Archives for posts with tag: film


I know, I have been pretty slack lately with writing on my blog. Last year around this time the Dedes were extremely busy having their Super Dede competition. This year they are moping about in their dark cupboard. Due to dramatic changes in my work life I am currently preoccupied with research. I have to re-invent myself yet again. The more research I do, the more I am convinced that I want to stay with puppetry in the future. The other day, I had to laugh when I read in a book by Kenneth Gross called “Puppets” what puppeteer Michael Vogel said. He said that  once, while working on a piece based on Baudelaire’s Paris Spleen, he felt many old, unused puppets in his studio asking for a chance for new work. Always, he said, even when he could not use them, “I try to be polite, so they are not annoyed or frustrated.” (p 76). I had to read this out loud to the Dedes. They shouldn’t get too precious, other puppets have problems too!

Personally, I am busy with heaps of stuff, but I am terribly superstitious. I don’t want to talk about half-baked things. I strongly believe if I talk prematurely, they don’t work out. But I can tell you, I will be really happy when 2013 is finally over. It was such a crap year, it can only get better next year :). My puppetry workshop has finally been announced in the Term 1 programme of Artstation. So if you are living in Auckland and want to know more about puppets: Do enrol! (grrrrrr, I hate blatant self-promotion). However, I need to get enough enrolments for the course to take place. I am definitely looking forward to it. Unfortunately puppetry is not very big in New Zealand.

The puppet in the picture is another project I can now start talking about. It is the prototype for the main character in a short film (a very short film, but longer than the flash dramas the Dedes usually do). The film is a collaboration between a therapist in Australia, a playwright in England and myself. An interesting way to work, it all happens by email and it’s working very well. We have submitted the film to a conference that will take place in April. So there is a definite deadline and it is a lovely project to escape the Christmas blues.

Cash Cow didn’t move from her place after Professor’s performance last week and has been pondering about the sense of Dada poems ever since. I now proudly present to you the sequel to the Dede Dada Do and yes, I can resist calling it Dede Dada Dodo. It is simply called Dede Dada Do 2, or Art for Art’s sake.


Special thanks to Miss Viwi, who kindly allowed me to use her Dada poem.

Here it is: The film of the Dede Dada do!

First the link and then I’ll tell you all about it.

The film is dedicated to fellow blogger Tony who has the blog x-raypics.  Tony kindly sent me a Dada poem when I first floated the idea back in June. He works in radiography and uses a speech recognition program to convert his spoken notes into written text. He found out that when you feed this program with real poems it spits out Dada type text. So he kindly provided me with a sample called Dada Jack and Jill. (Figure out the original text :))

On Saturday, finally, a few people gathered in my studio to create a short film around the poem. Professor loves the arts and held his hand up to perform. A good disscussion ensued as not all the Dedes share his enthusiasm for this type of art. While Cash Cow is also fond of the arts, for her it has to be accessible and make sense. (Only the initiated will know why she is wearing a feather boa). I don’t know how many of the other puppets clapped and cheered only because that’s what you do when you watch a performance. Needless to say we had a lot of fun on and off the stage and thank you Tony for your wonderful poem.

We ran out of time on Saturday to record the spoken words, but I always thought it might be nice to do the full circle and use a TTS (text to speech) program to read out the text. I spent yesterday afternoon putting the film together and the first program I used was difficult to understand. Originally I considered it wasn’t important that the conversion back into voice was turned into unrecognisable mumble jumble and uploaded the file last night. But then, if you watch the film without knowing the background story, it might be viewed as poor quality. That irked me all night. This morning I found a new program and replaced Professor’s voice. Apologies to all the people I have sent the link to already. I really owed it to my collaborators to make the best possible film out of the material we’d produced on Saturday.

And now I have the sequal in my head, I guess I have to run another workshop. Any takers?



I had a hard time last night convincing Push Push to publish her video. After all, it is her performance and she has to okay it. (Note to self: Ask for signature before start of recording!). Last night she was exhausted and utterly dissappointed by the reaction of the audience. “They’re Philistines! All of them!” she exclaimed.

When I showed her the film, she had to admit, that she was slightly out of time. She turned round and blamed me for this. Could you believe it? She had in fact practised with a totally different and very nice classical piece. It was me who made her change it at the last minute as her first choice was copyrighted. Note by Push Push: Never let anybody bully you into last minute changes!

She lamented that you get judged by the result, and the result only. The viewers have no idea how much time and hard work goes into practise, practise, practise. And worst are the critics. They sit on their silly red sofa and with one shake of their head they can knock your confidence for good.

I tried to console her. It wasn’t that bad at all… but judge for yourself.


This weekend I have invited friends to the Dede Dada Do. Unfortunately I wasn’t very thoughtful selecting he weekend, as it is Labour Weekend here in New Zealand. This is usually the start of the summer and everybody is out and about after the long winter. So a few people I’ve invited won’t be able to make it.

Still, the Dedes are all excited. They love visitors and Push Push has been practising a dance routine for some time. Today she was brave enough to step out in front of an audience for a dress rehearsal. Though the reaction wasn’t quite what she expected. I’ve made a video and I hope I can talk to her tomorrow, to find out whether she is okay if I put it up on youtube.


lartiste mitzi tennisfilm

I had to go out last night and when I came back L’Artiste and Mitzi had finally left their spot on the yoga mat. They had made their way to the table and the lap top. Mitzi  had swapped one cosy place for another and was curled up on the keyboard, not too far from where L’Artiste was sitting. But L’Artiste had changed big time. He had a definite aura of action about him.  When I went round to see what he was doing he immediately said “So what is wrong with that?” and pointed to the screen. I could see the half finished tennis film. “We have a good amount of footage here. We could finish this one in no time flat!” he continued excitedly.

