Posted by Irene Loughlin on September 18th, 2014
So much art, so little time. Falling somewhat behind in this blogging and we are all missing Alan who could not not come from Capetown, South Africa due to the difficulties inherent in aquiring visas to travel.
Gavin Krastin produced an impressive work at Latitude 53 last night. On entering the space we encountered the artist, solitary and naked under a bright spotlight, his head encased in a large, bulbous mesh of plastic wrap connected to a long swath of the material which hung from the high ceiling and draped towards the ground. A neutrality of gender was communicated through the hidden, or suppressed genitals of Gavin’s towering figure. This adapted self was a conflation of impressions both alien and human, aristocratic and abject. Gavin’s body contorted in jagged and abrupt movements which punctuated his stillness. These actions were particularly severe and unnatural throughout the abdomen. (Gavin later told me about the word in Afrikaans “gutvoln”, meaning ‘a gut full of rage’.) The solar soundscape which accompanied this work echoed through space, and was punctuated intermittently by Gavin’s abrupt movements. (Gavin Krastin Photo: Irene Loughlin)
Gavin eventually reached the floor in an eloquently choreographed struggle with materials, and escaped from the head encasement of plastic. Three small audio speaker voices fell out into the space and mingled with the general soundscape. The first audio relayed an event that happened in South African Parliament a month prior, where the president was confronted for embezzling twenty-five million Rand (South African currency) in public funding to build a private estate. The second piece of audio contained a political speech by President Obama which detailed US support of Israel during the recent civilian bombings of Gaza. A third audio speaker emitted a British news report detailing the recent ISIS killing of an American citizen. This audio cacophony was all at once disrupted by an entertainment industry’s intrusively banal report of Kim Kardashian and Beyonce’s budding friendship.
Following this section of the work, Gavin was taped into a plastic bag with a breathing tube by his assistant, Karen. As he breathed through the tube, the plastic was sucked against his body and reduced flesh to associations with vacuum-packed objects or food. The emphasis remained on his head where a flat, pointed hood formed in the shape of a prehistoric animal. Within the open space of the gallery, the artist communicated a claustrophobia and tension, his body turned inward, as a vehicle of contemplation for the political situation in South Africa. (Gavin Krastin, Photo: Owen Murray)
Gavin later spoke of black economic empowerment policies in South African as effective means of redress for apartheid. Such policies were generally supported by the younger generation of white South Africans who wanted to dismantle the social injustice and racism which had plagued their lives and history. They witnessed, however, a generation of older white men who alternately did not share their perspective and who were forced into an unwilling confrontation with their assumptions of privilege when they lost their seat of unquestioned power. A confrontation with “the alien/ated other” whether in terms of citizenship, the right to equal work and pay, etc. became an unavoidable fact as these men lost jobs and privilege, experiencing themselves a marginal amount of the pain inflicted on people of colour in South Africa.
Posted by Irene Loughlin on September 18th, 2014
Nayeon Yang began her performance quietly behind the cenotaph in Churchill Square, where she unpacked a suitcase containing a large ceramic pot, bottles of blueberry juice, bottles of soya sauce, black bean sauce, water and cider vinegar. She later relayed that she wanted to use materials from her home in Korea as well as something Canadian. (Nayeon Yang Photo: Irene Loughlin)
Nayeon laid down a white cloth on the bench and placed the pot in the centre of the cloth. She then proceeded to pour the contents of all the bottles into it. She chose a pot used commonly for fermentation which subsequently heightened the scent of the liquids. She then pulled on the cloth, transforming it into a long skirt. Wearing all white, she placed a woven ring on her head and balanced the half full vase there. Some of the contents spilled and began a stain down the centre of her clothing in the front and back, and would become more pronounced over the course of the performance. She asked Soufia to continue pouring the juice into the vase until it was full. (Nayeon Yang Photo: Irene Loughlin)
Slowly Nayeon stood up from her seated position and proceeded to walk around Churchill Square for approximately forty-five minutes. Nayeon mentioned that historically Korean women carried water, food etc. on their head, and she wanted to use this action in her work as a signifier of a ritualistic activity existing outside of Western culture in the performance. (Nayeon Yang Photo: Irene Loughlin)
As she walked through the square, the scent of the liquids of her container mixed with the strong smells of the hotdog stand. We passed a Thai food truck, and the surreal subtext of a group of women practicing aerobics while music blared from loudspeakers. As Nayeon walked slowly around the public square, Adam from Latitude 53 passed out a postcard for viewers to fill in and mail off, as shown below: (Postcard by Nayeon Yang Photo: Irene Loughlin)
Some curious viewers came close to the artist and were able to catch the scent emanating from the pot. Others viewed from a distance with curiosity. In a few conversations I had with viewers, one woman reported that the action looked painful and upon further reflection she stated that perhaps it was her guilt that caused her to read the image that way. Several people asked about the festival and about the nature of performance art.
