Artist Nao Bustamante’s latest work, The Wooden People, layers ancient myths on the familiar melodrama of the telenovela, while grappling with ideas of queer existence, love, and a connection to the cosmos. The work expands on a central theme of a pre-Columbian origin story, which tells of pre-humans—“the wooden people”—who were eventually destroyed. Bustamante brings together luminaries of the Los Angeles performance art world, featuring live performances by Bustamante, Marcus Kuiland-Nazario, San Cha, Dorian Wood, Pamela Martinez, Jose Guadalupe Sanchez lll, Sophia Alana Stevenson, Heather María Ács, Leigh Ann Hahn, Sybil Mosely, and Michelle Juliette Carr.
The Wooden People is an episodic 360 virtual reality (VR) film series that was filmed at REDCAT, where the theater takes on a metaphorical role in the central narrative. In the REDCAT lobby, the audience will be able to experience an immersive extended trailer via VR headset one hour before and after the live performance. Live scenes will be presented in the theater along with projected episodic content.
Projected episodic content will feature artists Ron Athey, Rafa Esparza, Gabriela Ruiz, Anne Bray, Steeg, Cassils, Cristy Michel, Hermes Pittakos, Pony Lee Musgrave, Young Joon Kwak, Sebastian Hernandez, Noé Olivas, and Barry Morse.
Original score by Nick Hallett and costumes by OLIMA.
Bustamante has long made work that explores exposure and vulnerability.
The Wooden People has been made possible by a grant from the Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. The Wooden People is a National Performance Network (NPN) Creation & Development Fund Project co-commissioned by Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (REDCAT) in partnership with La MaMa and NPN/VAN. The Creation & Development Fund is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts (a federal agency). For more information, visit npnweb.org. The Wooden People was developed within CultureHub’s residency program.