Hi, we’re Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer!
We created OKOKOK Productions in 1996 from a passion to inspire healthy solutions to social dilemmas through Performance Art and Natural Building Skills.
We are first and foremost Nature lovers! We live in Moab, Utah surrounded by spectacular red rock canyons situated between the Colorado River and the La Sal Mountain range in Southeastern Utah.
We met each other when we were cast as the leads in Moab Community Theatre’s production “The Seven Year Itch”. It was love at first itch! During production and on our romantic hikes in the desert, we shared many similar interests and values; Nature, love of theater, film-music-making, slow food, river running, community, and building with natural materials.
We camped in the splendor of our fantastic Public Lands, visiting many of the remaining fabulous 800-1200 year old Anasazi structures. We toured 100+ year old adobe dwellings still in use in Moab. We sought to reintroduce earthen building techniques as a viable alternative to conventional stick frame construction for our arid Southwestern climate. We played with making adobe bricks, rammed earth and cob.
Then we discovered Nader Khalili’s work – Sand Bag Architecture or Earthbag Building. The concept of building monolithic domes with arch openings really turned us on!
With reject dirt, inexpensive misprint bags and barbed wire, we built earthbag walls, plastered over with wild-harvested clay, sand and straw. We were hooked!
We attempted to get a building permit to build an Earthbag house on our property in the historic district of Moab – we were denied. “Too weird to meet code” we were told. So we applied for a permit to build with traditional adobe bricks, surely time tested adobe would be accepted! We were denied again. Our building inspector declared, “I’m afraid of adobe.”
Yet out of frustration creativity was born!
A House For Honey
We were rafting down the Moab Daily stretch of the Colorado River. We pulled over to check out a film set that had been constructed to replicate a Mexican village for the film “Larger Than Life” starring Bill Murray. The entire “town” was built without a permit. Hmmmm…that’s interesting…building permits are not required for movie sets since their purpose is considered temporary. This compelled us to write the screenplay entitled “Honey’s House”. “Honey’s House” is a story about a single mother’s search for Truth, Justice, and…Affordable Housing!
Our heroine, Honey, loses her ranch style home to a tragic fire (burned to the ground by her deranged husband), forcing herself, her young son and great aunt to seek housing in a dilapidated trailer park. During a flash flood that threatens to inundate the trailer park, the residents band together to stack sandbags into a mighty wall that deters the rampaging water, and in the process…inspire a new way to build that is not only flood resistant but fire proof as well!
One of the residents who helped lead the effort to stack the sandbags is a retired Colonel from the Army Corps of Engineers who had been stationed in the Middle East. Colonel Flagstaff’s passion for ancient monolithic adobe construction and Honey’s desire to provide an affordable home for her family brings them together to design sandbags into monolithic domes, making the best use of cheap materials for building foundation, walls and roof! Inspired by the sturdiness and low cost of such buildings, Honey seeks to convince the local building department to issue her a permit to replace her burnt out stick frame house with earthbag domes. Alas, she too is denied a permit.
She soon discovers (while on a river rafting trip, wink wink ) that the movie set of a Mexican village built along the banks of the river did not require a permit! Honey and her band of trailer park cronies conspire to make a movie of their own entitled “Revenge of the Bag People!” – It’s a combo Sci-fi, Planet of the Apes spoof in which the cast (dressed appropriately in scanty animal skins) build domes out of bags of dirt and barbed wire (found in an abandoned army barracks prior to the apocalypse).
“Honey’s House” is a playful farce – a film about folks pretending to make a movie to fool the building inspector and with luck convince the status quo that yes bags of dirt are a great way to build houses! It’s an OKOKOK Production ploy to get around a building permit in our little beloved town of Moab, Utah and yes, convince our local building inspector of the integrity of Earthbag domes!
So, you see, we started out as a film production company with a desire to demonstrate and inspire alternative solutions to society’s dilemmas starting with our own! In order to prove the claims our heroine makes in the script and how to budget the film (as we had every intention to produce it), we sought to validate the process by building a small prototype dome in our own backyard – without no stinkin’ permit!
We set about designing the Honey House, pricing and ordering materials and offering the construction process of the dome as an experimental community workshop. We filmed the entire process with both video and still shots. We attracted all sorts of attention with the exception of the building department, heh, heh.
We Called it “Natural Building”
Soon, we were being asked to share our “expertise” with others. That’s when we were invited to our first “Natural Building Colloquium” in Southern New Mexico. We had never heard the term “natural building” but, hey, it sounded like fun! We brought our slide presentation of building the Honey House and suddenly we found ourselves cavorting with a tribal gathering of 150 playful, creative, pro-active people innovating extraordinary natural building techniques integrating renewable energy, rainwater harvesting, living wastewater treatment, regenerative farming, passive solar and assorted super energy efficient living systems…in essence; all the stuff that adds up to inspiring Happy, Healthy, Human Habitats in Harmony with Nature!
After our Honey House presentation, we were invited to the Bahamas to teach our brand of Earthbag Building on a remote island – without no stinkin’ permit! We became the characters we had conceived in our “Honey’s House” script.
During the last 20+ years, we have continued to discover and teach practical natural building methods as well as develop performance material for promoting a Healthy, Happy Humanity in Harmony with Nature. Our recent contribution is the theater production of “Vipassana – The Musical,” and most currently, “Yo Mama ~ Uncanned!”
We are focusing more on our media skill talents in order to reach a wider audience and more effectively touch the heart and soul of a society obsessed with consumeristic values.
It is with great joy that we invite you to inspire a Happy, Healthy Humanity in Harmony with ALL of Nature through storytelling, mixed media, performing arts, music, dance, practical living skills and natural building techniques.
We feel ourselves being called to inspire Humankind into becoming kind humans…starting with ourselves! Oh boy!
Kaki Hunter and Doni Kiffmeyer have been messing about with dirt since we took our first Earthbag workshop with Nader Khalili at the Cal Earth Institute in 1992.
We set out to share our passion for dirt by giving workshops and eventually authoring our book, Earthbag Building: the Tools, Tricks and Techniques. We encourage all types of natural building with an emphasis on meeting the FQSS stamp of approval:
Fun Quick Simple and Solid!
We are currently working on a theatrical play entitled “Yo Mama ~ Uncanned!”
“Yo Mama ~ Uncanned!” is a one woman performance that Kaki wrote inspired by a spirited voice she heard in relation to a 16 million ton pile of radio active dirt that has been sitting along side the banks of the Colorado River just north of Moab, Utah since the 1950’s uranium boom.
“Yo! Ah got sumpin tuh say!” -Yo Mama
We live in Moab, Utah.