deMent-triloquism:  In case you were wondering, the fear of ventriloquist’s dummies is called automatonophobic (which by the way includes the fear of wax dummies and automatons like Zoltar the fortune teller).   I can understand how ventriloquist dolls could illicit terror and trepidation; typically they are bit creepy looking.    Remember Anthony Hopkins in the film Magic, whose dummy seemed to have a villainous will of its own?   Well, in this class, I’m not sure you’ll walk away with a self-aware dummy but you will learn how to make deMented dolls that are capable of flapping their jaws.  You start with a mannequin head, doll head, bust, taxidermy item, etc. and then using various found objects you will adorn and transform them into something rich and strange.  Most importantly, your bizarre creation will be rigged so that it has the power to speak…hopefully not on it’s own.

 Want a bit of phobia inducing inspiration?  Here are a few films in which dummies come to life:  “Magic”, “Dead of Night”, “Devil Doll”, “Dead Silence” and Twilight Zone episodes: “Caesar and Me” and “the Dummy”.

About the Instructor

Michael deMeng is an assemblage artist from Vancouver, Canada who exhibits throughout the United States. As an educator, he has been actively involved with VSA Montana, providing art education and encouraging participation in the arts to people with disabilities. Through these activities, as well as his artwork, deMeng fosters community awareness, and offers creative methods to explore the human experience.

In his art, he addresses issues of transformation. Discarded materials find new and unexpected uses in his work; they are reassembled and conjoined with unlikely components, a form of rebirth from the ashes into new life and new meaning.

These assemblages are metaphors for the evolutions and revolutions of existence: from life to death to rebirth, from new to old to renewed, from construction to destruction to reconstruction. These forms are examinations of the world in perpetual flux, where meaning and function are ever-changing.