Posted by Irene Loughlin on September 20th, 2014
Entrances and exits were the topic of conversation this morning as we gathered around the table. We were happy to have Edmonton artist Beau Coleman with us today.
(l to r) Beau Coleman and Pam Patterson Photo: Irene Loughlin
We all know the drill when it comes to entrances and exits on a theatrical stage. An actor or dancer emerges from stage left or stage right, usually from behind some heavy black velvet curtains, and disappears into the wings similarly upon exiting. Somehow performance art is different. Entrances and exits often embody an ambiguity for the viewer. ‘Is it over?’ is a question that generally hangs over the uncertain endings of a performance art work. Perhaps someone takes the plunge and claps, and are followed hesitantly by other viewers. The clapping increases in volume when we realize that its all ok, that no one is reappearing in the space. Its assumed that the person that claps first is most likely “in the know”, (otherwise, why would they take the risk?) and has some secret knowledge of the ending of the work. Its safe to follow along. Perhaps they are a friend of the performer?
Although there’s often uncertainty on the part of the viewer, Soufia contributed that coming into a space as a performer brings with it a definite consciousness and intentionality. Pam questioned the expectations of a beginning and an end in performance, citing the concept of the suspension or arrest as an important aspect of movement in dance. Todd talked about the permeable borders of the audience and Gavin and Pam talked about locating the beginning of the performance in a conceptual rather than a physical moment. Such conceptual beginnings might be found in an evocative thought or object, a discussion with the Festival Director (sometimes years in advance), or in the first meetings with collaborators.
Soufia Bensaid, Nightwalk Photo: Irene Loughlin
Endings were also located in the recollections of the viewers such as the stories they told of the performance sometimes years after the fact, when memory could not be counted on for complete accuracy. The ephemera of the piece (such as the postcards in Nayeon’s work) might also be places where endings are found. Soufia spoke of the profound after effect of the performance on the body, which is in fact, unspeakable in terms of psychic transformations. Endings might also be found in the impact and markings of physical injuries that could have occurred during the performance. Beau mentioned that the performance takes on a kind of sculptural form in reflection, to think on a piece necessarily transforms the performance into an art object. I asked Nayeon why she did not look for an exit at the end of her performance in public space as there were many opportunities to duck behind a food truck for example. She explained that by not exiting the performance becomes more about the viewer, their need to discuss the work or not, and that not exiting diffuses the separation between life and art.
Pam Patterson on Practice-Based Research, University of Alberta Photo: Irene Loughlin
In the afternoon, we went to a lecture by Pam Patterson in Natalie Loveless’ class at the University of Alberta where Pam presented on practice-based research in performance. I’m stil somewhat confused by the concept of practice-based research, although we kicked this idea around at the University of Toronto (particularly with artist Yam Lau) during my graduate studies. I’m proposing we talk more about this idea Day 6 in our morning sessions.
Lipstick and Bullets by Cindy Baker at The Feminist Exhibition Space at the University of Alberta Photo: Irene Loughlin
Luckily, we also ran into Cindy Baker in the parking lot of U of A. You can currently see her exhibition Lipsticks and Bullets, at the Feminist Exhibition Space at the University of Alberta (until Dec 23rd). I waited for her artist talk in the sunshine, experiencing the sublime on campus while the fall leaves rained down on me. Cindy’s artist talk and the exhibition covered many fascinating observations on the subject of lipstick and bullets. Did you know that ammunition factories during the war became lipstick production factories after the war, where bullet encasings were transformed into the casings for lipstick through just a slight alteration? You can also see a cast of Cindy’s clitoris displayed with the other lipsticks, as a response to a discussion on always defaulting to Freudian interpretations of the phallic when contemplating objects such as lipstick casings. Which, when you think about it, the Freudian association doesn’t really make sense. Great woman, great exhibition.
Gavin Krastin, assisted by Karen Gill Photo: Irene Loughlin
In the evening Gavin presented the second instalment of his performance. Although I had previously seen this work, it was as hypnotic as the first viewing. Later, Soufia Bensaid took a group on a silent night walk in the area. I followed for a while but due to an old knee injury I left the group somewhat early as I’d been standing most of the day. I missed the finale of the walk where Adam apparently sang beautifully to the traffic. I’ll try to upload that audio with Soufia today. Day 5 was a thought-provoking day, and I’m looking forward to unpacking the ideas put forward in Day 5 at breakfast this morning, which is Day 6. Unfortunately, its our last day! Well, at least we will always have the Visualeyez Gala, scheduled for later tonight!
Posted by Cindy on September 18th, 2010
Tonight I adopted a bread baby. I wore it in a sling throughout the Comfort Room performance, and it was oddly comforting. In fact, I wore it back to the hotel and am now lying on my stomach on the bed, blogging with my new little girl curled up for warmth in the small of my back.
I opted to wear the “doughbie” under my sweater so as to allow it to benefit from being closer to my skin, so it’s really more like I am a surrogate dough mommy, yet to give birth. I mean, now that it’s on my back I’m not sure how I feel about what exactly it is, but it’s still comforting. I feel like I’ve made a real commitment to this dough, and am now trying to decide how and when and where to bake it. Naufus, and Manolo (who I finally met tonight) are busy working on the dishes for their Food Wars in another hotel (one that has suites with kitchens) and they’ve invited me to stop by. I know Naufus has a lot of cakes to bake, though, so I don’t know that there’d be room for me! I might end up baking at my Mom’s after all!
Well, I have a lot of writing to do before I make that decision anyway, and the baby has a lot of growing to do before she’s big enough to pop in the oven! I’ll let you know how it turns out.
Posted by Cindy on September 15th, 2010
Okay, so I went out this evening to try out my new camera and make sure I could figure out not only how to get the images off the camera and onto my computer, but that I wouldn’t have any trouble getting them from my computer onto the blog!
This is a picture I took in the community gardens of a beautiful rabbit trying to have a nice quiet meal. MMMM purple cabbage! Bon appétit, bunny friend!
See you at the festival tomorrow!
(P.S. For those who’d like to comment – we know the comments option isn’t currently available, and we’re working on it! It should be fixed by morning!)
UPDATE! Comments now available! Post away!
Posted by Cindy on September 14th, 2010
I’m sitting in the reception area at Latitude 53, watching the staff buzz about busily in preparation for the festival, which starts tomorrow!
The schedule is still experiencing some last minute changes, and I haven’t yet seen any of the artists (though I’m told Todd is currently somewhere between the airport and the gallery with a carload of them!)
I’ve been sitting down with Alaine; she’s been getting me oriented to the blog and making sure I have all the permissions I need. There are bound to be a few speedbumps while we get up and running, but things seem to be going smoothly so far!
Please check back often for schedule updates; soon you’ll be able to download the complete schedule at the touch of a button (which will appear on this page soon)! Until then, you can check the “Schedule” tab at the top of the page to see the most up-to-date calendar!
I’ve just bought a brand new camera, and am excited to figure out how it works; bear with me once performances start while I figure out how to get the images off the camera and onto the blog!