Friday, 2 April 2021

Apparent Quiet - Not really so....

Automata Arts has been busy - as we look for funding to move the production into the digital realm.

We were thrilled to be given "Recommended" status by The Canada Council for the Arts, for a grant proposal in 2020.  However we didn't rank highly enough at the final stage, and so missed out on that one.

Shortly after hearing that news CCFA published the call for Digital Now granting.  Wendy and I have put together another application, as this grant seems like a great match for what we are planning.... we are looking forward to results in July.

Happily we can collaborate with videographer/editor and actor/movement artists, to create the footage making it an intimate performance to view on all platforms.  We will be using every means we can think of to make our product discoverable online working with marketing specialists and influencers.

We can't wait to get back to working on EMP, but meanwhile we work on our other visual art and puppet projects.  And continue looking for funding opportunities for EMP.

Keep dropping by to see our progress.

Monday, 21 January 2019

EMP Goes Through Testing and Review Process

Photo Credit Sean Dennie

The last few months have seen Wendy and Karin in phrenetic activity leading up to a month's workshop, set-up and performance of the art-installation/show in West Village Theatres, Calgary, Alberta on 13th January.
We were working with the full set plan, lights and sounds - developing our use of Qlab for lights, sounds, and video cues, and seeing all 12 Acts laid out for the comfort of our promenading audience, involving them in viewer participation as we had envisaged.  We performed 3 shows on one day, with post-performance discussions after each.

The installation/show received a great response from some 30 audience members.  There were constructive ideas as well as some heavy discussion about several scenes  people were clearly engaged and considered deeply the content and its implications.
Photo Credit Sean Dennie

Discussion is clearly continuing - One response received via message after the event went:-
"Simply Amazing. I  haven't seen raw creativity like that....ever.  Wendy was amazing at making the whole experience life like.  The way the puppets and  characters came alive.  Great acting.  Sooo cool.  Everything looked fantastic, it was very mesmerizing how each Act transitioned into each-other.  The sound was great, as well as all the lighting.  I really like the set-up and the flow.  To me it worked well, it immersed me into it more."   Todd Fletcher (Senior Broadcast Technician at CBC Calgary).

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Great Hit on Google Search today - EMP appears 4th. below Buchanan and Powell's new book called EMP

Please contact Here to find out more about our art infused, adult theatre production discussing The Evolution of Moral Progress.  

Is it morally right to ingest living things as part of a game

The ways humans amuse themselves with games are many and varied.
Is it possible that one day humans will take into their bodies, living things that will aid in the progress  of the game, or even be instrumental in achieving the game's goal - and dictate the winner.

This might seem an outrageous idea.
But, today this new game was highlighted on Twitter.... and so ingestion of some living thing to assist in a game seems a step closer to becoming reality.

In such a situation the characteristics of the living thing might be a game changer for the player - be it that the ingested organism helps provide a boost in energy, or assists in some skill needed for the task, or perhaps its death indicates that the player has failed and the game is lost!

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

About Dancing Lights

Dancing Lights appears in the show during the Victoriana Carnival of Curiosities.
Here is a sneak peak video of a prototype during development - the poor creatures in white is harnessed to a power extraction device which, via metal probes and output wiring, extracts energy, constantly monitored (see voltmeter)  from the creature to power a dancing light show -  which is viewed by the paying public who are both excited and horrified at the spectacle.

The design style of The Carnival is Steam Punk and was great fun to create.  Thanks to Lady Minto Hospital Thrift store for parts at 25 cents each.... What a great resource to have on Saltspring Island, plus buying items from this recycling centre, helps support our wonderful island hospital...
Surgical Scissors also 25cents! a pop.

There are many other extraordinary sights to be had at The Carnival - See the show, and prepared to be amazed!

Shibori goes edible

The challenge was to create something in shibori that was edible.
Punching shapes out of Sugar paper, the sort cake decorators use, was my first idea.
I realized that I would have to use hygienic conditions and equipment... but that ought to be possible  - so I tried it with a paper punch.
Ugh! that cake decorating stuff is so sweet, and not good for anyone.

Then I thought of the complete opposite - tasteless rice paper; the edible one, not the fabulously durable Japanese paper one.  Trying to find rice paper was even more difficult than the run around I had trying to find Sugar Paper (thanks to Christina for sourcing the sugary one for me).
Then my dear friend in England sourced the rice paper for me (Lakeland of course) and I then punched shapes out of that. Though he paper cutter shapes were too 'Michaels'.
It is edible, but the sensation makes you wish you never popped it into your mouth in the first place.  Yet it could work.

I then tasked myself to shape them via shibori. And I was proper-thrilled to discover a technique to stop the rice paper becoming a big mess.  And I have now created Edible Shibori Creatures they will go on to save a village of starving people.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Research and Dev. took us to this....

Yale University researchers and more particularly Rebecca Karmer-Bottiglio,  @yaleSEAS have invented pliable sheets that turn objects into multifunctional robots...
Take a look here to see skins in action.

