Mottel_Mottel: The Image is a Seed is an artwork by Matt Mottel anchored by the historic photographic archive of his father, Syeus Mottel. Syeus, a diaristic photographer, documented both artistic happenings, like the annual Avant Garde Art Festival organized by Charlotte Moorman, and political demonstrations, such as the Levitation of the Pentagon in Washington DC in April, 1967. In performance at Roulette, archival color slides and digitally scanned negatives are projected in tandem with the music, and staged action.
Mottel’s composition method reflects and responds to the condition of uncirculated historic images that re-affirm the ineffable subterranean spirit. Image is a Seed uses the archive to explore our interconnected past, present, and future. This work promotes a re-consideration of archival practice and a re-definition of cultural ownership. The live performance of the musical composition and visual presentation of the archive act as equal elements in the final outcome.
Matt Mottel: synthesizers, piano, electronics, sculptural objects, video design
Syeus Mottel: photography
Roulette’s Winter season will be presented virtually and available for free on a variety of streaming platforms. Our theater is currently closed for public performances as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the safety measures that Roulette has put in place to keep staff, artists, and the public safe.
Matt Mottel enlivens primary source materials and creates collaborative artworks that amplify knowledge and provide access to subterranean culture. Social activism and cultural community are threads that run throughout Mottel’s extensive body of performances, videos, sculptures and music. Mottel’s comprehensive artistic foraging stems from his native New York upbringing. ‘Moonlight University’ was in session, with Steve Dalachinsky and Yuko Otomo, who he first encountered as a teenager on the downtown new york scene in the late 90’s. In 2010, Mottel was selected by the late ISSUE Project Room founder Suzanne Fiole as an Artist in Residence, and it was in this period that he developed an ongoing multimedia project that utilizes the cultural photography of his father, Syeus Mottel. He is currently researching the 18th century era of the keytar and is also inspired by the 24 hour format that was HnH Bagels…. ‘it’s everything.’
Syeus Mottel (1930-2014, New York, NY) was a theater director and photographer, notable for his documentation of Lee Strasberg and the Actors Studio and Buckminster Fuller. Syeus defined his photography as “diaristic”: he shot the people he encountered including John Cage, Ornette Coleman, Thelonious Monk, Martin Luther King Jr., William S. Burroughs, Abbie Hoffman, Miles Davis, Patti Smith, Vito Acconci, Robert Rauschenberg and Diane Arbus. In 1973, Syeus published Charas, the Improbable Dome Builders, about the Lower East Side community organization CHARAS, who had been experimenting with Buckminster Fuller’s and other’s ideas to build inexpensive housing on vacant land on the Lower East Side. The book was re-published in 2017 by Song Cave Press and Pioneer Works. Matthew Mottel wrote an accompanying essay that appeared in Art News Magazine in December 2017. Syeus’s photographs were the subject of his first solo show at Situations gallery, New York in 2017.