Nayeong continued to investigate space, tracing a pathway down the centre of her body with the liquids as well as with her body as it moved through the public square. Her concentration and the pace of her work were exquisitely timed and it appeared that she drifted effortlessly through space. (Nayeon Yang, Churchill Square Edmonton Photo: Irene Loughlin)
Nayeong finished her work back near the public fountain, at which time Pam Patterson felt compelled to respond to Nayeong’s work. Using three bricks which would serve as a motif for her performance later in the week, she placed them at the threshold of the public fountain. She threw two bricks into the pool of water and carried one in on her head. Wearing only a bright blue piece of plastic, she submerged in the water, walking the bricks with her hands while horizontally floating across the fountain floor. An image that was both weightless and heavy, the contrast of the water’s transparency against the weight of the bricks and the complimentary colours of the materials created a striking image in the sunlight. Unfortunately the police then arrived and the performance ended. (Pam Patterson, Churchill Square Photo: Irene Loughlin)
Posted by Irene Loughlin on September 18th, 2014
Our 10 am meeting started off with quinoa and fruit by Robyn (mmm) and performance art exercises on the patio led by Soufia. I didn’t document those because that would be, well, either too invasive or too silly. We mirrored each others’ actions and made some of our own, as well as communicated through nonsensical verbal games. Following this dadaesque a.m. exercise, the conversation circulated around the question of space and its affect on movement. Unlike Soufia’s methodology which centred on taking the time to walk in Edmonton and respond to her surroundings, Pam Patterson described her process as necessitated by pre-planning because her performance involved creating with two or three participants she had not previously met. She talked about internally adjusting the plan to the circumstances of her surroundings as she became more familiar with the space in which they would work together in Latitude 53.
Naeyon reframed space as that which is not necessarily outside ourself, asserting that “our body is the space” as a unit of time, and as a biologically-defined space. It is from this place she suggests we can explore the concept of space, rather than defaulting to our understanding of space as something geographical, something outside of ourselves. Todd Janes spoke of transcending a concretized space through the use of smell and sound in performance, and the embodiment of space using our physicality as a kind of psychic extension of our surroundings, an extension often animated through the storytelling that takes place via the viewer, during and after the event. Performance art can also function as a kind of projection into space, where the performer views themselves and their performative situation from the outside by casting their awareness out into the viewing area – an ‘over there’ throwing of one’s consciousness, a technique which pre ponders the ‘fantasy of reception’. We briefly spoke about the opposite of expansion via collapsed space, and its underbelly – displacement, as immeasurable (although there was something about a eureka moment in a bathtub), which I imagine are threads that will return later in the week. Naeyon posed the question “What is the purpose of measuring?” which will be tackled tomorrow. We finished with Soufia recounting her experience of last night’s performance, where she guided our evening walk and experience by following ‘where the space opened’ in the urban landscape via traffic lights, empty spaces, and the passage of other walkers. Gavin noted the difference to Capetown, in that Edmonton generally obeys traffic light crossings, whereas Robin contributed her knowledge of the policing of crossing in Edmonton, which we would come to know more intimately following Pam Patterson’s transgression over the threshold of appropriate public space for a body, which is apparently, not in the plaza fountain.
