AUGUST 19-26, 2017 RIVERFRONT-LAKEWOOD EAST PARK DETROIT
Eleni Theodora Zaharopoulos is an interdisciplinary space creature that finds meaning in animal totems and spirit beings who is often guided/derailed by magical thinking, shaky faith, and a deck of playing cards. Her art and performance practices take many forms. She draws inspiration from people, thrift stores, food, the warm weather, all which steer her to imagine projects that are performative, immersive, conceptual, and/or social. Lately she's been exploring themes of loss, trauma, and failure while also developing a solitary witch practice. Eleni currently spends her time between New York City and Detroit working on collaborative and solo projects that range in shape and size.
For T O T E M S 2016 Eleni presented, "New Ceremony for the Old Skin: A Ritual Course to Honor the Spirit of the Universe," an intention setting ceremony and obstacle course.
The course was open from dusk to sunset on August 6+7, and on the last day of the festival on September 18.
The Seafoam Palace is a museum of curiosity currently in development on Detroit's East Side. Its members consist of artists, writers, explorers and travelers who have come together to celebrate wonder and curiosity, creating work that encourages fresh perspectives of natural and unnatural phenomena by merging the frontiers of art, philosophy, history and science. The museum's founders have collaborated on public and secret performances and scavenger hunts in the US and internationally for over 15 years. With this new museum, they hope to spread and stimulate curiosity through many future exhibitions and events in Detroit.
For T O T E M S 2016, Seafoam Palace created a truly spectacular film and live performance, Islands of the Hollow Earth, which took place at sunset in and around the Fox Creek Canal. Photos courtesy of Tod Seelie.
The installations of Stephen G. Rhodes are characterized by the use of diverse media and material and are expansive by nature. The works take historical events, social phenomena and historical positions from art and film as their point of departure: the artist subjects these to analysis, compares them with alternative value systems and translates them into his own linguistic system.
His sculptures for T O T E M S 2016 source found objects, including traffic cones, inflatable sandals and coffins, and hundreds of vinyl heads erected as proxies for the bodies buried in unmarked resting places around the site.
Scott Hocking lives and works in Detroit. He creates site-specific installations and photography projects, often using found materials and abandoned locations. Inspired by anything from ancient mythologies to current events, his installations focus on transformation, ephemerality, chance, and discovering beauty through the cycles of nature.
For T O T E M S 2016, Hocking created a series of hand-painted signs marking sites which no longer exist in and around the park. The signs are installed in the Fox Creek Canal and on the shoreline facing the park where the Lakeside Trailer Court used to stand. Some signs are only visible from the water.
Kathy Leisen is an interdisciplinary artist and musician whose work does not contain itself inside one particular practice, or generally even inside an arts setting. Works range from office photo competitions with ice cream as the prize, to paper mâché sculpture of trees, pirate radio, mixtape installations in museum bathrooms, stand-up comedy, t-shirt design, comics, songwriting, and painting. Her institutional affiliates include Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, The Mattress Factory Museum, Ox-Bow School of Painting & Sculpture, Dabl's MBAD African Bead Museum, and Power House Productions.
For T O T E M S 2016, Leisen presented "Messages" a series of special events held on the final day of the festival."Sunglass Dance" was an interactive performance in which the audience wore specially made sunglasses and participated in a short choreography. After, hand-held radios were on loan for visitors to experience the interactive sound installations of "Tree Frequency" around the park. At sunset the glowing installation "Infinity" became visible to viewers from the park and waterfront.
Torri Lynn Ashford
Torri Lynn Ashford lives and works in Detroit. She has performed with local ensemble-based theaters including A Host of People, The Hinterlands, and CMAP. She studied puppetry with PuppetArt Theatre where she also headed children’s puppet workshops and summer camps. At present Torri Lynn is exploring shadow, silhouette, solo work, and her identity as an artist.
At T O T E M S 2016, Torri Lynn presented art workshops such as, "Mask Making and Movement for Kids: Animals!" and "Natural Dyes." With materials provided, visitors were able to create their own wearable art to take home.
Bridget Michael lives under a decorated rock dreaming of the next time she will be able to swim in the warm ocean.But for now, she is a Detroit-based performance artist and improvisationalist who uses her innate ability to transform her person for any given situation. Human observation in societal and cultural environments is what feeds her psyche-physical being, creating characters that inevitably produce a parodiable experience. She has been involved with productions presented by The Matrix Theater, A Host Of People and CMAP.Most recently, she and her collaborative partner, Faina Lerman, under the name Tzarinas of the Plane, were awarded the Kresge Artist Fellowship for visual art in 2015.
For T O T E M S 2016, Bridget Michael presented Mindful Pathways, a guided walking meditation that met every Sunday at 4pm throughout the festival.
Chad Wentzel was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. He currently lives on an island in Detroit. His art and design work reflects on American craft traditions and mysticism.
For T O T E M S 2016, Chad has created a series of patchwork constructions made of tarps, mounted in the trees around the park with careful knotting techniques. His installations invoke a paleo-futuristic sense of 1980s outer space, and reference West African tradition and Art Deco/Native American stylings, influenced in part by the Guardian building in Downtown Detroit.
Irina Laura Borealis and Lis Chere Thomas
Aerial artists Irina Laura Borealis and Lis Chere Thomas live and work in Detroit. They will perform Antenna, a new aerial dance and acrobatics piece, on September 18th at 4pm at the T OT E M S Riverfront Festival.