Getting to know the IMAGO team week! Today: Nicolle Wasserman

Nicolle Wasserman talks about Arts Management, Instagram Filters, and Chili Peppers!

Nicolle Wasserman, Production Manager for IMAGO, and I have been friends for over 17 years! That's more than half my life. And I don't know what I would do without her. Brilliant, supportive, and with a great eye for detail, Nicolle has made this production possible from the start! 

Stay tuned for more interviews with the creative and production team this week! We'll publish one a day, every day, through Friday.

Getting to know the IMAGO team week! First up: Liam (Patience) O'Neill

If there’s anything I want to be doing in this life, it’s playing, with imagination

an interview with Liam (Patience) O’Neil


I interviewed Liam (Patience) O’Neill, Technical Director for IMAGO, on the phone last week. Patience, a good friend and long-time collaborator of mine, will work with me in the weeks leading up to the show on elements like building the set, hanging the lights, and perfecting the technical components of the piece. In this interview, we ended up talking about some of my favorite subjects: art, identity, and future dreams. Read on to hear their thoughts about these topics and more!

On names

Nicola Bullock (NB): You recently began going by the name “Patience” sometimes. Why?

Liam Patience O’Neill (P): I’ve been desiring a non-gendered name, and Patience is non-gendered. It’s also a virtue, and it is a value of mine that I find within a lot of the things that I like about myself.

On making art

NB: When it comes to art, what kind of projects do you like to do?

P: Anything that I think might be rather beautiful, weird/different than what’s expected, made by someone who I’m already a fan of, or important to do on a social level, I will say yes to.

NB: What’s the best part of making art?

P: In some branches of the arts the word “play” is used to describe what the artist is doing, like a musician plays music or people in theater perform “plays.” There’s a playfulness that is the main focus of these types of art. I try to incorporate that mentality in all the art I do and hope to invite any audience to play along with me. It requires a fair amount of imagination, and if there’s anything I want to be doing in this life, it’s playing, with imagination.


NB: What is your connection with IMAGO?

P: I am very interested in the subject matter of the piece; I have a lot of connection with it. We’re all kind of creatures trying to figure out how to be embodied in this world. Being gender queer, there’s always a big question in my mind as far as: who am I, what is this body, and what is the relationship between these things? And what is society asking of me, in this body, or as someone with a mind, personality, and how are they separate?

On future dreams

NB: What else are you passionate about in your life right now?

P: I’m excited about film school (Patience will move to Denver to attend Colorado Film School next year). It will be a whole new exciting adventure in my life. I’ve never really moved away from home as an adult, so moving to a completely new city and doing a completely new thing is really exciting! Furthermore, I’ll be diving into learning how to utilize yet another form of art!

Stay tuned for more interviews with the creative and production team this week! We'll publish one a day, every day, through Friday.

Women's March Revisited

we marched

in a small town in rural Germany

we marched


we mazed 

our bodies through the labyrinthine remains of an old cement factory

four of us, together

venting fury and despair

throwing rocks

breaking glass

kicking formless metal objects

burning wood

cracking concrete

dancing atop rubble


protest music on a portable speaker



we came together to mourn

(the sadness in my bones wreaks them of strength as I collapse on the floor to stare blankly out the window into the grey-white winter sky





we came together to fight

(terror spasms through me as I watch the Inauguration, certain that I hear him announce the end of democracy and the start of authoritarian rule with him as the big, red -faced rule-maker / rule-breaker)



we came together to do something

a symbolic gesture perhaps

done for our own sense of self-satisfaction


but what better reason is there than this, a sense of satisfaction in ourselves



we can come together

and we can do



and everything

that has been done 

so that I can believe that 

is why I march



When my friend Olympia Bukkakis asked me to perform as part of her show FANCY at Ludwig in January, I got really excited. I love the word, and the idea of, fancy. To me, it's something that is dressy but not necessarily formal; something suggestive of cocktail parties and carefree, laughter-filled evenings; something that takes effort but omits an aura of ease and self-assurance. It's a word one of my girlfriends would say to me when I got dressed up: in a very specific tone, full of little-kid awe and grown-up attraction, she would say, You look fancy. I knew that was a compliment, especially from someone who took pride in dirty fingernails and 10-year-old t-shirts. And it was her voice - both affirming and aroused - that went through my head as I began creating my piece for FANCY. 

And also - the inauguration. 

