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Kira Obolensky

Residency Sites: Plainfield, VT

I’m primarily a maker of narratives—some are used in artists’ books, some become theatrical performances, some find their ways into short stories or puppet/object pieces. Often I find my ideas in history or true event, I don’t make documentaries though—I find myself more interested in an imaginative re-construction of events that examines the emotional relevance of the story. I am always engaged, whatever the medium, in the process of writing text that has the particular quality of being able to be heard.

I also write about architecture and design. I co-authored the national bestseller The Not So Big House, and have also published two other books, including one about cool American garages. My non-fiction writing is always intersecting with my creative work, even in the most esoteric of ways. How is a story like a building? How does style begin to affect structure? (I’m very interested in structure and form and how it can mirror and support subject matter.)

Recently, I’ve helped found a consortium of artists called The Gymnasium, who work collaboratively on both performative and public art works. A new Gymnasium piece, called Force/Matter, combines movement, sculpture, and spoken text to examine how the classical laws of physics can intersect with family dynamics.

Other new work includes Raskol (Ten Thousand Things Theatre, will be produced spring 2009), which has an improvisational jazz score by the Fantastic Merlins. A commissioned object theatre piece will premiere in Philadelphia the fall of 2009 funded by the Pew Theatre Initiative. My short story, “Snow Man,” is being adapted by Open Eye Figure Theatre into a puppet play. Other creative work includes a novel about a hummingbird collector and a screenplay about a man obsessed with footprints.

I view teaching and the opportunity to mentor at Goddard as a form of artistic conversation. I look forward to good conversations that will stretch me as a teacher and as an artist.

Educational Background:

MFA in Fiction, Warren Wilson Program for Writers; BA in English and Studio Arts, Williams College.