Sean Clute Statement

UC San Diego Application

I am writing to apply for the position of Assistant Professor in Narrative Media. Below are five examples of my work involving narrative based media practices. The samples include works that use live video, animation, performance and interactivity while exploring experimental storytelling.

Works include:
Großvater | Animation and experimental narrative
Mythos (Know Thyself) | Live audiovisual storytelling
Big Timber (CHOP, CHOP!) | Animation
Disembodied Head | Intermedia Performance
Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl | Large scale collaboration

Work Samples


About Großvater

Großvater is an animated short story that playfully blends myth, folklore, and fortuitous events in Vienna, Austria. The work begins in the catacombs of Stephansdom where a tomb is accidentally knocked over releasing an ancient blood. The blood marks correlations between people as it weaves outward from the cathedral. Both blood and people are seen scattering the Inner Stadt as past and present merge within the landmarks of Cafè Central, Hofburg Palace, Staatsoper and Museumsquartier. Audiovisual representations of notable Austrian figures such as Franz Joseph, Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Puck and Sigmund Freud inhabit these spaces with current visionaries. For example, Austrian born Arnold Schwarzenegger instructs fitness fanatic Empress Elisabeth of Austria on the use of 19th century Pilates equipment. Connecting the various stories is the late Dr. Theophil Sobol, an Austrian medical student in the 1940s. Dr. Sobol, whose presence is felt in all scenes, is later revealed to be the grandfather of artist Sean Clute. The work concludes with Clute contemplating interconnectedness and family.


Director – Sean Clute
Assistant Director – Pauline Jennings
Audio Recording – Geoff Kuffner, Taylor Kuffner
Translators… Abbie Martin, Johannes Grenzfurthner, Harold Williams, Dominique Svamberk
Technical Consultant … Nick Fox-Gieg


Großvater Script (.rtf | 89 KB)
Großvater Storyboard (.rtf | 36 KB)

Mythos (Know Thyself)

Mythos (Know Thyself) from Sean Clute on Vimeo.

About Mythos (Know Thyself)

Mythos (Know Thyself, γνῶθι σεαυτόν) is an audiovisual performance in which interpretations of Greek mythology are improvised. The work can be divided into three parts including Know Thyself, Greek Dancer, and Towards Kefalonia. During the solo performance, the audience is witness to a hybrid of resampled iconic greek imagery with live hand drawn animations. Both performer and computer collaborate via custom built software and hardware to capture the sprit of an ancient culture within a contemporary context. An artistic melding of past and present become possible with innovations in new media and technology. In Mythos (Know Thyself) both moving image and sound attempt to create a new modality of storytelling.


Ionian Center for the Arts and Culture, Kefalonia, Greece


Mythos Know Thyself (.H264 .mov file | 140.1 MB)
Mythos Software (.maxpat (2), .jpg (1) | 16 KB)

Big Timber (CHOP, CHOP!)

Big Timber (CHOP, CHOP!) from Sean Clute on Vimeo.

About Big Timber (CHOP, CHOP!)

Big Timber (CHOP, CHOP!) is an animation in which characters Conuton Valve and Coon Dog meet at The Monopole in Plattsburgh, New York to find themselves traveling to California in the quest for gold and the Plasma Cloud. The piece attempts to blend historical and contemporary people, places, and events beginning with the Monopole’s founding in 1897. I selected the imagery from found footage of local legends and then assembled it into a non-linear narrative. The characters’ dialogue also tries to capture the North Country/Quebec dialect that can still be heard while drinking a Genny and eating a Red Hot Michigan Plus in upstate New York.

The premise of the piece came from a tale of my great uncle getting run over and killed by a horse and buggy on Protection Avenue coming out the Monopole. Generations later, I would imagine his ghost while hanging out with my friends Conuton Valve and Double Wide at the “Pole.” Looking at old photographs of the establishment (one can be seen downstairs near the pool table), it seems not much has changed over the years. Both my personal connection to the Pole and the uniqueness of its patrons inspired me to visualize stories I heard. Animation was the perfect medium for these types of stories because it allowed me to process artifacts (photographs, records, word of mouth) in combination with my own creations and assemble them together artistically.

Some noteworthy references to past events at the Pole include the alternative rock band The Resonator performing, a conversation about Scott Pelkey and Bushy, demands for “turkey” meaning the whiskey Wild Turkey, and the profanity “Jesus H” referring to Jesus Harold Christ. Double Wide was known to have a big appetite for cheesy dough (pizza) and Michigans, a local favorite. Also true, is the fabled Mercury Sable providing a trustworthy means of transportation to California.

