“Gutless Warrior” by Ali Momeni and Jenny Schmid (2014)

The Gutless Warrior is a drawing and projection performance that attacks contemporary stereotypes with contemporary weaponry in the shape of drawings, masks, hecklers, green screens and play. Popular media increasingly bombards us with opportunities to publicly and hastily judge one another; recent examples include Philip Seymour Hoffman and Woody Allen’s perplexing scandals, and the epidemic of teen bullying cases that are catalyzed by social media. To counter this bombardment, we invite participants to offer their drawings and bodies to judge and be judged; in good faith we will begin with our own.

The performance consists of four components: a panoramic projection on a wide wall, a green screen video recording booth, a drawing station for several players with paper and Sharpie markers, and a table of screen printed paper masks. Visitors begin by choosing a mask and at the green screen booth they are handed a small piece of paper with one of our imaginary stereotypes:

  • The Gutless Warrior
  • The Pointless Archer
  • The Friendless Celebrity
  • The Hopeless Prophet
  • The Hapless Leader
  • The Zealous Aethist
  • The Worthless Billionaire
  • The Selfless Manager

In response to the stereotype, the visitor strikes a pose and acts out the stereotype with a gesture. A short video loop of this pose is captured and sent to the panoramic projection to be projected at life scale on the wall. A group of trained drawers then use markers and paper to draw on top of this video, adding context and humor.

This work was created collaboratively by Ali Momeni (concept, system design, software development, video projection design) and Jenny Schmid (concept, typography, mask design and printing, live drawing). It was commissioned by the DRAW 2014 Symposium held at Carnegie Mellon University.  This work was performed again in Lawrence, Kansas as a part of the Free State Festival, on June 27 and 28 of 2014.

Maddy Varner and Miles Peyton were instrumental in the creation of this work as studio assistants during production and performers during the event.