premiere, Art Basel Miami 2004; European premiere, Wiener Festwochen 2005
Created and directed by Dan Graham and Tony Oursler. Recorded songs written and performed by Rodney Graham. Live music written and performed by the band Japanther. Phillip Huber, the master puppeteer of Being John Malkovich, designed and constructed the marionettes. Installation design by Laurent Berger, prop design by Eugene Tsai, costumes by Carlos Soto, and lighting by Urs Schoenebaum.
Envisioned as a genuine satiric history of the hippy generation and the end of the psychedelic era, the opera's tragi-comic narrative is the reductio ad absurdum of the hippies "generational politics" contained in the 1960s youth slogan: "Don't trust anyone over thirty." Seen from hindsight thirty-five years later through the eyes of the 1960's youngsters now grown old, the effect is one of bitter reflection over time, whereby we witness a hip generation's indictment of their own shallow seduction by the cult of youth and the fascistic tendencies that can overwhelm even the most idealistic movement left unchecked. Even more pertinent today, Don't Trust Anyone over Thirty mirrors the disillusionment of a generation who must today grapple with their failure to stop the growth of an extreme political and economic conservatism that today wages onslaught against the liberal ideals for which they so ardently fought from the 1960s on.
DTAOT is a narrative comprised by the overlapping of video media, puppet theater, opera, and musical scores, the combination of which produces a collage hybrid of all its component forms. Continually splicing the disparate media of opera and rock, the theatrical proscenium and the television screen, the 1960s and the 2000s, live actors and puppets, the living experience and the installation, DTAOT deliberately separates each component’s visual and dramatic elements from one another. DTAOT thus underlines how narrative components can not only overlap but also make the objects and subjects of time and culture interchangeable within both the visual arts and the audience.
Commissioner & Producer: TRANS>
Curator / Artistic Director: Sandra Antelo-Suarez
Co-producers: Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary, Vienna, Foundation 2021, New York, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and Voom/LAB, New York.
an installation version titled DTAOT Combine: (Don't Trust Anyone Over Thirty, All Over Again) was presented at the Whitney Biennial, 2006
all photographs © Todd Eberle