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

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Mon, Nov 9, 2009 at 3:31 PM

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.

click to enlarge Joe Holliday in front of the wooly mammoth - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • Joe Holliday in front of the wooly mammoth

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.

click to enlarge "The Shaman Reads the Entrails" - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • "The Shaman Reads the Entrails"

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."

click to enlarge "The Hunter's Camp" - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • "The Hunter's Camp"

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.

click to enlarge "The Hunters Slay the Mammoth" - LIZ OHANESIAN
  • Liz Ohanesian
  • "The Hunters Slay the Mammoth"

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.

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