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Work Samples

Arcosanti

A reflective performative work, filmed at the sustainable community of the same name located in Arizona.

Play

2008, TRT 3:20 Two- channel piece Working collaboratively with youth as part of the Blue Sky Project, we generate a series of intimate performances in a local theater that make nuanced references to the rituals of the theatrical experience which involve, the stage, the players, and the audience, combined with cross-cultural intersections of myth. The young people I worked with created and made their costumes for this performative experience.

Four Elements

TRT: 03:40 2004 A single channel video that merges imagery reminiscent of those found in the popular cinematic myth (the inflated 'good witch' balloon from "The Wizard of Oz") with the international generic graphic sign for 'Men's Room' pasted on the back of a semi-transparent female bounding toward a thick patch of grass. The compositing effects bring into view drops of blood mixing with water, and a rocket attempting to launch yet falling back to earth as it explodes in slow motion. The video bring together the four elements of air, water earth and fir

Dream

Dream, 2000, TRT: 1:00 Loop (Three-channel mounted 20- 23” monitors or Hi-Def Flat Screens with looped video). This three-channel video installation shows the naked lower extremities of myself (artist Morrison) playfully trying on a dildo and using that same dildo for sexual gratification.

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About Mandy

Baltimore City

My childhood was suffused with images of car  commercials my father made for TV shows such as Bonanza and Route 66, glorifying adventuresome men, wanderlust and the myth of the American ‘West’. What I came to understand  later in life was how such narratives were constructed to support the desires  of the few as opposed to the many. My work is a way of examining and giving redress to this ideology.   Mandy Morrison/mandymachine  is a video artist, filmmaker, director,... more

Arcosanti

TRT: 11:00
4-channel Video Installation with Sound
9'x 23'

A reflective performative work, filmed at the sustainable community of the same name located in Arizona. In it I use physical (bodily) aural and textual expression as a conduit for exploration of the architect’s creative and personal attempt to integrate natural systems with intentional communal living.
In considering an alternative to the frenetic/wired pace of urban existence, I ventured to this community attracted by its premise, unique building structures, immersion in nature, and isolation from other communities.
The site is something of a relic of the ‘60’s and early 70’s, in which counter-cultural experiments in agriculture and urban living had gained currency. Embedded in counter- cultural idealism, the reality –as well as resistance– to seeing such ideas made manifest in the Western world is continually evolving. Yet it is emergent, and as all structures are built on thoughts, such concepts are continually being re-imagined.
While historically iconic and architecturally influential, Arcosanti’s initial premise –to be a self-sustaining community for up to five thousand people– remains largely theoretical.
In my time there, a bodily reverence for the site and its playful architecture, coupled with poetic observations about the community experience set against the scenic natural backdrop, inform the textual overlays in the piece.
Made with support from the Wexner Center’s Artist Video Program, Columbus, OH

Project begun in 2009
Completed 2016

Users

Director: Mandy Morrison
Assistant Director: Lauren Denitzio

Written by Mandy Morrison
in collaboration with Lori Greene

Performers:
Mandy Morrison
Gabriella Dennery (Percussion)
Lori Greene

This project came about after doing the performance 100 Days, in 2014 with a group of community participants who lived on Staten Island.

Through my conversations with one of the participants, a former corrections officer, Lori Greene. I became interested in her life as a woman of color and single parent who had grown up in the projects and who, in spite of being raised in an atmosphere of violence, found her way to middle class prosperity through her job as a corrections officer. Though her job did not come without its conflicts, it allowed her to raise her daughter in an atmosphere of promise and stability.

At the time I was working for the City of New York as a digital educator, a job that was heavily reliant on statistical information which determined the allocation of resources provided to underserved communities. I was often disturbed by how decisions were guided by numbers as opposed to the 'narratives' of the environments in which we worked and I considered the ways in which abstract concepts such as 'Big Data' currently drive so many aspects of contemporary life.

I also began to consider the effects of devices such as the 'Smart' phone, and digital landscapes and environments such as 'Second Life' in disrupting and re-arranging patterns of thought and human behavior.

