project image
Sharon Mesmer and Mitch Corber

first performed on January 9, 2019
The Poetry Project, New York, NY
performed once in 2019


Matthew Mottel

New York, NY


This performance was created as a staged performative action between artist and researcher Matthew Mottel and poet performer Edwin Torres. Using Buckminster Fuller’s original mission for geodesic domes built by CHARAS in abandoned city lots in 1972—which was to empower the urban population into using their ability for survival as a material for revolutionary change—the concept for the evening’s performance was to embody the experience of a charged transformative space to champion creativity.

The audience enters the room, a geodesic dome, 10-foot diameter by 6-foot height, constructed of interlocking wooden poles, is at the center. Audience seating is arranged in four sections, as theater-in-the-round, facing in towards the center. Three projectors screen film and text on surrounding walls, a mirrored multifaceted disk is on a short pedestal, for reflecting / refracting imagery from one wall to the other. Inside the dome, there’s a visualized habitat of cataclysmic artifacts for poetic survival; the obligatory lectern (connection to previous “readings”), books, words, scattered on the floor, text on pages hanging off dome-bars like wash to dry, coiled speaking tube, microphone (wired to an external world), portable lighting, blank paper, writing implements, sound devices, and street detritus as clothing.

The port-a-dome initiative symbolized the self-sufficiency of CHARAS locally and was a sign of their participation in a larger global-environment movement. Syeus Mottel documented this effort in his photojournalism book Charas: The Improbable Dome Builders. His son Matthew created a documentary that captures the historical significance of the collaboration between Charas and Fuller.

Screened on a wall is the visual projections by Torres that displayed layered text on mobility and identity, intermingled with spoken performances from his book of poetry, Xoeteox: The Infinite Word Object. The piece is accompanied by a musical improvisation with Mottel on keyboard and sound devices in the space of a dome within a room. Along with these projections, the original mission for transformation and artistic ability was presented to the surrounding audience as an experiential possibility for a continually evolving landscape.