Tuesday, September 27, 2005


How cool it is to see creativity evolve before your eyes. Today we got a good dose of it. Here are some samples which give no justice to the actual thing since it is lacking the animation, the surprise, the living moment. But beautiful to look at nonetheless.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


I just read the post by Andrew about Kali. It reminded me of Huitzilopochtli, one of the many Aztec deities with which I am fairly familiar (as I was born in their territory!). One interesting thing when you are dealing with mythology is to recognize different aspects of our human culture which find expression through the ages according to the powers that be who interpret them to their advantage for the purpose of power and control. Although Huitzilopochtli is a terrifying figure, the rituals associated with him have a very strong resemblance to Christian ritual; Aztec women made a mixture of ground amaranth seed, honey or human blood then shaped this mixture into figures that were eaten ceremoniously so they could all partake of him. This was so much like Christian communion that during the colony it was forbidden to cultivate amaranth and this remained so for hundreds of years.
His birth also resembles that of Christ; her mother became pregnant when she was struck by a ball of feathers or Mixcoatl (Cloud Serpent) also related to the Milky Way, or fire of the sky, similar to the Holy Spirit!

HOST FIGURINE. Metepec A.D. 650-750
Musio Nacional de Antropologia, Mexico City

This figurine, of the type called "Host Figurine" from A.D.650 contains another figure within itself, a nahual, a sort of soul or shadow companion. Here it is shown with its "skin" removed.
I thought the premise of the narrators and the confusion brings forth more information, is interesting if you can manage the complexity of the story.
I think this story lends itself to be told with shadow puppets and the addition of the narrators as maybe rod-puppets or automatons would greatly complement the setting.
Oh, I could go on an on, what a world we live on!

Update: The Gift of the Wind"

Peru pulled out of the performance due to the short time and some technical problems. So we are currently negotiating with Chile to provide us with some musicians for the show. We still have a very tight schedule but not so crazy as the one posted before. October 14, 19 and 20 are the next performances with Illinois, Gainesville and Arizona.

Time Machine

Used by permisson from Tom Haney

This is a great site, pointed out by Matt. The artist, Tom Haney builds very whimsical automata out of wood and has some very creative solutions for complex movements. I like the fact that he offers a view of parts before and after assembly and even some movies of the mechanism at work. Make sure to check out the movies (some don't work on a Mac) as well as his many other pieces. You can see this guy loves his work! I hope it is an inspiration to all as you move towards animating your characters.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The Gift of the Wind is a go!

With very little time to create, rehearse and perform this show is already slated for September 29th, next week! So the only choice we have is to pack one rehearsal after the other until performance day. We will start Friday at 6pm and rehearse Saturday and Sunday at 3pm. This means those interested should get together tomorrow to prepare some basic stuff, more like placeholders for what needs to be done. Everyone both here and in Peru is on a great rush to make this happen. Like a friend told me once; "Be realistic, ask for the impossible!"
We will talk about it tomorrow.
The sky pictured above is from Katrina over Mississippi. It the inspiration for Woswo's appearance over the peaceful village. I composited over a picture of the stage in Peru just to give an idea of what it could look like. The man standin there is one of the organizers.

If someone has a small fish tank please bring it to do some tests (sky generation with water and ink)

And this is the mask of the condor, who will, together with the shaman, bring the gift of wind (music) to the people, liberating them from evil. It's costume is being made now, it might be ready for Friday but if not we can rehearse with the mask alone.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

on the road to this ...

Kim and I are ready to get an image worth framing! Like this image, ha! So, come one come all to St. Augustine beach Sunday morning!!!!! It is best to leave very early to beat the crazy crowd, so please respond to this post if you are interested and we can do all the planning that way. Great!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Kite Day!

Tuesday promises to be a good wind day, or so they say, so those who have kites bring them tomorrow. We will meet at the Flavet Field. Just make sure you also bring your journal or workbook because we might have to wait for the wind to pick up and we should all work on our upcoming production. UV will be very high tomorrow so protect your skin!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

For the birds

I love Vaucanson's (1709-1782) duck. One of the many fascinating inventions that came from this man of whom Voltaire said: "A rival to Prometheus, [Vaucanson] seemed to steal the heavenly fires in his search to give life". Among the many far-reaching innovations that he introduced, one in particular stands as the seed of a revolution he could not have imagined. He started to use punch cards to automate weaving. This generated great hostility from the workers who saw their job in peril (sounds familiar?).
His invention was later perfected by Jaquard (1752-1834), the father of the modern loom, which some consider the first graphical computer.

Later on Charles Babbage (1792-1871) picked up the punch card idea which became an integral part of modern day computers as a programming input device, thanks to Augusta Ada Byron Countess of Lovelace (1815-52), the first programmer.

How is that for the birds?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Have kite, will fly!

The box was at the door, waiting to be opened. Looks like a good kite, well manufactured and very light. Power Sled, $27 at coastalkites
Will try it tomorrow and take some pics if it gets airborne.

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Gift of the Wind

We have been invited to participate as performers, puppeteers in the inaguration of the CLARA NET in Latin America with a 5 minute original piece by Lorena Paola adapted from her own work "Semilla Original". The performance would be in the afternoon of September 29 via Polycom with Lima, Peru. After that, performances will be held October 14, 19 and 20. These performances (of the same piece) will be presented via Internet 2 at the National Center for Super Computing Applications at the University of Illinois, then a rehearsal on the 19th for a local audience including UFL's President and finally a performance for the International Council of Fine Arts Deans at Arizona State University.
Needless to say a very exciting opportunity to demonstrate our diverse talents.
For those interested rehearsals will start a week from today; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9pm at Digital Worlds.
Available tasks are puppet making of the evil bird Woswo and the Condor as well as background images and set pieces. We will discuss the story and visual concepts in class but I am posting pics of Woswo so you see the character.The Shaman who gives the Gift of the Wind to the people is pictured below.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Follow the lead

Check this out! Absolutely cool. The rig autobalances itself, the silly putty timer oozes along nicely (you really have to pack it, otherwise it triggers too soon) and it is ready to fly like the mouse says. Good job!
Make sure to read Rebekah's blog, click her name on the Team Blogs column.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

The African Connection

Renee pointed out on her blog to the fascinating puppets from Mali, check this site for some background and even some sounds. It is important to note that puppets are an integral part of tribal life and the memory and thoughts that would otherwise be lost are preserved and transmitted through this form. In tribal societies puppets and maks are agents of transformation. Myths and legends are relived, ilnesses cured, spirits guided and practical information transmitted. These are some good articles about masks: 1 , 2

You can find some wonderful puppets, including some from Mali at the Center for Puppetry Arts like this beautiful rod puppet that is used to tell stories relevant to a farming or agricultural society since this migrating Kono (bird) signals the arrival of the rain.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Haunting characters

Farrell posted a note on her blog about Scott Radke whose work I find inspiring. I think he brings out a lot of inner turmoil and painful soul searching with those beautifully sad creatures who are born to express his angst in a poetic way. You can click on the placeholders to see his work.

His characters remind me of the drawings of Jose Luis Cuevas, a famous Mexican artist whose work I like and who influenced me in my early years (the 60's!) There is an interesting statement by Cuevas here that sheds some light on his inner process. Here is one of his early litographs.