility: Medical Performances And Contemporary Art (University of Minnesota Press), and Women And Performance: A Journal Of Feminist Theory (New York University Press).

As an experimental theatre artist, De Lellis uses puppetry, performing objects, cutouts, pop-ups, elaborate costumes, and other elements to create a time-based visual narrative form, like film with its own inherent metaphors. Puppetry International describes De Lellis’ work as containing “a strong idiosyncratic personal aesthetic”, while The New Urbanite credits him with developing “a brand of eccentric adult puppetry that oscillates between adorable, abject, campy, and earnest”. Inspired by tabloids and pop culture, De Lellis writes plays about seemingly weird people, whose stories are surprisingly relatable. In his productions, form collides with content, to serve as both a commentary and compassionate look at the fringes of our shared world
More information on Marsian De Lellis

Michele Spears is a theatre director, choreographer, actress and arts educator living in Los Angeles. As a director/choreographer she has staged works for the Carpenter Center, Alex Theater, The Colony, Falcon Theater, Contemporary Musical Theatre Company of Santa Barbara, Cornerstone Theatre, Santa Barbara CLO Youth Program, The Migrant Youth Theatre Project, Musical Theatre Guild at The Pasadena Playhouse and the Mercury Music Development Company in London, among others. She has been an associate artist with the Academy of New Musical Theatre where she directed and helped to develop original musicals, and with the Los Angeles Gay Men’s Chorus where favorite projects include Simply Sondheim starring Joanna Gleason and Jerry’s Boys starring Jerry Herman.

Object of Her Affection is supported, in part, through The Automata Residency Project, The Jim Henson Foundation, Center for Cultural Innovation/Artist Resources for Completion, and with additional support of time and space from Improv Theater and REDCAT.

August 1-3, 2014

THE EARLY MUSEUM (East Wing): An Installation with Periodic Performance

presented in Automata's main gallery space, as well as our storefront windows, as part of AUTOMATA WINDOWS: INSIDE OUT.
7 PM to 10 PM nightly

Gina Marie Napolitan is an experimental filmmaker and media artist originally from Brockton, Massachusetts, now residing in Los Angeles. Her animated films have screened at the Boston Underground Film Festival, Anthology Film Archive in New York City, LA FilmForum, Antimatter Film Festival, Black Maria, animateCologne, and numerous other venues in the United States and abroad. In 2011, she was a recipient of the Princess Grace Foundation Award, and this past year she was awarded artist residencies at Echo Park Film Center in Los Angeles and La Macina di San Cresci in Tuscany, Italy. Recently, Gina has worked as a puppeteer and video designer on several experimental theater productions at REDCAT and Automata. She received her BFA in Film/Video from Massachusetts College of Art and her MFA in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts.

For more information about Gina Napolitan:

August 9, 2014

Little Creaking Gallery

With Baxley Andresen and Erin O'Donnell

For one night only, object makers, puppet builders and artists bring their wares to Automata for the final Chinatown Summer Night of 2014. Works by Baxley Andresen, Chelsea Bayouth, Sean Donnelly, Jesse Kingsley, Moira MacDonald, Erin O'Donnell and Leah Olbrich will be on display and for sale

July 26th - November 15, 2014

Susan Simpson performs:

Augustine September: Artist in Residence

At Kiosk #7 at the Far East Plaza in Chinatown

Augustine September will be Automata's micro-resident artist throughout the summer and fall. Because she is small in stature was able to offer her a complete live/work space in Kiosk #7. September will be sharing her unique work process with the community during business hours in the plaza.

Augustine September is a painter, writer and multimedia performer. Her practice encompasses costume creation, dance and small-scale paintings done as a medium for personal communication with individual audience members. During her residency, Augustine September will be developing an epic narrative around an embattled menagerie of animal, human and supernatural beings that she will both embody through costume and dance and chronicle through painting and writing.

Augustine is accepting objects and materials to re-purpose for the costumes and props for her performances. Consider bringing her an offering.

The Far East Plaza (727 N. Broadway) runs in between Hill and Broadway on the South end of Chinatown. Kiosk #7 lies right outside Chego and Scoops!


September 26th - October 5th, 2014
Fridays through Sundays at Automata

Fugitive Time
Concieved and Directed by Janie Geiser
Developed with the Ensemble

Conceived/Directed by Janie Geiser, and developed with an ensemble of Los Angeles performers and designers, FUGITIVE TIME is a multidisciplinary performance inspired by the dual histories of illness and health in early 20th Century Los Angeles. FUGITIVE TIME centers on the life of a fictitious 1930's tuberculosis patient, who travels to Los Angeles to seek the prevailing cure:fresh air and sunshine in a hilltop sanitorium. Fugitive Time merges puppetry, miniature landscapes, film, live-feed video, and music/sound to create an immersive, elliptical meditation on the body, illness, nature, and time.

Baxley Andresen
Moira MacDonald
Luis Tentindo
Erin O’Donnell
Minjung Kim
Molly Allis
Jocelyn Reyes

Vincent Richards, Scene Design
David Moyer, Costume Design
Felicia Rose, Associate Costume Designer SuHyun Cho, Video Design
Cassia Streb, Sound Design
John Eagle, Associate Sound Designer
Chu-Hsuan Chang, Lighting Design
Janie Geiser, Puppet Design, Animation

Cameron Squire, Production Manager
Miranda Wright, Producer

FUGITIVE TIME is a project of Automata, in collaboration with Los Angeles Performance Practice. The production is a Co-Commission of the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara and First Works/Providence, with additional funding from The Center for Cultural Innovation and from individual donors to our Hatchfund campaign. Special thanks to Cinelease for their support of Fugitive Time.