I had to own up that I wasn’t entirely happy with the script. I had asked a friend to come up with something. I don’t think I conveyed very well what I was after and unfortunately what we ended up with wasn’t in line with the Dede spirit. It wasn’t just a little off, it was way off. That is why I put it on hold.

L’Artiste scratched his head for a moment and then said “I really think we should finish it. I am sure your friend will understand when he sees the final product, don’t you think?”

“I promise I will look at the script again and see what I can salvage. It has been sitting in the drawer for a while now. Maybe it improved while it sat there.”

socialite reading

Socialite takes her new job seriously and was reading the first scripts last night. This morning she arrived all chirpy at the breakfast table. “I have one brilliant contender already” she said. “It was handed in by Sunny.”

Just to recap, Sunny is a wanna-be artist who tries very hard to come up with something he will be noticed for. He last featured on this blog when he ripped-off the artwork of ArtistatExit0. Back then I was very cross with him, but now all is forgiven and forgotten as in this process he created our dearly loved mascot Lil’ Sculpture, who sits on the bookshelf watching what the Dedes do.

Socialite continued with her account. “Honestly, this script meets all the criteria. It is very short and everybody who wants to can take part.”

“Is it fun?” asked Alien


“Is it artisic?” asked L’Artiste

“Yes, this too”

“Is it meaningful?” asked Philosopher


“So tell us the storyline then” I invited her.

She told us the whole thing can be shot in a couple of hours. It starts off with the Dedes sitting in-animate on their stands except for Sunny dancing around everybody. His dancing is so infectious that after a short time all the Dedes are dancing like mad. And that is it.

“It is so simple and says it all” she explained. “Life is drudgery until someone comes along and rips you out of your dullness!”

“Oh dear, you are two months too late” said Minor, the sloppy teenage daughter of Detail. We all looked at her. But she said no more, her eyes glued to her breakfast bowl she continued eating. That made us think she wasn’t actually talking to us and was in her own little world as usual.

“I think it has merit!” I said. “Sunny has done a fine job coming up with this one. If you are all okay, lets give it a go after breakfast!”

You should have seen how quickly they all finished their muesli.

socialite artiste

Socialite wanted to interview L’Artiste about the film and looked everywhere for him. Finally, she found him sitting high up on a ladder in the studio contemplating. Socialite, even though she tries to climb the social ladder, is afraid of heights so she had to shout at him. That meant everyone became privy to their conversation.

It turns out that L’Artiste doesn’t want to talk about the film unless our viewers have particular questions. Socialite tried her best to convince him of the film’s artistic merit, but he couldn’t see it and he stubbornly denied her the interview. Instead, it became clear that I can add him to the list of Dedes who un-friended me. He is annoyed because he believed we were just fooling around and it was only a trial for a bigger film we wanted to do. He thought we were trying things out to see if it was feasible. On the day of the shooting he was very frustrated and he acted ridiculously, exaggerating everything.  He was very surprised when he realised I had uploaded the film to Youtube and the blog without further consultation. He would have had a thing or two to say about the storyline and he certainly would have had a different ending. He is thoroughly annoyed because  now our wider audience thinks he is a shallow chap. He is adamant this isn’t a fair depiction of him at all.

“Get over it!” Socialite ended the conversation  “Nowadays you always have to be on your guard.”

L’Artiste still moped: “Honestly, it never occurred to me that friends could do such things to each other! She really has to consider our feelings a bit more.”

socialite film

Socialite is a puppet I don’t see very often. I suspect I am much too common for her. She likes to hobnob with the rich and powerful. There are not many of them in my circle of friends. Naturally, I was very surprised when Socialite came and told me about this wonderful short film she had seen called “Life of an artist.” She immediately launched into dissecting the story line: “It’s fantastic how the director captured the essence of torment. You see the artist’s rapid decline from self-confidence to a picture of misery. You must see this film”

“I know the film” I said.

“It’s sad how artists are reliant on viewers opinion, isn’t it?” she continued. “People just don’t understand good art anymore! They are ignorant folks. Did you see the two characters that just walked past the picture? What are they doing in an exhibition for goodness sake? They obviously have no idea how much pain goes into creating unique artworks!

“I don’t know. To me it looks very much like instant-gratification-artist. A one shot wonder! He had one good inspirational idea and he immediately took the result to the market in the hope of selling and making money. Artists need a bit more stamina, don’t you think?” I responded. “He can’t expect people to go all gooey over everything he hangs on the wall just because he wears a tunic like Paul Klee. Isn’t that a bit presumptuous?”

“I totally disagree. He did a lot of soul-searching before he had his inspiration. That’s very obvious in the sequence where he walks around the room. No, no, his inspiration did not come out of nowhere! I clearly see it was the audience that ground him down!”

“What I don’t understand, the two art-lovers at the end commended him for his work. But this wasn’t  good enough for him. He is obviously slanted towards the commercial. Honestly, what kind of reaction is that… pulling the work off the wall and tearing it up only because they don’t want to buy it! Isn’t it more important that they  liked it?”

“Tssst” Socialite threw her head over her shoulder. Obviously she was piqued. “What do you know about the delicate soul of an artist? I should have known one can’t discuss films with you!”

Mhm, could I be so wrong? What do you see in the film? In case you haven’t seen it, here is the link Life of an Artist

“I should do an interview with L’Artiste!” Socialite said. “He is the only one who can shed light on this matter. Do you have any questions I should ask him?”