Object/Fetish, Valencia (guest teacher)

2010-16x7-Object-Fetish-300dpi Object/Fetish Calarts

On November 18th, 2010, I was a guest teacher for Susan Simpson’s History of American Puppet Theater course at CalArts through the Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts. For this class which included a mixture of graduate and undergraduate students, I presented my multi-media artist-talk, Object/Fetish: Staging the Suspension of Disbelief in Every Day Life.

In Object/Fetish I explored the following questions:

  • How does fantasy fuel the way we interact and perform with objects in our daily lives?
  • Why do some people fall in love with inanimate objects, buildings, bridges or other structures?
  • Where do sex toys and animism intersect?

In Object/Fetish, I examined the underpinnings of the suspension of disbelief and how objects can and are fetishized in everyday life. I presented media from the margins of what is traditionally thought of as puppetry and object theater for the consumption of theatrical audiences in areas that include:

  • masking
  • furrie fandom
  • object sexuality
  • the rise of artificial companions.



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More about The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and Arts from the World Encyclopedia of Puppetry Arts:

[The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and Arts is an] American teaching laboratory for contemporary puppetry and performing objects, a Center within the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) in Valencia, [CA]. The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was founded in 1998. In 2012, the Center’s courses and focus on puppetry were folded into the overall curriculum of the CalArts School of Theater, where puppet and object theatre remain an important focus and a critical interdisciplinary presence within the Institute.

CalArts, situated 30 miles.. from Los Angeles, was founded as an art school generously supported by Walt and Roy O. Disney in 1961. By 1971, the school offered degrees in art, dance, film (animation), and theatre. Housed in the School of Theater, the puppetry program was established in 1998 with the goal of making the most creative developments in contemporary puppetry available to the students across the Institute’s six schools.

The Cotsen Center for Puppetry and the Arts was created to offer a framework for practical training, artistic innovation, aesthetic inquiry and interdisciplinary investigation. In keeping with the evolution of puppetry through the integration of different art forms, CalArts strives to combine puppet theatre with the use of new technologies and emerging forms and practices that cut across traditional boundaries. These principles continue in the newly integrated puppetry courses, which are open to all students from across the Institute. Students can take a single course as an elective, or a series of courses, creating a focus in puppetry, which includes opportunities to create and produce original work..