The Dream Community in Taipei, Taiwan, is an extraordinary group of people. Their artist in residence program brings in creators of all kinds from all kinds of places throughout the globe to spread big, weird art throughout Taiwan.
I spent 3 months there in 2012, with 4 other artists from New Orleans, and we built a two-headed alligator mausoleum voo-doo throne Mardi Gras motorized party-wagon float for their big annual parade. My magnum opus of contraptions was at its heart, nested within the mausoleum belly and surrounded by 6 “tomb windows,” each of which housed a lo-fi animatronic puppet. Composed of 9 bicycle wheels, a stack of bamboo and 50 feet of aircraft cable, it allowed the “pilot” riding atop the second story party platform to manipulate the puppets by turning a ship wheel side-to-side. No I don’t have any pictures at the moment. It was typhoon season. Things were hard. But I’ll find some.
I was then sent to two small villages in the south to help the locals design floats for their own traditional annual parades. Indeed, Gordon Tsai, the Dream Community’s founder, seemed to be right. There were a lot of folks out there in this country that were bored with the gorgeous artistic traditions of their homeland. They had enough traditions. They wanted a space lion driving a flaming motorcycle. An elephant house on wheels. A dolphin airplane with funny, sexy flight attendants flanking it on all sides for the year’s biggest celebration. I’d present them with a few ideas I felt were relevant and they would say, “Yeah that’s fine but what’s that on that other page? Is that an airplane that’s also a dolphin? We love that. There’s a pod of rare pink dolphins that visits our cove every year. And it’s a plane? That’s crazy. Let’s do that.” So that’s what we did. Again, no photos yet. But here’s a photo of me and team New Orleans fulfilling our duties as parade birds in south Taiwan.