Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo

Poetry reading and sculptural performance for the chapbook launch of Dana Elkun's Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo.  Performed at Endden Bellegrade in Boulder, Colorado on 18 March 2010.  Read by Dana Elkun.  Designed & Performed by Pattie Lee Becker and Lacey Coover.

 Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo book signing

Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo book signing

 Pre-show at Endden Bellegrade

Pre-show at Endden Bellegrade

 Pre-show: curtain going up

Pre-show: curtain going up

 "The Iridologist said, ...."  (performance)

"The Iridologist said, ...."  (performance)

 "The Iridologist said, ...."  (performance)

"The Iridologist said, ...."  (performance)

 "Less You" (performance)

"Less You" (performance)

 "Less You" (performance)

"Less You" (performance)

 "The Essence of the Owl" (performance)

"The Essence of the Owl" (performance)

 "The Essence of the Owl" (performance)

"The Essence of the Owl" (performance)

 "Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo" (performance)

"Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo" (performance)

 "Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo" (performance)

"Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo" (performance)

"Black Box Theater as Abandoned Zoo" Performance

Pecha Kucha Night Boulder 2009

In October, The Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art held Boulder, Colorado's first Pecha Kucha Night. Pecha Kucha Night was devised in Tokyo in February 2003 as an event for young designers to meet, network, and show their work in public.

It has turned into a massive celebration, with events happening in hundreds of cities around the world, inspiring creatives worldwide. Drawing its name from the Japanese term for the sound of "chit chat", it rests on a presentation format that is based on a simple idea: 20 images x 20 seconds. It's a format that makes presentations concise, and keeps things moving at a rapid pace.

The presenters were Mimi Steiger, Barry Ollman, Ryan Batch, Michelle Ellsworth, Ali Gid far, Pattie Lee Becker, Molly Baker, Monika Wittig, Alicia Davis, Joel Haertling.

I presented some older artworks with their corresponding narrative:

In the Lands of the Extinct or The Redevelopment Project

 Autumn Leaf Portal, 9" x 12", 2003

Autumn Leaf Portal, 9" x 12", 2003

One day, in a moment of great disquiet, an urgent animal conference is organized to discuss the demise of their kingdom, forging a plan to hunt for an ancient portal, spoken only of in myth, in hopes that its discovery will offer passage to a new land.  Over time, it is unearthed, and through this find, our animals leave us.  Later, far into the future when our lands are not the only ones we know, when people are giants and lifeforms are scarce, this portal is rediscovered opening up possibilities to restore our world with species and kingdoms once thought gone forever.  It is covered in leaves, with remnants of a unicorn, and twisting throughout, a heart of luminous and long ventricles.

 The Diamond Thief, 14" x 17", 2007

The Diamond Thief, 14" x 17", 2007

This entryway leads the Travelers, a band of giants, a selected few chosen to roam from land to land in search of life forces, into worlds of great circumstance, hope, and peril.  One struggles to recover a diamond-encased soul from the bank vaults of lions.  Another is sent out to retrieve the diminishing element of song.

 For the Troubadour, 14" x 17", 2007

For the Troubadour, 14" x 17", 2007

She gathers a hawk from a lonesome tree and readies herself to transport it back to our planet through a ring of stones.  Forms have personalities and new purposes.  These are mystical days.  These are telepathic times.

 Flame Carrier, 14" x 17", 2007

Flame Carrier, 14" x 17", 2007

The Travelers have warm clothes that serve multiple functions as tents, nests and packs. A diamond death blanket is worn to cover the dead in hopes to renew life.  A flame carrier walks along a new land to bring light and warmth to where it is needed.  A hat provides the carrying system and a pathway to transport his collections home.

 The Offering, 14" x 17", 2007

The Offering, 14" x 17", 2007

In the light of day in the bright cold, a woman crouches by the fire and offers up a gift to the land in exchange for another diamond-soul.  A bird companion, hers through shared stories, leads her from place to place in search of other's souls to collect and other creatures to encounter.

 The Collector, 2005

The Collector, 2005

 The Collector (detail), 2005

The Collector (detail), 2005

And traipsing though the lands, The Collector, a mighty traveler of great skill and power, searches in the deepest and darkest of places.  With his death blanket, bird, nourishment, and leaves; he discovers remnants of an animal civilization not previously known in their world.

 ESP Preparation Chart, 11" x 14", 2008

ESP Preparation Chart, 11" x 14", 2008

All of the travelers must look upon the ESP preparation chart and renew their connection to one another through the form.  Their lives depend upon this communication.  It connects them with animal, vegetable, and mineral.  It fuels their minds and spirits with community and shared space.

