Posted by Adam on December 14th, 2016
During the 2016 Visualeyez festival, the students of University of Alberta professor Natalie Loveless’s Fall 2016 seminar course “Ephemerality and Sustainability in Contemporary Art” (ArtH 456/556) responded to performances at the festival.
I walk east along Jasper Avenue on a brisk, windy September afternoon. It is September 23, 2016. As I approach the entrance to Commerce Place, abuzz with people from all walks of life, I see Alexandria Inkster dressed in white, seated at a small, wooden table across from a young woman. They are folding a piece of white paper together. The woman smiles as she sees me approach to take a seat on the concrete benches lining the building to watch. They have folded the paper into a long strip. Inkster folds one end. The woman mimics her. The paper unravels. Inkster keeps folding, but the girl appears to become confused as her fold won't stay in place. She keeps looking over at me and smiling, as if unsure of how to continue the exercise. Once frustrated, she asks if I would like to have a try, appearing reluctant to leave Inkster sitting alone. We switch seats, Inkster thanks the young woman and we begin.
Inkster and I make eye contact and smile at one another. She folds an inch of one end of the paper. I follow her lead and do the same with mine. I watch the rhythm of her hands. She looks at me intently, inquisitively, and then smiles once more. I imagine we are speaking through this folding process; the ebbs and flows of a conversation, nods of empathy, breaking out in laughter, listening intently, all unfolding through the movement of our hands and the communication in our eyes. Not knowing what to expect or how the performance will end I keep folding, and folding, following Inkster’s lead, until there is no paper left to fold. At this point Inkster takes a rubber band off her wrist, bundles up the folded piece of paper and hands it to me. “Thank you for the conversation,” she says, smiling.
Posted by Adam on September 6th, 2016
Latitude 53 is pleased to announce the festival line-up for Visualeyez 2016: Kindness, with: Christine Brault (QC), Chun Hua Catherine Dong (QC), Linda Rae Dornan (NB), Alexandria Inkster (AB), and Johannes Zits (ON).
This year’s Visualeyez festival, taking place in and around Latitude 53 in downtown Edmonton, September 19–24, brings together five artists to explore the theme “Kindness”. Curated by Todd Janes, this year’s festival emphasizes personal exchanges of care and self-care, and the material traces these leave behind. The festival’s week-long scope includes a space for collaborative development by the artists, followed by three celebratory days of public performance over the weekend of September 22–24.
This year’s performances include both staged, public actions, and one-on-one gestures, as well as longer process works that develop over the festival, becoming visible during the final weekend.
Within kindness is the belief in generosity and reciprocity, where artists will extend out offers, seeking little personal benefit except the willingness to exchange moments. Both Alexandria Inkster and Christine Brault will perform publicly, meeting passersby in fleeting intimate moments. Inkster folds paper into a gift as long as eye contact with another is maintained while Brault washes participants hands and uses the water to write their name manifesting the rituals of care. Linda Rae Dornan will also work throughout the week re-animating found objects during regular walks with participants, bringing value and narratives to disregarded objects—creating a kind of installation, echoed in that constructed by Johannes Zits in the gallery for his durational performance.
As always, Visualeyez provides multiple points of entry for audiences, welcoming members of Latitude 53’s community to discuss the artists work over the festival, participate in one-on-one performances, and watch staged performances together. Visualeyez also includes an important online component, as the Festival Animator records the events in writing and uses the blog platform at visualeyez.org to expose the festival to audiences who cannot view it firsthand—and deepen the experience for those who can.