Eddie Kim, a performance artist and programmer whose mashups of video games and theater have earned him a devoted (and fast-expanding) local following, will be premiering his latest work, Grand Theft Ovid
, during the Game Play
festival at Williamsburg's Brick Theater
(July 9-25). He took a few minutes in the midst of rehearsals to answer our questions.
The L: What type of artist do you consider yourself to be?
I am a director but also a playwright and a sound designer. As a playwright, I really enjoy adapting classical works, and the pieces in Grand Theft Ovid
are based on stories from Ovid's Metamorphoses
that were translated by my friend, the super-talented, Carrie Thomas.
In addition to creating the sound design, I run my own sounds during performances, so I guess I'm also a sound technician. I will be using a MacBook running Ableton Live to trigger samples, effects, and music (created by chiptune artist, Oxygenstar
) during our show. There are approximately 200 samples in G.T.O.
How would you describe your work?
In essence, I'm creating puppet pieces. But instead of using traditional puppets which are manipulated by puppeteers to act out scenes, I'm using video game characters being controlled by gamers.
I guess my pieces could also be considered works of machinima theater for we do the same thing that machinima filmmakers do, but we do it live in real-time in front of an audience.
What artists or works have most strongly influenced you?
I'm a big fan of Richard Foreman
, and I interned at the Ontological
many years ago. As for pieces that I admire, though it might be geeky to admit, I was blown away by Julie Taymor's Lion King
Where did the idea for your latest piece, Grand Theft Ovid, come from?
The Story of Niobe,
our Halo 3
piece, originally created for the Brick's Tiny Theater festival in 2008, was so well-received, we performed it later at Monkeytown and also incorporated it into Thank You, But Our Princess is in Another Castle
at last year's Game Play. For this year, we wanted to present a new version of it, along with others stories from Ovid.
What are you working on next?
Next year, I'd like to perform a Shakespearean play entirely over Warcraft
. I'm already working on the adaptation.
Is there anything else we should know about G.T.O. before we see it?
We use 8 different games, 3 Xbox 360 consoles, 6 laptops, and a Game Cube. The technicians are teenagers/real gamers. Online gamers can watch and interact with scenes. Anyone who plays Warcraft
can view Apollo and Daphne
in Iron Forge in Skullcrusher Alliance during performances.
(photos courtesy Eddie Kim)