A reverse chronology of activity from 1978 to the present. Page in progress.
ENTERTAINMENT (formerly The Cenozoic Cycle): Developed conceptual framework as an ongoing serial with a decentralized narrative. Continued work on the cycle, including written modules and filmed segments.
WIDESCREEN SERIES: Began a series of monochrome paintings in the 1.77:1 aspect ratio. The abstract pictures explore the presence of the cinema screen, particularly in its non-mimetic moments, such as during blank frames and title sequences.
MARK JOHNSON WORKSHOP: Launched workshop to give performers free training in avant-garde performance techniques, as well as to workshop material and cast potential performers for future work.
WEATHER HOUSE: Attended Slamdance 2017 film festival in Park City, Utah, as screenwriter of the Official Selection narrative feature Weather House, directed by Frauke Havemann and Eric Schefter. The film portrays a group of individuals ineptly attempting to survive in a house during an apocalyptic series of weather events that is slowly bringing about the extinction of the human species. The film features cinematography by Marcel Neumann. Cast includes Inga Dietrich, Erik Hansen, Sabine Hertling, Chuck McDaniel and Jack Rath.
THE CENOZOIC CYCLE: Shot multiple segments in Paso Robles, CA, and with performer Chris Humel in Batavia, NY. The Cenozoic Cycle continues themes of extinction and nonhuman ontology begun in the scripts for Exophile, Leatherback and Weather House.
$96 ENTERTAINMENT: Co-founded production company $96 Entertainment, Corp. with actor and filmmaker Rena Riffel. Began development on joint projects, subsequently relocating to Paso Robles, CA, and shooting multiple scenes for a feature film project (discontinued). Briefly worked as house manager for The Great American Melodrama in Oceano, CA, in 2015, renewing interest in the world of live theater, before relocating to Los Angeles in 2016 and dissolving $96 Entertainment to return to independent work.
WEATHER HOUSE: Began work on the screenplay Weather House, following concept development with director Frauke Havemann and completing the shooting script in 2012.
EXOPHILE: Completed the theater script Exophile, loosely based on the science-fiction novella Who Goes There? John W. Campbell. The work was used as the basis for the production Truckers and Trackers by On Air performance group, Berlin.
LEATHERBACK: Completed several theater scripts from 1998 through 2003, including Leatherback, produced in 2004 by On Air performance group, Berlin.
OUT OF NOWHERE: Completed several feature film screenplays from 1998 through 2003, including Out of Nowhere: The Disappearance of Elena Levinson, and Our Protector. Covered the Benelux film industry for film-trade weekly Screen International, attending the Cannes Film Festival as accredited reporter in 2001.
HOUSE OF STAIRS: Relocated to Los Angeles to develop and market screenwriting work, later adapting William Sleator's young-adult classic House of Stairs, writing the TV pilot Godz of Cinema.
ROBERT JACKSON: Started work on the novel Robert Jackson, loosely based on events in Buffalo, NY, in 1976.
EVERY FEAR HIDES A WISH: Relocated to Brussels, Belgium, and worked as actor and performer with multiple theater artists, including Ivan Vrambout, Julie Bougard, Raven Ruell and Joost Vandecasteele in productions including Liberation of Wonderland, Unsold!, Every Fear Hides a Wish, and Alcestis by Euripedes.
THE TWO-CHARACTER PLAY: Directed a production of the The Two-Character Play by Tennessee Williams for Université libre de Bruxelles, with actors Neele Dehoux and Marc Charlier. The production reimagined the story of codependent siblings as a vast and cacaphonous theater machine.
THE LOUNGE DIALOGUES: Wrote and directed The Lounge Dialogues as the opening production at Theater am Halleschen Ufer under new artistic direction. Performers included Lindy Annis, Priscilla Be, Erik Hansen, Xavier Le Roy, Frauke Havemann, Annette Klar, Karin Plichta, Scott Heron and Alexander Birntraum The meta-theatrical piece portrayed the fiscal and emotional difficulties of the Detektor ensemble itself, presaging the end of the group's existence.
