Category: Me

E.S.P. TV, Episode 1 – January 28th

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A few of my short videos will be included in episode 1 of E.S.P. TV – a live taping and screening taking place on Friday January 28th at Louis V E.S.P. in Brooklyn. The show was conceived as a public access type variety show that includes contributions from many artists, including Dana Bell, Colby Bird, Elbis Rever, Ganjatronics, Kate Gilmore, KUNSOLE, Katrina Lam, Derek Larson, Erica Magrey, Rachel Mason, Sam Mickens, Bradford Nordeen, Andre Perkowski, Jonathan Phelps, Sophia Peer, Andrew Steinmetz, Jennifer Sullivan, and Brian Zegeer. The show is curated by Scott Kiernan, one of the proprietors of the space.

Always a fan of public access, I’m happy to have my videos included. The three that will screen are all bumpers from Awesome Music Videos, Vol. 1, a compilation I made of music videos from VH1 Classic, wherein I play veejay and create bumper skits to segue between songs. The compilation also features a xeroxed booklet with short essays on each piece. The three videos can be seen on youtube: Alien Lounge Scene, Untitled (HANDS), and Are You Experienced?

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If you’re in Brooklyn, check out the live taping! No one knows exactly how it will turn out, which makes it all the more fun. I’ll post an air date/time for MNN when I receive notification.

Cover Version LP at BAM/Delia Derbyshire

If you’re in Brooklyn this evening, check out this group show I’m in at BAM called Cover Version LP curated by Timothy Hull, featuring a lot of friends and great artists. From the BAM site listing:

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In Cover Version (LP), curated by Timothy Hull and organized by BAMart, over two dozen diverse artists reimagine the cover art of albums they find influential. These unique reinterpretations of the iconic LP bring new life to the art that covers vinyl, highlighting the intersections of art and music.

Artists: Glen Baldridge, Kadar Brock, Colby Bird, Jessica Cannon, Mathew Cerletty, Devon Costello, Justin Craun, TM Davy, Langdon Graves, Joseph Hart, Elizabeth Huey, Scott Hug, Butt Johnson, Faten Kanaan, Denise Kupferschmidt, Josh Kline, Erica Magrey, Michael Mahalchick, Eddie Martinez, Dave McDermott, Keegan McHargue, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Nolan Simon, Colin Snapp, Jennifer Sullivan, Nick Van Woert, Ryan Wallace, Will Yackulic.

Opening Reception
Tue, Jan 11, 2011, 6—9 PM
Natman Room, Peter Jay Sharp Building
30 Lafayette Ave, Brooklyn

For my piece I cheated slightly and created a cover for an as-yet-nonexisting album, the Lost Recordings of Delia Derbyshire. She’s been a bit of an obsession since I learned that she recorded the original Doctor Who theme song, a genuinely beautiful masterpiece of analog electronic music. Several more of her songs are included on a BBC Radiophonic Workshop compilation, including Zivzih Zivzih Oo Oo Oo, a creepy droney alien-sounding song where all the words are played backwards. After she died in 2001, over 250 tapes were discovered in Delia’s attic, and fans have been teased with the notion of the posthumous lost recordings release for the past few years. Here’s to hoping that by creating this cover, I can will the album into existence!

Here is the official cover, and an alternate below:

Delia Derbyshire, Lost Recordings
Erica Magrey
Digital collage
2011

Delia Derbyshire, Lost Recordings - Erica Magrey

The Lost Recordings of Delia Derbyshire (Alternate Cover)
Erica Magrey
Digital collage
2011

The Lost Recordings of Delia Derbyshire (alt) - Erica Magrey

Happy Feminist Halloween – Louise Bourgeois Costume at NADA Halloween Ball

Halloween 2010 seemed destined to come and go without the joys of costuming, as I had been sick all week and had no motivation to whip something up. But lo and behold, I heard the call for costumed artists for the NADA Halloween Ball, as my friend Brina Thurston was assembling well dressed artists for the occasion. Brina’s theme was feminist art of the 1970s, and I decided to recreate a costume from Louise Bourgeois’ A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts, a performance from 1978 that took place in her piece Confrontation. Many of the artists, led by Brina, posed as Valie Export in her piece Genital Panic, and they were a force to be reckoned with. The rest of us rounded out the posse as Yoko Ono (2 versions – “Cut” and 80s Yoko), Carolee Schneeman’s Meat Joy, Strawberry Switchblade, and Adrien Piper’s Mythical Being. My friend Jennifer Sullivan also came as a Picasso Masterpiece. See pics and links below.