While there are many audiovisual references to the history of the Monopole, I also added symbolic images (Plasma Cloud, Trees, Evil Nurse, Candy Machine) to represent forces I believe to be threatening the traditional “buckie” way of life. For example, the enigmatic presence of a leg sucking Plasma Cloud compels Conuton Valve and Coon Dog to leave the Monople and head west. During their adventures, they are resilient to change but are confronted by the bizarreness of an Evil Nurse, Candy Machine, and Black Trees. These could be symbols of technology, desire, and death of tradition. Even the title Big Timber (CHOP!, CHOP!) refers to the passing of simple times by complex forces; the future, chopping the past away.


Cast (In Order of Appearance)
Cunton Valve – Shawn Irwin
Coondog – Sean Clute
Bartender – David Segal
Double Wide – Damien Girardi
Dr. Claw – Jason B. Jones
Resonator – Resonator
Sister – Lara Clute
Dad – Jim Clute

Music By
Resonator, track Bombed on The Reperbhan

Technical Assistance By
Pauline Jennings


Big Timber (CHOP, CHOP!) (h264 .mov | 377.8 MB)

Disembodied Head

Disembodied Head from Sean Clute on Vimeo.

About Disembodied Head

Disembodied Head is an intermedia performance series that utilized new technologies and performance in varied ways to look at the separation anxiety and desires of the body and mind at moments of disconnect. The work examines what happens when the natural connection of the mind and body is inhibited by a factor like Alzheimer’s, which inhibits the mind, or spinal injury, which causes paralysis of the body. The work also looks at moments of interconnectivity and separation that occur when the human body and mind interact with and/or develop a dependence upon technologies such as machines.

A lot more information can be read here: Disembodied Head MFA Thesis (PDF)


Key contributors
April Henry – Face of Animated Head
Pauline Jennings – Assistant Director
Pauline Jennings – Choreography
Amy Nielson – Costume Designers
Zemi 17 – Music for Disembodied Head #2

Performers in Disembodied Head #5
Bethany Clemen
Justin Gray
Shawn Irwin
Jason B. Jones
Amy Nielson
Isabelle Sjahsam
Nicole Zvarik


Disembodied Head MFA Thesis (.pdf | 1.8 MB)
Disembodied Head Video Excerpt (.H264 mov | 74.1 MB)
Disembodied Head 1 Media (.maxpat (4), .txt (2), .pct files (182) | 10.7 MB)
Disembodied Head 2 Media (.maxpat (2), .txt (2), .mov (4), .aif (40) | 2.55 GB)
Disembodied Head 3 Media (.maxpat (3), .txt (1), .mov (5), .aif (4) | 139.6 MB)
Disembodied Head 4 Media (.maxpat (2), .txt (1), .mov (1), .aif (5) | 1.18 GB)
Disembodied Head 5 Media (.maxpat (1), .txt (1), .mov (1), .aif (2) | 46.1 MB)
Disembodied Head Soundtrack (.aif (2) | 259.6 MB)
Disembodied Head Transition (.maxpat (1) | 3.6 MB)

Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl

Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl (Mutation #2) from Sean Clute on Vimeo.

About Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl

Intermedia performance group DOUBLE VISION (directed by myself and Pauline Jennings) presented a large-scale event exploring simultaneity, chaos, and rule-based interaction through dance, music, video, art and technology as part of ArtSFest. Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl encouraged the audience to roam freely and explore inflatable projections, mirrored matrices, pulsating pods, sonic-works and other interactive performances. The work also aimed to inspire innovative methods of combining diverse stories, art-forms, materials and spaces.


The attached paper goes into depth about the Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl events.

Title: Impossible Blueprint: Territorial Collisions in Intermedia Performance
Authors: S. Clute, P. Jennings
Abstract: Intermedia performance inspires innovative methods of combining ideas, art forms, materials, and spaces. By investigating components of sound, video, and dance individually as well as the hybridization of these media, a vast number of relationships can be discovered. To illustrate these complexities, I examine the 2006 performance Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl (Mutation #2) by San Francisco-based group DOUBLE VISION. This piece was a large-scale, interactive, intermedia performance that explored simultaneity, chaos, and rule-based audience interaction. Elements of the resulting dynamic micro and macro systems contained in this performance can be applied to a multitude of artistic processes and physical spaces.

Impossible Blueprint Paper (.pdf | 270 KB)


Key contributors
Marielle Amrhein, Steven Baudonnet, Matt Bell, Liz Bootz, Sean Clute, Amanda Crawford, Brian Enright, Simran Gleason, Jammin’ Ammon, Ron Goldin, Jessica Gomula, Pauline Jennings, Jason B. Jones, Elisabeth Kohnke, Chris Kruzic, Amy Leonards, Michelle K. Lynch, Wendy Marinacchio, Amy Nielson, Cecelia Peterson, Tim Thompson, Bill Wolter, Nicole Zvarik.


Evolutionary Patterns and the Lonely Owl (.H264 mov | 581.2 MB)