[ISEA97] Artists Statement: Jeremy X. Halpern & M.R. Petit – The Grimm Show

Artists Statement

The Grimm Show (or The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was) is a 50-minute multi-media performance/interpretation of the parable by the Brothers Grimm. The story is of a youth who does not understand the concept of ‘shuddering of fear’. Consequently, he goes forth into the world to learn its meaning. Its first iteration was as a web piece, which was commissioned by New American performing Arts for its Turbulence Project. It went online by July 1996 (turbulence.org)

The performance itself incorporates pre-recorded video, live camera feeds, animation, text and sound. Both the prerecorded and live video, as well as the animation, are mixed live.Video and animation events are triggered by a continual midi/music soundtrack, which is both pre-sequenced and performed live (through the use of midi keyboards, drumpads, and midi wind instruments). Midi is also used to trigger a variety of sound samples, and in creating abstract audio beds. As well, the lighting is also midi con trollable.The video (both individual sources as well as the live mix) appear through multiple banks of monitors aric through video projection. Characters of the tale are represented through the video feeds and live onstage.Over the past year (and during the course of two residencies at the Experimental Television Center), we have generated approximately 20 hours of video footage. Using hand-made masks and puppets (representing all the characters) in conjunction with other props and the site-specifically built analog video patch system of ETC, we have staged scenes from the entire story. Much of this footage constitutes the pre-recorded video. While the story is told primarily through the monitors and projection, the “live  performers”, “orchestrators” or “narrators” of the tale push the story forward. Aside from being the characters of the tale, they also perform the music, trigger events, operate video cameras and mix video. As well, they play other live instruments (i.e.flute, clarinet, guitar and accordion). The live performers are Jeremy X. Halpern and M.R.Petit. A New York City preview of The Grimm Show was presented at VOID (7/97) and will also be performed at the Mixed Messages Festival (10/97, Charlotte, NC).  An installation/DVD-ROM prototype (The Grimm Rom) was presented at Siggraph (8/97, Los Angeles, CA). mariannerpetit.com/super-early-work/1995-1997-the-grimm-projects

  • M.R. Petit (USA) is an interactive multi-media artist and educator. Both her website The Grimm Tale, and her CD-ROM The Mutant Gene & Tainted Kool-Aid Sideshow) have been exhibited in international festivals and exhibits, including: Reinventing The Box at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Montreal International Festival of Cinema & New Media; Espace CD-ROM, DrancyberCulture, (France); New York Exposition of Short Film & Video & Interactive Media; ISEA96 (Netherlands); Thaw ’96, University of Ohio (First Prize) and Thaw ’97. She has been reviewed in a variety of publications, including: World Art Magazine (7/96), Wired Magazine (5/96) and by Donald Kuspit for the FuturelessFuture Exhibit . Her collaboration with Jeremy Halpern in The Grimm Show will be presented at the Mixed Messages Festival in October 97, and as a DVD-ROM prototype/installation at Siggraph 97.
  • Jeremy X. Halpern (U.S.A.)  founded and has been the musical director of the multimedia psychedelic comedy ensemble Verges since 1987. Their performances and television appearances use improvised and non-improvised music, MIDI controlled lighting, masks and movement to create bizarre and comic spectacles that always leave the audience wondering. In 1995 Jeremy started 1-800-Weirdos (weirdos.com), a national distribution mail order outlet for Verge’s CD Little Idiot, and also to help unusual artisits Iike M.R.Petit and Pheobe Legere to get their products to the public conveniently and economically. As an actor/director, Jeremy was trained in experimental theatre technique by the legendary Jerzy Grotowski and Eugenio Barba, and has worked with such fine directors as Anne Bogart and Mark Greenfield.

The Experimental Television Center’s programs are supported in party by the contributions of artists and by public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts Media Arts Development Fund. The Grimm Tale is a 1996 commission of New Radio & Performing Arts, Inc., dba Ether-Ore for its Turbulence Project. It was made possible with a grant from the Jerome Foundation