Relational Performance

See more performance pics on my flickr page.

The Waiting Room / La salle d’attente, September 2017

At the invitation of Folie/Culture artist-run centre in Quebec City, I invested the space of The a-Post Office, a portable structure set up in strategic locations in Quebec’s city centre. Taking inspiration from the idea of the Post Office, this two-day durational, and relational performance became an annex of research into another kind of Doing Nothing – that of Waiting. Standing inside my little kiosk, this Office on wheels transformed into a site of pause: A Waiting Room (Salle d’attente) where I considered what it means to wait, while demonstrating waiting (as we once did when, in a previous era, when we mailed letters and had to be patient about getting a reply). Spending this time thinking about waiting, I sat and waited, and invited people to come and tell me their stories about waiting…or to simply sit and wait with me. (Photos below by Fabien Abitbol, who wrote a nice little piece about the performance here).

The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred, May 2016 – May 2017

At the invitation of Montreal artist-run centre DARE-DARE, and as part of their current cycle of programming, “La Société des Rendez-vous” I have embarked on what I realize is going to be a particularly challenging task: Doing Nothing (paradox intended). The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred unfolds as a yearlong endeavour in which I propose a space and extended moment of… Nothing. An opportunity for rest. While I could really use this downtime (and am convinced that if I’m feeling this way most likely many others are too), I also see the affirmation of such an activity as an inherently political act; it challenges notions of productivity, what constitutes “failure” (and success) and reconsiders “non-productive” uses of time. This is my dream project. And so from May 2016 to May 2017 (and possibly on through for the rest of life, if I am lucky), at regular intervals and in various configurations, I will not only attempt to consciously Do Nothing, but sit with the complexity of that question. I will enthusiastically insert this Nothing into my everyday, to see/accept/appreciate Nothing as Something and hold the space of Nothing in the company of others who wish to accompany me in this quiet, open, sacred, and decidedly un-productive project. Nothing as a proposal for the Potential in Everything. Visit the project blog here.

What the Interval Tastes Like, ORANGE – Triennial of Contemporary Art About Food, September 2015

For its 5th edition, ORANGE (LES VISCÉRAUX), a recurring arts event in Saint-Hyacinthe, Quebec that functions like a living laboratory to explore issues related to art and the agri-food industry, decided to create a dedicated performance residency program, of which I was a part. Within the same trajectory as my ongoing “Relationships in Residence” (see entry below), and my continued explorations of our individual relationships to food, I proposed accompanying willing participants (residents of Saint-Hyacinthe) on their grocery shopping excursions as well as offering these same participants the possibility of cooking their favourite meal in their own kitchens. I had the privilege of meeting with complete strangers who invited me into their personal, intimate space (whether indoors or out) to share a meal together. In this circumstance, food became a transactional object through which these encounters could take place. In the aftermath of the project, I realized, however, that food was in fact a kind of ruse. This was really a project about hospitality, about receiving and being received. And how we each have our own very distinct way of receiving (and giving). Working alongside three other artists (Céline Boucher, Éric Ladouceur and Arkadi Lavoie-Lachapelle) the residence was curated by Sylvie Tourangeau and culminated in a final performance during the opening of ORANGE in September, 2015. A round table discussion followed the opening, during which time I discussed the notion of food as transactional object within participatory performance actions.

The Listening Sessions, 2013-present

The listening session is an occasion to get together and spend quality time listening to music. The joy that I have known in this process is something that I have always appreciated sharing with others and I am curious to explore how this kind of non-verbal engaging can potentially create connection, even a kind of intimacy, among acquaintances, but especially among ‘strangers’. As music is so very evocative of other times/places and emotions, the experience of the music/listening, in an intentioned, quiet and focused setting, creates a particular zone of ‘communion.’ In this performance the audience is invited to bring a song of their choice which is played off mp3 players in a round-robin dj session. I sit with the audience and we stare at a blank wall, while listening to music together. Participants are invited to say something about the song they’ve selected (if they choose to) which turns into a second stage of presentation: performances of memory through spontaneous storytelling.

The Listening Sessions Performance History

  • May 2015: Titled, The MTL Listening Sessions (#3) – MTL sessions d’écoute, presented as part of Centre des arts actuels SKOL performance programming in Montreal, QC.
  • April 2015: Titled, The T.O. Listening Sessions (#1) – The ‘Drop In Session’, presented during the open house, RECESS at Artscape Youngplace in Toronto, ON.
  • January 2015: Titled, The MTL Listening Sessions (#2) – The Birthday Edition, presented as part of The Link & Pin performance art series at RATS 9 in Montreal, QC.
  • December 2014: Titled, The MTL Listening Sessions (#1), presented presented as part of The Link & Pin performance art series at RATS 9 in Montreal, QC.
  • June 2013: Titled, The Mobile Listening Sessions, presented during The Works Art & Design Festival at Sir Winston Churchill Square in Edmonton, AB.

