Friday, July 2, 2010

Pre Monument post

So I have been invited by co-curators Kristen Hutchinson and Jennifer Rae Forsyth to be part of their three-day, interventionist piece for the Works Visual Arts Festival. The Works is a ten day festival that runs the full gambit of visual culture from crafts to performance to art and design to all level of creation and skills. I should also let you know this year is the 25th year of the festival and it is situated primarily in downtown Edmonton and mainly concentrated on Sir Winston Churchill Square - Edmonton's offering of a civic square - directly smack dab in the "Arts District" surrounded by the new shiny Art Gallery of Alberta, the Winspear (Symphony and Opera), the Citadel Theatre, the main branch of the Edmonton Public Library, and City Hall. It is mainly populated by festivals throughout the summer and combined with under-housed youth and office workers - I am certain you can perhaps find every type of person in the Square.

The project begins on Sunday morning at 9 a.m. when the co-curators start adhering poster copies of the visual artist's (involved in the project) images - they each get two - one for the inside of the make shift structure and one for the outside. We performance artists are suppose to respond to the images and works of the artists as well as responding - or not responding to the works through performance. Did I mention that the curators are installing the images beginning at 9 a.m. and my performance begins at noon? While I am not new to improvised performance and am fairly seasoned at this I feel that in some ways this raises the stakes for me in terms of my performance work. I am outside, they will probably be lots of people and I am going in fairly blind as both the first performer and first into the space.

Over the past few years my work has taken some significant shifts and is fairly strongly ensconced into relational performances - my interactions with one or a very few people at a time. My work has also shifted very much away from cabaret environments to that of work on the streets and perhaps most significantly into work that is deeply centered around intimacy - intimacy with strangers, intimacy with spaces - both physical and psychological.

Deep breath.

This is truly my first public performance since my long hospitalization and I am nervous - perhaps a wee bit scared. I recently went to a doctors appointment at the hospital and they read my file as still MRSA positive and quickly isolated me - cap, gloves, gowns, and mask interactions only. I am again out on the street, touching, smelling, interacting with people - I still feel both leper and victim at the same time…

Thinking about the piece and the project and my own work; the theme of the festival this year centers around earth. I have some ideas to explore.

Monument @ The Works Festval, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

fast & dirty presents: Monument
Sun. July 4 to Wed. July 7
102A Avenue, Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, AB

fast & dirty presents: Monument is an intersection of public spaces and private places, a memorial to temporality, and an exploration of how we inhabit urban landscapes. On the first morning of the exhibition (Sun. July 4, 9:30 am-12:00 pm), seven Edmonton visual artists will cover the installation structure with posters created from their artworks. The installation will be left to the elements and thus may deteriorate over the course of the exhibition. Visual Artists: Matthew Arrigo, Adrien Cho, Jennifer Rae Forsyth, Kristen Hutchinson, Adriean Koleric, Elaine Wannechko, Ryan Wolters

Local performance artists and contemporary dancers will create pieces that respond directly to the exhibition concept, to the artworks on the walls, and to the space of Winston Churchill Square. Over the four-day run of the exhibition, there will be one performance every day of varying durations. Performance Artists:
Todd Janes: Sun. July 4, 12:00-4:00 pm
Good Women Dance Society: Mon. July 5, 2:30 pm
Jennifer Mesch & Kevin Jesuino: Tues. July 6, 5:30-6:30 pm
Julianna Barabas: Wed. July 7, 5:30-8:30 pm

The exhibition is organized by fast & dirty, a rotating collective of artists/curators, founded and led by curatorial team Jennifer Rae Forsyth and Kristen Hutchinson, which creates exhibitions and art events for a short duration in unusual environments.

Monument seeks to undermine divisions between artistic mediums and to question assumptions about what is considered high art and low art. The exhibition asks viewers to consider how they occupy urban space, and how the images that accumulate around us inform how we live in our city.

For more about fast & dirty presents: Monument (including the artworks in the exhibition, artist statements, and information about the performers):

fast & dirty presents: Monument is part of The Works Art & Design Festival: