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Photo by Mark Gjukich

Ouroboros

Machine Dazzle
Presented in partnership with the U-M Stamps School of Art & Design Roman J. Witt Residency Program
March 14 — August 25, 2024
Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery

An Exhibition In Three Acts

In Ouroboros, artist Machine Dazzle presents a maximalist wonderland inspired by the ancient symbol of a snake consuming its own tail. Unfolding in three acts, Dazzle’s installation explores a journey of infinities and stories of eternal life and rebirth.

The exhibition takes visitors on a symbolic odyssey through Dazzle’s unique point of view, weaving found objects and locally sourced materials into an immersive experience. As the installation progresses, the gallery space transforms, revealing new layers of meaning and inviting contemplation on the cyclical nature of existence.

In the initial act, the gallery serves as a canvas for Dazzle’s lavish interpretation of the Ouroboros. Subsequent acts introduce dynamic shifts. The culmination unfolds as the sculpture spawns 12 wearables that will be activated by a group of performers. This final act, a celebration coinciding with LGBTQ Pride Month, symbolizes the interconnectedness of the installation with contemporary narratives.

Related Events

Ouroboros, Act 3: Runway Show — Featuring Machine Dazzle and Thornetta Davis
Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Apse
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 5:00pm–5:30pm
Ouroboros, Act 3: Runway Show — Featuring Machine Dazzle and Thornetta Davis
Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Apse
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 6:00pm–6:30pm
Ouroboros, Act 3: Runway Show — Featuring Machine Dazzle and Thornetta Davis
Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch Apse
Fri, Jun 14, 2024 7:00pm–7:30pm
Artist Meet & Greet – Machine Dazzle
Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery
Sun, Apr 28, 2024 3:00pm–4:00pm
Artist Meet & Greet – Machine Dazzle
Irving Stenn, Jr. Family Gallery
Sat, Apr 27, 2024 3:00pm–4:00pm
Feel Good Friday graphic with color circles and the words 'Feel Good Friday' shown inside the graphic.
Feel Good Friday: Queer Night at UMMA
Whole Museum
Fri, Mar 15, 2024 7:00pm–10:00pm
Artist talk with Machine Dazzle: Revelations of Maximalism
Historic Theater
Thu, Mar 14, 2024 5:30pm–7:00pm
Presented by UMMA and the Penny W. Stamps Distinguished Speaker Series

ACT II

In ACT II Ouroboros evolves, exploding out of itself and into the gallery in new ways — creating more for the viewer to consider and discover.

Photo by Mark Gjukich
Photo by Mark Gjukich
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Photo by Mark Gjukich
Photo by Mark Gjukich
Photo by Mark Gjukich

ACT I

In ACT I, Ouroboros includes found objects and locally sourced materials crafted by Machine Dazzle into a glittering sculpture hung from the ceiling of the gallery. Mirrored walls reflect the work back onto itself and visitors in a cycle of repetition and refraction. ACT I also includes a soundscape created by the artist by manipulating parts of the sculpture underwater.

Photo by Doug Coombe
Photo by Mark Gjukich
Photo by Mark Gjukich
Photo by Christopher Ankney
Photo by Christopher Ankney

Behind the Scenes

As a Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence, Machine Dazzle has been developing and creating Ouroboros in collaboration with the University of Michigan community. To make visible the creative process through the creation of a defined work from concept to completion, is a central tenet of the residency. See more about the process in our image gallery.

A man is seen through a small window in the center of the image, he is reaching into a large recycling dumpster, using a grabber claw to pick objects out of the trash heap.
Photo by Andrew Cohen
A man is seen through a small window in the center of the image, he is reaching into a large recycling dumpster, using a grabber claw to pick objects out of the trash heap.
Machine Dazzle sitting in a chair surrounded by garbage working on pieces for his sculpture Ouroboros.
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Machine Dazzle sitting in a chair surrounded by garbage working on pieces for his sculpture Ouroboros.
Collage pieces pinned to wall with different product labels on them to show sculpture ideas.
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Collage pieces pinned to wall with different product labels on them to show sculpture ideas.
male presenting person in a small pool making noises with a tiny bucket
Photo by Neil Kagerer
male presenting person in a small pool making noises with a tiny bucket
Different bottles, cans, and pieces of trash sitting on the edge of the pool.
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Different bottles, cans, and pieces of trash sitting on the edge of the pool.
Machine Dazzle posing for the camera while sitting in chair surrounded by trash.
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Machine Dazzle posing for the camera while sitting in chair surrounded by trash.
Wide-shot of people helping wrap white coil and wooden stand sculpture
Photo by Neil Kagerer
Wide-shot of people helping wrap white coil and wooden stand sculpture
artists wrapping tape around white coil sculpture piece
Photo by Neil Kagerer
artists wrapping tape around white coil sculpture piece
Photo of Machine Dazzle by Amy Touchette

About the Artist

Machine Dazzle

Machine Dazzle is the 2024 Roman J. Witt Artist In Residence. For nearly two decades, Machine Dazzle has been producing spectacular costumes, sets, and performances that transfix audiences with a maximalist kaleidoscope. In recent years, Dazzle has brought his vibrant vision, informed by queer culture and expressions of the queer body, to the creation of bespoke installations. Machine Dazzle’s work has been exhibited internationally. His first solo exhibition, Queer Maximalism x Machine Dazzle, was held at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) in New York City in 2022.

In the Media

Revelations of Maximalism: Public Talk
See Machine Dazzle’s talk as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series
The Interior Review: Exhibition Review
“Machine Dazzle at his most progressive, aware, and fun”
Michigan Daily: Artist Interview
“Go into this exhibit considering what you consumed and discarded today,” Dazzle said

About the University of Michigan Roman J. Witt Residency

The Roman J. Witt Residency Program, developed with the support of University of Michigan alumna Penny W. Stamps and named in honor of her father, is an annual international competition that awards one residency per academic year to a visiting artist/designer who proposes to develop a new work in collaboration with University of Michigan students and faculty.

SUPPORT

Machine Dazzle: Ouroboros is produced by Chrisstina Hamilton, Jim Leija, Andrew Cohen, Matt Casadonte, and Niki Fairchild Azevedo with studio support from Ana Trujillo Garcia. Sound editing by Matthew Girard.

Machine Dazzle: Ouroboros is presented in partnership with the Roman J. Witt Artist in Residence Program of the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design, with lead support provided by the U-M Office of the Provost, U-M Arts Initiative, Candy and Michael Barasch, Catherine Glynn Benkaim and Barbara Timmer, Susan and Richard Gutow, and the U-M LSA Honors Program. Additional generous support is provided by the U-M School of Social Work. Special thanks to Barbara Tober and the Acronym Fund. Machine Dazzle is represented by Pomegranate Arts.