Founded in 2004, Automata Arts is a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization committed to the creation, incubation, and delivery of experimental film, experimental puppet theatre, and other modern art practices that focus on performing objects and ideas of artifice. Automata Arts stands at the fulcrum points between performance and objects, ephemera and artifacts, mechanics and magic, interface and artifice. The organization is committed to developing and nurturing new work that is based on world-class art practices and in-depth conversation with the modern culture of mimicry and simulation while embracing the aura of hand-operated and handmade. Automata Arts aims to radically recontextualize and redefine the concept of object performance, putting it at the intersection of modern performance, experimental writing, sound art, visual art, and media.
Since its launch in 2004 by artists Janie Geiser and Susan Simpson, Automata Arts has been developing and delivering creative and intimate performances, film screenings of historical avant-garde and modern films, workshops, lectures, and exhibitions across Los Angeles. Automata Arts is especially interested in intimate viewing scenarios such as those that have been the hallmark of early film and traditional puppet theatre: storefronts, tiny theaters, and living rooms. The art organization is interested in the informality and intimacy that exist when the audience and the artists can see each other. Rather than perform a show once to six hundred people, Automata Arts prefers to perform a show 20 times to thirty people.
This level of intimacy allows for the authentic development of a community through dialogue and interaction. Each event features a post-show social component to facilitate dialogue. Automata Arts draws from the life of the city and the neighborhood and uses performances and storefront exhibits as art, attractions, workspace, and peep shows, as a direct interface with city life.
Automata Arts is committed to work that explores, subverts, or mergers different art forms in unprecedented ways. The art organization has presented original works by Yulya Dukhovny, Carole Kim, Weba Garretson, Katie Shook, Marsian DeLellis, Paul Zaloom, Beth Peterson, Alison Heimstead, Caitlin Lainoff, Eli Presser, Clare Dolan, Janie Geiser, Susan Simpson, and Laura Heit, among others. Automata ArtsHas also delivered programs of experimental and early films including works by Carole Kim, Laurie O’Brien, Janie Geiser, Lewis Klahr, Jordan Biren, Perry Hoberman, Warhol, and others.
Automata Arts prides itself in being an artist-driven establishment. Since their premiere performances in 2004, Automata Arts has created a context in which experimental writing, interactive technology, video/film, performance, and visual art intersect with the puppet as well as its modern siblings. Working from various spots in Los Angeles, Automata Arts has invited composers and playwrights, new media experimenters, designers, and visual artists to collaborate and develop new works through the use of performing objects. Since its launch in 2004, Automata Arts was not able to find a permanent space until 2012, when they found a nice location in Chinatown. Since then the organization has used the Chinatown location to present performances, exhibitions, and screenings, as well as window installations. The establishment has also become a site for the development of new work.