Janie Geiser (Co-Founder & Co-Director) is a visual/theater artist and experimental filmmaker, whose work explores the emotional power of inanimate objects, the nature of artifice, and issues of power and ephemerality. An Obie award-winning director, Geiser has made a significant contribution to the field of contemporary puppet theater through her innovative multidisciplinary performances. Her work has been presented at MOCA, The Public Theater, The Walker Art Center, Redcat, Dance Theater Workshop, the Museum of Jurassic Technology, Arts at St. Ann’s, the Santa Monica Museum of Art, and the Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater. “… Geiser gives voice to the reaches of the unconscious, pointing to the abandoned splendor that exists prior to the rules of society and language.” (---Holly Willis).Geiser’s films have been screened at the Whitney Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art, Redcat, the Getty Center, the Wexner Center for the Arts, the New York Film Festival, the Rotterdam Film Festival, The Hong Kong Experimental Film Festival, and The Toronto Film Festival. Geiser’s film The Fourth Watch was noted by Film Comment as one of the top ten Experimental films of the last decade. Her film The Red Book was included in the Library of Congress’ 2009 National Film Registry. An Obie award winning director, Geiser has received funding from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the NEA, the MAPfund, the Henson Foundation, Creative Capital, the Center for Cultural Innovation, Durfee Foundation and the Department of Cultural Affairs. She is currently on the faculty of the CalArts School of Theater.
Susan Simpson (Co-Founder & Co-Director) is an experimental theater artist, visual artist and filmmaker who lives and works in Los Angeles. Simpson's work often involves intricate hand-made avatars and manipulated film and video projection.
Her work has been presented at venues such as the HERE Art Center in New York, The Museum of Jurassic Technology, The Santa Monica Museum and Santa Barbara Forum for Contemporary Art, LACMA. A solo exhibition of her visual art and video work was presented The Sheehan Gallery at Whitman College in 2009.
Under the auspices of Automata she founded and directed, from 2007-2009, The Manual Archives, a micro-performance space devoted the newly discovered folklore of Los Angeles. Simpson is on the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts School of Theater. She has received grants from the Durfee Foundation, The California Community Foundation, Creative Capital, Multi-Arts Production Fund, and The Center for Cultural Innovation.
Her writing has appeared in the journals Puppetry International and Double and in The Trench Art Tracer (Les Figues Press, 2008).