Joshua Kohl and Haruko Crow Nishimura
co-founders and co-directors
Nishimura's passion as a director and performer is to question the relationship between audience and performer—to put them in each other’s way, always searching to discover how art can create deeper connections, transformations and awakenings. Kohl's approach to music is dedicated to the exploration and proliferation of genre-free music that utilizes all of the available tools of music-making, from classical instruments to electronics and new inventions. In addition to his work with Degenerate Art Ensemble he is also a passionate conductor of music from symphonic jazz to modern classical to indie rock. Degenerate Art Ensemble has been supported by Creative Capital, MAP Fund and New Music USA. Degenerate Art Ensemble's work Red Shoes was awarded the Music Theatre Now Award from the International Theatre Institute at Swedish Biennale.
Degenerate Art Ensemble has shown their work throughout the US and Europe known for their large scale dance and theater projects, concerts, site-transforming spectacles and ongoing public experimentation. Recent highlights of the group's work include a major exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in 2011, was commissioned by director Robert Wilson to interpret his work Einstein on the Beach in 2012 and collaborated with the Kronos Quartet in 2013. Also in 2012 Degenerate Art Ensemble was commissioned by the city of Seattle to create a massive site specific work Underbelly in collaboration with Olson Kundig Architects to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Seattle World’s Fair. The group’s most recent work Predator Songstress premiered at the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco in 2015 followed by Seattle and will show in New York in November of 2017. In December of 2016 DAE will team up with Czech rock legends Uz Jsme Doma for an epic orchestral work inspired by the music of Uz Jsme Doma and the music of Degenerate Art Ensemble for a concert at the Archa Theatre in Prague followed by a performance in Seattle in the spring of 2017. The group is currently in the early stages of creating a major site specific work for the Gettysburg Battlefield.
filmmaker / documentation
Ian has been capturing every movement of the group since before its inception and creates videos that chronicle their history. "I find every subsequent show to be the most demanding, either because it gets grander and/or there is an added detail that I've never seen before. Designing the archival of each performance definitely stretches my imagination."
Leo works with video, programming, and projection to enhance live performance. He has expanded Degenerate Art Ensemble's storytelling world with motors, mirrors and screen techniques that free video from traditional constraints. Early work in editing and installation gave way to live performance. Leo has accompanied acts from rock to ambient, and organized artists at events such as Seattle's Decibel Festival.
architect / designer
Alan Maskin is a partner and principal at Olson Kundig Architects and has been a lead collaborator for On the Beach, Predator Songstress and the coming version of Red Shoes. For over two decades he has focused primarily on the design of cultural projects including the Bill & Melinda Gates, Zooraji Park in Busan, South Korea, and the Bezos Center for Innovation. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Architectural Record and The Wall Street Journal. In addition to his design work, Alan is overseeing the development of Olson Kundig’s creative production studio.
Alenka Loesch, born May 16, 1969 is an American artist. She graduated with honors from The University of Texas, Austin , with a BA in Art History receiving her MA from San Francisco State University in Inter-Disciplinary Arts. She has been a dance theatre performer, choreographer, costume, set and fashion designer, as well as an art director for two and a half decades. She began her career in 1990 in Prague, Czechoslovakia and has been prolifically active since. She is a third generation Butoh dancer and is renowned for her costume and fashion design. She has designed for Yumiko Yoshioka, Minako Seki, Dohee Lee, InkBoat, Cafe Nordo among others and currently designs for Degenerate Art Ensemble and Jm Couture who recently debuted the Fall/ Winter '15 Obsidian Collection at NY Fashion Week.
