Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Creative Mind Project was the Birthplace of Dog Powered Robot

At Fringe two years ago, I was invited by Jessica Mariko to be part of the Creative Mind Project. A select group of artists were given the same music and told to create a theatrical presentation based on what they heard. I decided to edit together a series of sketches to create a video montage paced to the music.

On the opening night, I had to be backstage as the Creative Mind project was presented. My only responsibility was to walk out a projector when my piece was to be presented. I also had borrowed a film screen that I had help setting up. From backstage I peeked out from behind the curtains to see the other presentations.

This sketch is of Tisse Mallon and a cross dressing male performer right before they went on stage. I never actually saw their performance. The cardboard buildings they are standing in front of are set pieces for Dog Powered Robot. When it was Dog Powered Robot's turn, the audience went wild with laughter.

 Evan and Christie Miga had build a simple blue cardboard robot with a square head that rotated with wild abandon. A center chest compartment opened to showcase their adorable Pomeranian dog named Fisher. As the music played, Evan as the narrator waxed poetic about his childhood dreams of living in the city. Then a loud nuclear warning clamored, and Dog Powered Robot walked out into the cardboard cityscape. Like Godzilla in a cheap B grade sci-fi movie he began to destroy the city. The odd sight of this cute dog powering the robot's rampage was hilarious and people in the audience shouted "Dog Powered Robot!" with delight as they laughed. I only saw glimpses of that first performance from backstage, but the riotous audience was easy to hear.

Dog Powered Robot is still going strong today. They staged their own Fringe show twice and just this week, they made an appearance at the Maker Fair in the Orlando Science Center. I'm convinced that someday the stars will align and Dog Powered Robot will become an international cult sensation. Kids love these cardboard robots but adults can't get enough. Jessica Mariko is still bringing together creative minds by hosting Local Arts Nights at Drip (8747 International Dr #102, Orlando, FL) every 4th Thursday of the month.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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