Puddle Popper Lounge
Launching on May 17, 2021, and consisting of soft sculptures, 3D animations, drawings, and more, The Puddle Popper Lounge is meant to function both as an art work and as an interactive installation for the 2021 Vancouver Comic Arts Festival (VanCAF). Originally conceived as an in-person project in 2020, the Lounge transformed into an online space after that in-person edition of VanCAF was cancelled.
PUDDLE POPPER is an artist collective formed in 2015 in Vancouver by artists Sarah Davidson, Juli Majer, Sonja Ratkay and Mel Thibodeau. Through interactive sculpture installations, we propose alternate spaces in which bodies both human and non-human interact: themes of embodiment, comfort, queerness, and ecology are the basis for playful, collaborative world-building.
Puddle Popper slips through realities towards our desires, passing between description, invention and idealisation to wiggle around truths. Puddle Popper merges forms to create a set-like world featuring invented beings, humanoids, tentacles and unreadable text. Appendages transform. Colour is revised. Portals open up, limbs are put part way through, and then all the way through, and new bodies are observed and created.
Puddle Popper enlisted the help of artist/designer Brennan Kelly, web developer Johnnie Regalado, and 3D artist Scott Lougheed to realize our ideas in the digital realm. The Puddle Popper Lounge was made possible by Canada Council for the Arts’ Concept to Realization grant.
More about the artists
SARAH DAVIDSON works primarily between drawing and painting to create compositions in which shadowy, biomorphic figures and delicate, foliated fragments mingle. While she often draws directly from ‘nature’, her drawings diffract distinctions between embodied self and other through a queer ecological lens: critters and space collapse in upon one another, suggesting a permeable web. Both the eye and the mind work towards the known–animals, plants, brush marks, lines–but are caught in a space of undoing. In swampy, saturated tones, her works wonder: who’s looking at who, and how?
JULI MAJER is an artist whose work explores heightened emotional and psychological states, imagined worlds, and peculiar modes of existence. Investigating fictional microcosms through drawing, sculpture, and comics, Majer weaves together visceral abstractions, somatic sensations, and inarticulate textures which emerge from relationships between her characters, symbols, objects, and environments.
SONJA RATKAY navigates unconscious and conscious drives through which she aims to process thoughts alongside viewers. Ratkay’s bodily art exists on the threshold of interior and exterior realms, and evokes liminal states of being, populated by known and unknown symbols. Her work spans many mediums from ink drawings, to multi-sensory elements–such as smell–that are known to trigger memories, and most recently textile works. Through repetition of motifs including abstracted bodies and text-as-image, she creates choreographed movements between body and mind, a pathway for feelings and thoughts to travel.
Through tactile sculptures meant to be both observed and interacted with, MEL THIBODEAU’s work squirms around the question ‘what is a body?’ Their vocabulary of soft forms is often bound by colourful ropes, grommets, and plush chains. Feelings of nostalgic comfort and the uncanny are fostered by a combination of toylike textures and half-recognizable body parts, eluding exact description and hovering somewhere between person and thing. These partial and abstracted forms unsettle gender, wink at desire, and ponder fleshy realities both familiar and alien.