I then came up with the idea of creating two fictive characters, one a professional white woman who works in data management, and the other a corrections officer and woman of color. Each character had a monologue based loosely on these ideas and created an interwoven narrative that reflected the different points of view of the two women, that is set off by a random act of violence.

(Program Notes)
Users
, is an interdisciplinary performance, that illuminates the perspectives of two women on opposite sides of the cultural divide; one a professional female who works in data analysis, and the other a law enforcement employee in the prison system. Taking into account a specific time-frame, this interwoven narrative, examines the experiences of two fictive characters as they move through daily life, reflecting on the past and looking at the present relevant to their circumstances. How they see their place in the world, is highlighted by an act of violence.

September 2015, Dixon Place, New York City
Total Running Time: 40:00
With Support from the Puffin Foundation

100 Days (Performance Collboration with Community Participants)

Participant/Performers
Lori Greene
Terry Bennett
John Foxell
Angelo Angelas
Rachel Marie Carlson
Gabriella Dennery (Percussion)
Mandy Morrison / Artist, Director and Performer
Lauren Denitzio, Director's Assistant

A spoken word and percussion performance, was initially conceived to capture the elliptical nature of daily thought and language, from a diverse range of perspectives. Ever since Roosevelt pioneered the 100-day concept taking office during the Great Depression, it has been used by the U.S. media, and scholars as a gage of political success and activism. In the lives of ordinary people however, the number is often an arbitrary timeframe that can demarcate incremental changes in the flow of daily life or a dramatic shift in one's personal landscape through unforeseen events.

In early 2014, I planned this performance to include local (Staten Island, NY) residents to be presented in a prominent community space. Select participants, including myself, were given a notebook with 100 pages in which to capture an observation for each day that passed over a three + month period. Then, in late July, Eric Garner's death occurred within blocks of the performance location; a historic WPA, New York City Parks building. This event and those, that followed, shifted the initial idea for the performance to that of experiences based on the participants' personal lives.

The performance, included seven participants and was presented on December 7, 2014. Through interwoven narratives, this version illuminates a range of insights taking into account a specific timeframe (often tumultuous) from each participant's life, as a point of reference.

Made with support from the New York State Council on the Arts

Playing Defense Collaboration with NYCArts Cypher

Playing Defense, (7:00) 2011-2012

Over the course of several months I worked with the NYCArts Cypher youth working on how their break-dance practice could be integrated into the architectural setting of Fort Jay on Governor's Island.

In this presentation, we explore and challenge the physical “setting” of a military fortress by pitting the rigor and freedom of break-dance against the discipline and demands of military life.

The video was shot at Fort Jay on Governor's Island, a national park and a historical landmark. Formerly this was one of several military fortresses that defended New York Harbor's commercial interests, including the export of cotton from the South during the Civil War. The completed video piece was presented as part of a dance performance with NYC Arts Cypher at the Brooklyn Museum (2012) and at the Lumen Festival for Video and Performance on Staten Island.

Made with funding from The Council on the Arts & Humanities of Staten Island

Blue Sky Project Collaboration

In the summer of 2008, I spent 6 weeks working with rural young people in northern Illinois at an innovative artist's residency, called Blue Sky Project. The residency paired working artists with young people in the creation of new work.

During my residency we focused our attention on creating performative pieces that examined 'context' ; what a space meant, what were its expectations, and how could one disrupt those expectations.

We had the use of spaces and grounds of a local community college.
Young people chose the locations and created their own costumes for each perfomative experience.

Blue Sky ran from 2006-2012 and was located initially in Illinois north of Chicago before relocating to Dayton where it was affiliated with the University of Dayton from 2009-12.

Potential Partners

Cake, A Performance

Dixon Place/Chasama Performance Space
New York City
2004
TRT: 10:00

Performers:
Mandy Morrison
Kelly Kivland
Rebecca Davis
Nora Stevens

Text and Audio Design
Mandy Morrison

Set Design:
Mathias Neumann

Video Effects:
Jeff Morey

Using the construct of Marie Antoinette' s stance (and purported quote) toward her peasant population, "Let them eat cake!", I worked with collaborators to generate a multi-media performance loosely based on the facts of her life.

