John Zibell

John Zibell works with bodies & technology, material & image, thought & representation, narration & poiesis.

John Zibell


John’s practice happens in the theatre, cinema, gallery and the street and interrogates that which is fully actual within the virtual. Bringing a quarter century of art practice and political activism to research, John currently focuses his theory around two imbricated strands: technesis or the pulling of technology into discourse; and the practices of what Joe Dumit terms “Bodied story-making” within and alongside the structures of American neo-colonialism.

John’s art work – scripted, scored, and/or improvised – springs from 25 years of professional performance work and rigorous training in New York in divergent disciplines from Stanislavski to Grotowski and with a diverse range of collaborators such as Mike Nichols, Diane Paulus, Paul Sills, and Andre Gregory. Currently a 3rd-year PhD candidate with a Designated Emphasis in Studies in Performance and Practice, John holds an M.F.A. in directing from the department of Theatre and Dance at UC Davis.

John is also an award-winning filmmaker (Sex and Violence, 2001) an actor, and a performance artist. He originated the role of Jimmy Patraglia in Joe Roland’s off-Broadway play On The Line, he acted in the controversial Indie film The War Withinon which he also served as acting coach for Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright and actor Ayad Akhtar. He has worked twice with Macarthur Genius Recipient, Guillermo Gomez-Peña (Corpo Ilicito: The Post-Human Society 6.9).

Current Activities

John currently collaborating with a team of dancers, actors, programmers, theorists, and digital artists to develop DataMining Beckett: A Multi-reality, Performance Installation for Bodies The piece joins players from anywhere on the globe in a virtual playing space not as 3D avatars, but live-streamed, 3D, holograms thus making space for bodies to play within immersive 3D, digital environments. It would not be possible for this work to happen without the UC Davis KeckCAVES.

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