The precise movements of two cloth figures, hula hoops, copper pipes, and fabric configurations are being controlled in plain sight by a wood and plexiglass device. An elaborate, visible robot brain sends messages to the device whose levers literally manipulate the strings of the performing materials, creating the gestures, lights and dialogue.
The figures are Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein, who argue over the worth of Stein's avant-garde plays and operas. As they bicker, semi-abstract objects perform excerpts from two of her plays, confirming Stein’s conviction of her modernist genius. The music of Eric Satie evokes the zeitgeist.
The 15 minute performance takes place in the large studio adjacent to the FiveMyles gallery space. The performance can be activated on demand by simply pressing the “start” button.
Unstrung, a concurrent installation of performance objects from several previous works is on view in the gallery. Hanne Tierney has performed her puppetry/object theater at the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum, BAM’s Artist in Action project, at theater festivals throughout Europe and at the Jim Henson International Festival of Puppet Theater. She received an OBIE in 2000.