About This Artist

Mugwumpin creates live art that ignites radical collaboration, empathy, and curiosity. Situated at the intersection of dance, theater, multimedia and visual art installation, Mugwumpin’s original performances push against formal boundaries and create sensory rich, physically rigorous, and theatrically innovative experiences for audiences.

 

Mugwumpin was formed in San Francisco in 2004 with the aim of reinvigorating live performance as a communal event. Since then, the ensemble has created 14 full productions and many durational and smaller scale works. Outside of the Bay Area, Mugwumpin has been presented by BAW Theater (Paris), Brotfabrik Theater (Bonn) and the Cairo International Festival of Experimental Theatre.

 

Mugwumpin’s last full-length production, “In Event of Moon Disaster,” sold out a month-long run at Z Below, won a Theater Bay Area Award for Projection Design, was nominated for an Isadora Duncan Dance Award for Visual Design, and was highlighted as “exactly the combination of whimsy, curiosity and dedication for which…Mugwumpin is known” (Lily Janiak, San Francisco Chronicle).

 

“The Looking Glass Self” reunites many of that production’s collaborators, including Michelle Talgarow, Natalie Greene, Wolfgang Wachalovsky, and Ray Oppenheimer. This event is a part of Mugwumpin’s 15th Anniversary Celebration, and continues our trajectory of breathtaking artistic experimentation.

 

Artist Bios

Michelle Talgarow, a Kalmyk-Pinay Bay Area theatre-maker for over 20 years, specializes in the collaborative process in devising new work. She has strong roots at the EXIT Theatre where 2 of her murals can be seen. In addition to being a Mugwumpin company member, Michelle has been fortunate to have worked with many other local companies including Shotgun Players (Company Member), The Ground Floor at Berkeley Rep, Central Works, Impact Theatre, Ferocious Lotus, Cutting Ball Theatre, Magic Theatre, and Bindlestiff Studios.

 

Natalie Greene is a multidisciplinary performing artist who has been performing, teaching and creating in the Bay Area since 2003, and has served as the Artistic Director of Mugwumpin since 2016. She teaches in the Department of Performing Arts & Social Justice at the University of San Francisco. Her work has appeared at California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco Airport, Children’s Fairyland, Shotgun Players, ODC Theater, Dance Mission, Z Space, as well as in schools, senior centers, and site-specific locales throughout the Bay.

 

Ray Oppenheimer is a lighting designer, educator, creator who has been bringing his boundless curiosity, chimerical aesthetic, and a sisyphean perseverance to lighting design and education since 2005. Ray has been dabbling in modern manufacturing and prototyping techniques creating whimsical one of a kind art since 2008. He received his MFA in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in lighting design from SFSU in 2017, and is currently a company member with Mugwumpin and Shotgun Players.

 

Wolfgang Wachalovsky is a director-turned-designer with a special emphasis on video in performance and how to integrate video/projections into the performative space. This includes creating fully immersive video environments for audience and performers, live video manipulation and perspective shifting with video. He is a proud company member and the former Managing Director of Mugwumpin.

 

About this Project

The Looking Glass Self is an immersive theater experience with movement and video, focusing on how truth and lies interact with technology. As we live with information at our fingertips, we navigate many forces which try to prescribe our realities. Video is no longer a credible source of truth. Footage is routinely manipulated, spread quickly through social media, and filtered through online mob mentalities; this provokes real-life consequences beyond the screen and beyond the subjects’ control. Anyone with a powerful home computer can create “Deepfakes”—realistic videos which place someone’s face on someone else’s body—and new face-swapping technology is being created everyday. We do not know what we can believe, and our laws and ethics are not prepared for the potential impact on politics, journalism, criminal justice and elsewhere.

 

The central questions of this piece are best summarized in the lyrics of an original song:

 

Do we even know the truth or how it was conceived? If we cannot tell a lie then what would we achieve? How do we deceive ourselves, and what will we believe? When truth won’t get us what we want, how do we proceed?

