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Blue Hammer has been awarded a Good Idea Grant by the Maine Arts Commission

Blue Hammer at the Whitney Art Works

Blue Hammer Blog

A performed future, BLUE HAMMER conjures a virtual theatre of reclamation in the wake of the waning shadows of empire, remade and dismantled by the forensic potential of new communication technologies. Our approach is to produce a multi-faceted deformation of “contents” by the very question of what is claimed to be “original”. We furnish our good intentions with the grotesque, hoping not to be trusted with “original approach.” We are committed to exploiting the fact that no longer can convivial conversations be understood as bound to history or defined by geographical proximity.

Using a range of technologies, including GPS analysis of the colonization of the Belgium Congo, the heart of this project unfolds in a small-town television studio in the Midwest, where an actor of a certain age, who professes to have theatrically toured, and exploited, an imaginary Africa now hosts a late-night show for television called Blue Hammer. His name is Vin Pays and he believes there is a vivid connection between the Jacobean classic, The Dutchess of Malfi, Hammer horror movies and his fabulations of Colonial Africa. He has invited a mysterious guest to join him in his last hour, the former leading-lady of the African tour named Tabula Rasa, who appears only to disrupt and dispel, a kind of angel of death whose memories of Africa are harder to maintain than Vin's nostalgia. Tabula co-ordinates a reckoning and choreographs a trans-historical coup. The piece features real-time projected GPS analysis of colonial expansion in conjunction with Google Map orchestrated by collaborators in Cape Town. A secondary media stream features recreated video excerpts from Hammer horror films. In the midst of this mediated context the primary action unfolds as a live taping of the television show BLUE HAMMER. Throughout the “show” specters from the past participate via live “call-in” conversations and reckonings. We are committed to having the developmental stages of the work available to audiences via a “fan-site”. We expect to deliver initial content in intimate performance spaces that can double as real-time television/media studios, live-feeds and delivered online through the official website and through YouTube, etc. Live performances and a tour will follow, workshops, discussions, ultimately a distributable digital video, and a book-DVD archive of the process of the piece.

Blue Hammer will be played live in addition to online and video deliveries intersecting with the live event or staging of an event proposed as “live.” The piece is designed to be adaptive to any site, inside, outside or virtual. We expect an adventure that will prove to be an aesthetic pleasure, an intellectual riddle, a communal town-hall, and a civic/social intervention on the claims of history and the demands of the future.