Trans-Montréal at Fluid States, PSi #21

September 17-18, 2015

Performance Studies International (PSi) has planned a decentralized PSi conference for their 21st edition called Fluid States. Presenting activities across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Americas and the Pacific throughout 2015, the city-island of Montreal was invited to take part. Under the direction of feminist art historian Amelia Jones, our group met periodically over a period of three years as a kind of ‘think-tank’, and in the final instance is presenting a two-day conference under the title of Trans-Montréal.

Trans-Montréal seeks to explore this dual nature of the city as the center of a part of North America (francophone Québec) which is, outside of the province, viewed as marginal to Anglophone dominated power structures and conceptions of American/Canadian identity (including those expressed in academic writing in fields such as Performance Studies). As evidenced in its spectacular as well as experimental performance cultures—from the world-renowned Cirque du Soleil to the lively local art and performance scene—Montréal is a vibrant hub of both mainstream and activist and alternative performance and art expression, one that is underappreciated by historians and theorists of art and performance around the world. “Trans-“ themes as articulated below will explore the complexities of the “states” of being (always on the move or “fluid”) which define a cosmopolis that is always active, always vital, and always changing, a city that must situate itself in relation to a continent that largely ignores its offerings, as well as to the dominant Anglophone art and performance worlds and within international networks of Francophone art and culture.

Within this framework, Sylvie Tourangeau and myself (along with support in earlier stages from k.g. guttman and Tagny Duff) curated a small group of local artists to undertake a series of ‘déambulations’ – or walking performances – that took place across the island in the year leading up to the final panel discussions. Evelyne Bouchard, Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood, Diane Dubeau, Julie Laurin, and Nicole Panneton made up the core group of artists whose work touched on the themes of Transaction and Transformation, via the micro-event in their respective ‘déambulations.’

Sept 17-18, 2015
McGill University, Montreal

Read more about Trans-Montréal at Fluid States