Saturday, April 4, 2009


Performances by Anna White, Ashley Howe, Dalia Levy, Emilio Rojas, Francis & Patrick Cruz, Genevieve Cloutier, Glena Evans, Jaclyn Blumes, Jason Fielding, Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa,  and Martina Comstock

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Performance that Never Happened


As every performance is unique to each live moment, a performance cannot be duplicated in quite the same manifestation. The spontaneity of a performance feeds off its audience and changes its energy, which in turn the audience members. After a performance is finished there is a sense of high vibration and excitement, creating a relationship between the audience and the performance. As they both become part of the experience of the event that just took place, there is a mutual understanding of the event that just happened on stage.

What would a performance be like if their was no audience to witness its event? What if the audience was exposed to a performance as it was ending? For my performance on the big stage I would like to set up a scenario where the stage has been set up with already used props, such as shreds of cut up fabric, a pail with a watering can, some musical instruments, a chair, a mirror and a teacup, and lots of blue paint.(It's not Yves Klein's blue, but something close?) All the props and sceanarios are staged to draw references to some of my favorite performance pieces and artists. As the doors open for the show, I will take my bow and begin to clean up the stage.

In my booth I will be displaying what a performer goes through after a performance. I will be winding down from the ‘high’ that is experienced performing through meditation and yoga exercises. I will be cleaning myself up from dirt and markings that happened during the “performance”. I will post some Polaroid’s of the performance where audience members can feel free to enquire about the show that they had missed.

In a sense my whole piece is not about what actually happened during the performance, but the idea of what a performer undergoes in the complete experience of what it is to perform.

Transitional Acts


We the Cruz brothers are proposing transitional acts that will bridge performances as a means of continuity. The acts are meant to change the tempo and focus of the performance while the other performances are being setup or brought down. Our acts will run approximately under one minute each and will be decided up spontaneously depending on the dry run rehearsal of the show. The "Transitional Acts" will be critically positioned between each main performance.

Manifesting Success


Manifesting Success is a look at the projected notions of material success commonly portrayed in contemporary media. The image of success according to the material standards of popular media is ever-present and can be personified in the likeness of the motivational speaker character in its many forms. The activities of the Motivational Speaker increase in difficult times, giving the masses a message of hope; temporarily filling the void that many feel exist in their lives. Discontentment, disillusionment, and despair provide the motivational speaker with an audience and a steady flow of income. Historically, these figures utilized religion and spirituality to inspire the downtrodden with a message of hope. Today, with the success of films such as The Secret, we are seeing a resurgence of these figures preaching on a plethora of topics from sales, marketing, spirituality, health and fitness, and even a combination of them all. From Deepak Chopra to Anthony Robbins, we are being sold the ideal of a better, happier, and more successful us.

For this performance I have created a video of myself playing the role of a Motivational Speaker character named Jay Fielding. Jay Fielding is inspiring his audience to “take action” and create opportunities for themselves to achieve financial independence. Ironically, Jason Fielding, is an actor playing the part of the motivational speaker and is an artist without financial independence. I will also be in the audience, dressed like Jay Fielding, on my knees, writing notes, worshipping, and trying to emulate the image on the screen. I will then become Jay Fielding and hand out my business cards to the audience members. This work is investigating the cultural role of the teacher/speaker/guru and also examining the relationship of the artist to the market.

Heaven and Hell

An Endurance Piece 


“Heaven and Hell” explores the extremities of life's choices and raises existential questions about the things we love and hate. This is an experiment to see if there is a limit to my love for two of my favorite things: music and dancing. Ironically, this piece will require a degree of self-control to sustain my over-indulgence.

I chose the following six songs to reflect the binary extremes. For example, “Disorder” by Joy Division deals with a person’s attempts to experience normalcy. “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys began with the lyric, “I may not always love you,” a controversial opening line for a 1960’s pop song. Brian Wilson’s struggles with mental illness and drug abuse are well documented and it took an unusual amount of restraint for him to overcome these challenges.

Each song will play for an hour on repeat.

