Deep Puppetry is a process-based, personal practice of puppetry that, through the creating and ensouling of objects, offers a framework in which to explore and divest from our unconscious orientation toward oppression and exploitation as survival strategy.
Some characteristics of an orientation to oppression and exploitation include:
- either/or paradigm
- gain/loss paradigm
- death avoidance
- information supremacy
- productivity-defined personhood
- unlimited growth
- hierarchy and domination
- rejection of the non-normative
- logical and rational above all
- might makes right
Although these characteristics may run counter to your values, they comprise a pervasive Western cultural expectation and attitude that is nearly unavoidable, especially in times of struggle or distress. Many of the strategies of oppression and exploitation are embedded as social myth in individual consciousness, a space that is most receptive to creative metaphor and dreaming itself into a new reality of liberation, compassion, and interdependence. Spaces of self-reflection and metaxis create the capacity for collaborative action by the emergent self (selves) for the emergent world. We practice in the aesthetic reality in order to modify the social reality.
Puppetry uses symbolic and aesthetic language, reducing reliance on verbal expression and inviting a new kind of knowing: imaginal, liminal, metaphorical, poetic, and non-linear. In puppetry, we experience a plurality of consciousness and identity, an interdependence of self and matter, a reimagining of the relationship between subject and object, and an opportunity to explore power dynamics within the context of a creative container. Play, pleasure, and the "friendship of created things" (René Char) are by nature anti-capitalist. Puppetry allows us to occupy opposing binaries and hold multiple truths at once. Puppet animation confronts us with difficult questions around who and what is allowed to exist, who and what is abject both in society and within ourselves, and where is life, death, and the threshold between them. Puppetry incites empathy and works to decenter the self while holding first-person experience as not only valid but essential. The puppet naturally fluctuates and blurs the line between Self and Other, allowing us to do the same.
To create and ensoul an object is to experience a kind of trans-embodiment wherein the object becomes a proxy location for our own mindful presence. When we can't breathe, the puppet can breathe. When we can't orient, the puppet can orient. When we can't find dual awareness or dare to respond to our environment, the puppet can. The puppet can feel and express that which is too difficult for us to face. Over time, puppetry can be a partner in transitioning out of survival physiology altogether.
Online workshop in Deep Puppetry
open to everyone,
no experience needed
I am pleased to offer an introduction to Deep Puppetry in a three-week online workshop format. Absolutely no experience in performing or plastic arts needed! We use very simple objects and a basic approach to this material. Each week's session is 90 minutes long and includes a discussion of the theme, instruction, animation, and reflection (not only on the experience but as a form of experience itself). For sessions two and three, you construct a simple puppet in advance of the session. (Do not let this scare you off. It will not be more complex than you can handle and requires only regular household items.) All sessions will be recorded and emailed, but live attendance is preferred when possible.
interpersonal synchrony, poetic imagination, exploring the unthought known
autonomy, applied animism, power demechanization, puppet as collaborator
who is allowed to live, the transgressive potential of puppets, disobedient bodies
Saturdays March 25, April 1, and April 8
7:30pm-9pm Central European time
1:30pm-3pm Eastern and 10:30am-12pm Pacific
***except on March 25, which will begin at 2:30pm Eastern and 11:30am Pacific due to daylight saving time
105 USD for all three sessions
52 USD for private clients
75 USD sliding scale (limited availability)
You are so welcome in this laboratory space as we navigate and investigate this tender, unique approach together.