M. Mara-Ann is San Francisco, California based American writer, vocalist, media artist, and artistic director of Flying Deer Theater and WOOD Press.
Born to a family of nature enthusiasts, M. Mara-Ann spent much of her young life growing up on the back of a horse in the wilderness. Summers were spent exploring the Colorado Rocky Mountains back country with her family, which fostered a strong love for the natural environment in all its beauty and complexity. While other girls were learning to use their curling irons and talk on the phone, she was learning how to build a fire in the rain, fly fish for dinner in an alpine lake, and navigate the rugged beauty of the Colorado mountains. During the urban school year, Mara played flute in the school band, devised elaborate science faire projects, painted murals in school hallway, and ran cross-country with her journalism teacher. Once at college, she discovered critical theory, started listening to public radio, and began protesting injustice.
Via undergraduate studies in Boulder and Sweden, Mara moved to San Francisco in the summer of 1991 to join the avant-garde arts community and coincidentally dropped in for a new era in electronic media and the world wide web. Her artistic work has been richly inspired by the incredible artists, thinkers, innovators, and activists of the San Francisco Bay Area; the diverse people and landscapes of California and the American Southwest; international journeys through Asia, Europe, and the Americas; mindful practices in yoga and meditation; and a continuously evolving love affair with endlessly innovative west-coast culture. This rich combination of people, places, and experiences has shaped Mara into a multi-media artist integrating text, music, dance, video, and theater. Among her lush community of practicing artists, theorists, and mentors, she has studied with Lyn Hejinian, Leslie Scalapino, Carla Harryman, Fred Frith, Molly Holm, Katherine Mezur, Maggi Payne, Anna Halprin, Maggie Nicols, Juliana Spahr, Stephen Ratcliffe, Diane DiPrima, George Lakoff, Kathleen Fraser, Gloria Frym, David Meltzer, Gino Robair, Terrance Kelly, Walter K. Lew, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, and Pauline Oliveros. Mara received an MFA from Mills College in creative writing with cross disciplinary emphasis in music and media performance.
As an artist working with language, M. Mara-Ann expresses her creativity through writing, singing, and media performance. Leveraging the musical qualities of language, the architecture of text, her passion for theory and science, and the interplay between nature and technology, Mara's creative process constantly strives for innovation, hybridity, and experimental forms. Focusing her work largely on the topic of environment, from the personal to the political, Mara's artistic process often involves the creation of a core manuscript such as lighthouse, or more recently Containment Scenario, from which a family of related multi-media works emerge both as excerpt and exponent. This constellating dialogue can be seen with the CD Luminous, the audio-visual installation the mirrorrim, and the multi-media installation-performance Containment Scenario as they relate to the book Containment Scenario: DisLoInter MedTextId entCation: Horse Medicine (OBooks).
As a poet that sings, a writer who performs, and a storyteller enacting multi-media performances, Mara's latest installation-performance work, The Containment Scenario Project, focuses on the current environmental crisis through the lens of improvisational music-dance-media-theater and explores the language used to discuss climate change as we attempt to name and un-name the ineffable.