Saturday, November 14, 2009

Martha Colburn - Puppets of the Apocalypse

I was invited to the SF MOMA by my wonderful friend Bex for Puppets of the Apocalypse, or Martha Colburn, Live Cinema. Accompanied by live music and vocals we watched her hilarious hand-made collage animations of remarkably disturbing social and political content.

Her technical work is amazing, she obviously spends years in the studio hand painting and cutting scenes and puppets-- flat paper characters with jointed limbs. She mines our culture and historical myths, incorporating found images of Jesus, soldiers, cowboys, Bin Laden, characters from the Wizard of Oz, prosaic puzzles, etc., assembling them into jarring, cluttered action scenes. Pretty intense.

Myth Labs may have been my favorite, combining images of meth labs, Jesus, users, pilgrims and Native Americans. It's weird and has a rich and absurd visual aesthetic and narrative.

The music was, as Bex said, "SO cacophonous." There were vocalists, a saw/violin player, a drummer, pianist, and a guy doing entirely weird sound effects, and definitely having fun.

It was fresh and tactile and analog, sort of the antithesis of overproduced super technically complex digital art.

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