See more performance pics on my flickr page.
A Lot of Sorrow (A Durational Performance of Audience), Montreal, July 2019
A Lot of Sorrow (A Durational Performance of Audience) emerges from The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred (http://nothingissacred.ca),an ongoing project in which I instigate “non-events” in a variety of public sites in Montreal: collectively enacted moments of “Doing Nothing.” … With this as the backdrop, in July 2019, on the occasion of the Musée d’art contemporain’s rescreening of Ragnar Kjartansson’s 6-hour video, A Lot of Sorrow, I decided to initiate a durational performance-of-audience. Subsequently a small group of about 10 people collectively watched, listened, napped, and (discreetly) snaked while being together for the entirety of the program. Watching The National (and their devoted audience onscreen) slowly transform (and somewhat break down) was a fascinating experience. Not only was this 6 hours (and then some) well spent inside a prolonged liminal space of micro-observation, this was also the perfect way to kind of DO NOTHING while doing air-conditioned time during a hot July day in Montreal…
Canadian Silence, Turku, October 2017
Canadian Silence, emerges from The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred (http://nothingissacred.ca), an ongoing project in which I instigate “non-events” in a variety of public sites in Montreal: collectively enacted moments of “Doing Nothing.” In a kind of cultural exchange, I was invited to bring my performative action to The New Performance Turku Festival proposing an open invitation for interested citizens of Turku, Finland, to come join me on the river, while we sit in Canadian Silence. No cell phones or tablets were be permitted; no texting, no picture taking. Instead, in collective non-action, I accompanied those who participated, who in turn accompanied me: observing our thoughts as we observed the banks on either side of the river. After having spent this time in a deliberate moment of Doing Nothing, upon a participant’s departure, I distributed a small leaflet with the question: “Do Canadian and Finnish silence feel the same?” (Photos by Jussi Virkkumaa)
Unwrapping Victoria, Montreal, July 2015
Chicago-based Didier Morelli curated an evening of public performances, Entre Chien et Loup, a walking trajectory which featured contemplative and subtly rabble-rousing works that reconsidered monumental sculptures and sites in the downtown core of Montreal. Alongside performances by Adriana Disman, Chrstian Bujold, François Morelli and Étienne Tremblay-Tardiff, I played off of the two Queen Victoria statues, creating a link between the financial district (the supposed seat of power) and the McGill University campus (the supposed seat of knowledge and privilege) in a piece that questioned positions and (im)balances of authority, power and hierarchy. As part of the conference Vital Memories, being presented by The Performance Studies Focus Group (Pre-ATHE conference), an audience of over fifty followed us around as we criss-crossed the streets with our performative actions.
Bodies of Water, Montreal, June 2014
I live in Verdun, Quebec. The St-Lawrence river is my neighbour. It is a powerful presence that compels, contains and delineates this part of town. Along the river, I proposed a group walk: an invitation for few or many to join me in a consciously constructed trajectory on the bike path and the river’s edge. Bodies meeting in unison where sounds, movements, silence and stillness could simultaneously take place (our bodies of water next to this one). Bodies of Water was part of the event Les Voisins, a Festival of Urban Actions curated by Eric Mattson and produced by Les Productions MINUTE. See more images here. Read Vince Tinguely’s thoughtful piece about his experience of taking part in the walk here.
How We Stop Traffic, Sudbury, May 2014
As part of the Foire d’art alternative de Sudbury (FAAS 4), I was invited to give a “Collective Creation Workshop.” Taking place in the Rainbow Centre shopping mall in downtown Sudbury, the resulting day of performative exercises resulted in a poetic and meditative, spontaneous choreography, blocking the main entranceway to the mall. Done in collaboration with Mercedes Cueto, Collette Jacques, Francine Plante, and Elyse Portal. See more images here.
(Being) One Thing at a Time, Various Locations, 2003-2008
The (Being) One Thing at a Time series came out of my interest in responding specifically to a selection of public sites across the island of Montreal. Initiated in 2003, and carried out until 2008, artists and non-artists alike were invited to join me in creating contemporary living tableaux through the performance of meditative, physical actions that would subtly impress upon the urban landscape and surrounding architecture. Proposing to open up a dialogue between the body and the spaces it traverses, I attempted to impose slightly transgressive, collective actions – bewildering (or questionable) gestures in unexpected, or just plain banal places. Due to a widespread enthusiasm for a few of these interventions, some ended up being re-enacted in additional locations both within Montreal and across Canada. See more images here.
The ESSEN Performances, Various Locations, 2003-2007
The performance, ESSEN (German or Yiddish: to eat), is part of a larger series of ongoing process-based public art actions called (Being) One Thing at a Time. Each performance in the series creates an opportunity to pay close attention and to slow down time. Since the beginning of (Being), ESSEN has kind of taken on a life of its own. See more on the installation here and more images here.
ESSEN invites pairs of participants to sit across from each other at a table, in the sharing of a meal at a restaurant. This playful and meditative performance insists that one is not permitted to feed oneself but instead be fed by one’s dining partner (drinking independently is allowed!). As a performance, ESSEN addresses a theme that has occurred in much of my artistic work over the last number of years – my contentious relationship to food (and eating). Inviting others to take part is an opportunity to include the insight of others into my ongoing enquiry: what are some common characteristics and quirks in how we relate to eating? And how does a person develop their particular relationship to food? To date, I’ve shared meals in Montreal, Ottawa, St. John’s, NL, Toronto and Vancouver. With each unfolding, the performance never ceases to reveal new insights – and inadvertently sets the stage for joyous, celebratory, and transformative encounters.
See Anurag Dhir’s video about ESSEN as performed in Toronto for the ascent magazine-ESSEN tour
ESSEN as featured in ascent magazine
Hear Victoria Stanton talk about ESSEN on Kootenay Co-Op Radio’s Deconstructing Dinner show
(Being) One Thing at a Time and ESSEN Performance History
- June 2007: La Plancha Diabolo, as part of Urban Visions, Shorelines: 07, The MacLaren Art Centre, Barrie, ON
- November 2006: Place Émilie-Gamelin as part of État d’Urgence, ATSA annual event, Montreal, QC
- July 2006: Marché Jean-Talon, on the nationally broadcast T.V. show Des kiwis et des hommes, Radio-Canada Télévision, Montreal, QC
- February 2006: Restaurant Dev, ascent magazine three-city tour; Montreal, QC
- January 2006: radha yoga & eatery, ascent magazine three-city tour; Vancouver, BC
- January 2006: Vegetarian Haven, ascent magazine three-city tour; Toronto, ON
- May 2005: Various locations, as part of the exhibition Off Grid/Hors Circuit, Ottawa Art Gallery, Ottawa, ON
- April 2005: Various locations, as part of the exhibition Outspoken, Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John’s, NL
- August – November 2003: Various locations, the initial series first carried out in Montreal, QC