Thursday, 19 July 2018

A first pass at a vinyl banner for Gemstar

In another parallel universe I am working on a theatre production.
Here is my latest - a mock up for a 2' x 5' vinyl banner for a scientific research group called Gemstar.
I learnt to use Photoshop with my son years ago  - and I'm still learning.

Probably this item needs to be supplied to the print-shop as an Illustrator file... so the learning curve continues.
Anyway here it is for perusal and comment only.
(For Discrete read Discreet... thanks Angela,)

Vectors by Vecteezy!

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

How Karin Makes Creatures.

Karin was fortunate to be asked to show her creatures at the Salt Spring Gallery from 13 July - 1 August.  Below is the didactic for the show.  It might make it clear how some of the the creatures for Evolution of Moral Progress have been created, though they do not all have their origins in inspiration from Nudibranchs.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Canada Council Grant - Happy Dance

Wendy and Karin formed an Ad Hoc Group and submitted a proposal for support by the Canada Council for the Arts.
We heard recently that we have been granted a whopping great grant to work further on the show.  We will still continue to fundraise since the grant wont cover everything.... but we are so grateful.
It was beginning to look as if the project was doomed!  Now, with summer approaching and Wendy being free from in-school residencies and shows, not to mention the Puppet Power: International Conference on Applied Puppetry that she organized.... and has just happened.  
We are now ready to power-up once more on this project.

Thank you again Canada Council for the Arts

Monday, 19 February 2018

Soundscapes Composed by AI

It might be worthwhile considering what Artificial Intelligence can bring to our show.  
Machines Creating Music
Image sourced from
Today AI is creating musical compositions in collaboration with human programming.
Check out the way such sounds are produced here., watch the video on that webpage to help understand the procedure.
And here is a composition "Genesis Symphonic Fantasy in A minor, Op 21, created by AIVA (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist), from Aiva Technologies.  Perhaps a scene in the latter part of show calls out for music that has been created by a human and an artificial intelligence...
See what you think.

Here is what one commenter on YouTube said...

I think people fail to realize, how much knowledge it took someone to have about musical theory & programming; this isn't an easy feat; it had to first be taught the process by a human, however it will be able to create endless scores like this now & maybe even improve them..

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Theatre Costumes

The costumes for this show have been sourced, created and donated.
Faux leather coat from Value Village - became a cope for The Priestess
A fabulous donation of a true leather, brown, gored skirt with bead detail from Wear Else, was destined to become a worn out leather apron for The Slavedriver.

And many and diverse materials were amalgamated to become steam punk, Victoriana, or futuristic elements for the show.

Here is part of a story board of Skirt to Apron for The Slavedriver.
With many thanks to Elaine Senkpiel on Saltspring Island who made the donation of leather for this item.

John Shepherd,  shoe maker and leather-craftsman on Saltspring, has all the great machinery and tools that I wish I had ... but he isn't averse to helping out a fellow stitcher.
Thank you to  Shepherd Shoes
And so he riveted (did I just make a verb out of a noun, Oh horror! Or had someone already done that?) and the apron was finished and handed over to Wendy, for her to distress - possibly from the back of her car on the way back to Calgary from Duncan.

Friday, 24 November 2017

Shadow Puppet Eye Candy

It's timeless and ageless:
We can hardly stop ourselves from making shadow puppets with our hands if we find ourselves placed between a light source and a blank wall... think cuddly bunny made from ones fingers.
Shown below is a species of Genus 394Wz - in shadow puppet form.
Audience participation is a prominent part of the show.  It is requested and generally given freely.  The messages presented are thereby far more deeply considered by the participants than if they were sitting, sleepily, in comfy chairs allowing the drama unfold around them rather than engaging fully with the show's plot.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Musical Gifts

It is one thing to be able to create wonderful music and yet another to gift it to someone you don't even know.  There are - for I have found them - many fantastic people in the world today, quite contrary to the general mood around us.

Thank you Georgi Dimitrov "Chubry"has allowed us use of his music  Georgi plays the Qanun - go  here to listen and download.
Our Arabian Scholar, Abu bin Saiid, will never have felt more at home !

As if that were not enough - Hugh Conings a jazz drummer from B.C. has agreed to create a drum with flute piece for us.  And Edmond Van Putte who spreads the word about The Netherlands has given us a soundscape for the Work Horse animatronics.  Thanks Hugh and Edmond.

And there is more... Our own Saltspring Island gal, Nikki Menard - will play the Hang drum to evoke a calm, spiritual well-being in the Priestess' Temple.  It is going to be great Nikki, Thank you.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

A cope for the Priestess

Technique for ornamenting cope
There are amazing resources to be had at Value Village.
This fabric was once a full-length coat in synthetic suede - in a light ecru.
Being synthetic it  allowed me to avoid working on real skin which I have an aversion to.
It was also perfect to use fire-heated irons to burn symbols into the fabric  to embellish a cope for  The Priestess  - a technique that may well have been available to people in the age that she lived.