I have performed as a part of several puppetry troupes, and these experiences influenced my concept of teaching as a collaborative art-form. I use a form of live action role-playing called American freeform as an artistic media to explore that that collaboration. It is a media well-suited to my purposes because it is overtly dependent upon the relationships involved in the game and offers a multitude of outcomes in terms of personal and communal reflection.
Troupe is an American freeform that explores the nature of collaboration, both in terms of what we are capable of producing and of the ways in which we mask or shape our identities to do so. In the game, players take on the role of members in a performing troupe. Acts alternate between "on stage" presentations for an audience and "off stage" encounters that put members in conflict with one another.
What to do about Michael? was created as a part of my studies to create an embodied understanding of the ideas of Michel Foucault. In it, players enact a faculty meeting at which the fate of a troubled student (transparently based on Foucault) is discussed. Using this format circumvents the tendency many people have when reading Foucault's work to believe that he is only referring to systems and individuals other than those with which they are most closely acquainted.
As with my teaching practice and performative work, it is the people and stories behind an image that hold the deepest fascination for me. The narrative character of my visual work reflects that fascination, as well as my affection for whimsy and fantasy. Much of the work below was created on commission, a synthesis of vision between myself and my client.
Though a blood clot in my leg effectively ended my time as a touring puppeteer in 2001, my time in that profession impacted how I approach my teaching practice and my artwork tremendously. It has also influenced how I think of relationships and the blurred lines between seemingly binary states such as performer an audience, object and subject, or fantasy and reality.