Uisce Beatha: A Mulholland Bestiary (2015)

Uisce Beatha_Mt Whitney Whiskey Trail

Uisce Beatha: A Mulholland Bestiary (2015)

Nicole Antebi

Role: Director, writer, animator, and sound design.

Premiered at LACE, Los Angeles, CA

Uisce Beatha: A Mulholland Bestiary is a fantastical history conflating biographical aspects of William Mulholland, the controversial head of the Los Angeles Water Company from 1886-1929 with “Uisce,” the half man, half horse, bird, trickster of Irish Mythology. Spelled U-I-S-C-E, but pronounced Whiskey, the phrase “Uisce Beatha” translates from Gaelic to Water of Life. Uisce sometimes appears as a handsome Highland water-horse, perpetually searching for inland bodies of still water and attracting unsuspecting riders. When Uisce finally does find a rider, they will find themselves affixed to Uisce’s adhesive skin as he runs headlong into the nearest body of water until Uisce completely submerges the rider, leaving only a liver to wash up on the shore.

Uisce Beatha: A Mulholland Bestiary premiered at After the Aqueduct at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions curated by Kim Stringfellow March 4th-April 12th http://aftertheaqueduct.org

“After the Aqueduct: Art Considering a Dry Future” KCET Artsbound review by Kyle Zimskind: http://www.kcet.org/arts/artbound/counties/los-angeles/after-the-aqueduct-los-angeles-contemporary-exhibitions.html

“Meditations on Southern California’s water lifeline” The Los Angeles Times review by Christopher Knight: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-et-cm-review-after-the-aqueduct-at-lace-20150324-column.html

“California Scheming” The Wall Street Journal book review by John Buntin http://www.wsj.com/articles/book-review-water-to-the-angels-by-les-standiford-1429657487

Uisce Beatha_Owens Valley Cottage Transition Uisce Beatha_Spillway Transition Uisce Beatha_Telescopic Aqueduct

Uisce Beatha Bibliography_AntebiAbove: Uisce Beatha: A Mulholland Bestiary Illustrated bibliography

“Riparianism” recently premiered at Underwater New York’s 5th anniversary in DUMBO (2014)

Riaparianism stills

Prior to the “Doctrine of Appropriation,” what would later become known as the “Colorado Compact” was the accepted belief in “Riparianism” or the idea that nature should be left free to do what it does. This short non-fiction animation is a stab, a nod, a gesture toward reviving the term in the context of ecstatic real estate development persistently cropping up around Brooklyn’s historically toxic waterways specifically the Gowanus Canal and Newtown Creek. The film re-imagines a national anthem around the “most” polluted waterways in this country, amplifying the voices of friends into an animated conversation around this term.

Originally produced for Underwater New York’s fifth year anniversary Gala at DUMBO SKY in DUMBO, NY http://underwaternewyork.com/archive/2014/10/14/riparianism-by-nicole-antebi

Official selection at The Americas Film Festival of New York: http://www.taffny.com/#!shorts-animation-2015/cfg9

The Shack screening at the 94th meeting of the New York Comic and Picture Story Symposium (2014)

Orion Martin at The Rumpus wrote a nice little summary of my talk with graphic novelist, Miki Golod at Columbia University’s Butler Library:



August 19th, 2014

The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Monday nights 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City. Presentations vary weekly and include everything from historical topics and technical demonstrations to creators presenting their work. Check out upcoming meetings here.

On August 11th, the ninety-fourth meeting of the Comics and Picture Story Symposium was held at Columbia University’s Butler Library. Nicole Antebi and Miki Golod presented about their recent work.

Nicole Antebi: Why Animation?

Antebi has worked with animation on a number of projects that combine historical description and fantasy to address contemporary issues. She began her talk by describing her introduction into the world of animation. Growing up, she was discouraged from watching Disney films. As a result, she had little exposure to animation until later in life and came to see the possibilities in the medium from a different angle.

In 2009, Antebi made the short animated film, Uisce Beatha. The film begins with the story of William Mulholland, the man who oversaw the construction of the Los Angeles Aqueduct, but expands into an exploration of the relationships between whiskey, water, and Uisce, the fantastical trickster of Irish mythology who is constantly seeking water.

Antebi spoke about the possibility for magical thinking to highlight new connections and meanings in historical research, saying, “I settled on the idea that all representation is largely a form of fiction or at the very least, mediated by fiction.” She argued that animation has a unique relationship to representation because the hand of the creator has been visible from the beginning of Cinema. In classes she’s taught on animation, she would ask her students, “Why animation?” For her, the answer is in its unique ability to represent the intangible.

