I've been a puppeteer for about 20 years. I got into puppets as a natural progression in my work as a visual artist, performer and mask maker. As I experimented with externalizing the mask I became obsessed with the possibilities of the puppet.
Your puppetry work often focuses on the occult. What about puppetry do you think makes it an effective medium for addressing that topic?
My interest in the occult is centered upon the practices and lore of shamanism. Shamanism is the root of theatre and ritual and healing as well as stage magic and storytelling. Essentially I am a Surrealist in that I utilize shamanic techniques and ritual to inform my creative process.
Puppetry involves creating an illusion of life in order to tell stories and convey emotion in a particular. I also find that this externalization of consciousness produces uncanny effects and actually changes reality in a palpable way. This has much in common with Jung's ideas related to "Participation Mystique" and the externalization of consciousness into objects. Whew!
What other kinds of projects have you worked on during your time in the world of puppetry?
I have worked extensively in children's television. I toured extensively across for two summers as parts of a variety show- promotional tour. I worked as a solo performer doing an industrial at the 96 Olympics. I was in a commercial directed by Spike Lee. I've performed in two horror films "I sell the Dead" and "Stakeland". I was on " The Chappelle Show". I was a cast member on the New York run of Henson alternative's "Stuffed and Unstrung" or "Puppet Up". I've also been on the puppet building team for the last 2 Muppet films. I've also worked extensively creating and performing my own live theater in NY and around the U.S. since 1988.
What do you hope festival-goers take away from your lecture at this year’s Geppetto Festival?
I hope that festival goers will find some interesting ways to approach creativity and idea generation as well performance and storytelling.
Where can we learn more about James Godwin?
More me at jamesgodwinarts.com