I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE: Wrote and directed the segment I Can't Give You Anything But Love for the group show 20 Minutes, with performers Saskia Taeger, Erik Hansen, Xavier Le Roy, Judith Brückmann and Vanessa Kienast, at Theater am Halleschen Ufer, Berlin. The project was based on the film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie by John Cassavetes.
INFLATION, A TRAGEDY: Wrote and directed the segment Inflation, A Tragedy, based on the murder of Lana Turner's lover, with actor Saskia Taeger, for the group show Imitation of– Imitation of– at Theater am Halleschen Ufer, Berlin.
HELL, HISTORY OF: Wrote and directed the studio performance Hell, History of, performed by Lindy Annis, Priscilla Be, Xavier Le Roy, Neal Wach, Frauke Havemann, Erik Hansen, Maya Brosch, and sound work by Alexander Birntraum. The show portrayed a family in a purgatorial realm, beset by demons that prod them through a cycle of rituals to transform their painful memories into performative enjoyment.
THE MAKING OF LOVER'S REPORT: Wrote, directed and designed the multimedia theater production The Making of Lover's Report, with Detektor ensemble members Frauke Havemann, Thomas Lehmen, Xavier Le Roy and Chuck McDaniel, and a video appearance by Annette Felber. The performance began with the announcement that the scheduled show, an exploitation thriller, had been canceled due to fatal circumstances and would instead be replaced by an investigation into what happened.
HIROSHIMA MELODRAMA: Wrote, directed and designed the dance-theater production Hiroshima Melodrama, which overlaid the aesthetics of traditional Japanese theater with those of American radio drama and populist melodrama theater. Performers in the Detektor ensemble included Frauke Havemann, Annette Klar, Xavier Le Roy, Priscilla Be, Erik Hansen, Lindy Annis, Thomas Lehmen and Neal Wach. The piece was produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the atomic atrocity inflicted upon the city of Hiroshima.
MEMORY ROOM: Created site-specific installation Memory Room for a group show at the Sargfabrik (Coffin Factory) in Vienna Austria. Media for the piece included photography, fluorescent tubes on cotton wadding, bricks, glass, wire and painted sandbags.
MUSS DER PHOTOFREUND DIE PRALLE SONNE FÜRCHTEN?: Wrote and directed the dance-theater production Muss der Photofreund die pralle Sonne fürchten? (Why Should the Shutterbug Fear the Blazing Sun?), with choreography by Frauke Havemann. Using the imagery of crime drama, the show told the story of a group of anarchic children who take an adult hostage to act as their spokesman. Performers in the Detektor ensemble included Johannes Hupka, Xavier Le Roy, Frauke Havemann, Christine Guillet and Sigrid Spachtholz. The show premiered at Theater am Halleschen Ufer, Berlin.
L. PASTEUR: Co-programmed the events and music space L. Pasteur in the art-loft complex Milchhof, Berlin.
DAS GEDÄCHTNIS DES WOLLUSTGENERATORS: Wrote and directed the dance-theater production Das Gedächtnis des Wollustgenerators (The Lust Generator's Memory), with choreography by Frauke Havemann. The performance portrayed entertainers in an absurdist variety show forced to keep the show's vital life-force from self-destructing. Performers in the Detektor ensemble included Frauke Havemann, Sigrid Spachtholz and actor Johannes Hupka, who played multiple roles. The show premiered at Theater am Halleschen Ufer, with an additional run at Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin.