This performance was on January 25, less than a week after Trump's Inauguration. I went through all of the stages of grief around this time, with anger, denial, and sadness being the main three. There was no escaping the reality of the world at this moment, whether through performance or cocktail party or drunken escapade. Grief and despair followed me around very closely, and I couldn't relate to the word fancy (or anything else) without them.

This combination of things - self-assurance, arousal, denial, despair - were the ingredients of the piece. I used intuition to combine them, folding the past in with the present and stage-life in with real-life. The video below was recorded at the show and unfortunately there wasn't a single shot of the whole thing, but here is what I have.



aka "The Coming of Age of Cookie Monster"

This 3D Virtual Reality movie is a project I'm really proud of and it premieres tomorrow evening! A month ago my wonderful friend Josephine Decker came into town for three weeks during which she directed this strange, funny, unique work. I played many parts in the creation of the film - choreographer, actress, and dancer among them. I also hosted Josephine in my flat, and together we conceived of the film. With the support of Wolf Kino and help from people around the world, we created an 11-minute virtual reality journey that started with the question, "How would Sesame Street teach sex ed to kids?"

The answer?

Find out tomorrow night at Wolf Kino in Neukölln!



Wolf Kino // Wildenbruchstrasse 6 // 12045 Berlin

see you there!

It's Been A Long Time

I'm trying again - to keep a blog - in order to record some of the events, experiences, excitements, excesses, energies, early hours, and elements of life right now. Aaliyah and Timbaland support this. I encourage you to enjoy this track as you read these reflections.

This story begins in 2016. In numerology, 2016 is Year 9 (2+0+1+6=9), the end of a nine-year cycle that begin in 2008 (2+0+0+8=10, 1+0=1). Globally, 2016 was the end of the Obama years and the end of the European Union as we know it. David Bowie, Prince, and George Michael all died, and left us to mourn the void they left in the worlds of pop music and performance art, and, depending on your generation and proclivity for social deviants, your heart.

RIP Jareth

A lot of things also ended for me in 2016, including a two-and-a-half year relationship and thirty-three years of living in the US, my nation of birth. It was a year of challenges, surprises, and emotional trials. I lived in four different places, including a tent, and none of them felt like home. I met a lot of new people, my physical movement habits changed dramatically, and I made almost no money. These things are all distinct from one other and yet somehow related. They are each a result of the risk I took when I decided to move to Berlin. Somewhere along the way, I recognised that in order to meet all of these challenges, surprises, and emotional trials, I would need to let go - let die - some parts of myself.

All the suffering, stress, and addiction comes from not realising you already are what you are looking for.
— Jon Kabat-Zinn

Many times last year, especially when I felt lost and confused, the words "I don't know who I am anymore" floated through my head. This thought was the source of both terror and, somewhere deeper and quieter, relief. It was/is terrifying to not know who I am, because it leads me to question so much about my life and values and dreams and how I spend my time and how I treat myself and others and what I say and who and how I love and... you get the idea. It leads me to question everything and know nothing. It is a real ego-breaker. Not knowing who I was meant I didn't know what I had to give to others and the world. This insecurity can silence me, and there were many situations last year where I sat quietly, observing all the motion around me, all the while distancing myself from its swirling life, convinced I had nothing to contribute.


Now for the good part of being lost and confused. For one thing, it's such an honest experience of life (who hasn't felt lost and confused?), and accepting the processes of life - including the difficult ones - is so much easier than fighting them. For another thing, being quiet means that I got to observe not just myself but other people too - people from all over the world - and see how they do things differently. I learned so much! There's such freedom in letting go of the idea of that things are only done in one particular way (My Way) and witnessing, and adapting, to other ways. Plus, I have met and made friends with some of the most inspiring, creative, magical people I've ever known. Lastly, "I don't know who I am anymore" has allowed me to let go of some of the beliefs I had about how myself and others should be. This is where the relief rushes in, because when there isn't a belief that people/events/me/anything "should be" a certain way, I can appreciate so much more how things actually are.

The first question I ask myself when something doesn’t seem to be beautiful is why do I think it’s not beautiful. And very shortly you discover there is no reason.
— John Cage

I look back and wonder, How did I move through all this letting go, how did I let parts of myself die or even wilfully destroy them? The answer: hours upon hours of meditation and self-help podcasts; an everyday commitment to healing through food and movement; and a lot of trust. It was definitely not possible without the encouragement of two incredible communities of friends and family in Berlin and Durham, and the blessed combination of privilege and luck that conspired to allow me the time, resources, and support to take big risks.