Relationships in Residence, 2010-present

This entry acknowledges the processes inherent, and hiding in the wings, of each residence I’ve been doing since 2010. Experimenting with “transactional performance” for some time, my recent experiences in residence have provided precious spaces within which to keep exploring an intentional embodying of “in-between” space. No matter what the final outcome is: whether photo, film, writing, drawing – or even a performance before an audience, the crux of this work is in the very encounters that take place between myself and another. Negotiating interaction in spontaneous encounters that don’t provide guaranteed outcomes. Meeting people and being fully present and available to the meeting. I realized how difficult it is to qualify or quantify such an invisible trajectory. How do you measure the experience? Where is the expertise? The art frame provides an invaluable context and a container within which to carry out this research – an extremely important, and delicate process of personalized social engagement. The joy comes from being able to push past the top layer of surface, to get to something that produces a profoundly consequential exchange. Something that can only happen through time – through having the luxury of time. Time spent doing. Time spent being. Time spent repeating. Being in a quotidian situation, over time, in a place with others. Being in residence. When time allows for the creation and repetition of a routine, the prospect of meaningful contact that is mutually exchanged and acknowledged becomes possible. Whether these are organically occurring routines, such as buying groceries, or consciously constructed encounters, such as inviting specific people to walk with me and share their stories of place. See more images of Relationships in Residence on my flickr page.

 Meeting Charles-Alexandre, Stéphanie & family and Diane in Sainte-Thérèse, QC

Meeting Charles-Alexandre, Stéphanie & family and Diane in Sainte-Thérèse, QC

 Meeting Kris, Kelley, Wayne and Allyson in Saint John, NB

Meeting Kris, Kelley, Wayne and Allyson in Saint John, NB

 Meeting Erick, Yessica and Fabian in Real del Monte, Mexico

Meeting Erick, Yessica and Fabian in Real del Monte, Mexico

relationships in residence images

Meeting William in Granby, QC

Relationships in Residence Performance History

  • May – Oct 2013: Dépôt de mémoire (Human Encounters Map), extended residence with Praxis Art Actuel in Ste-Thérèse, QC. See project blog here.
  • March – April 2013: This City, My Love (an unspectacular view on Saint John), a 5-week residence with Third Space Gallery in Saint John, NB. See more performance process photos.
  • October – December 2012: Bottling Nostalgia, as part of a 2-month residence with FRONDA in Real del Monte, Mexico. See more performance process photos and photos from my final performance.
  • November 2010 – March 2012: FatherWork – MonTravail, as part of a 16-month residence at 3e impérial in Granby, QC. See the installation section for more details and film stills and my flickr page for more images.

Stuff, March – April 2010

My first collaboration with sound artist Christian Richer in which we produced a live, participatory installation of drawings and ambient aural textures. Situated in Tenderpixel Gallery in London, UK, visitors were invited to bring an object to which to they felt an emotional attachment. Together, me and guest chatted about the object’s history and personal significance. We also sketched: individual and comparative interpretations of the precious object in question. No drawing experience was necessary! Perfect execution was not the purpose of this interaction – but moreover, about highlighting these fleeting moments of change and exchange. Christian recorded, and transformed these conversations into atmospheric tape loops, slowly building a soundtrack that accompanied the expanding collection of drawings. Connecting, recording, sketching, editing, broadcasting and affixing…constantly evolving and dynamic, our residency at Tenderpixel culminated in an immersive installation of playful images & evocative sounds: an eclectic collection of ‘stuff’. See the installation section for more details and my flickr page for more images.

stuff_tenderpixel

Bank of Victoria, 2001-2005

Bank of Victoria CEO Victoria Stanton As a life-art-corporate-subversion project, the Bank of Victoria was officially opened in June 2001. CEO Victoria Stanton randomly sets up shop providing consultation and cheques to those in need. In June 2003, the Bank inaugurated its official website, www.bankofvictoria.com.
As a relational performance, this project initiates individual encounters between “performer” and “audience.” Ensuing interactions last anywhere from 5 minutes to half hour in this piece that explores our expectations (ranging from what “art” is “supposed” to be to what we as children imagined ourselves becoming as adults), and our varied and difficult relationships to money. By playing the role of CEO (and hence a position of supposed authority) I am (de)positing a grey area between “real” world and “fictional” space while dealing with the concept of “money” as a point of departure into examinations of familial/societal expectations, perceptions of “choice,” the construction of desire, and self-definition.
As a website, the Bank continues to attract many curious surfers and potential customers, in particular for the Financial Partners Enterprise, a program seeking to match poor artists with rich patrons. If you are a rich patron, don’t hesitate to contact me. I have a long list of poor artists waiting to be assisted.
Visit the Bank of Victoria

