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Nerve Circle in Brooklyn

"Call it a sequel to the Rave... For 12 hours, more than 2,000 people pushed into 
an abandoned mustard factory to see the work of 120 artists, featuring everything 
from exploding watermelons to performers rapelling down silos."

 – Melissa RossiNewsweek

"Must I Org? Yes, I Orged! I Orged! I was devastated! ...really the most thoroughgoing 
environmental event in 'burg history. It was integrated, witty, cool, and I fell asleep in a 
tangle of lovely bodies in 'The Womb', my faith in empirical, exterior theater restored."
                                – Medea de Vyse, Waterfront Week


Organism was a system of collaboration involving webs of phenomena cast by 120 artists, musicians, performers, technicians and at least one historian. The all-night, ecological event took place in an abandoned mustard factory on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 1993. Ebon Fisher's proposal for the event outlined a method of simultaneous and overlapping arts presentation he dubbed a Web Jam. Participants cast webs of performance, video, music and sculpture across a 10,000 square foot industrial site. 2000 people attended, dancing and strolling about from six at night until 9 the next morning. 

"Conceived by Ebon Fisher, Organism became a kind of symbolic climax to the renegade activity 
that had been stirring within the community since the late eighties. It exploited the notion of architecture 
as living event, breathing and transforming for fifteen hours in an abandoned mustard factory."
                                 – Suzanne Wines, Domus

Organism could not have succeeded without the skills of a community of artists and musicians who had cultivated a highly collaborative, Immersionist sensibility among the storefronts, streets and warehouses of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, in the early 1990s. Primary organizers included Ebon Fisher, Anna Hurwitz, Megan Raddant, David Brody, Colin Crain, Richard Duckworth, Robert Elmes, Jeff Gompertz, Yvette Helin, Jessica Nissen, Kevin Pyle, Fred Valentine and Dan McKereghan. See all 120 collaborators below.



"[Organism] has such a following that even Newsweek wrote about it. Events like these finally established Williamsburg as an artists' colony."

                                – Die Zeit

"The linear quality of the written word cannot describe the experience of being there within the ORGANISM, undulating."
                                – Judy Thomas, artist

"The energy of the show was huge, unique, on the edge of containment, and yet full of good spirit, rare spirit. And it had shape, crisp sensations of expectation, happening, and climax, and afterward a kind of post-organismic cigarette was lit and for me it's still smoking."

                                – David Brody, writer, artist




On-Site Planning Circle for Organism

Ebon Fisher is in black hat, left, followed clockwise by David Dienes, Dragan Ilic, Vernon Bigman, Yvette Helin, Matty Jankowski and two 

sons, Pegi Vail, David Brody, Fred Valentine, Robert Elmes, Anna Hurwitz, Sarah Barker, Cliff Crepeau, Megan Raddant, 

Karen Cormier and two unidentified participants.

The Web Jam was essentially an enclosed urban jungle. Melanie Roche's Dancers criss-crossed over and interacted with Megan Raddant's Elvin Napping Systems, which criss-crossed over lines of David Brody's video and computer systems. Roaming musicians such as Karen Cormier's wolf balladeer comingled with Hit and Run Theater's rapellers who dropped down from large grain silos and streamed through the audience on the way to scuba diving in a tank at the other end of the factory yards. Myk Henry tempted the audience to light numerous fuses which sparkled in the darkness and ignited cherry bombs at the center of watermelons dangling from the factory ceiling. Flying pieces of watermelon created another web reaching as far as North 1st Street. 

Systems were not strictly of an arts variety. Gene Pool provided a formula for seeding odd pockets of rye grass throughout the site, overlapping Sasha Noe's extreme bottle smashing and recycling system. Pegi Vail installed small lights throughout the site which pin-pointed features of the factory's history. A phone line was installed so that WFMU could provide a live broadcast of the event. Fax messages came in from the West Coast. The Web Jam was ultimately an emergent living system, offering a vivid departure from both modern and post-modern theories of cultural production.

"A layering of system upon system whose intersections 

spawn unique accidental places "

– Domus on Organism

Organism was the last of Williamsburg's great warehouse events which included the Cats Head I & II and Flytrap. In the mid 1990s onwards, as real estate speculators began to exploit the pioneering nerve of Williamsburg's creative community, fire departments began to shut down such large experimental gatherings. Fences and private condos went up around the waterfront.


In Alphabetical Order

Video Systems • David Brody (Video installations) 
Electrical Systems • Colin Crain (Visual Cortex) 
Sound Design • Richard Duckworth (Smile Master) 
Electrical Systems • Robert Elmes (Antenna to the Stars from Secret Source) 
Concept/Direction • Ebon Fisher (Bionic Codes) 
Site Scout/Electrical • Jeff Gompertz (Thermo-Electric Dance System) 
Moolah Systems • Yvette Helin (Swing Painting Machine) 
Lights/Liquid/Logistics • Anna Hurwitz (Anti-Virus System) 
Installation Systems • Jessica Nissen (Squishy Hands & Oranges 
for the Masses) 
Installation Systems • Kevin Pyle (Organ Theft Narrative) 
Performance Systems • Megan Raddant (Elvin Napping Systems) 
Security Systems • Fred Valentine (The Water System) 


