Wild Maquina – Judges’ Choice Nov 2014

What is Wild Maquina?

Wild Maquina (www.wildmaquina.com) is a new tribe of award-winning and aspiring artists from diverse disciplines and global origins that collaborate on experimental fusion art projects that give homage to the human spirit. Our aim is to create just two spectacular projects each year to inspire ourselves and others to live, love and create without limits or borders. By having a multicultural group, we hope to cultivate a sense of international unity through our work.

We have an IndieGoGo campaign to help us raise funds for our next project: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/wild-maquina-international-artistic-inspiration

Origins, People, Story, Etc

The group was started by myself (Ponzi), Erik "Talltree" Butts and Paulina Pulido. The Star Child video was honestly inspired by a random and unlikely series of serendipitous events. I had created my first poetry video about 6 months earlier in Colombia entitled "The Risk Life" and after the overwhelmingly positive response, I decided to create another one when I returned to Los Angeles, but this time with a dancer being the focal point instead of myself, and with the theme revolving around the simple fact that we are "descendents of stardust."
A filmmaker from Mexico City had seen my first poetry video on some website and reached out to me, saying that she would be in L.A. and wanted to meet. So we did and I told her my idea and she decided to introduce me to her incredibly talented dancer friend, also from Mexico City, Paulina. We met and instantly had chemistry along with similar ideas for an inspiring fine arts piece that fused poetry and dance in a unique way around the cosmic concept.

From that point, I quickly wrote the poem, to be later titled Star Child, inspired by our conversations, recorded it in a studio, and Paulina began to choreograph the dance to the rhythm and words of the poem using her other talented dancer friends from other parts of the world. Erik, an award winning filmmaker and editor, who was actually my roommate at the time and occasional collaborator, had also produced dance videos (his girlfriend is also a professional dancer). He loved the poem, and agreed to take on the project. The rest of the pieces fell into place after that until the day we all drove out into the middle of the freezing desert near Nevada as the sun went down and the moon went up and we gave homage to the stars in our own way.

Afterwards, everyone was so surprised at how well we all got along despite the difficulties of the night (the tailor-fit LED strips to the dancers were particularly difficult), how well the piece turned out, and how much fun we had, that we decided to create the group, Wild Maquina, so we could continue.

Paulina Pulido
Gabriela Hernandez
Marisa Garcia
Manuel Constantino
Salvador Ramos
Joel Fridman
Original Score Composed by: Milo Coello
Sound Engineering by: Daniel Davila

From Erik, our director and editor, on video techniques:

"At first when we were discussing the project, I honestly didn't know how we could film it. We wanted to play with the idea of light and dark, but with limited resources i.e. no huge lighting equipment, location permits to run lights and generators, our options were slim. But then a new camera was released by Sony, the Sony A7s, that could supposedly film at night with just the available light from a full moon. I looked into it after its release and the test clips blew me away. It was the perfect camera for this project. With the high ISO sensitivity of the camera we could expose the dancers and their surroundings with just the LED strips on their bodies. Instead of exposing the dancers with additional lights off-camera, each dancer became a light source. Basically each dancer became a star!"

From Paulina, choreographer and dancer, on choreography:

"The choreography is deeply influenced by thinking of dancers in their most raw state. In the same sense that stars are the raw material which will create life, that is how I wanted to see raw movements rather than a specific dance style come together to illustrate Chris Ponzi's poem. That is also why each dancer came from a very different background, Gaby is more of a technical dancer, Marisa is a brilliant voguer, Salvador and Manuel are Hip-Hop based and Joel is trained in free running.

I wanted to create this piece because I felt a lack of connection between dancers nowadays, and honestly when we were dancing at 3 a.m. in the middle of the desert, connected is exactly how we felt. Everyone came together to bring this crazy idea to life and I'm incredibly thankful to all of them."

 What Inspires Us to Create, Future Plans, Etc

While I can't speak for everyone, I think everyone would agree that generating a powerful and authentic connection to a deeper purpose through our art inspires us. Regardless of the medium or the movement, this group of artists wants to lose themselves in the depths of their art, searching for truths through experimentation, and we also want the audience to join us in that journey, fuse with us, if even for a moment, because it is in those moments of unified experience that we recognize our true fundamental beauty and connection to all things.

All of us believe in the beauty of nature and the human spirit, and while we haven't discussed it yet in-depth, our goal for the next project is to keep pushing the boundaries of experimental techniques that can break through the distractions of modern life to pierce the soul and expand imagination on a grander scale than Star Child.