The Blue Ox Bar was a dive bar installation for XOXOfest 2018 in Portland, Oregon. Themed after the concept of “Paul Bunyan is a Portland hipster; runs a dive bar,” it is a moody and enthusiastic survey of logging tools, early American logging history and Bunyan detritus.
The installation was covered in various Paul Bunyan and logging camp detritus, such as tools, postcards, and bobbleheads.
Custom posters for a fake band named “Paul and Babe” were plastered over the installation - they’re a punk bluegrass band.
Custom camping mugs were designed for custom logging themed cocktails to be served in!
These custom-built table lamps were made out of fake vintage hardware boxes, designed after the venue and festival.
A custom built and carved wooden coffee table patterned after National Forest signs, made for the lounge area of the bar.
The Gentle Oraclebird
The Gentle Oraclebird is a narrative exploration of kindness, using ritual and storytelling, and a new divination mechanism inspired and derived from the Chinese tradition of "lottery sticks," tarot decks, and carnival-based fortune telling mechanisms. The adjoining installation, the Oraclebird's Labyrinth, is a meditation space.
As an artist and builder, I am fascinated by the human impulse to create order and meaning by creating ritual, especially in a difficult and unstable universe. A gentle and considerate fiction, the Oraclebird is a character created to offer a considerate and tender fortune for those who may need an encouraging word.
Built in collaboration with Beam Camp in New Hampshire, Salvage Station No. 8 is a large scale interactive installation about a space salvage station that explores collaborative storytelling in the outer colonies of space.
The build process for this installation involved collaborating with over 100+ people, 90 of which were children, to develop the characters and universe that populate the universe of the installation. This included some children gaining fluency in an invented language(Space Hobo Code), creative prop design and fabrication, and some of the most ridiculous and amazing space stories and characters in the world.
The Last Apothecary
The Last Apothecary is an exploration-based story installation about the life of an outer colony apothecary. It is a narrative about an outer colony space apothecary obsessed with Old-Earth, and also about the persistence of ritual, the space immigrant diaspora, and the obsessive nature of archiving and collecting.
More about the site, including the build process and crew, can be found on our project blog at lastapothecary.com.
Apothecary, Part 2
The story of the Last Apothecary was continued in a gallery installation at Stranger Factory in Albuquerque, which opened on April 7th, 2017.
In this narrative, Theodore Lee’s daughter’s has come into possession of all her estranged father’s work, after traveling to the outer colonies for the first time in her adult life.
The installation was designed as a museum display of some of Theodore Lee’s cabinet of curiosities. One of the items I built for the installation was a fortune telling cabinet that was rebuilt around a vintage capsule machine, called Pythia’s Fortune Telling Cabinet. More information about it, and the fortunes dispensed, can be found in my build blog.
A short epistolary story about the relationship between Theodore Lee and his daughter was also scattered through the installation.
The Last Outpost
The Last Outpost is an experiment in immersive and narrative art that expects and begs to be explored, touched, read, climbed. It is an adventure story, a treehouse playground, or snail-paced psychological horror.
The Last Outpost sits on the deep, open playa, near a stretch of orange fence. People once lived here, the final holdout against an approaching storm. Who were they? Why was the Last Outpost abandoned, still filled with the detritus of their everyday lives? The Last Outpost invites participants to create their own narrative amidst a decaying structure.
The Last Outpost was a honorarium grant installation at Burning Man 2014.
The Dusty Junk
The Dusty Junk was a weathered, beaten up, junk boat covered in pillows and other hobo-lush trimmings, perfect for sailing out into the playa with a cup of green tea and apples for the pirates. It is both a homage to my hometown(an important colonial era seaport) and to Robert Altman’s Popeye, which I’m a bit obsessed over.
Its maiden voyage was in August 2011, in Black Rock City, NV. It also returned in 2012 and 2014, with the project helmed by Scott Keeler. Currently, the Dusty Junk is retired, and lives out at East Jesus, a art community out by the Salton Sea, where she is tasked with ferrying beautiful people to the hot springs at a terrifying “more than 5 miles an hour.”
Conceived and written by Lauren Ludwig, and produced by Monica Miklas, Hamlet-Mobile is eight one act plays about and using the language of Hamlet that is performed in and around a van. I designed and built the set for the show, which became a cabinet-of-curiosities style traveling wagon, that also fit into a Ford Econoline. The set is a physical representation of the acting troupe that inhabits it - messy, decadent, and littered with the history of their careers and lives.
My sculptural work explores a universe populated by anxious creatures trapped in a world of bumbling science and human fallibility. They are inspired by historical hoaxes, old museums, cabinets of curiosities and pre-Linnaean taxonomy.
By capturing them both in their “natural environments” and in taxidermy and diorama inspired “trophies” and mounted plaques, I also explore the notion of early colonial era museums, their often horrific collecting practices, and the human compulsion to own beauty.