Bank of Victoria Performance History

  • March 2005: Toronto Free Gallery, as part of The Corporate World exhibition, Toronto, ON
  • April – June 2003: Espace Vox, taking up weekly residence during Art Qui Fait Boum!, Triennial of Emerging Artists, Montreal, QC
  • September 2001: Alizé, during the launch of esse Magazine #43, Montreal, QC

Menu/Please Choose an Item From the Menu/HOTEL, 2001-2003

HOTEL at The Holiday Inn, Edmonton, AB, as part of Visualeyez An exchange for confined spaces as presented in three locations over a two-year period. Individual encounters between “performer” and “audience” occurred in a small tent inside a gallery, then in a hotel room. In each location, the “audience” (comprised of one person) was invited to choose from a selection of four possible topics. Ensuing interactions lasted anywhere from three to fifteen minutes in this piece that explored notions of intimacy, risk, trust and blurred boundaries between art and life; artist and spectator.

Menu… Performance History

  • May 2003: The Holiday Inn, Edmonton, Alberta as part of the Visualeyez performance festival.
  • November 2001: Gladstone Hotel, Toronto, ON, presented during Reciprocité, a three-city performance exchange between Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver.
  • March 2001: Galerie SKOL, Montreal QC, as part of their annual fundraising event.

Cake Feeding Series, 2001-2008

I have many food intolerances and I love to eat chocolate cake (number one on my “black list”). So, I eat it vicariously through feeding it to others – often from out of their own cupped hands. In this experience of feeding cake, I am interested in the immediate intimacy that is established, in having to navigate the potential awkwardness, in enacting a nurturing (and somewhat decadent) gesture, in negotiating the placement of a fork or spoon in someone’s un-accustomed mouth. This is a slightly cumbersome, yet fulfilling and playful task. The inherent awkwardness and playfulness of such a gesture produces very mixed responses: welcoming, open, laughing mouths, slightly closed, uncertain (resisting) mouths. The piece continues to evolve (with participants feeding each other and myself acting as witness with a video camera) but the intentions remain intact: proposing a quotidian, seemingly banal act as a site of negotiation, deliberation and even celebration in this performance that challenges the audience to let down their guard and temporarily renounce their control.
Weather (and context) permitting, the cake feeding performance is often dolled up with the beautiful “Cutlery Dress.” This chiming sound-costume-sculpture of a dress was created in 2001, and has made several appearances. See more images of Cake Feeding on my flickr page.

 

Cake Feeding in Montreal and Melbourne

Feeding cake in Montreal and Melbourne

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="532"]Feeding cake in Montreal, Gabriola and Sète Feeding cake in Montreal, Gabriola and Sète

Cake Feeding Performance History

  • November 2008: Titled, Eat How You Feel, presented during the annual Poetry Gabriola festival, on Gabriola Island, British Columbia. I wore the dress – to great effect – and for the first time, worked with cupcakes. Each cake had a little message pinned to it with a tooth pick. Afterward the eating parade, the “audience” went around reading their messages like the found poetry of a corps exquis.
  • September 2008: Titled, Mange tes sentiments, presented during the annual Infr’Action performance festival in Sète, France (without the dress). A lovely fruity cake was served quite early in the morning to passersby in a fresh food market on the street.
  • July 2008: Titled, Mange tes sentiments / Eat How You Feel, presented during the annual FIMA festival, in Montreal, QC. (without the dress). This time around, the 16″ x 20″ cake was cut into 2 x 2 pieces, each piece displaying a title, much like a “fortune” found in the centre of a Chinese fortune cookie (except on the outside, where guests could deliberately pick their message).
  • August 2006: Titled, Eat How You Feel, presented during the annual Overload Festival, in Melbourne, Australia (without the dress).
  • September 2005: Titled, Let Them Eat My Graduation Certificate, as part of the Concordia University 3rd Annual Juried Fine Arts Alumni Exhibition, Montreal, QC. In Let Them Eat My Graduation Certificate the cake (as indicated in the title) was a facsimile of my BFA diploma.
  • February 2004: Titled, Ikh Gib Dir Eppes Tzu EssenI Give You Something To Eat, as part of the Rethinking the Body, Self and Subject in Performance Conference, hosted by Columbia University in New York City.
  • January 2004: Titled, Let Them Eat Cake, as part of the internationally web-cast event, Art’s Birthday held at Studio XX in Montreal, QC.
  • June 2002: Titled, Evidence II, during the InterAzioni festival in Sardinia, Italy.
  • March 2002: Titled, Evidence, during the Festival Voix d’Amériques in Montreal, QC.
  • November 2001: Titled, (If) not for me, (if) not for you at Grunt Gallery as part of Live: The Vancouver Performance Art Biennale in Vancouver, BC.
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