The Collective
// Our Mission and Methods
 

About The Bears

Charged with the task of spiritually preparing the human race for the coming of the singularity, The Night Bears masquerade as a New York City based media and performance collective. The group investigates narrow sense-apertures to locate the spaces where the divide between biology and technology will eventually dissolve. The Bears tell stories with subtle light in darkness, small indications of depth in flatness, tiny sounds in silence, near-stillness in stillness. They tell timeless tales of sex and death, human-machine collaboration and conflict, and universal journeys of self-discovery and transcendence. The group’s founding members — John J.A. Jannone, Daniel Munkus, and Sophia Remolde — forge their work from the interplay of their seemingly polar and contradictory, and often extreme, physical and philosophical practices. They knit their work from Butoh, Suzuki, Zen Buddhism, martial arts, and contact improvisation; and weave in shiny threads of media, robotics, coding, music, and puppetry.

About the Coming Singularity

We work in the context of the coming Singularity. We belong to the last human generations that will live out the majority of their lives as fully biological beings. When computer intelligence overtakes human intelligence (as early as 2030 according to some scientists), the rate at which the total body of human knowledge multiplies will become literally unimaginable. The entire corpus of human thought might double in depth and complexity in moments, and then double again, and again. Within our lifetimes, our biological selves will be scanned into the machine and second, immortal phases of our lives will begin. We will live in total and inseparable collaboration with technology.

In our current pre-Singularity world, we see biology and technology, and therefore nature and technology, as distinct. This current relationship with technology-as-other is something to be cherished; and it is about to be lost. We experience mysterious feelings when interacting with technology: The pleasure of light playing on skin, the warmth of sound washing over us, the shudder and tightness in the chest we experience when communing with the machine. Technology is still a new lover – we are entranced by the mystery and otherness of it. All too soon we will be one with the machine. This is why we must collaborate with technology now, in our mutual naïveté: We touch it and it does not feel us; yet we can imagine that it feels us, and we are moved. Soon, what we touch, and the feeling we have of touching it, will also be it and us; the sense that technology is “other” will be the maya of the new age.


The Artists
// Sophie + Dan + John
 
John J.A. Jannone studies cooperation, coordination, and collaboration with a particular interest in collective art-making and live performance. He is an Associate Professor at Brooklyn College, and designed and directs the College’s M.F.A. program in Performance and Interactive Media Arts (PIMA). He teaches courses in music composition, collaboration, computer programming, performance, multi-camera television production, and television aesthetics. He is an avid musician, martial artist, and athlete, and has recently taken an interest in contact improvisation. He is the recipient of numerous grants, including National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation and CreativeIT grants. John’s Website. Photo: Christiane Bourget.
Daniel Munkus is a musician and interdisciplinary artist. He splits his time between songwriting and recording, composing electronic music, and working with various collaborative ensembles. Skills acquired during his years spent investigating Wing-Chun, Tai-Chi, Zen meditation, and the visual arts at UC Berkeley are frequently used in his ongoing collaborations. His own songwriting collaborative ensemble Old Robes is releasing a new album late August 2012, and can be found here: http://oldRobes.bandCamp.com/. Examples of his sound design are currently being used in improvisational workshops and experimental theater productions, and can be found here: http://danielmunkus.bandcamp.com/. Photo: Paulo Rojas.
Sophia Remolde is a multimedia creator and performer in theatre, film, dance, puppetry, and robotics. She is trained in Suzuki, Viewpoints, and Butoh, and works as an actor, puppeteer, and fight choreographer. She is Associate Director of Puppet Junction Productions, founder of art-science collective Hybrid Kaleidoscope, is member of the performance duo Darth&Lobster, and collaborates with Silent Infinite (a photography, video, and animation collective), The South Wing (an Suzuki-based experimental theater company), and SEE (the SITI Company’s Extended Ensemble). She is collaborating with PhD students in the field of robotics and computer vision at City College, CUNY on a large-scale dance work for humans and quadrotor flying robots. Sophie’s Website. Photo: Eden Nova.

