Cupola Bobber
Curated by Goat Island
February 1 – March 10, 2007
(Opening Thursday, February 1, 6-8pm)





Cupola Bobber is a collaboration between Stephen Fiehn and Tyler Myers. Founded in 1999 they have created three evening length performances; 2001's Subterfuge, 2004's Petitmal, and 2007's premiere of The Man Who Pictured Space From His Apartment. They have performed at the PAC/edge Performance Festival, The Spareroom, and Links Hall in Chicago and Performance Works Northwest in Portland, OR. They also performed a durational work, Light Curve, in Chicago's Millennium Park as part of the Great Performers of Illinois Festival, in a curated durational event titled Intimate and Epic. In 2002 they made a video installation, Study for a Performance in the salt flats just east of Wendover, Utah. Published writing includes A Conversation in 50 Jumps Using a Trampoline and a Cliff in JUMP, an anthology on jumping, and Internal Monologue for One Performer Taking One Step Slowly in SLOW. They have served as visiting artists for The School of the Art Institute of Chicago's First Year Program and for Goat Island's Summer School. Petitmal received a Best of PAC/edge award, and they won a pair of Nelson Raymond Fellowships from SAIC with their BFA's in 2001. Stephen Fiehn also plays in the band Fessenden. Tyler also makes work with Chicago art collective Lucky Pierre.


Goat Island is a performance group based in Chicago who have created eight works since 1987, including How Dear to Me the Hour When Daylight Dies, The Sea & Poison, It's an Earthquake in My Heart, and When will the September roses bloom? Last night was only a comedy, which was selected for the 37th Annual Venice Biennale International Theater Festival. Their work includes collaborative writing, artists' books, films, and hypertext projects. They regularly teach workshops and classes on collaboration. The members are Karen Christopher, Matthew Goulish, Lin Hixson, Mark Jeffery, Bryan Saner, and Litó Walkey; and associate members are Cynthia Ashby, Lucy Cash, CJ Mitchell, Judd Morrissey, Margaret Nelson, and Chantal Zakari.



Cupola Bobber is creating a new aesthetic using a process of collaboration, research, and rehearsal. We work slowly out of our studio on Chicago's northwest side, mixing basic materials with homespun engineering, bumbling wit, and a fascination for the tension in a beautiful moment to make delicate work that surprises viewers with its unique detail, humor, and thoughtfulness.

We aim to use this simple aesthetic to explore the world for an hour or two, look at it from arms length, creating a new system for the audience to discover meaning. Intimacy, delicacy, and confusion are important; exhaustion is deployed to dramatize minutia. It's important to us for our performances to effectively slow down - make a moment a monument.




by Goat Island

Oh say can you see two liberty heads where there was once one standing on the threshold of America? 2000, a room 9 floors high, newspaper is populated, crumpled like tumbleweed moving along the floor. What is news without The New York Times, in a time of BREAKING/ALERT, what remains? Hear the slapstick sound of 2x4's choreographed with string constructing a rhythm and a wooden mantrap. He will be a Cupola Bobber and it will be a star, a satellite, and a crown. (This introduction has been collaboratively written; please forgive any syntactic confusion between singular and plural.)

We saw the diminishing body of a man becoming its physical component elements of salt and sweat. They carry their home, their universe, on their backs - a cosmology part kaijin*, part Buster Keaton, part agoraphobic dread - like turtles, like immeasurable space folded into a matchbox. It will pose inside the scenery and he will mistake his shape for tall buildings. She, the statue of liberty, doubles unsettling the settling of our land into a shout of discovery. Deceptive fixity comes unhinged in the tumble of flight taken by the material or while looking for it, one of them turns text into sandwiches, he asked to have them watered and somehow this makes sense, the other says: try to stop me, I'm dancing. Stephen and Tyler created something we couldn't see in front of our eyes and how it got there; performance as body unmediated by the eye.

The world is not a conclusion, they say, but an irretrievable scattering of stars at the limit of concentration. He will show you his thinking and it will sweat through t-shirts. Their performances look towards the night-sky, another surface, with strings they stand waiting for the horizon. Did we mention …? Sometimes when I see them I get lost in the stern of their foreheads, the concentration. Your hopes and dreams are gathered in their solid bodies, the stars aren't in their eyes but in their hair.

*literally mysterious person, this Japanese special effects film term connotes a humanoid monster.



YOUNG ART CRITICS: Tiffany Funk on Cupola Bobber