Posted by Adam on September 17th, 2014
Posted by Irene Loughlin on September 17th, 2014
The Visualeyez table Image: Irene Loughlin
Incredible! The sun and heat. I should have left my winter coat at home! This morning after being pummelled in an early morning session of deep tissue work (and when they say that in Edmonton, they mean business) I wove down 106th St wondering what would happen today to amaze me. Visualeyez participants met for the first time around a table at Latitude 53 over mid-morning breakfast, thanks to Robyn O’Brien (Latitude Admin Coordinator) the self-described ‘creepy ghost making toast’! We were also joined by Latitude 53 creatives Karen, Emily and Olivia.
The artists spoke on some of the predicted themes of Visualeyez in relation to movement. Naeyon Yang beautifully articulated her thoughts on scent, which will play a central role in her upcoming work. There is no certain archive in which to hold scent; she therefore proposed that we consider memory as an anchor, a metaphorical container which addresses the problem of scent’s temporality. Todd Janes recounted crossing paths with a coyote last night on his way back from the airport with Naeyon, and reflected on the panicked responses to coyote sightings and the urge to enclose wildlife via environmental colonization and urban sprawl. I posed the question of intentional space in performance and how choosing space affects the artist’s movement in their work.
Adam Waldron-Blain and Soufia Bensaid location scouting
In the afternoon, we scouted for locations and Adam spoke with a reporter about the festival. Soufia Bensaid continued to familiarize herself today with the city of Edmonton. I received a cryptic text message at 8:30 pm to join her at Latitude 53 at 9 pm, where I found her sitting quietly on a bench in the front patio area. Awkwardly crossing the barely discernible line between public space and performative space, I sat down beside her and assumed her meditative pose. Todd Janes and Gavin Krastin noisily drove up and stumbled out of the van, yet Soufia’s concentration remained unbroken. They were also compelled to sit with her. I thought about Soufia’s different way of hearing, and her contributions regarding experiences of the auditory as we sat with her in silence. Earlier in the day I had noticed how some abrupt sounds made her jump while other sounds were barely discernible to her. I heard people come and go, the traffic, an ambulance.
Soufia eventually handed us flashing LED lights and led us in a walk. Waiting for us to catch up with her near the Days In, she did not hear a car pull up behind her waiting to turn into the parking lot. She held her ground peacefully and made eye contact with the driver, much like the coyote Todd encountered in his headlights an evening earlier. The driver became impatient and irritated while she stood unmoving and we stopped and started, negotiating the awkward and invisible boundary in the hierarchy of driver/pedestrian.
Edmonton or Venice..
Soufia’s walk revealed a romanticism about Edmonton I didn’t know existed – historic buildings reflected in the water, people dancing by the water fountain. I felt confused as I walked around the edge of the fountain. Later we confronted traffic at a busy intersection, singing childhood songs, and screaming as loud as we could, our voices lost in the acceleration of the vehicles.
Posted by Irene Loughlin on September 16th, 2014
I arrived in Edmonton last night, armed with iPad, laptop and phone, happy to be the Visualeyez blogger and eager to begin documenting the cultural life of the city. Here is my first victim.
the common Edmonton hare
If you find a solitary baby hare in Edmonton, do not pick it up. If you do, you are a KIDNAPPER. (more…)
Posted by Adam on September 10th, 2014
We’re pleased to announce the schedule for this year’s festival: you can find it right here.
As always, Visualeyez is an experimental, responsive series of events—watch for announcements, changes, and new discoveries to be posted, along with writing by this year’s Festival Animator, Irene Loughlin.
Posted by Adam on September 5th, 2014
This year’s Visualeyez theme is movement – how the city moves us and how we move the city. We will be looking at our relationship to our urban environments and how we navigate these spaces in our daily lives.
