Epsilon Spires hosts Surrealist Games in the spirit of co-creation
Debra McLaughlin
Roger Clark Miller, center, guides participants in an evening of surrealist games at Real Art Ways in Hartford, Connecticut.

Epsilon Spires hosts Surrealist Games in the spirit of co-creation

BRATTLEBORO — The Social Engagement Salon at Epsilon Spires will be the setting for surprising juxtapositions and playful absurdity during two events in late January.

On the afternoon of Saturday, Jan 21, Roger Clark Miller of the post-punk band Mission of Burma will perform music on the prepared piano before hosting an evening of “Exquisite Corpse” word games and group drawing exercises.

The following Saturday at 7 p.m., local artist and radio host Wendy M. Levy will lead a workshop in surrealist cut-up collage, in which participants will create their own works of art using diverse source materials.

“It’s still a thrill for me to see people, many who never met before they sat down together to play, collectively create something brand new,” Miller said in a news release.

Miller has previously hosted surrealist game nights at venues such as MassMoCA and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston. He has also performed at Epsilon Spires as part of the Anvil Orchestra, who provided a live soundtrack for the silent German expressionist film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Miller has been working with the prepared piano for decades, which is a technique of placing objects on and between the strings in the body of the instrument to create new scales and intonations. He will set the mood for his event with a performance on the baby grand piano in the intimate Social Engagement Salon at Epsilon Spires, where participants will then play collaborative games developed by artists such as André Breton who were involved in the surrealist movement of the 1920s and 30s.

Both events are geared toward participants of all backgrounds and skill levels.

“Art is for everyone and can be made by anyone,” says Levy, who describes her artistic practice as “firmly placed in the ‘DIY’ tradition, which rejects oppression, capitalism, and social control by using absurdity and humor as instruments of celebration and defense.”

Her collage workshop is best suited for adults age 18 and older due to the mature themes that can emerge from a technique utilizing randomness and juxtaposition. Some materials will be provided, but participants are encouraged to explore their surroundings for unique source material to bring to the workshop.

Miller and Levy will play surrealist-inspired DJ sets during their events, and thematic refreshments inspired by the infamously conceptual cookbooks of Salvador Dali will be provided.

Advanced tickets are recommended in order to make sure there are enough materials for all attendees. Tickets are available on a sliding scale from $5-$15 at epsilonspires.org.

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