Some of the visuals were derived from 1960's pop culture; which included a vintage album cover of a woman sitting poised in a cake ("Whipped Cream and Other Delights), as well as tracks ("A Taste of Honey") from the album as background audio. We also used a hair styles and matching waitress costumes to reflect the era.

The dancers perform as angry waitresses who serve up real cake from from a tier of the Antoinette 'Dress" to audience members, as the cake-sitting 'Marie' quips facetiously about her pesky subordinate 'help'.
The main character derides all who are below her royal 'station' and at the performance's end, the waitresses turn on their 'Mistress' and attack her with knives and destroying the cake/dress she sits in.

Initial Public Offering

2001-04, 3:00 (excerpt, performance documentation)

Participants
Kelly Kivland
Rebecca Davis
Nora Stevens

And with help from
the University of Minnesota's Art Department

Locations
Downtown Minneapolis
Cuchifritos Gallery, Essex Street Market, NYC
and
the outdoor plaza, Metropolitan Museum of Art

On three separate occasions, I did a performance piece titled “Initial Public Offering” to arouse questions from a public accustomed to seeing lavish corporate promotions of new products targeting them as potential consumers. I distributed promotional buttons with a logo and query: “Who Decides What Matters?” The product being pitched to consumers­­–The Co-Dependent Suit– which were two connected orange jump-suits such as those used in the prison system and maintenance industry- had no tangible use.

My interest was to generate dialogue about the relationship between capitalist output, and the values purportedly represented by such products.

Originally commissioned in 2001 by the University of Minnesota's Visiting Artist Program

Padded Room / Desperado

Padded Room (1999) 3-Channel Video Installation
and
Desperado, (1998) Single- channel video, TRT: 04:45

With footage I shot in 1997, I created these two pieces; one was a stand-alone single channel video (Desperado); the other was a gallery installation (Padded Room) shown at Courtroom Gallery in Brooklyn, NY.

Padded Room is all about what is hidden. I sought to create an internal womb-like space to enclose a group of people into a coddling, yet isolated interior space. Looped video images of this sexually ambiguous 'John Wayne-ish' figure could be viewed while playing on 3- oval 'windows' cut into the interior walls.

Desperado, which plays like a music video and edited to the tune of Don Henley's famous hit of the same name, was included in a number of Gay/Lesbian Film and Video Festivals and was also shown in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and a number of other academic venues. It still gets shown (albeit with parental warnings and often behind a black curtain). I was not able to upload this video to Youtube due to copyright restrictions, but it can be found through my website or through vimeo: https://vimeo.com/156352178
Type in the Password: bernhard

The inspiration for this group of work is John Wayne and what HE means, as a man, icon and name.
Naming is a ploy used in constructing an image. Early in his film career, American icon John Wayne swapped his effeminate name –Marion Morrison– for the tough-sounding trade name that would lend credence to his gun-toting taming of the American West. Wayne’s persona was one that enhanced the proviso of Manifest Destiny-enabling the actual and cinematic distortion of other narratives.

Working the piece as a music video, with edited clips of country western music, I as the artist become a pseudo -Wayne and entertain the terrain of power and duo sexuality.

Made with the support of grants from:
Artist's Space, New York City
and the Chicago Community Access Program

All the White I Am (Photo Series)

During the winter of 2014-15, I worked at a remote recreation facility for the City of New York, surrounded by woods. We had a number of youth groups who used our digital facility to surf the web, and printed images of themselves taken with cell-phoneso and images of celebrities, downloaded from their facebook feed or the web.

They would leave the cast-off images in the printer and I would find what was left behind, scan them and combine them with a variety of other images; some performative actions of myself and some of the surrounding environment which combined urban structures, with woods and utilitarian facilities.

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Mandy's Curated Collection

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