Begin to Build a UBT.


UBT site concept JPG, 2011

It might be best to start at the beginning and work our way to the end. This may not be the most coherent path but bear with me. I hope this will make some sense along the way or, at least, be enjoyable in the process.

Once upon a time,  I wanted to build a theater with you, in the backyard, in the spring.

The backyard is a hidden universe. It is a closed world of BBQ, warm nights, and sprinklers. It is a kingdom guarded by tree forts and garden sheds. It is populated by citizen star gazers, blanket layers and mosquito dodgers.  Let’s build a Universal Backyard Theater together.

So, here is the UBT plan so far…


Photos of Some Group Assemble Required (SGAR) at OTO, Brooklyn, NY, 2007

Step 1. UBT Brainstorming and Beer in Brooklyn.
Sunday March 18 from 6 to 8pm, in Brooklyn, NY,

We will gather together some friends and begin to plan how to make a one night environment for media in the backyard of the Aurora Picture Show in Houston Texas this April. We will drink some beer and talk about possible components of a the UBT. We will talk about how the components could be built.

Screen? Screens? Seats? Walls? Bar? Popcorn? Sound? Sounds? Lights? Booth? Windows? Plants? Modular? Tents? Power? Stage? Fence? Barricades? Shack? Tower? What else? etc.

As the goal is to group build the UBT, we will then attempt to construct together the first model of the space. The model does not need to be anything that could be duplicated at the site. It will be more about thinking out loud with our hands. We hope this model building process will guide us to some possibilities for the final UBT. The UBT Brainstorming and Beer in Brooklyn will be streamed at

If you would like to participate in person send me a email  - mriver at and I’ll give you the details. 

Step 2 -  UBT Brainstorming, Beer and BBQ in Texas
Aurora Picture Show Office and Library, 1524 Sul Ross, Houston, Texas

On Wednesday, April 11, 6:30-8:30PM. We will hold a Brainstorming, Beer and BBQ at the site. We will over the project and review what we worked on in the Brooklyn Brainstorming and Beer session. We will group build a second model and then attempt a beginning layout the backyard site. We will also eat Texas BBQ which, I think, will give the UBT the correct local mindset.  

ARTBarn (West)
artb (west)
Photos of All Raise This Barn (West), commissioned by ZER01 the 01SJ Biennial in San Jose, CA, 2010

Step 3 - Build the UBT

We will build as much as we can on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday April 14, we will invite anyone who is interested in joining us to finish, decorate, and detail the UBT space from 11AM-5PM. 

ARTBarn (East)

Photos of All Raise This Barn (East) on the campus of RPI. Commissioned by EMPAC as part of the Filament Festival. Troy, NY 2010

Step 4 - Turn the UBT on, invite people in and show some art.

On Saturday, April 14, at 8pm we will hold a free public screening/ opeing at the UBT. What will we show? Well, anyone who worked mentally or physically on the UBT is, of course, invited to screen a work. We will also ask some people to send us some works around the idea of building and communities. The folks at Aurora are going to dig into their archive for some works around the same themes. Personally I would like to perform the third public attempt of a Live Dramatic Reading (Disconnection of HAL 9000’s Higher Functions)

10.10.10 x10

Photo of the 2nd Attempt at a Live Dramatic Reading (Disconnection of HAL 9000’s Higher Functions) at the Beal Center, Irvine , Ca, 2010

I’m not sure how well it fits within the theme of building and communities. Actually, that work is more about unbuiling and isolation.  Although it might not fit the theme, I’ve done performed it in Brooklyn and Irvine California and people seem to like it. So, I’ll give it another shot in Texas.  Or maybe I’ll just screen a mass of large Brookyn guys dancing around with a band and massive sculptural tower on their shoulders at night. It seems very UBT.

Anyways, that’s the UBT plan so far. We’ll have more details and updates on this site as we go along. I hope you will join us.