In a recent work, The Shack, Antebi used The Winter Shack, a collaboration with artist Alex Branch, as a launching point for a discussion of improvised housing in New York. The film weaves together hand-drawn animation, photography, and digital animation.

Antebi’s work can be found online at www.nicoleantebi.com


Miki Golod: Full Body Scan

Miki Golod is an Israeli cartoonist who has lived in Brooklyn for the past several years. He presented about his work in Israel and about Full Body Scan, his final project at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

Golod said he was hoping to focus on three issues with Full Body Scan: his move to Brooklyn, his sexuality, and his memories from the years he spent in the Israeli army as a field medic. Although he had completed autobiographical works before, these were issues that he had been avoiding.

Full Body Scan begins on a snowy night in Brooklyn, as Golod’s date begins to ask him questions about his time in the military. Using the conversation to give context to his memories, Golod addresses some of the questions he is asked most often about his service. Ranging from mundane to terrifying, his stories depict the reality of military life.

When he began the work, Golod wanted to make a comic that avoided the stereotypes he had seen in LGBT comics (namely, the focus on sex) and in Israeli war stories (the troubled soldier, trying to remember what happened). The comic also addresses some of the culture shock he felt when encountering American ideas of war in films such as Act of Valor.

When asked about which parts of the comic are drawn from memory and which are fictional, Golod said that the date which provides the frame for the story is fictitious, even though it is drawn from many true stories. As for the war stories, Golod said, “I drew it the way I remember it, but I can’t be 100% sure.”

You can find Miki Golod’s work at golod.prosite.com


About the author: Orion Martin is a comics writer and critic whose work focuses on the intersection between science fiction and social commentary. You can find his work atorionnotes.com/art or r-o-martin.tumblr.com.

The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Tuesday nights 7-9pm EST in New York City. Presentations vary weekly and include everything from historical topics and technical demonstrations to creators presenting their work. Check out upcoming meetings here. More from this author →

High Desert Test Sites and Monte Vista Projects Present: Spectacular Subdivision (2014)

The Shack screened at Spectacular Subdivision presented by High Desert Test Sites and Monte Vista Projects 

Curator: Jay Lizo

For Spectacular Subdivision (see more info below) I screened a single channel non-fiction animated short title The Shack about the history of shacks, shantytowns and housing settlements built throughout New York during historic periods of severe income inequality not unlike our current moment. The animation frames this history by way of The Winter Shack, a temporary exhibition/performance space built from the cast-off remains of found wooden pallets in a backyard in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. Encouraged by the architecture of The Winter Shack and an exceptionally brutal winter, The Winter Shack brought artists and writers together for performative readings, installations, and happenings during the first three months of 2014. The improvised architecture and adaptive reuse of The Shack stands as a optimistic reminder of the possibilities of making something out of nothing.

Stills from The Shack:

The Shack 1

The Shack 4

Shack 2

KCET Artsbound review by Kim Stringfellow:


High Desert Test Sites and Monte Vista Projects present Spectacular Subdivision, a group project curated by Jay Lizo. This three-day exhibition invites artists to reflect on questions of housing and real estate in the aftermath of the 2008 housing market crisis. What does housing mean to artists in relation to their practice? How has the mortgage meltdown affected artists? How have forms of domesticity and shelter shaped artists’ practices?

Spectacular Subdivision stems from the many conversations Jay had with other artists about purchasing a home. These conversations, ranging from the various types of paints used for interiors, to how to expand a house to incorporate a studio, and how to find balance between a living and working space, were simultaneously banal and fantastical. The project both engages and mimics the logic of real estate development as it has played out in the years since settlement began on the edges of habitable space across the Californian desert, e.g. California City in Kern County and Salton City, the failed resort adjacent to the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. The call invites participating artists to explore their personal fantasies in tandem with that (il)logic.

The project takes place over one weekend at two sites in Wonder Valley, California, on the fringes of the high desert. Large-scale sculptures are installed in a cul-de-sac formation at the remote, undeveloped Iron Age Road parcel. Additional works are on view at El Paseo Ranch, a rental cabin owned by the Sibley Family.