Dan McKereghan, The Amazing Gustav, Gary Waingart, David Owen, 
Andrew Hampsas, Denman Maroney, David Simons (Colloidal Suspension) 
Stuart Sachs, Melissa Stampley (Symbiotic) 
Doug Benett (Roving Rapper) 
John Snyder (Laser Images, Didjeridu, Waterphone, Theremin) 
George Krassas, Stacey Greenwald (Pollination Station) 
Gwynne Duncan, Jennifer Collins (The Tentacular Jelly Root) 
Cliff Crepeau (Technical Assistance) 
David H. Brown (Omni located, self-consuming Detrivors/Viruses) 
David Dienes (Personal Sound Environment) 
Marisa's Peaches (Dancing Your Private Butoh Dreams) 
James Porter (The Womb) 
Kelly Webb, Viva, Theresa Westerdahl, Julie O'Brien (The Boom Boom Womb) 
John A. Cicali (Primal Heart Beat and Pulse) 
Ozker (Passage) 
Dragan Ilic (Liquid Laser System with Beans) 
Marta Vi (PA-LARVA, a performance) 
Amy Shapiro (Mad Scientist Laboratory System) 
Stuart Sachs (The Garden of Earthly Delights) 
Edip Agi and Milene Fernandez (Pods and Cocoons Undulating) 
Andrew Innes and Jane Bowles (Tubes) 
Esther Yun (Little Photo Portraits of Organism's Collaborators) 
David Brody, Bozidar Kemperle,Daniel Brody, 
Carleton Bright (Video-Computer-Phrase Interface) 
Daniel Berlfein (Improv: How do I get into the ORGANISM?) 
Andrew Innes, Derek Bronston, Andy Mazo (Music) 
Laurent Mellet (Water/Fire Radio Steel Cow -Fear System) 
Karthik Swaminithan (Electro-Synaptic Pumps) 
Stevie Allweis (Roving Woman) 
Peter Kursel (Woo-Lip System) 
Keith Godbout, Daniella & Students (Performance: If You're Not Afraid, You're Not Brave) 
Dolores Zorrequieta (Rolling Self-Portrait) 
The Unbearables, Matty, Jason, Adam Jankowski (Cathode Ray Tubing, Neoist News Agency) 
Rob Hickman, Luisa Caldwell, Mark, Alias Jones, Stevie, Jan, Nadia (Zero Gravity Body Scans) 
Pegi Vail (Before the Dodgers Left Brooklyn - Site-Specific Historical Installations) 
Robin Dann (Elf/Floral Collage Posters) 
Josh Cohen (Wandering Baby Projections) 
Michael Henry (Chrome Stroll & Chanson D'Amour, AKA Exploding Watermelons) 
Melanie Hahn Roche & Movers (Natural Lies) 
Sarah Barker (Vein Things) 
Ana Maria Rodriguez (Crude Optical Devices) 
Danny Delgado, Eileen Schreiber (Food and Video) 
Gene Pool, Tim Spelios, Caroline Cox, Sasha Sumner (Playtez Playpen) 
Jon Rubin (The Big Mustard Movie) 
Zloty:Fric, Karen Cormier (Doggie Limelight: The Sleep of Man) 
Vernon Bigman (Barbeque Angel -High Density Audience Participant) 
Eben Dodd (Elf) 
Gig Wailgum (Visual Entrance System) 
Brian Quinn, John Cicali, Veronica Agular, Diep Durstine (Primalpulsesystem) 
Bradford Reed (Pencilina) 
Sasha Noe, Bradford Reed (Bottle Breaking System) 
Daniel Carello (Walk on Water) 
Frank Shifreen (Numerous Biological Figures) 
Ursula Clark (Birch Structures) 
Judy Thomas (Viral Balls -Troubles) 
Dan Green and IFAN (Blood & Immune Response Simulation) 
Bruce Pearson, David Weinstein, Julie Nichols (Heterodyning Jones) 
Genia Gould, Judy Murphy (First Aid System) 
André Kruysen (Mold) 
Neil Hamilton (Geodesic Nerve Bath) 
Tim Robert (Electric Guitar System) 
Shelley Marlowe (Interactive Storytelling) 
Borsi (Black and White) 
Andrew Mazo, Drakula & Friends, Tim Otto, Ken Butler, 
John Snyder (Music Jammers) 
David Dienes, Tim Robert, Christopher Strouse, Lex Grey (Music Jammers) 
The 2,000 people who came (Human Flesh System) 
WFMU (Low-tech Live Broadcast) 
Slugs, mice, spiders, and microbes (Other Systems Beyond
our Human Worldview)

SPECIAL THANKS TO: The community, John Shuttleworth, Matty Jankowski, 

Ernie Hurwitz, Set Recycling Hotline, Materials for the Arts, Miller Brewing Co., Carl Volmer, Paul Santich, 

The Outpost, Shlomo Mantz, Rick Culver, Bill Cuozzi, the liquid crew, the security crew, and Circle Arts. 

Sponsored by Circle Arts and incubated in the webs of Brooklyn, 1993.