Monday, June 11, 2018

A Manifesto by Hanne Tierney
Puppetry: The Art of Gesture.  

Even in its folk art life, when it entertained with Guignol, Kasperle and Punch, puppetry consisted of the subtle and outrageous gestures made by these wooden creatures. The gestures punctuated the message they were passing on. Whether the head bending down in humiliation, the hand stealing the stick from the policemen, or Punch’s wife hugging the baby before throwing it out the window, always the gesture got the point across.

In creating these gestures, many manipulation techniques have been developed all over the world; rods, strings, hands, and the bunraku style of the puppeteer’s hand moving the limbs or heads into the appropriate position. But always it results in a motion that the viewer reads as something familiar and that has an emotional impact.

Human actors in the theater provide a visual impact, which we easily recognize as emotions, to the words the actors are speaking. By contrast, a gesture made by a puppet becomes a symbol for an emotion, that we can only read because we have experienced it. Without this experience, we would not recognize the meaning of the symbol.

It is not a person acting out suffering and eliciting our sympathy; it is instead only a gesture made by an inanimate object, and because one doesn’t weep for an inanimate object, we end up weeping for ourselves. The motions of a simple piece of wood or fabric can show us the essence of our own experience. This is ultimately the Fine Art of Puppetry.

Day de Dada Art Nurse Barbara makes fresh eyes for Boston Third Eye Exams

Performance video "Third Eye" by Barbara Lubliner at Lumen8 on June 15, 2017.

LUMEN8 exhibition celebrated the past seven years of Staten Island Arts’s LUMEN Festival. 
Photography and video by Viv de Dada.