Participating artists include: Matt Allison, Katie Allison, Yuki Ando, Nicole Antebi, Annette Barz, Lara Bank, Allison Danielle Behrstock, James Cathey, Frank Chang, Chelsea Dean, Michael Dodge, Rebecca Bennett Duke, Ken Ehrlich, Patrick Gilbert, Joe Goode, Jenalee Harmon, Anastasia Hill, Dick Hebdige, Oliver Hess, Oree Holban, Olga Koumoundouros, Norm Laich, Jay Lizo, Candice Lin, Clare Little, Justin Lowman, Ben Lord, Nuttaphol Ma, Patrick Melroy, Anna Mayer, Megan Mueller, Ruchama Noorda, Noah Peffer, Nikki Pressley, Ben Pruskin, Nate Page, Carl Pomposelli, Colin Roberts, Marco Rios, Sam Scharf, Ryan Taber, Emily Thomas, Matthew Usinowicz, Jesse Wilson, and Kim Yasuda.

About Monte Vista Projects:
Monte Vista Projects is an artist-run space in the Highland Park area of Los Angeles. Since July 2007, Monte Vista Projects has hosted exhibitions, lectures, events, and performances. The space is self-determining—there is no “manifesto”—but the general aim is to provide a platform for art and conversation in Los Angeles, emphasizing experimentation and artworks that contribute to non-traditional dialogues.

Dream Propulsion (Laboratory) (2013)

Dream Propulsion (Laboratory) 2013 Animation by Nicole Antebi, Music by Laura Ortman

“Submerged!” has appeared in Long Island City, Brooklyn, Budapest, Thailand and Los Angeles.

More Info at:

Repurposing imagery from the Brooklyn based Reanimation Library, the animation hones in on the domestic space of “Roger’s Dream,” a short story by Leo Kuelbs, by drawing from and expanding on the fantasy of a connubial space ship. The interior elements are centered around the television set as a widescreen window into some version of the cosmos, depending on the channel.

Dream Propulsion_Antebi_3 Dream Propulsion_Antebi_2 Dream Propulsion_Antebi_1 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Digital Macrame to be projected on the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage (2013)

In 2012, I designed a visual score/animation comparing rival pitches 432 Hz and 440 Hz part of a multimedia presentation, titled “Pitch Battles” at Machine Project in Los Angeles and California State University in Monterey Bay.  The animation, titled “Digital Macrame” will be projected on the Manhattan Bridge Anchorage in conjunction with “DUMBO Glow” this Thursday December 19th and Friday the 20th from 5-9pm and curated by Leo Kuelbs and John Ensor Parker.  The animation is set to Wagner’s Das Rheingold Act 1: Prelude and pitch-altered by Chris Kallmyer.

432 and 440 Cymatic Animation

DUMBOGlow Press Release

More about the original multi-media performance:

In overlapping performances, Colin Dickey, Nicole Antebi and Chris Kallmyer will explore the difference between two rival pitches, 440 Hz and 432 Hz: Colin Dickey will trace the history of the war for correct musical tuning, a debate that’s raged for two centuries and has involved the Nazis, French government, BBC, Lyndon Larouche, and new age practitioners. Responding to the phenomenon of radial pattern formation by sound frequencies or Cymatics, Nicole Antebi will accompany the talk and performance with a video tinkering with the shape of sound. Additionally, Chris Kallmyer will accompany the talk sonically, creating an multi-channel environment of competing tonal systems and real-time examples of pitch-altered recordings of Wagner, sine tones, and live instruments.

Colin Dickey’s essay “Pitch Battles” from the January 2013 issue of The Believer: http://www.believermag.com/issues/201301/?read=article_dickey

The Eucalypt (2013)

The Eucalypt

Using archival Weather Bureau footage of cloud formations, and stop motion along with hand drawn elements, this short animation tells a brief history of the nineteenth century introduction of the Australian Eucalyptus tree to California. The Eucalypt was thought to be messianic with promises of improved weather, a renewed lumber industry, fever-reducing properties and iconic beauty second only to the great Redwood. The Eucalyptus would fail to meet nearly every demand placed upon it and in the twentieth century, Californians would grow to despise the tree and think of it merely as the world’s largest and messiest weed.

Premiered at Teeny-Cine at Verge Center for the Arts, Sacramento


The following authors/essays factored largely in my research and inspired the project:

Jared Farmer Gone Native

D.J. Waldie The Many and Contradictory Meanings of Southern California’s Iconic Eucalyptus Trees

Nathan Masters Who Eucalyptized California

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