Alien Nativity is a product of the
combined vision of a group of artists, craftspeople, builders and musicians living in Portland.
Concept: Joshua Lee Vineyard, John Griffin, Matt Henderson
Alien Heads & Hands: Lauren Carter
Costume Design: Amanda Latham
Manger: Johnny Griffin, Matt Henderson, Chris Spencer
Shaman Santa: Johnny Griffin, Matt Henderson, Amanda Latham
Jellfish & Nautilus: Van Pham
Molecules: Amanda Latham
Lighting Design / Light Arches: Lymay Iwasaki
Sound Design: Van Pham
Arch Engineers: Ryan Stout, Brandon Walter
Stone Path: Brandon Ellison
Signage: Chris Spencer
Map & Key: Joshua Lee Vineyard, Johnny Griffin
Snacks & Streamers: Sierra Grable
Janitor: Josh Wrolstad
Directed by Matt Henderson
Performers: Cloaks, Jason Urick, Bryan Free (Earth & You),
Joshua Lee Vineyard, Van Pham, Amanda Latham, Neo G Yo
Special thanks to our generous donors,
without whom Alien Nativity would not have been possible.
Alien Nativity puts the viewer at the center of its mythical narrative. Inspired in part by our shared interest in aliens and ancient alien civilizations and visitations, this unique production harnesses the classic kitsch of popular alien motifs, and merges it with the timeless tranquility of the Nativity of Jesus. The resulting scene is tactless and spectacular, but also explores deeper themes and layers of meaning.
Baby Jesus as "Initiated Self" The Mirror-Manger, and baby Jesus as "Self," bears a message of self-empowerment. This is YOUR life. The potential for immortality exists in YOU, just as it did in Jesus. To the artists, Jesus was a mortal. Most likely he was not divinely inspired, certainly not in the popular sense. He did however achieved a kind of immortality through his life's actions. He became an archetype. This can be no small feat. Surely it takes a life of immense dedication coupled with an incredible confluence of historical events to enact a Christ-like legacy. But there must be examples of the seemingly impossible to illustrate that the seemingly impossible can exist. In recognizing this potential in ourselves, we become empowered and simultaneously realize the terrestrial nature of Christ.
S/HE (aka Mary & Joseph, aka Marjo P-Orridge) The androgynous entities kneeling before the manger are future manifestations of Mary & Joseph. Gender roles are mutable and so our representative earthly caregivers are one-part Mary and one-part Joseph. As with each symbolic element of the nativity, much is open to interpretation. One interpretation sees the two figures as a total merging of two beings of opposite sex into a single entity, Marjo P-Orridge.
Alien Magi The Elementals, or four cardinal aliens (Air / Earth / Fire / Water) signify an intelligence that is further evolved than our own. They are the agents of higher consciousness, bearing molecular parcels, or 'gifts of self.'
The "Wise Men" are carrying with them the four essential molecules of life: carbohydrates, lipids, mucleic acids, and proteins.
Shaman-Santa Shaman-Santa is a therianthropic oddity that's part Santa Claus, part Siberian shaman, part reindeer, part Fly Agaric mushroom, representing a mixture of myth and tradition that have in part lead to our common conception of Santa and his flying reindeer.
Master Alien The Master Alien is the foremost intelligence in the universe. We are all connected to this cosmic wisdom, have access to it, but have no means of truly understanding it.
Sirius [North Star] The North Star, Sirius, The SOURCE. Sirius is the brightest star in the night sky. With a visual apparent magnitude of −1.46, it is almost twice as bright as Canopus, the next brightest star.
Jellies and Nautilus [Lambs and Donkey] Chrysaora quinquecirrha, aka Atlantic Sea Nettle Nautilus pompilius, aka Chambered Nautilus Signifying the beauty and danger of the natural world.
Terrestrial Pathway The seven-arch series, or "terrestrial pathways," of which there are two leading to the pyramid, are a succession of lighted archways representing the passage of life from birth to death. The number seven carries with it many symbolic meanings across the spectrum of human mythologies. 7 Chakras, seven days and seven nights, 7 colors of the rainbow, the list goes on.
On December 23, 2010, Xhurch played host to a live Nativity. It was (by all appearances) a faithful reproduction of a traditional Nativity, featuring Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, three wise men, a shepherd, two lambs and a donkey.
Friends and neighbors gathered at Xhurch (a former church gone arts venue) and were treated to a familiar scene, complete with classic Christmas music, mood lighting, good cheer, and even hot chocolate. Participants in the production posed for periods upwards of twenty minutes to the delight and wonderment of onlookers–some of whom were coaxed in by an unassuming lighted sign out front.
Inspired in part by the success of the 2010 nativity, the Xhurch hosted a second nativity for the 2011 holiday season—but where the first production was meant as “an affirmation of the healthfulness of nostalgia and ritual,” this last year’s effort was set to be something far more radical. A spectacular amalgam of lesser known mythologies, pointing to the arbitrary nature of history selection in general. Behold the Alien Nativity!
The 2011 Alien Nativity was one of pure spectacle and rife with symbolism. A whimsical scene, loosely based on the Nativity of Jesus, but with redefined roles for each of its characters. This was not simply an effort to distort the message of the manger, but to re-envision the the story in favor of something at once more futuristic, and more ancient.
Alien Nativity 2011 was far more successful than anyone anticipated, garnering international press coverage and seeing hundreds of visitors.
ALIEN NATIVITY 2012 (Burning Man):
In light of the success of Alien Nativity 2011 (and according to a loosely scripted plan), team LoveExpansion was formed to bring Alien Nativity and the message of the mirror-manger to a still wider audience at Burning Man 2012. What started as a series of napkin drawings quickly became detailed plans to build a sizable pyramid to house the nativity, adding to the scope of the original installation and furthering its mystique and ancient alien futurism.
Learn more about Alien Nativity 2012 at our WordPress site.