Art in America article
Art Info article

A Banquet/A Fashion Show of Body Parts, 1978 – Costume from the Performance
photo of original costume next to me in my version:
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Performance at Hamilton Gallery of Comtemporary Art, NY
Photo by Peter Moore, c Estate of Peter Moore/VAGA, NY
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Group Shot – Brina Thurston and Valie Export of the Dolls (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Me and Jen (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Us posing with Upside-Down Guy (photo by Joanne Kim O’Connor)
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Costume for Woods – Death Rattles

I realized that I never shared photos from a costume project from the spring – a music video for “Death Rattles” by Woods, directed by my good friend Sophia Peer. I had only a couple of weeks to costume a cast of 13 people and a budget of about 200 dollars. We were lucky to be able to borrow some of the basic pieces, and I created headpieces, collars, belts and other accessories to add character. I designed and created the 3 children’s costumes from scratch, using rough earthy colored fabrics and netting. The song is both haunting and catchy, and Sophia did a great job of conjuring its spirits.

“Death Rattles” by Woods (directed by Sophia Peer)

Stills from the video
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Images of the children’s costumes (click on thumbnail to see larger)
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Costume Design: Katja Loher’s Video Planets

Just wanted to share some information about a recent costume design project I did for a Swiss artist named Katja Loher. Katja’s recent work involves video projected onto weather balloons and shown inside video sculptures, respectively called video planets and miniverses. The video depicts activity from a birds’ eye view, involving choreographed movements that spell messages to the viewer. In this newest work Sculpting in Air, human bodies form letters that when composed into words and then sentences communicate simple questions aimed at the viewer or some unknown observer. Their movement takes place on a spinning hard drive which occasionally abruptly stops, and we are informed of a system error. The questions posed by the arrangement of bodies go unanswered as the divide between virtual space and reality cannot be bridged. Or at least that’s my interpretation.

My job was to create the costumes for the piece based on the concept of a futuristic worker, keeping in mind that the work would primarily be seen from above. This meant that there was a greater emphasis on the shoulders and headgear to help shape the silhouette as seen from this vantage point. This was the first time Katja and I had worked together, as suggested by a mutual friend Gin, and we soon found that we were both space nuts and had a common understanding of the visual language of science fiction. Katja was great to work with and very inspiring as an artist and as a director. I had only a couple of weeks to design and execute the costumes before shooting started, but it all came together. Katja’s assistant Luke Emery was also incredibly helpful in gathering materials and completing the helmets. All in all, an excellent project that I feel super proud of.

The piece is now on view at the Maxxi Museum in Rome through December 2010. You can watch it online at maxxi.katjaloher.com. For a project description, the script, cast and credits, and more photos see Sculpting in Air.

Below: Video stills from Sculpting in Air and photos from the shoot taken by Marco Monti

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The Lounge – Online Exhibition

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Several of my videos are featured in an online show that opens today at No Commercial Value (.org) called The Lounge, curated by Natasha Chuk and Cat Mallone. The show will run for two weeks. Please check out the show description below!

This show is a presentation of work by six contributing creators and thinkers who uniquely probe the complexity of how we construct, inhabit, and share our living spaces. The body of work we selected collectively illustrates a collapse of one’s personal and private living spaces and the objects that occupy them. Individually, each work invites users to engage in a unique experience of mediated access and contemplation.

The term “lounge” was selected to describe a broadly defined space of relaxation, exploration, creativity, production, and domesticity, from which a range of activities and the allusion to a complex system of memory and objects emerge. The shifting contexts of living spaces are addressed through new and purportedly obsolete media as a means of channeling the dizzyingly abstruse notion of imagined and realized spaces of dwelling and habitation.