Current Work
// Fiddle Faddle
 

Rolnick, Pollick, and The Night Bears

We hope you may attend our first concert appearance in New York City this Fall, with spectacular violinist Karen Bentley Pollick and composer and laptop virtuoso Neil Rolnick. October 5, 3pm at Spectrum, 121 Ludlow St, 2nd floor, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The Facebook page is here. The picture above is from the new video version of Neil Rolnick's violin and computer piece, Fiddle Faddle, which will receive its premiere. Early in 2014 we envisioned adding a video to his dynamic fiddle piece for violin and electronics. The video is made entirely by tracing the movements of the violin bow wrapped in EL wire. The original footage was recorded at the historic Lithuanian Radio & TV Studio in Vilnius in June. Post-production was done by John J.A. Jannone and The Night Bears in Osaka and Brooklyn – a truly transnational project. The program will also include the world premiere of Human Rights Suite for solo violin by Swedish composer Ole Saxe, Cluck Old Hen Variations by Californian David Jaffe with premiere of a new video by Fred Kolouch, and To The Skies by Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas with video by Evaldas Arlauskas. Neil will be playing O Brother!, a new laptop solo piece, and WakeUp, his signature mash-up of a couple of Everly Brothers classics from the 1950s. Please join us at Spectrum on October 5 for some new sounds and sights!

Night Bears Back to BK!

Come see The Night Bears any and every Wednesday night at Dassara Ramen! Even though these little bears have been spread out across the world, with Sophia Remolde in Tokyo, John J A Jannone in Osaka, and Daniel Munkus holding down the fort in Brooklyn, we have been together in spirit and image Wednesdays on Dassara's innovative, interactive, and ingenious video environment designed by the fabulous Ralph Jacobus of RAMENWERK. We will continue to exhibit our video art at Dassara as we all crawl back to home base. If you can't make it out to Brooklyn, here is a video we created about our videos at Dassara. (How very meta of us.) Incredible music by EMILY DANGER. Yowza.

また、日本人のファンのため: (笑)

どうもありがとうございます!

Bears Reappear on EARTH

Being in remote locations around the globe is of no fatal consequence to these Bears! Drawing upon work created for a continuation of our Nori/Noir project, Meat&Light, the Bears featured video art as part of Team Japan's contribution to Superhero Clubhouse's June 2014 work-in-progress showing of EARTH (a play about people). for EARTH (a play about people) from Sophia Remolde on Vimeo. About the media: Meat&Light uses long-exposure digital photography and image processing to draw hard-boiled graphic novels live in performance. In recent video compositions where "the air was thick with nanobots," we continued the story of post-singularity private dick Morthan Meat, and the dame who might be the only hope for what is left of biological humanity. One video in particular stood out as relevant to the explorations faced by Team Japan in EARTH. A woman descending a ladder is shown emerging out of the darkness seen only as illuminated and fractured parts of the body. In thinking about the race between the technological Singularity and the possible outcomes of current biological/ecological issues, we questioned: if our physical bodies (including that of our planet) are undergoing such an intensity of change, how too will that break apart the issues that we face as humanity? Japan's increasing aging population and the country's innovative attempts to address this issue (for example, increased development in robotics vs. looser immigration laws) were also present in the discussion. In a way that seemed fitting to the environment, we meditated on all of this as one potential answer. The sound score for the piece was created by Sophia Remolde, composed of the voices and spirits of Miyu Leilani, Dominique Baron-Bonarjee, Jyana Browne, and Tokyo Circus Ringmaster Yoshi.

image credit: Kristy Caldwellimage credit: Kristy Caldwell

About EARTH (a play about people): EARTH is a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and international collaboration. Based on prompts and limitations given by Superhero Clubhouse, teams of artists working remotely (that is, in cities outside NYC) created highly personal scenes, images and dances inspired by themes and questions related to population. The material given to us by Satellite Teams was then developed in dialogue with our artists in NYC. At this stage of development, we are asking three questions: 1. What is the play, and how does it confront the ecological research? 2. How do we collaborate with artists from afar? 3. How can EARTH be a singular event with consistency of vision, aesthetic and narrative, despite so many “cooks in the kitchen”? By asking these questions, we are also exploring what it means to get along in the world, in the face of global limitations, environmental crises and a population not yet at its peak. For more on EARTH and Superhero Clubhouse, click here.