 

The Looking Glass Self offers audiences an embodied experience in which they realize the capabilities and potential impact of truth-altering video technology. As audiences interact with reality-warping visuals, they witness the manipulative proficiency of video editing processes in real time. “The Looking Glass Self” includes movement, comedy, live feed video, sophisticated projection mapping, and consensual audience participation. It’s science fiction on stage, like “Black Mirror” in theatrical space/time, with a visceral urgency created through audience interaction and body-based performance. We hope to create an atmosphere of deep inquiry—one where this unsettling subject matter is imaginable through aesthetic experience, where beauty, fun and artistry make way for new possibilities and serious contemplation.

 

 

Artist photo by Battista Remati. Cover photo of Super:Anti:Reluctant by Battista Remati

Upcoming Events

Secure Our Stage

Help CounterPulse Buy Our Building
We have $1 million left to raise to meet our $7 million goal this year! Donate Now!

the NETWORK project

KD>>MovingGround
Saturday - Sunday July 2-3, 2022 at 4:30PM PT

SF Arts Board Match

featuring CounterPulse, The Tenderloin Museum, Bay Area Video Coalition, and more!
Wednesday, July 13 at 6PM PT

GIRLFLY 2022

Flyaway Productions and the Museum of Craft and Design
Thursday & Friday, July 28-29 at 7PM PT

Archived Events

The ABJD Series

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Saturday June 11, 2022 • 4PM PT at The Roxie Theater

Edge Residency 2022 – SOLD OUT

Audrey Johnson & Nkeiruka Oruche
Thursday - Saturday June 2-4 & 9-11, 2022 at 8PM PT

Commedia dell’Arte and the Art of Improv in Drag

Presented by Oaklash
Tuesday May 24th at 6PM PT

Block Fest 2022

TenderArts
Friday May 13th @ 3PM PT

Blog Roll

  • the NETWORK project

    Directed by Krista DeNio Created & performed by Chloe Crotzer, Diana Lara, Tanja London, Heidi Erickson, Ashley Munday, Maicha Folch, Midy Zarem, Rosemary Hannon, Grace Shaver  Presented by KD>>MovingGround, CounterPulse, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program July 2-3, 2022 • 4:30-7:30  PM PT counterpulse.org/network the NETWORK project addresses human survival and what we truly need– from […]

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  • The ABJD Film Series Comes to Its Conclusion

    The ABJD Series • Directed by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto • Presented by CounterPulse Saturday, June 11, 2022 • 4:00 PM PT • The Roxie Theater • counterpulse.org/the-abjd-series Tickets available here at a range of $14-$24. The ABJD Series is a four-part film series and finale of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s six year multi-media project, Tomorrow We […]

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  • Defining Freedom with David Brandstätter

    The Artist Talks About His Upcoming Performance of FRE!HEIT with Michelle Jacques This performance has been postponed until the Fall of 2022. Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates. “I felt I was lacking freedom, but I couldn’t find out what made me feel so unfree,” performance artist and co-founder of Shifts– Art in Movement […]

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  • Notes from the process : [and then we must be]

    Inspired by ancestral, community-centered, and spiritual relationships to land and plants, [and then we must be] by Audrey Johnson is a research and ritual project honoring Black American practices with land and plants through the modes of food, farming, rootwork, and magic. The work honors the practices that get passed down through recipe, spell, and story, as well as the memories active and activated in the body, plants, the land (soil, clay, mycelium, strata), and in spirit.

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  • CounterPulse Presents ARC Edge 2022

    Paying homage to Black American spirituality and African Diasporic rites of community, the 2022 CounterPulse Edge program presents [and then we must be] by Audrey Johnson and, in partnership with Afro Urban Society, Mixtape of the Dead & Gone #1- Egwu Onwu Ahamefula by Nkeiruka Oruche + Gbedu Town Radio. This year’s Edge performances invite the audience into conversation with the land, spirits, the afterlife, and the legacies that inform the rituals and practices around them.

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