Pam Patterson is an internationally recognized performance artist, educator and scholar based in Toronto and she is looking for individuals and disability artists for a movement-based performance(s) of Brick for Visualeyez Sept. 16-21 2014.
Brick will explore our personal movement patterns, frustrations and found joys. Our “bricks” are the institutions we navigate, the objects we use (or are unable to use), and the relationships we have with both. Our movement-in-context becomes an educational instrument for social change.
The performance is basically a dance/poem with objects: dryers, vacuum cleaners, Lazy boy chairs, low tables…. We will try and make sure you can choose one that “moves” you! Personal assistants are welcome and will participate as creative enablers.
Performers will improvise and repeat in performance three solo/group gestures/aktions/sounds including: an umbrella protest “walk”, a personal “dance” in which you find and repeat a gesture that relates to/supports and powerfully responds to your own movement patterns, and a “dance”-with-object. Still tableaus punctuate the movement piece and work with timed cheorography. We may also write a joint poem/text and incorporate this into our own sound scape. Check out Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”
What we will require from you as a participant:
We will meet twice before we perform (about 1 ½ hours each time) to chat, workshop together, and set a framework/cues for the performance.
You will need to wear comfortable clothes, bring anything/anyone you need to meet your own comfort/communication needs (please let us know of any specific accommodations you require as well), bring a personal assistant if needed, have an idea for a furniture or appliance you would like to work with and a black umbrella!
What you will need to bring for the performance, what to wear, where to go, and when to arrive will all be discussed when I we meet for our workshops.
It is going to be fun and interesting, I think. And enjoying the process is the only reward or incentive I can give you as this is an unpaid gig. Apologies.
Posted by Adam on April 23rd, 2014
The 15th annual Visualeyez festival of performance art happens from 16–21 September 2014 in the downtown core of Edmonton, Alberta, exploring on the curatorial theme of Movement.
Visualeyez takes place over a period of seven days and it is required that all invited artists are able to attend for the entire length of the festival. Artists experience the work of other artists; engage in discussion groups, meals and other activities that enhance the work of individual artists and the performance art community within Canada and beyond. Please visit www.visualeyez.org for the past festival information.
Curator and Founder of Visualeyez, Todd Janes envisions Visualeyez 2014 as a conversation that begins by asking artists to explore issues around the curatorial theme of Movement from an individual level of how we navigate and celebrate to explore issues of access, the body, social anxiety and site-specificity. Aiming to connect with communities of people with disabilities and aging individuals, this theme will explore issues such as emotional and physical vulnerability within urban environments and our struggles, through enhanced dialogues regarding societal issues, community connectivity, and understanding of vulnerability’s impact on individuals and society as a whole.
Proposals should include: a CV; artist statement; a detailed description of the work you wish to present, or explore; and support material which can include images, video, print or digital documentation of your work, catalogues, and press.
The deadline for submission is Friday, 23 May 2014, 2300h MST.
If you would like your materials returned to you, please also include sufficient postage or courier materials.
Artists shall be contacted by late June 2014 regarding the status of their proposals.
Send proposals by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please be courteous of image size and materials that you are sending. Please place Visualeyez 2014 submission in the subject line. For large files, especially video, please include a link to a file on Dropbox.
Or, send proposals by post to:
c/o Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture
10242 106 Street, Edmonton, Alberta Canada T5J 1H5
Attention: Todd Janes, Executive Director
Visualeyez is joyfully supported in part by Canada Council for the Arts, The City of Edmonton, Alberta Foundation for the Arts, The Province of Alberta, the Edmonton Downtown Business Association, and Latitude 53’s members, volunteer and donors.
Posted by Adam on September 19th, 2013
Mariane Bourcheix-Laporte rolls up to Latitude 53 to finish her project, during the Visualeyez patio party. Photo by Daniel Evans.Next Page »