Meanwhile, all that I've lost - all that has died - has left space in me for new things to grow. I've said yes to situations that I knew would make me uncomfortable in order to stimulate growth in new directions. I've practiced trusting my intuition in questions of art and love, emboldening my gut to guide my life in its own mysterious, creative way. And I've generally just chilled the f$*& out.

The earth in its devotion carries all things, good and evil, without exception.
— I Ching

I don't know the future, but I do know that 2017 is a year of beginnings (2+0+1+7=10, 1+0=1).  Already in its first three months I have reaped so many benefits of this awkward and wonderful dying/rebirthing project - including a month-long residency at an almost-abandoned nearly-defunct concrete factory in rural Germany, and a three-week long dance pilgrimage to Israel with a group of artists from around the world - and I have never experienced so much generosity and gratitude in my own and others' spirits. While it hasn't all been easy, and it hasn't all been perfect, there's a lot of beauty in this life, and I want to love it while I still have a chance to.

In loving memory of Tex Hobijn (1994-2017)

snowfall in stolpe

It's been about two months since I recorded this snowfall. In the background is music by Suzanne Ciani - it's called "Concert at Phil Niblock's Loft NYC 1975" and it is SPECTACULAR. I imagine this film being screened in a large dance studio somewhere as dancers improvise in front of it. It's best when only 8% of your attention is on the video, 13% of your attention is on the song, and the other 79% of your attention is wandering.

Lots has been going on around here lately - I taught dance class in Berlin, launched a letter-writing campaign, interviewed for a dance job, and spent the night alone at betOnest for the first time (which was terrifying, but I made it through). I hope to post updates about these things soon, but in the meantime I thought I'd drop some photos here. I took these on two separate days at betOnest. Enjoy! (and please ask permission before using them).


Last Saturday, along with millions of other people around the world, I marched. The posse here - four strong - mazed our bodies, voices, and signs through the labyrinth of betOnest in order to march in solidarity with millions of other people around the globe in protest of Donald Trump. It felt important and inspiring - to show up from so far away in the company of friends; to shout "Jeden Tag! Fuck Trump! Ganzen Tag! Fuck Trump!" (Every day! Fuck Trump! All day! Fuck Trump!); to vent our fury by taking abandoned wooden structures littered around the property and breaking them over steel and concrete; to throw things, kick things, and dance on things to the driving beat of protest music humming on a portable speaker; and to build a fire and in it burn planks of wood on which we first wrote, "Trump," "The Patriarchy," "White Supremacy," and "Prison Industrial Complex." Marching, yelling, laughing, and being together in sadness defined our time, and it was good.


I arrived today at betOnest, a "new art space located in a former cement factory on the edge of Germany. It is rural, raw, and epic. A pre-post apocalypse heaven for aspiring artists" (from the website). I came here once before, last summer, and I fell in love with it immediately. beTonest is a sprawling vestige of old East Germany, a decrepit (but functional) amalgam of huge mostly-empty buildings, defunct machinery, and oddly shaped concrete structures numbering in the thousands. After lunch and a tour of the old on-site office building in which I will live for the next month, I ventured out into the snow and ice to explore beTonest on my own.

Thirty minutes and many photographs later, I found what I had been unconsciously looking for: a good standing spot.

Several weeks ago, as I thought about what I might do here during my month-long residency, so many ideas came to mind: make dance films! sew costumes! do art installations! Also, learn German! Make friends with locals! Envision my future and start making it happen! In the middle of this whirlwind of ambition, a little voice inside me spoke: What if you just stand still?

BUT THAT'S NOT ART, I yelled back, exasperated at the voice and annoyed by the idea. I AM AN ARTIST!!!!!! (see this video for proof). Instead of yelling back, the voice just repeated, evenly and unapologetically, But what if you just stand still? Despite my resistance, I felt I could trust this small but mighty voice; instead of demanding that I do something active with my body, it simply extended an invitation to do an unfamiliar, extremely un-ambitious and extremely accessible, thing: stand still.

So I tried it. I wasn't intending to start today, but in my wandering there came a spot at which I thought, Why not? 

For somewhere between 40 and 100 breaths (I lost count), I stood mostly still. My eyes opened and closed, my ears only opened, my feet got numb, and, to my surprise, I was never bored. In the moments I did look around, I noticed shape and light more than I had before my stillness. I spotted a mouse running from concrete hole to concrete hole. And after only ten breaths, I sensed a depth of peace that I haven't felt in awhile. I stayed until I was ready to leave, and then I left, slowly winding my way back to the office building I temporarily call home.


