Pictured: Naomi Bennett, Venice Beach, Los Angeles
Photo Credit: Robyn Gesek © all rights reserved
Naomi Bennett is a performance scholar, educator, and video projection designer. She has a PhD in Communication Studies and Performance Studies with a minor in Women and Gender Studies from Louisiana State University, an MFA in Television, Film, and Theatre Production from California State University, Los Angeles, and a BA in Theater from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Bennett is a graduate of the Professional Track Circus program at the New England Center for Circus Arts, and has studied clowning, mime, and mask all over the world. She is a former cast member of Boston’s gender-bending drag show TraniWreck, and a co-founder and former member of The Grindhouse Marionettes, who opened for such acts as Nine Inch Nails, The Tiger Lilies, and the Dresden Dolls.
Her current research and artistic practice is in the creation of interactive performance works that physically engage embodied experience via computer-mediated technology. Through this entanglement of physical and virtual, Bennett’s work seeks to activate senses of touch, sight, and proprioception through traditionally disembodied mediums.
Since March of 2020 and the global stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bennett has focused both her scholarly and artistic research on exploring the possibilities and limitations of physical connection and intimacy through computer-mediated screens, specifically in the Zoom Space. Her most recent production, dist[Sense], takes advantage of the screen to connect audience-participants in a one-on-one performance experience, exploring moments of connection, isolation, and the ways in which we can come together to sense across time and space.
Bennett is also a lover of all things zombie-related. An avid movie-goer, she somehow did not discover zombies (or horror at all) until midway through her graduate studies when she bing-watched four seasons of The Walking Dead. Since these she has been fascinated with the infectious nature of the zombie that has made its way into all pockets of popular culture, and much like its make up, refuses to die out.