You Are My Zooplankton — Come Closer
I created the “snack theater” You Are My Zooplankton—Come Closer for the Burning Man festival held in Northwestern, Nevada. It was a cross between Edo period Japanese decadence, cabaret, children’s theater, and drag shows. I collaborated with Steve Miller, with help from Steven Stone, Andi Piel, and Ashok Mudholkar and a cast of twenty-five.
The three jellyfish were made of muslin, resin, fabric, and lights, seventeen feet in diameter, suspended seventeen feet in the air. During the daylight hours, solar-powered sound equipment located in each jellyfish generates a continually changing hum of found and self-made sounds mixed with a tri-tone produced by the wind blowing through perforations in the tubular plastic tentacles that hang from each fish. Each evening the fish transform into a cabaret-style dinner theater where 50 lucky diners are subjected to a butoh Titanic zombie wait staff serving a five-course sushi diner, cunnilingus-seeking octopus, a kabuki pirate marching band, on-land synchronized swimming, and a fashion show called Big Poppa’s Muddy Hole (which precedes the serving of a chocolaty dessert).
YAMZ-CC was essentially a self-funded Fitzcaraldo-level event made primarily to give an extraordinary experience – to interact with viewer/participant at such a highly unusual level that it chips away at preconceived notions of what it is exactly that we do, where real and dream blur. Not in a silly on-screen way, but IRL and in a powerfully un-scripted way. A way that might allow the viewer/participants to begin to see themselves as also profoundly unusual.