Participating artists include:
Amy Casey
Gregory Fenton
Brian Knauer
Erica Magrey
Hollis B. Thornton
Ann Toebbe

Metalmags and the Alien Ambassador: Synchronicity

Lo and behold, the long-awaited sequel to An Opportunity for Social Engagement has arrived. Join our alien friends as they get down in the outer reaches of space. As always, the characters are played by myself and by Collin Cunningham.

Watch the video on my youtube channel, Mags to Riches.

View the growing Metalmags and Alien Ambassador playlist on my channel.

Two more Metalmags and the Alien Ambassador projects are in the works, so you’ll be seeing more of us! Look out for a preview of the upcoming long form project on my website.

My first pair of handmade boots!

My First Pair of Handmade Boots!

More handmade boot pics below – but first a brief history:

I decided I wanted to make a pair of boots about two years ago, as I was inspired by the book How to Make Your Own Shoes that I posted about HERE. As suggested in the post, I did ask for that book for Christmas, and I got it (thanks Santa!). Technically I had made 2 pairs of shoes previously but I didn’t really feel that they counted.

My first pair of handmade shoes - moccasinsSilver boots

I applied the techniques that Mary Wales Loomis outlined in her book but I found it a bit difficult to apply to making boots. For one thing, Mary suggested that you cast one of your pairs of pumps to use as a shoe form, so I went ahead and poured some plaster in my favorite old busted up pair of boots…only to realize after cutting the leather off the plaster that if you made your boot on this plaster form, the boot would never come off. However I did now have a cool set of plaster boots.

Plaster boot formPlaster boot form

Moving on I tried to adapt Mary’s patternmaking techniques to bootmaking to no avail, but luckily I had this cut up pair of boots with chunks of plaster stuck to them. So I pulled all the layers apart to make patterns and to try to make sense of all the materials that were used in the boot, some of which were quite different from what Mary had suggested using. Mary spoke of a helpful man at a shoemaking supply store, so I sauntered into Kaufman’s shoe repair supplier on Bleecker after a tip from a friend. I can’t say that anyone working there was particularly jazzed about helping someone who knew absolutely nothing about shoemaking, but I managed to get more or less what I thought I needed. It was no small bill either, I might add. Fast forward to me sawing through incredibly thick compressed sole leather with a weird knife, hurting my wrist and afraid I’d cut my foot off if the knife slipped (note: sitting hunched on floor working with sharp tools you don’t know how to use must be avoided). I also attempted to created a stacked heel by painstakingly cutting out several different layers and sizes of heel shapes, gluing them together, and sanding them BY HAND (yikes). (I didn’t end up using those heels btw.)

After I finally finished cutting them and dying the edges of the soles, I came to the realization that they were waaaaayyyy too thick to be useable soles, and several of the other structural parts I had concocted were sketchy as well. I decided to put it aside for a bit and consult the pros. So I finally took a shoemaking class at FIT (Footwear Design and Construction I). What went down in that class is kind of another story, as I made two pairs of shoes that I feel proud of but not eager to wear. They each had their issues, the first being a mule (yuck) and the second being a bit ambitious and confused gold bootie. I don’t have a decent photo of either, and that says a lot. All the while, I was eager to apply what I had learned to the ole pair of boots that was still awaiting construction. I went back to the leather upper, which I had already stitched together, and made some changes. The rest of the materials I totally remade – the innersole, counters, toe box, sock lining, etc. – while I made my second pair of shoes in class.

something is wrong herestacked leather bits intended to be turned into a heel

Shortly after the class ended I lasted my boots, or molded them onto the shoe form, which I didn’t have when I was attempting the boots for the first time (note – it’s impossible to make a pair of shoes without a last unless they are simple sandals or uber baggy freeform type things). The only thing left to do was deal with the sole, so I got a belt sander and sanded away…much to Collin’s dismay as I accidentally coated everything in his studio with teeny leather shreds. I augmented a pair of heels with Sculpy to make them fit the last a bit better and covered them in suede. But I still lacked the dye and wax to properly finish off the sole and couldn’t find the right products at Kaufman’s. Luckily my friend Kirsty from shoe class (who also makes really nice girls dresses) helped me get the job done. So I can finally say that I have achieved this goal of making a pair of handmade boots. Wooooooooooo!