 Blue Feather Arrow, 5" x 3.25", 2003

Blue Feather Arrow, 5" x 3.25", 2003

hey also share a common symbol, an object which they keep in their pockets, of a feather on a patterned field of blue crystal with an arrow shooting forth.  This icon represents a nest which supports the life that will be protected and saved through consciousness and fight.

 Electric Discovery, 2003

Electric Discovery, 2003

Through this strength, persistence, and belief in a positive future; The Travelers make discoveries that begin to transform their land: the collection of diamond-encased souls, song, redevelopment organisms, flora and fauna.   Seen here, returned to their homeland and presented on platforms, Electric Discovery is a pile of unicorn intestines and a unicorn horn surrounded by mushrooms discovered in a different land.

 Electric Discovery (detail), 2003

Electric Discovery (detail), 2003

Later, we will discover that the combination proves fruitful in reintroducing the species.  And will it have been a fortuitous find?   And will the creature be true?

 Rebirth to the Stars, 14" x 17", 2005

Rebirth to the Stars, 14" x 17", 2005

One Traveler discovers a spinning plant planet that captures its dying from the attack of others and transforms the dying into stars.  Those already dead and gone are covered by The Traveler's death blanket in hopes to capture the souls so as to have material to build up their crumbling civilization.

 Rebirth in the Nook, 22" x 34" x 18", 2006

Rebirth in the Nook, 22" x 34" x 18", 2006

This is the rebirth of a heart, a procedure that was carried out by one of the Travelers.  The ceremony was performed in a cave where the damp nook breathed its air into the hands of the sky.  Later it is realized that this object has both healing powers and evil destructive properties.

 Campfire Evolution, 66" x 54" x 42", 2004

Campfire Evolution, 66" x 54" x 42", 2004

A Campfire Evolution is manifested by the work of more Travelers.  A ghost pillow is set aflame in a campfire conjuring a true ghost to life.  As he crawls out of his tent, his life is renewed and he becomes an assistant to the Travelers.  The night will no longer be elusive and new adventures and opportunities are forged.

 Campfire Evolution (detail), 66" x 54" x 42",  2004

Campfire Evolution (detail), 66" x 54" x 42",  2004

The campfire is composed of feathers, minerals, mushrooms, zebra tails, and sticks.  This combination releases history and with the intention of the Travelers, the ghost is freed and willing to assist them.

 Hand Holding Furry Rocks, 6.5" x 9", 2003

Hand Holding Furry Rocks, 6.5" x 9", 2003

The ghost leads them to a group of hand-holding furry rocks that together form a circle.  They do not move nor make a sound, and the Travelers are perplexed by their purpose, until one ventures too close, and is sucked out of this world and into another.  It is discovered that the rocks act as another portal.

 Redevelopment Organism: Unicorn Hoof-making Machine, 48" x 96" x 32", 2002

Redevelopment Organism: Unicorn Hoof-making Machine, 48" x 96" x 32", 2002

The Collector, one of the most powerful Travelers, follows his fellow Traveler into the opening of a world he had hoped to find, a world so sad in its present state, but so teaming with life.  This is the land the unicorns created long ago when their prescient minds came to understand their future demise.

 Redevelopment Organism: Unicorn Hoof-making Machine (detail), 48" x 96" x 32", 2002

Redevelopment Organism: Unicorn Hoof-making Machine (detail), 48" x 96" x 32", 2002

They built a portal and it took them into nothingness until their bodies shed themselves into soil and land was created.  Later the other animals discovered the entrance and with their inclusion the land eroded and all the unicorn died.  Ever since, the animals of this land have been conjoining their forms together in hopes to recreate the unicorns.

 Unicorn Hoofs: Failed Attempts, 48" x 96" x 32", 2002

Unicorn Hoofs: Failed Attempts, 48" x 96" x 32", 2002

This is a Unicorn Hoof Redevelopment Organism that is comprised of marmots, polar bears, bacteria, and worms.  It is failing in its function, but succeeding instead in creating snake components that are rejoining and coming into a new creature.

 Mineral Shadow Forms, 2003

Mineral Shadow Forms, 2003

And why the death of the unicorns?  A battle was waged based upon misunderstanding.  When the first animal discovered the gateway, it was a porcupine, and it jolted through space right into the heart of a unicorn -- the first death to occur in the land.  It began a wave of destruction.  These are the mineral shadow forms that cover the inside structure of the memorial death chamber built by the Travelers as a reminder of Reaction and its potential.

 She Arose From a Vast Volcano, 14" x 17", 2008

She Arose From a Vast Volcano, 14" x 17", 2008

The very moment that the structure was completed, in another land not so far away, a woman burst out of a giant volcano.