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A Woolly Mammoth Made of Tires and Other 'Anthropological' Oddities Found at TOW

Friday night, I headed deep into one of downtown's warehouse neighborhoods for the closing night party of "Modern Nomads: An Anthropological Exhibition of a Lost Culture Not Yet Founded" at artist workspace TOW. The massive project featured contributions from local musicians Don Bolles (The Germs, 45 Grave, Club Ding-a-Ling) and D. Bene Tleilax (Romak & the Space Pirates, The Tleilaxu Music Machine) and was centered around a behemoth woolly mammoth installation.

Joe Holliday in front of the wooly mammoth
Joe Holliday in front of the wooly mammoth
Liz Ohanesian

Artist Joe Holliday approached TOW with the idea for this collaborative project last summer. The project required that the warehouse essentially be redesigned, with work stations moved to accommodate the four installations.

"The Shaman Reads the Entrails"
"The Shaman Reads the Entrails"
Liz Ohanesian

Everything in the exhibit was made on site at TOW. Costume designers, welders, wood workers and other artisans who work out of the space pitched in to create these elaborate environments. Much of the material was also found on site, like the film rolls that double as entrails in this shot. Holliday described the process as being like "an amazing Tetris game."

"The Hunter's Camp"
"The Hunter's Camp"
Liz Ohanesian

The exhibition told the story of the Haan Cri Tribe, i.e. "the lost culture not yet founded," and its hunting rituals. Those who attended the exhibition received a phone number that we could dial from our cell phones for a guided tour that delved into the creation myths of this imagined tribe and how those myths impacted their daily lives. The audio guide was narrated by Don Bolles and featured music from D. Bene Tleilax.

"The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"
"The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"
Liz Ohanesian

The centerpiece of the exhibit was a massive woolly mammoth made of shredded tires. According to the guides, the woolly mammoth was the Haan Cri's primary source of nourishment.

 

"The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"
"The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"
Liz Ohanesian

When hunting "megafauna," there are bound to be a few fallen tribespeople. Notice that this hunter's garb is made in part from crushed Tecate cans.

"The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"
"The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"
Liz Ohanesian

The mannequins used in this show were alarmingly realistic in appearance.

"The Burial of the Hunter"
"The Burial of the Hunter"
Liz Ohanesian

The burial scene depicted here seemed to tie in with a presentation on plastic bags in the North Pacific Gyre that took place at the closing party. Also featured during the night were several music performances, including a dubstep cabaret set from D. Bene Tleilax.

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