AutoBiography: A Car Opera in Five Acts explored cars and the stories they tell in a performance based on Richard Wagner’s Ring Cycle. The multimedia experience featured over 60 collaborators and tapped into our memories of, and fascination with, cars. As memory played such a powerful role in the performances, and with memory being so closely linked to smell, scent mixologists created custom scents for each installation.

The Car Opera took place on five levels of a public, fully operating, parking garage. It featured nine installations — all unique yet interrelated — inside cars and the garage itself. Each installation echoed an act or theme of the Ring Cycle. Dancers and musicians interacted in and around the vehicles and various sites within the garage. Roughly 100 audience members experienced the spectacle from inside the cars on a guided tour, while over 200 more witnessed from a set pathway within the garage on a self-guided tour. Wall text next to each installation provided additional context for the audience and highlighted the convergence of gallery and theater in a mundane space.

The Car Opera was the first iteration of the AutoBiography project, which also includes AutoBiography Magazine, and an upcoming show of video and installation work from various contributors at the Karma Bird House Gallery in Burlington, VT. Stay tuned for new layers.


Date Sunday, November 4, 2019

Location Marketplace Garage, Burlington VT

Duration Performance, 1-8 p.m; Individual and group tours lasting roughly one hour

Major Artistic Collaborators: Erika Senft Miller, concept and production; Burlington City Arts/Doreen Kraft, coproduction; Aaron Stein, visual effects and cars; Leif Hunneman, light, sound and technology; Aaron Wisniewski, olfactory experience; Matt LaRocca, sound; Jonathan Silverman, director of audience guides; Lydia Kern, production assistant and installation

Movement: Sage Horsey, Don Obviar, Navah Stein, Mireya Guerra, Elizabeth Seyler, Francis Cloutier, Real Cloutier, Carmen Cormier, David Lansky, Francine Thériault, Eva Zimet, Thabitha Lerato, Kelly Malone-Wolfsun, Lily Lawson, Lydia Sheffield, Annabel Dilley, Ava Bartlett, Joseph Besl, Henry Brandeis, Christopher Robinson, William Arliss, Philip Nicolescu, Nicolas Hutt, Nolan Joyce

Music/Sound Systems: Alex Bigelow, Ari Erlbaum, Dan Siegel, Annalise Shelmandine, Rebecca Mack, John Mantegna, ivamae, Hannah Fair, Julia Caesar, The Sleepless Knights

Production, Materials and Sponsors: Burlington City Arts/Doreen Kraft, Patrick Mulligan of the City of Burlington,, The Automaster, Premier Strength & Performance, Handy’s Service Center, Lucky Next Door, Spillane’s Towing and Recovery, D Richard Automotive, Downs Rachlin & Martin, New England Floor Covering, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Hickok & Boardman Insurance Group

Design and Media: Gotham City Graphics, Mercedes Williams, Kim MacQueen, Kelly Holt, Renee Greenlee, Katherine O’Brien, William Cottiss, Bruce Gibbs, Jude Domski, Daniel Cardon, Rob Hunter, Alder Studio