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Collage Ensemble Inc. Collection

Identifier: SPC-2020-021

Scope and Contents

The Collage Ensemble Inc. Collection (1919-2015; undated; bulk 1983-2002) contains 41 boxes and 133.23 linear feet of material related to the Los Angeles art group, Collage Ensemble Inc. Collage Ensemble Inc. which was founded in 1984 and was in existence until it’s dissolution in February 2015, was an interdisciplinary arts collective focusing on diverse genres that address the urban experiences of the various members’ and their ethnic and personal histories. Included in this collection are organizational records such as material related to operations of the group; Articles of Incorporation; budgets; board meeting minutes; memorandums; and by-laws; as well as material related to projects, shows, and performances such as: photographs; 35mm slides; flyers; moving images; audio files; digital files; press releases; clippings and articles; programs; grant applications and proposals; show notes; zines; and others. Also included in this collection are articles, clippings, and flyers related to other Los Angeles art shows and programs; as well as material related to Collage Ensemble member, Alan Nakagawa such as articles; flyers and programs for art shows, performances, and music; and other material. This collection is arranged into eight series. Series I: Organizational Records contains articles of incorporation, correspondence, documents related to budgets, accounting, and other financial information, tax documents, bank statements, receipts, invoices, documents related to dissolution, and other material. Series II: Projects, Shows, and Performances contains material related to Collage Ensemble Inc. shows, performances, exhibitions, art works, music, and projects; and includes: programs, flyers, clippings, articles, correspondence, video and audio recordings, contracts, reports, zines, proposals, letters of support, photographs, and other material. Series III: Photographs, Negatives, and 35 mm Slides contains photographs, negatives, and 35mm slides featuring images mostly of Collage Ensemble Inc. performances, shows, and projects; and candid images of the group; as well as images taken of presumably friends and family; images taken in Los Angeles, CA. and in Japan; and images taken in homes, at restaurants, at the beach, and other locations. Series IV: Moving Images and Audio Files contains MiniDV, Hi-8, 8mm, MiniDisc, cassette tapes, VHS tapes, CD-R, DVD, U-Matic, and Betacam tapes regarding Collage Ensemble projects, shows, and original music, as well as Collage Ensemble member, Alan Nakagawa’s projects.Series V: Subject Files contains clippings, pamphlets, and articles related to art projects, installations, and exhibits mostly in the Los Angeles area. Series VI: Alan Nakagawa Personal Papers contains articles, photographs, and documents belonging to Nakagawa that relate to personal projects such as astrology; genealogy; poetry; his senior thesis from Otis College of Art and Design; material related to his 40th birthday party; articles and clippings about Nakagawa; and other material. Series VII: Digital Files contains a hard drive and zip files that presumably contain images and other content related to Collage Ensemble Inc. projects, performances, and shows. Series VIII: Ephemera and T-Shirts contains a few small pieces of art; as well as a few oversized artworks; a cigarette tin; a four dimensional bonsai kit; “touch art” boxes; and other material. Also included in this series are T-Shirts for Found Sound, Utopia Pop Pop, Tokion Tree Fund, PACCE, and a Collage Ensemble Inc. tour.


  • 1919-2015; undated
  • Majority of material found within 1983-2002


Conditions Governing Access

There are no access restrictions on this collection, except where notated at file-level.

Conditions Governing Use

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

Biographical / Historical

Collage Ensemble Inc. was an interdisciplinary, multidisciplinary, inter-ethnic, and collaborative arts collective. From 1984-2015 the collective, with over two hundred artist participants as of 2010, created original art works such as exhibitions, multimedia gallery installations, lectures, digital arts, poetry, performances, video screenings, and technology based work in genres that addressed the urban inter-ethnic experiences and diverse identities of its members, with a focus on urban culture and experimental arts. In a [mission] statement authored in 2001, Collage Ensemble Inc. describes that they "aim to transport the viewer to a place of social understanding and alternative views; and re-examines social norms such as assimilation, class segregation, and discrimination while reestablishing them through a collective human experience. The ensemble is open to all art media and combinations of media”. (“Statement”, Collage Ensemble Inc.; 2001)

Members have included: Brandy Maya Healy, Alan Nakagawa (co-founder), Enrique Gonzalez, Alessandra Lopez Moctezuma, Steve Irvin, Mona Kasra, Johnny Coleman, Steve Roden, Jeanne Nakano, Maruca Medina, Sara Jane Beckwith, Alex Alferov, Luchy Garcia, Landine Cespon, Reginald Zachary, and others.

Projects include: Body Seance (1993) is a performance work that uses spoken word, ambient sound, movement and circular saws. It deals with the concept of the connection of body and spirit within the context of the city of Los Angeles and its lost yet ever present soul: the desert. “Los Angeles Festival, Crossing LA”; Box 4, Folder 10

CAVE (Covenant House Art Video Exchange) (2001) whose objective is “to offer the students an array of experiences that examine the video medium as a form for creative expression” “Proposal for Covenant House, May 2, 2001”; Box 4, Folder 15

COCORO (1990) micro opera is a 45 minute multi-media performance. Part “Karaoke” part love story, part lecture. COCORO micro opera is a collection of 14 sound works for stage by composer Alan H. Nakagawa, Steve Roden, and Sato Tsuyoshi (of Japan’s experimental performance group Replicant). The story is interwoven with a lecture and film collages explaining a theory on why ghosts exist. “COCORO press release”; Box 4, Folder 21