My First Pair of Handmade Boots!

Before embarking upon this adventure, I had wondered to myself why you don’t find more readily available information online or elsewhere for making shoes. And I learned that the reason is that it has a million different steps, which change drastically depending on what type of shoe you are making, and that it’s difficult to learn without taking some sort of class. There are a few books out there but they cost a bundle, and I think it would be difficult to learn the techniques without having access to the tools and seeing them demonstrated.

Hopefully I’ll be able to set aside some time in the future to make another pair, but it’s tough without access to the shoe lab. For now, I’m just going to enjoy this pair. I already wore them out once in celebration of my birthday, and not only did they not fall apart – they were actually comfortable! So cool.

See thumbnails below, and the entire set on FLICKR.

My First Pair of Handmade Boots!My First Pair of Handmade Boots!My First Pair of Handmade Boots!My First Pair of Handmade Boots!My First Pair of Handmade Boots!My First Pair of Handmade Boots!My First Pair of Handmade Boots!First night out wearing my handmade boots

Kate Bush Dance Troupe at The Kitchen

The Kate Bush Dance Troupe performed at The Kitchen November 5, 6, and 7 as part of Chase Granoff’s piece The Art of Making Dances. Chase’s piece featured himself and Jennifer Sullivan as the main dancers as well as a group of dancers who performed during several segments. Our contribution fell at the end of the piece and we performed just one song – The Dreaming. I made an additional costume for Renata, as she rejoined the group for this performance. The evening also included i need more by Nancy Garcia and was curated by Matthew Lyons. Matthew also conducted an interview with me, Jennifer Sullivan, and Samara Davis about The Kate Bush Dance Troupe that is included in the book Chase produced as part of his piece. The book is also titled The Art of Making Dances.

We were really stoked to be included in this show, and it was funny, because we had earlier joked that KBDT was blowing up and that we’d be at The Kitchen before we knew it. It was an awesome opportunity and really cool to perform in that space, so “big time” compared to the loft/party type locations of our previous performances. Unfortunately I don’t yet have any photo or video of the performance to share save for a mobile phone pic and some photos of us before and after the show. Check out the review from the NY Times and check back for more documentation in the near future.

Also see posts on our first and second performances.

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photo by Timothy Hull

Goofing off in the lobby of the Kitchen before going onstage

Kate Bush Dance Troupe, minus Cassie

Renata of KBDTSamara of KBDTKate of KBDTCassie of KBDTErica of KBDTJennifer of KBDT
pics by me and Collin

See the full set on Flickr HERE.

New Halloween Costume for ’09

This year I had an idea for a costume a few weeks before Halloween and decided to throw it together to become some sort of space rocker, a slight variation from my normal Halloween attire. I originally envisioned this costume being long-sleeved and totally covering the wearer in striped material, including a big hood or collar that would come up over their head. At first I tried to use some plastic tubing to form a circle, but it was nowhere near strong enough to support a collar. I decided to explore the world of foam and ended up stitching together several strips to form a sort of hood/half-helmet shape. I then covered it in the same material as the rest of the costume. The main bodice was copied from a pattern I made for a similar jumpsuit, though the arm pieces were a new addition. It ended up working out really well except that the seam tore on my upper thigh on Halloween nite. Luckily it wasn’t terribly noticeable as I was without a long coat.

Trying to figure out hood construction on costumeHood construction for halloween costumeHalloween costume 2009Halloween costume 2009Halloween costume 2009Halloween costume 2009

See more pics from Halloween 2009 in my flickr set.

Bonus pics of me with my coworker Michael Armstrong as Lady Gaga. Photos by Michele Crowe.

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