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Josiane Keller
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Profile Information

Los Angeles /USA,
Kyoto /Japan,
Europe (various places)
Relationship to Puppetry
puppeteer, working mostly with lens-based images of self-made small-scale puppets (both still and moving), mainly from clay and additional materials, mainly contemporary images (including sex/lots of LGBTQIA/drug use and other mature themes), some fairy tale material; puppet photography, puppet film, experimental slide-show; puppetry integrated in contemporary theatre performance; puppets for music videos; puppet images for commercials (moving or still image i.e. poster, book illustration, etc.); portrait puppets; puppet restoration; also writing/research on traditional and contemporary puppetry, in particular traditional Japanese Edo marionettes and Czech puppet-film
What First Got Me Interested in Puppetry
As a child I had a set of European hand-puppets and a small stage; kid's TV was very good in my area so I grew up with "Monsieur Papotin" by André Tahon and at the same time also the early clips by Jan Švankmajer (not really geared for kids, but they aired it anyways, I guess they didn't know any better); by age twelve I was wishing for a horse, but couldn't get one, so I made my first wooden marionette (of course an Arabian horse in full Moroccan festival gear); a few years later I ran a highly experimental puppet compagnie together with a friend, creating and performing short music-based pieces at school festivals and similar events, our star performance was a male spaghetti being rolled up by a fork and eaten by a huge mouth whilst singing "Ciao, Ciao Bambina" by Domenico Modugno to a female spaghetti (one day I will re-stage that one, for old times' sake)
My Puppetry (or Puppet) Hero
various, particularly (not necessarily in that order): Jan Švankmajer, Jiří Trnka, Kihachirō Kawamoto, Kinosuke Takeda, André Tahon ("Papotin's Revue"), Tadeusz Kantor, Mike Bradley
If I Were a Puppet, I'd Be...
perhaps a crane marionette
More About Me:
even more? OK. I learned originally functional pottery and later studied dance and contemporary studio arts; I worked in various fields, also as stage photographer for Tony Chen (contemporary theatre director from Taiwan) during his MA studies in UK;
I am most interested in puppetry and puppet animation that is not geared for children, but adults;
I am interested in using puppets not necessarily for entertainment, but as its own media equal to other art-forms, like painting or film, for research on the human condition; I like puppetry that is meant to look realistic (without trying be hyper-realistic) and deals with real life problems, I want to question the idea that because it's puppetry it must look funny or cute;
I am interested in the human visual sense and human visual memory and use in my own work puppets as models in lens-based images to investigate this, currently my most ambitious project is ホテル Hotel (please see homepage), my inspiration comes usually from contemporary ordinary life, which is interesting and surreal enough for me; occasionally I work with topics from mythology and folklore (mostly Japanese), working with the underlying socio-psychological concerns; I am also interested in the use and purpose of puppets in rituals;
I also work on commission, both making actual puppets or puppet animation and everything around that; I also restore puppets (currently restoring vintage marionettes and marionette costumes at the Bob Baker Marionette Theatre);
My Company/Troupe/Group
Josiane Keller; puppet animation also @Studio Komorebi; former marionette group: Compagnie MaMa's
Affiliations/Professional Organizations
UNIMA USA, SAS, Puppet Hub
2nd Website

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