Neal is a New York based designer and technical leader. He has worked as designer for the Builders Association for the past several years as well as being production manager for Richard Maxwell and the New York City Players with whom he toured extensively. Neal also writes, directs and designs his own works in New York.
dancer / singer
Degenerate and generate. Collect, disperse, recollect, share and ponder together to create. This is Dohee's experience with Degenerate Art Ensemble as a vocalist, dancer, musician and drummer. Her performance style uses collaborative creativity to transcend from the traditional and explore human emotion.
performer / dancer
Douglas Ridings performs and teaches Odissi with the Urvasi Dance Ensemble and has also collaborated with Saint Genet, P.A.N,. dappin' butoh and many others. He teaches Yoga at 8 Limbs Yoga Centers and approaches performance itself as kind of Yoga practice.
Okanomodé [pronounced: uh-kahn-uh-mah-day]
performance artist / expressionist / songwriter / shape-shifter
Okanomodé is an artist of the highest order. A renaissance. An exhibition. The glamazon warrior born of grit, gut, & holy paganfire. He’s the grandson of a pastor, & protégé of afronauts, poets, sex therapists & porn stars. He has rocked festivals, living rooms, pubs, parks, theaters, & bedrooms all over & is excited to go deeper into realm of creation with Degenerate Art Ensemble.
violinist / vocalist
film production design
sounds / assistant music director
While working with the Degenerate Art Ensemble, Ben helps realize the many layers of sound that go into an immersive performance experience. Ben also composes pop, noise, and chamber music, often pairing his compositions with film or dance. His work leans towards the repetitive and the minimal.
Bruce is best known for his long-term documentation of the Degenerate Art Ensemble. In recent years, his imagery has become inextricably entwined with Degenerate Art Ensemble’s conception, planning, rehearsal and presentation; it has come to play a central role in how the group sees and understands itself. In addition to DAE, Bruce splits the remainder of his time capturing local art events, theater, the music scene and unique aspects of Seattle culture.
Colin has been collaborating with the Degenerate Art Ensemble since its inception, contributing a wild parade of ride-able rolling contraptions and wearable musical instruments. He is grateful to be a part of their ongoing creative process because it always means he gets to combine his metal sculpture and music sensibilities into a new and unusual project. Besides his work with Degenerate Art Ensemble he was a founding member of Circus Contraption and a composer and trombonist with Orkestar Zirkonium.
sound artist / installation artist
Robb has been with Degenerate Art Ensemble as sound artist, producer and engineer for 10 years. His handmade electronics and kinetic structures are skillfully adapted from re-purposed materials . When activated, they broadcast discreet elements that combine across a large acoustic venue to form elaborate sonic compositions. Constantly shifting, these 'sculptures' activate to make spaces seem suddenly alive.
lighting / installation
Ben Zamora is continuously creating new work that challenges the relationship of the viewer to their environment and addresses universal themes of birth, death, and transcendence. His most recent large-scale light installations have been seen at the Frye Art Museum, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, and the Suyama Space. Zamora's artistic collaborators have included video artist, Bill Viola; Director, Peter Sellars; LA-based artist, Gronk; conceptual artist, Eleanor Antin. His projects have been seen at venues around the world, including the Mariinsky Theatre in Russia; the Hammer Museum and Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; Design Miami; Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York; Royal Festival Hall and The Barbican Center in London; Stockholm’s Baltic Sea Festival; the Helsinki Festival; the Berliner Festspiele; the Lucerne Festival in Switzerland; DeDoelen in The Netherlands; Salle Pleyel in Paris; Madison Opera; among many others. With director Peter Sellars, Zamora has implemented designs for projects including The Tristan Project; Toni Morrison's Desdemona Project;Orango, with the LA Philharmonic; and a European tour of John Adams' opera, The Gospel According to the Other Mary.
Justin Hamacher is a Seattle based interdisciplinary artist, storyteller and designer, creating with music, illustration, installation and the written word. He has 15 + years leading UX & design teams in the technology space and currently sits on the faculty of the Division of Design at the University of Washington where he teaches in the design and mHCI+D graduate program.
intern / social media
Brooke enjoys her work as the communications intern with Degenerate Art Ensemble. As an artist, Brooke focuses on wearable sculptures, sculptures involving mathematics and music, and photography also inspired by mathematics. She is also currently working on a BFA at California Institute of the Arts.