5pm – Jefferson Airplane - “Somebody To Love” [Surrealistic Pillow]
6pm – Elliott Smith - “Needle In The Hay” [Elliott Smith]
7pm – Sex Pistols - “God Save The Queen” [Never Mind The Bollocks]
8pm – Nirvana - “Lithium” [Nevermind]
9pm – Joy Division - “Disorder” [Unknown Pleasures]
10pm – Beach Boys - “God Only Knows” [Pet Sounds]

Eema Eema / Mother Mother

I would first like to acknowledge that my performance takes place on unceded Coast Salish territory.

In October 2008 I produced an experimental performance art video titled “Eema Eema/ Mother Mother. I would like to continue with the same eco-feminist tropes in my live performance while experimenting with the intersection of live performance and this already produced work.
“Eema Eema / Mother Mother” is an exploration of abandonment and reclamation of Mother Earth as engendered through embodiment of “trash” and a return to my ancient mother tongue Aramaic. Through simultaneous embodiment of both object and subject, the performance challenges the viewer’s gaze of the female body as I occupy both performance spaces. The piece also questions the implications of colonialism on women and the environment as it manifests in mainstream consumer cultures. These expansionist behaviours of infinite growth, ever-increasing volumes of subordinating mass media and the commodification of nature are normative components of economies and civil society within settler-states like Canada. I am rendered silent throughout the performance besides calling out for my mother interpreted here as “Mother Earth.” It should be noted that the language I speak (ancient Aramaic) was lost to Roman colonization resulting in eventual reworking of the alphabet into further dying Jewish languages such as Yiddish and Ladino.
A common thread throughout my work seen here is the use of the Brechtian “alienation effect” employed to arouse an awakening, critical consciousness in the viewer. It is employed through the participatory element of the performance incorporating the spectator in the embodiment process.
For the booth component of the show I attach garbage to my costumed body with thread (sewing) and gaff tape embodying Vancouver’s litter corporeally and matrifocally. My costume is the same as in the filmed piece wearing a black evening gown, black tights and dress shoes evocative of the neutrality of the woman as any one of us. The performance engages spectators with the garbage allowing them to enter my booth and attach litter to their bodies with or without my assistance by taping or sewing drawing upon the spectators’ creativity in reclaiming what has been discarded and invoking a sense of connectedness within the piece.

Centre stage, the video performance is silently projected onto the back of the studio and I continue the performance. I engage with the audience by taping garbage to them representing among other things the blind contamination of our bodies and the universal relevance of environmental degradation and connectedness to Mother Earth. I aim to conclude the performance by calling out in sync with the film “Eema, Eema” reconnecting with what has been lost.

Free Curries for Refugees (After Clair Bishop)


-a table laid with masala curry powder (in small containers or packages).

-a caucasian actor with a beard, wig, and darker skin make up pretending to be me promotes the "free curries to refugees". He is adamant that he is me and explains things from a small script to convince visitors of the what he is giving out (a provocation to rethink the role of refugees in the arts, and other marginal sometimes people of colour are said to have an easier time getting ahead because they can sell their issues to a white guilted art audience.)

My practice enacts the connection between art and research. I combine academic research with fieldwork by visiting and spending time in communities while I develop my ideas and visual language.

I often work with impermanent materials, such as candy, fruit, earth, and fireworks. By working with ephemera I seek intense aesthetic experiences in time. I enjoy how an ephemeral work may make us acutely aware of the present moment, as well as transport us to emotions and associations drawn from our past.

Though my creative process is committed to experimentation and research, and my subject matter often deals with things such as the Guatemalan Civil War, the results are often absurd and humorous. I have found that refugees and survivors of war are often that way; nothing in life is ever so dire as to be unworthy of a joke or two.

Narratives of Solemnity


Pushing the high brow with the low brow, Glenna incorporates multi-disciplinary skills to suggest a gender neutral and naive approach to performance art. Utilizing a hand drawn design, screenprinted over 9 yards of fabric and sewn to create a physically suggestive stilt walking ensemble, the narrative of the low brow spectacle is taken from a traditional environment of entertainment and re-assigned to the gallery space alongside critical performances based on performance history and writing.
Glenna suggests you gently touch her appendages and consider the sculptural elements of the piece...enjoy but do not be entertained.