When this idea was hatched, I was operating on the assumption that:

Standing Still = Doing Nothing = Not Being Productive = Wasting Time = Fucking Up

If that is the case, than I spent between 40 and 100 breaths Fucking Up today. After my practice today, however, I am wondering if this:

Standing Still = Not Forcing Myself to Do Something (anything) = Quieting My Body = Perceiving and Receiving the World Better = Having a Totally Awesome Experience of Being Alive

might also be the case. If so, then I spent between 40 and 100 breaths Having a Totally Awesome Experience of Being Alive today. 

Maybe they're both true. Today, standing still made me feel pretty great. Tomorrow? Who knows . . .


Creative Block

At various points in my life, creating dance things has been as allusive to me as respectable behaviour is to the current president elect. To name a time, the past two years. Because of a few things that happened a few years ago which kind of killed my desire to be alone in a dance studio, to collaborate or dance with others, and to take artistic risks, I've shied away from making dances. Deep in the turmoil of self-doubt and distrust, the very idea of making a piece about something I cared about was way too threatening to attempt. I tried to not-care about what I made*, but it's really hard to care about making something you're trying to not-care about. In tandem with, and not unrelated to, this dance-studio-dread, a real-or-imagined creative block has taken hold of my body. Despite all this confusion, I kept putting myself in the way of dance - at residencies, onstage, and as a dance teacher - and I even cited it, honestly, as one of the main reasons I moved to Berlin this summer. So why have I kept inserting dance into my life, and vice versa? A dash of masochism, a lot of stubbornness, and some faith that this block won't last forever. But since it hasn't budged in awhile, I decided to document what happens to me in the studio when I'm both insecure as hell about my creative abilities, and also creatively blocked.

A lot of what I'm dealing with in the film "Creative Block" is that my ego, in its drive to make "good art" (which is a whole different conversation), takes control of my body. I, along with my ego, try all sorts of things to try to get over myself and out of my head: repetition, yelling, and emotional self-manipulation are some of my tactics - which creates an awkward and uncomfortable amalgam of creative expressions that I recorded. Far from what I've always been taught is "good," this piece is about moving through, instead of trying to avoid, the crap** the ego puts in front of us.

*I'm terrible at this, so everything I did make in these past few years I did, actually, care about. But it also came with an overwhelming anxiety about how inadequate the thing, and hence I, was.

**Including the compulsive desire to be perceived as profound, polished, unique, intelligent, responsible, interesting, entertaining, poignant, and sexy.

How I got a Freelancers Artist Visa in Germany

Since I got a Freelancers Artist Visa last week, several friends have asked me to describe the process in detail. Here goes!

To situate myself a little bit, I am a freelance dancer, choreographer, and dance teacher from the United States*. I've lived there for my whole life, and been actively involved in the dance worlds in North Carolina and New York for the past twenty years. I graduated from College with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Dance, and while I've never fully supported myself from dancing, art-making, and dance-teaching, a fair amount of my yearly income has always come from these activities.

I moved to Berlin in July 2016 with the intention (or hope!) of getting a Freelancers Artist Visa here to live and make work. After combing the internet for helpful tips, printing off more than 50 pages of documents at the local library, and biting my fingernails down to the cuticle, I have successfully gotten a two-year Freelancer Artist Visa to live and work in Germany (and the EU)! Below are the steps I took, some random things I learned along the way, and the most helpful websites I found.


  1. Make an appointment at the Auslandebehörde (you can do this online). You can also just show up at the office and wait in line for a number, that's just not how I did it.

  2. Get together all materials for the visa, and start early. There are plenty of websites detailing all the materials you need, and I included a list of some of them at the end of this post.

    1. Different visa officials ask for different documents. Mine asked for: my Visa Application Form (everyone needs to fill this out); a verification of my degree from University (a transcript would also suffice); my CV (I included a portfolio in my CV as well); proof of German health insurance; and two Letters of Interest.

      1. Be prepared to write your own Letters of Interest. You will need at least two (three is better) for this visa. The office is very interested in whether or not you are connected with potential employers here so that you can make money. While I don't suggest inventing imaginary organisations, I would be prepared to ask favors of friends and organisations that are more established here. And once you've asked for one, and they've accepted, offer to write it for them so all they need to do is edit and sign. After all, they're doing you the favour (at least in my case, where both letters were not actually binding in any way).