Previous Work
// Performance + Development
 

Rolnick, Pollick, and The Night Bears

We hope you may attend our first concert appearance in New York City this Fall, with spectacular violinist Karen Bentley Pollick and composer and laptop virtuoso Neil Rolnick. October 5, 3pm at Spectrum, 121 Ludlow St, 2nd floor, on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The Facebook page is here. The picture above is from the new video version of Neil Rolnick's violin and computer piece, Fiddle Faddle, which will receive its premiere. Early in 2014 we envisioned adding a video to his dynamic fiddle piece for violin and electronics. The video is made entirely by tracing the movements of the violin bow wrapped in EL wire. The original footage was recorded at the historic Lithuanian Radio & TV Studio in Vilnius in June. Post-production was done by John J.A. Jannone and The Night Bears in Osaka and Brooklyn – a truly transnational project. The program will also include the world premiere of Human Rights Suite for solo violin by Swedish composer Ole Saxe, Cluck Old Hen Variations by Californian David Jaffe with premiere of a new video by Fred Kolouch, and To The Skies by Lithuanian composer Gediminas Gelgotas with video by Evaldas Arlauskas. Neil will be playing O Brother!, a new laptop solo piece, and WakeUp, his signature mash-up of a couple of Everly Brothers classics from the 1950s. Please join us at Spectrum on October 5 for some new sounds and sights!

Night Bears Back to BK!

Come see The Night Bears any and every Wednesday night at Dassara Ramen! Even though these little bears have been spread out across the world, with Sophia Remolde in Tokyo, John J A Jannone in Osaka, and Daniel Munkus holding down the fort in Brooklyn, we have been together in spirit and image Wednesdays on Dassara's innovative, interactive, and ingenious video environment designed by the fabulous Ralph Jacobus of RAMENWERK. We will continue to exhibit our video art at Dassara as we all crawl back to home base. If you can't make it out to Brooklyn, here is a video we created about our videos at Dassara. (How very meta of us.) Incredible music by EMILY DANGER. Yowza.

また、日本人のファンのため: (笑)

どうもありがとうございます!

Bears Reappear on EARTH

Being in remote locations around the globe is of no fatal consequence to these Bears! Drawing upon work created for a continuation of our Nori/Noir project, Meat&Light, the Bears featured video art as part of Team Japan's contribution to Superhero Clubhouse's June 2014 work-in-progress showing of EARTH (a play about people). for EARTH (a play about people) from Sophia Remolde on Vimeo. About the media: Meat&Light uses long-exposure digital photography and image processing to draw hard-boiled graphic novels live in performance. In recent video compositions where "the air was thick with nanobots," we continued the story of post-singularity private dick Morthan Meat, and the dame who might be the only hope for what is left of biological humanity. One video in particular stood out as relevant to the explorations faced by Team Japan in EARTH. A woman descending a ladder is shown emerging out of the darkness seen only as illuminated and fractured parts of the body. In thinking about the race between the technological Singularity and the possible outcomes of current biological/ecological issues, we questioned: if our physical bodies (including that of our planet) are undergoing such an intensity of change, how too will that break apart the issues that we face as humanity? Japan's increasing aging population and the country's innovative attempts to address this issue (for example, increased development in robotics vs. looser immigration laws) were also present in the discussion. In a way that seemed fitting to the environment, we meditated on all of this as one potential answer. The sound score for the piece was created by Sophia Remolde, composed of the voices and spirits of Miyu Leilani, Dominique Baron-Bonarjee, Jyana Browne, and Tokyo Circus Ringmaster Yoshi.

image credit: Kristy Caldwellimage credit: Kristy Caldwell

About EARTH (a play about people): EARTH is a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural and international collaboration. Based on prompts and limitations given by Superhero Clubhouse, teams of artists working remotely (that is, in cities outside NYC) created highly personal scenes, images and dances inspired by themes and questions related to population. The material given to us by Satellite Teams was then developed in dialogue with our artists in NYC. At this stage of development, we are asking three questions: 1. What is the play, and how does it confront the ecological research? 2. How do we collaborate with artists from afar? 3. How can EARTH be a singular event with consistency of vision, aesthetic and narrative, despite so many “cooks in the kitchen”? By asking these questions, we are also exploring what it means to get along in the world, in the face of global limitations, environmental crises and a population not yet at its peak. For more on EARTH and Superhero Clubhouse, click here.

Blog
// bearBlog.