I am Square, You are Square


I am an interdisciplinary artist whose work explores cognitive and geographical landscapes, identity, gender and the objects of subjectivity in relation to a theatrical society. I employ video, performance and installation to linguistically explore these tropes, while using the grammar of a self-proclaimed 'imagined situationalism'. My interest in relational art, communications, the media, displacement and challenging semantics are an integral part of my practice.

I see net(work) as a fair that challenges and embraces the capabilities of a relational art that aims to connect artist and audience member. My own interest in collaboration stems from a desire to negotiate our differences. These differences are linguistic in nature, cultural, and most obviously, spatial. Relational art exists without institutional barriers and at its best allows for real human contact, as defined by those experiencing it. Most importantly to me, it confronts anxieties created by borders. These borders are political in nature. They exist as a pre-discursive core to identity. With that said, I propose to project a square of colour in the center of the room. In the square it reads: “By casting a shadow on this projection I thereby agree to honour those next to me.”

Tactile Orgasm


What do we feel when we touch? Do the sensations that travel through our skin resemble an orgasm? Would we be able to relate to this world without it? Our skin is the largest and heaviest organ in our entire body. Not only does it protect all internal body functions, it is our link to the external and the sensorial. Through millions of receptors in our skin, we are able to feel vibrations, pressure, temperature, pleasure, pain, etc. Why do we spend so much time covering our skin? Are we afraid of feeling? Why are the objects and fabrics that give us the highest pleasure, considered taboo? Most importantly, why do we fear contact with other human beings?

Enclosed in this black box, lies an orgasm that is hidden in your skin and evoked through mine. This exchange will happen inside the 6 holes that you may not acknowledge because they resemble the ones that you as well have. It is hard to see, almost impossible, yet it is easy to feel; perhaps guess the content, while your imagination travels through this sensorial experience. Taboos are left behind the moment your hand or body trespasses the boundaries of what lies inside: your desires. It is not only a box, it is a Tactile Orgasm. Is the place where you leave your inhibitions and allow yourself to feel.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

AffirmNation: positive strokes = positive folks


In the spirit of intergenerational community fairs I will set up a booth with an “affirmation” banner above it. I will act as the coordinator and facilitator of an activity booth from which I will invite participants to use the tools provided (paper, pens, tape, pins) to write a statement of affirmation for anyone in the room, or not, that they may or may not know. The participants will be encouraged to either take action in giving the affirmation to those for which they were written, and fasten them to their persons by tape/pins, or to display them by the booth creating a collage of affirmations as objects creating an entity unto itself which will be used later in the evening.
positive folks, what are you proud of this week?

I have yet to decide which character I will access for this role of facilitation. I am wavering back and forth between an incredibly cheery, gentle, affirming "go-getter"-someone who would lead a motivational seminar, or "Lana", my pissed-off and crass alter ego who would be great at engaging any affirmation skeptics.

hokey pokey: 
At some point during the event there will be a ceremonial reading / calling out / offering of the affirmations during which any one may take part. This will be improvised based on my facilitation, the audience, and other performer's participation.

I am interested in the role of community gatherings, intimate personal actions, humour, and impromptu rituals in fostering an environment of social sustainability. I see the theme of net(work) as an ideal setting for this type of interactive exploration into these issues. 

Net(work): Customer Satisfaction Booth


As a customer service representative for Net(wok) I will set up a booth with many flowers, balloons, and candy. I will invite audience members to sit down with me and participate in a survey rating their “satisfaction” with the show. I will read the survey aloud and record their scores. The survey will include 10 questions about the show. The audience members can rate the questions on scale of 1 to 10. I will ask them for feedback on how they think the show could be improved to increase their rating. Meanwhile, I will discretely give the customer objects from the table. If the customer is difficult to please, I will increase the amount of gifts that I give. If asked if I am giving bribes, I will refute the claim insisting that I am simply ensuring “customer satisfaction”.
The performance will end when the audience members have given enough feedback and/or received enough gifts to increase their rating of the show to 100pts. The objects from the booth will be dismantled gradually through out the shows duration and redistributed into the crowd.
I am interested in the juxtaposition between the genuine act of asking feedback from the show and the inconspicuous act of giving gifts to the audience members in an attempt to improve their impression of the show. I am curious to find out if the audience members consider my gift giving to be a legitimate bribe or an inconvenient burden.