Electronic Seance (1992, 1993, 1995) is a five part one hour audio soundscape that highlights the group's focus on empowerment through ethnic history with interdisciplinary performance. Artists created the work using found sounds, and will improvise over the recordings “in the spirit of a seance”. Memorandum regarding Replicant and Collage Performance August 13-15, 1993. Box 6, Folder 13; Electronic Seance Program; Box 4, Folder 31

Kodomo ("Child” in Japanese) Micro Operas (1988) consists of four short performance pieces consisting of dance, theater, animation, and video that stem from aspects of child development and that “the idea that most attitudes and directions of a person’s makeup have a lot to do with their individual upbringing and childhood”. Included in Kodomo Micro Operas are: Secular Micro Opera (learning from everyday experience), Out of Prayer Micro Opera (a child’s perception of religion), Learning Process Micro Opera (learning facts through science), and Storyteller Micro Opera (learning about yourself through your heritage). “Learning through 4 Operas”, Orange County Register; Box 5, Folder 4; “Development of the Micro Operas”; Box 5, Folder 2

LA Produce: A Two Flavor Portrait (1997) “commissioned by the Community Redevelopment Agency, City of LA, Collage Ensemble Inc. created a series celebrating the vibrancy of the LA Produce District resulting in: a documentary video, artist book, a two year residency at City Produce which resulted in the creation of Upstairs at the Market Gallery, coordination of the first exhibition at the gallery “Harvest Bunny” which was a multi-media performance inaugurating the opening of the gallery, a series of workshop for high school students at Angelus Plaza Senior Center via the HeArt Project and a presentation of the project to the Produce District community". “Collage Ensemble Inc. Narrative”; Box 5, Folder 10

Markets as Metaphor (2004) a limited edition artist book portraying grocery markets in the City of Los Angeles and the ideology behind the mapping of markets in our urban fabric.” “Markets as Metaphor, CAD Application FY03”; Box 5, Folder 19

Produce Art Center (PAC) (1996) mission is “to bridge art, education, and the topic of food production". PAC is an alternative art space in the Los Angeles produce districts managed by Collage Ensemble, Inc. and was created with goals "to offer the local elementary school students a range of performance based classes; to create a performance ensemble of interested students that can tour with Collage Ensemble Inc.; and to offer teachers a training program in interdisciplinary arts”. “Produce Art Center (PAC) Proposal; Box 6, Folder 19

Replicant/LACE performance (1993) In 1993, Replicant and Collage Ensemble Inc. joined together to present three evenings of ethnic and urban realizations through inter-disciplinary performances. The goals of this production is not only to shed light on current socio-ethnic experiences but to also present two groups who are from very different contemporary urban cities/countries. About Replicant: “Founded in 1988 by artistic director, Sato Tsuyoshi, Replicant has been producing and performing original multi-media state works for its local Osaka audience as well as in selected festivals in Kyoto and Nara.” Performance format: Body-Seance is a tone poem about the soul of our city, the desert. Gimmaku-Yugaku Replicant. “The Kaleidoscope in the Desert” multi-media performance work that illustrates the subtle and macabre visions of Replicant. In Be Tween Noise, a group lead by Steven Roden presents a performance that links the human condition with technology Memorandum regarding Replicant and Collage Performance August 13-15, 1993; Box 6, Folder 13; “Program” August 13-15, 1993; Box 7, Folder 2

Utopia Pop Pop (2003) Over the course of a few months, Collage Ensemble Inc. developed an evening of performances loosely under the guise of “utopia” with four LA based adult puppet theater groups. A panel discussion which was open to the public was produced at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center where artists discussed their work. The final performance was presented at a loft space in downtown LA and during one evening at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). “Four Puppet-Based Artist Groups present ‘Utopia Pop Pop’ at MOCA and Produce Department” [press release] Box 7, Folder 14; “Collage Ensemble Inc. Narrative”; Box 5, Folder 10

Sources: “Organizational Support Program 1999-2000 Guidelines and Application”, “Collage Ensemble Inc. Narrative”, “Soul Micro Opera: Los Angeles’ society is analyzed through a performance by the group Collage Ensemble, Inc. “ by Jorge Luis Berdeja, “El Universal”. All source material is located in the Collage Ensemble, Inc. Collection SPC.2020.021


41 boxes

133.23 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Spanish; Castilian


This collection contains material regarding Collage Ensemble Inc., a multicultural Los Angeles area art collective. A majority of the collection contains photographs, flyers, moving images, audio files, press releases, clippings, programs, grant applications, proposals, and show notes regarding various Collage Ensemble Inc. performances, projects, and shows. Also included are financial records, memorandums, by-laws, meeting minutes, t-shirts, artwork, clippings and flyers related to Los Angeles area art; and other material.


This collection is arranged into eight series:

  1. Series I: Organizational Records (1988-2015; undated)
  2. Series II: Projects, Shows, and Performances (1983-2015; undated)
  3. Series III: Photographs, Negatives, and 35 mm Slides (1983-2001; undated)
  4. Series IV: Moving Images and Audio Files (1982-2006; undated)
  5. Series V: Subject Files (1919-2001; undated)
  6. Series VI: Alan Nakagawa Personal Papers (1978-2012; undated)
  7. Series VII: Digital Files (2000-2002; undated)
  8. Series VIII: Ephemera and T-Shirts (1958-1989; undated)

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was donated by Alan Nakagawa, 2020.

Separated Materials

Oversized material has been separated from the rest of the archival collection and is located in Map Case 3, Drawer 6.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Karen Clemons, 2021.

Inventory of the Collage Ensemble Inc. Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Dominguez Hills, Gerth Archives and Special Collections Repository

University Library South -5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747