DIE BREMSWIRKUNG: Wrote, directed and choreographed in collaboration with director Ingo Kerkhof and choreographer Frauke Havemann the dance-theater-multimedia production Die Bremswirkung (The Brake Effect). Performers included Cynthia Barcomi, Annette Felber, Manuel Gernhoff, Christine Guillet, Frauke Havemann, Christian Petzold and Matthias Zahlbaum. The performance explored themes of acceleration and neurosis, with a character called the Detektor attempting to interpret an excess of absurdist clues to his own fate. The name Detektor subsequently became the name of the ensemble. The show premiered at Theater am Zerbrochene Fenster, Berlin.
NERVENZÜGE: Wrote and co-directed with Frauke Havemann the multimedia theater production Nervenzüge (Nerve Pulls/Traits), with dancers Frauke Havemann, Christian Petzold, Cynthia Barcomi, Christine Guillet, Ditz Brüggemann, actor Johannes Hupka and a large manipulable video apparatus built and operated by Robert Lippok. The production featured original soundtrack compositions by German band Serious Solid Swineheard is Better than Homecooked. Based on the 1903 book Memoirs of My Nervous Illness by Daniel Paul Schreber, the production took the form of a series of vignettes illustrating the domination of the human body by god-like machinery, comparing humans to guinea pigs trapped in a monstrous experiment.
INTERFERENZ: Co-produced and directed the Havemann-Johnson ensemble's first full-length show, Interferenz (Interference), which coordinated choreography with three synchronized video screens. The ensemble's work would continue to explore the relationship between technology and physical experience.
UNGESCHICKTES GERÄT: Relocated to Berlin and began theater work, enrolling and staging performances at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste Brauschweig (Braunschweig College of Art). Began productions with dancer and choreographer Frauke Havemann, including the multimedia performances Ungeschicktes Gerät (Clumsy Apparatus) and Haltbarkeit (Expiration).
EEL FILM: Moved into 16mm work, developing a mix of hand-treated film and optical-printing techniques, completing the short Eel Film, which used chemical treatment of filmed footage to reveal multiple color layers before confining the imagery within the form of a writhing eel held by a human hand, a meditation on lost freedom and the tragic beauty of nature.
4:30: Continued to shoot Super-8 rolls using in-camera editing techniques, completing several shorts, including Room Film, Umbrella, Kids Film, Movie Pool Movie and 4:30, which used a single-frame technique to suspend the instant of a bare foot stepping over a puddle for the full length of a film roll.
FILMDANCE: Attended New York University, producing several works using dance, including the Filmdance series in Super-8, Fernsehtanz for a live television set-up, Red Film, and the 16mm films Structure Night and Who Makes the Machinery? which combined found footage with filmed imagery.
ANOTHER BLUE MOVIE: Co-directed with Scott Klossner the Super-8 sound film Another Blue Movie while attending photography classes at Genesee Community College. The film portrayed a breakfast scene between lovers whose relationship has decayed into fragmentary communication and uncomfortable silence.
THE PIG: Shot several Super-8 rolls, focusing on long takes and in-camera editing. Completed Super-8 shorts Tabletop and The Pig, a single-take film shot at a pig farm in Western New York.
THE EASING OF PARANOIA: Attended the New York State Summer School of the Arts program for Film and Media in Buffalo, NY. Shot and self-processed the 16mm film The Easing of Paranoia, with Scott Klossner. The film portrayed a young man plagued by anxiety, reflected by the instability and solarization of the film stock in which he exists.
THE LITTLE MAN, CHAIR RIDER: Completed several short Super-8 films, many of them animation, including the claymation short The Little Man, Chair Rider, about a character who discovers he can make obstacles disappear with the help of his mobile chair and a magic matchstick.
ELLICOTT COMPLEX: Attended the New York State Summer School of the Arts program for Film and Media in Buffalo, NY. First major exposure to avant-garde film and contemporary art. Completed several short non-narrative Super-8 films, including Ellicott Complex, Urban Compositions and The People Here.
THE CHASE: Inspired by animated and claymation films, completed first film, an animated short titled The Chase, in Super-8. Film work began after acquiring first film camera, a Bolex Super-8, purchased by parents to document mother's equestrian work.