Wednesday December 14, 2011

Matias Viegener’s response to Sue Bell Yank’s Occupy questions just posted on her Social Practice blog. Here’s what he says about Octupy, and it’s got us thinking:

“The octopus is a tangible way of describing corporate power, a useful metaphor, but turning it into a participatory performance re-appropriates it.  Built with garbage, it becomes a public toy; it may be playful, but it’s serious play.  The octopus’s deployment works on multiple levels: the one vs. the many, the controller vs. the controlled, and the opposition between corporate bodies and natural bodies.  This “body” is both natural and artificial, a corporate body (lots of people in there) and a mythical body.  Without making an actual sound, it is both monophonic and polyphonic.”

Friday December 9, 2011

It must be true, it’s in today’s LA Times: Occupy the Rose Parade will display “a giant octopus to represent Wall Street’s stranglehold on the economy and the political system.”

More info at:

Monday November 21, 2011

Yesterday, clad in rain ponchos and trash bags, we discovered that Octy tentacles make fantastic umbrellas.

Thank you to everyone who turned out to operate the puppet – John, Brad, Diego, Anne, Bill, Stephanie, Chris, Carol, Adam, Beth, Minica and her mum, dad and brother, Ed, Lucy, Roger, the guy with the great loud voice who helped coordinate movement, Pete, Krista, Luis, Gerda, Marvella, Meredith, Doug, Jen and her cousin, Evelyn, Freya, Fred, Andrew….lots of other people whose names we didn’t know….and some whose names we forgot to put in (we got rain on the brain, please forgive the lapse). We’ll post more pictures and video soon.

Octy’s been asked to join in Occupy the Rose Parade so we’ll be rolling the tentacles out again. Now we just need to up the theatricals…..

Sunday November 20, 2011

It’s cold and grey this morning but there seems to be a gap in the rain. Fingers crossed. Brad and Jan made eyes out of duct tape. We’re ready to go. Off round the camp now to rustle up more participants. Not sure if I’d leave my tent on a morning like this either. Wish us luck!

Saturday November 19, 2011

Octy is so very nearly finished now — yesterday and today John, Brad, Matt and Beth busted out the head (we get to do the eyes first thing in the morning) with lots of additional help; Jan, John (he was everywhere), Ezra, Helen, and so many others finished the tentacles.

The head is perched at the edge of the camp , stuffed full of tentacles. It looks a bit like a transparent igloo. The wind is getting up, storms are predicted and we just hope the rain holds off ’till after 1pm tomorrow.

Thursday November 17, 2011

Octopus weekend draws near! We’ll be at Occupy LA this evening to meet up with people from an OLA theater group, then again on Friday + Saturday November 18 + 19 to finish off the puppet in time for Sunday’s performance!!!

Here’s a flyer for it all — more contemporary octopus cartoons to come.

Sunday November 13, 2011

Thank you to everyone who came to help out today!!

And check out an interview with Jan on Sue Bell Yank’s Social Practice blog about Occupy and Octupy that got posted today.

Friday November 11, 2011

We’ll be back at Occupy LA on Sunday 13,  Friday 18 and Saturday 19 (10:30am-5pm) to finish making the puppet and then again noon Sunday 20 November for the performance!

Sunday November 6, 2011

9 PM: Well, it turned into a lovely day in downtown LA after all, but by the time that became obvious we’d got everything set up under cover, so, with Carol, Chris and Beth, we made tentacles at home. All the yards of plastic bag ’skin’ that people have been making over the last couple of weeks are being attached to make wider, longer pieces, which are then reinforced with a network of tape. They move beautifully — sort of undulating, with additional riffles provided by the dangling bag handles.

9 AM: We are not going to to let the rain keep us down!  We are going to meet at our place to work on the Octopus.  We are at 25th and Alameda (close to downtown).  Call us at 213-309-0050 for directions.

We will again be meeting at Occupy Los Angeles this Sunday (11/6/11) between 10:30 a.m. -5:00 p.m. to work on the octopus.   We have had puppet makers, artists and passerbys help with the construction of Octo.  We will be meeting on the steps at 200 N. Main st. (between 1st and Temple), please come by and help!

Wednesday November 2, 2011

Jules Rochielle sent us a link to this brilliant graphic from Occupy Wall Street. Is this what non-corporate octopus thinking looks like? (The link goes to a zoomable image so you can read all the thoughts).

Tuesday November 1, 2011

Another great day – the octopus grew, lots of people stopped to talk about octopuses and corporations and machinations, and in the afternoon the capoeira dancers and musicians set up next to us – magical!

Sunday October 30, 2011

Join us on the steps of City Hall this weekend, we’ll be there 10am – 5pm making the giant octopus puppet again.

Tuesday October 25, 2011

After last Sunday’s fantastic start we’re ready to do it again on Sunday October 30, 2011. The ‘crown’ and most of the hoops for the bamboo skeleton are done…

We replaced the heat sealer with plain old tape — the sealer makes a great, hardy material but we realized we need something a lot less sturdy for this first go, plus taping was something everyone could get involved in as they stopped to hang out. (Who knows though, maybe we’ll make a hardier version after this and go on tour.) Dozens of meters of the plastic bag ’skin’ has been stuck together – thanks to everyone who joined in!

Sunday October 23, 2011

We’re gathering at City Hall on Sunday October 23, 11am – 5pm, to spend the day working on the octopus puppet with anyone who’d like to join in. We’ve been gathering materials for the frame: old inner tubes (thanks Meredith and Jim and the Bicycle Kitchen), bamboo (thanks Andy) and bamboo splitters (thanks Jaime). We’ve got a ton of old plastic bags too and, inspired by Jen, Brett and Temporary Services and their brilliant ideas for bag reuse (thanks all!) an impulse heat sealer to join them together.

Thursday October 20, 2011

Thursday, same time same place, after Tuesday’s great ideas let’s see if we can’t translate those 19th century octopus/SPRR cartoons into a contemporary context!

Wednesday October 19, 2011

After working out ways to make the puppet with bamboo, inner tubes and plastic bags, (thanks to the brilliant Beth from Bread and Puppets) we’re gathering materials ready for Sunday — inner tubes anyone?

Tuesday October 18, 2011

We’ll be working on the ‘how to make it’ aspect of the octopus puppet tomorrow, Tuesday October 18, at Occupy — meeting at the library at 6.30pm to brainstorm ideas and formulate a plan!

Sunday October 9, 2011

Eat the Octopus: History Friends discuss history and imagery relating to Southern Pacific Railroad, aka the Octopus, its relationship to land speculation in Los Angeles and its role in the birth of corporate personhood. At Occupy LA, with Octopus cake. Meet in front of the Occupy library. 6.30pm.