    2. However, PREPARE ALL THE DOCUMENTS. You never know what they will ask for at the office, so be ready for anything.

  3. Wear something kind of nice looking, and be sure to arrive at the Ausländerbehörde early if you can. It's a pretty huge place and there are people everywhere, so buffer in some time to find out where you need to go. Be sure you have your appointment confirmation document, as it will have your number on it. Your number is how they call you from the waiting room to your meeting, so this is very important.

Random things I learned along the way:

  • HEALTHCARE IS REQUIRED FOR LIVING IN GERMANY! Get it ASAP along with your Anmeldung. Since the German insurance system is a whole other can of worms I suggest short-term insurance coverage that is accepted at the visa office, You can get help finding insurance you like at POPSURE**!

  • The one thing I heard over and over was to have a certain amount of money in your bank account - between 3000€-5000€ (the more the better) - because this is what the visa office REALLY cares about. My visa person never looked at any of my financial documents, bank statements or budget, but I'm the only person I know of who has had that experience.

  • Be organised. Have all of your documents with you and create a system for accessing them easily. Not only does it help speed up the process, it makes you look good.

  • Try to learn a little bit of German before your appointment. I took a German course some months ago, which made it possible for me to have a very basic conversation with my visa person. I also expressed (genuine) interest in continuing to learn the language. I think this made the difference between my getting a one-year visa and a two-year visa.

  • Unless your German is really good, bring someone with you who speaks German. I did, and while she didn't have to translate much for me, it eased some of the stress of not-knowing if I would be able to communicate with the visa official.

  • At an earlier point when I first published this post (late 2016), a regular tourist visa could be extended beyond 3-months as long as the visa applicant had made an appointment with the Ausländerbehörde. This is no more! Apparently the tourist visa can no longer be extended, so MAKE THOSE APPOINTMENTS FOLKS!

Helpful websites

*I'm also white, American, female, college-educated, and come from class privilege, just to give you a little more context - because let's not pretend these things didn't matter.

**full disclosure- POPSURE pays me a small sum if you click on the link and buy insurance through them! It doesn’t cost you any extra fees but it’s called PASSIVE INCOME PEOPLE!



I'm participating in this! September 16 - 18 at Ausland Berlin

queeries into collective feminisms - public events at ausland Berlin:
16 September 18-23h
17 September 12-23h
18 September 12-23h

queeries into collective feminisms is a ten-day exchange of experiences and practices at Ponderosa in Brandenburg, followed by a three-day public sharing at ausland berlin.

queeries into collective feminisms examines the ways that queer feminisms may function as lenses/frames/telescopes in our personal, political, and artistic lives. The program invites collectives and individuals from international contexts, working with queer feminisms.

The participants share ten days of communal living and exchange of artistic practices at Ponderosa, working with questions of queer feminisms, collectivity, non/hierarchy, and non/structure. During these three days at ausland they will share their approaches in different formats, yet unknown. 

The event is an experiment, shaped by the inputs and desires of the participants and may continue developing throughout the public events. Visitors are welcome to share their insights regarding these questions as well.

Given this planned mystery, we will share time on Friday the 16th of September from 6pm, through the whole days on Saturday and Sunday, until a closure on Sunday evening. 

For updates about the program please follow the updates on this event.

Supported and hosted by Ponderosa e.V in Stolzenhagen, Brandenburg and Ausland in Berlin.

A year ago last May I set off on a trip that would change my life. I flew to Berlin, danced in and out of the city all summer, and fell in love with life there. On July 29th of this year, I will retrace my steps, this time for perhaps somewhat longer. While I can't control the future, I can say that I would like to make art, perform, choreograph, learn about German language and culture, and possibly stay there for awhile. I am full of hope and excitement for this change. I'm also full of anxiety and self-doubt, but I think that's pretty normal when going through big life changes.

My life here is wonderful. Making art in Durham has been an incredible experience. I've come up under the wisest mentors and alongside the most inspiring peers. The local dance scene has grown both deeper and wider in its reach, and I'm honored to be a part of that. I've connected to theater people and film people and writers and musicians and magicians and visionaries and most of all, friends. Generous, kind, encouraging, patient, fiery, fierce, loyal, crazy, wild, beautiful friends. Thank you. I will miss you all the most.

There's one more thing I would like to do before I head to Berlin, and that is to have one more show. One More Time is a quartet of dances I've made over the past few years (actually, they are all collaborative pieces and in one case, an improvisation for three dancers).

I hope to see you there!

I hope to see you there!