Mettachine (Sequence 1) by Louise McKissick

FADO presents Mettachine (Sequence 1), an interactive performance installation by Canadian artist Louise McKissick. This event, presented in conjunction with Tranz <—> Tech and is the latest instalment in FADO’s Public Spaces / Private Places series.

Mettachine (Sequence1) is the first in a series of works by Louise McKissick that explore the social framework of medical biotechnology. A biofeedback machine will be used to track the effects of touch and language on the bodies of subject participants. These effects will then be mediated and broadcast over the web. Audiences can be a part of the project either as subject participants; by visiting the waiting room, which will feature a live feed of the biofeedback results; or by monitoring a live stream on the web.

McKissick creates a provocative performance situation by marrying clinical and relaxation biofeedback techniques—including hypnosis—with brainwave interface technology from IBVA Technologies Inc. IBVA provides an interface between brainwave patterns and personal computers—in essence, allowing users to control computers by thought. For Mettachine (Sequence1), McKissick will use the brainwave patterns of subject participants to access a web stream of live and/or archived visual information. This information will be relayed back to the participant, creating a biofeedback loop. The technology allows McKissick and her subjects to map a geography of information through visual narrative, where the rules of navigation are controlled by brainwaves.

Presented in the context of Tranz <—> Tech, Toronto’s international video art biennial.

Feu de Joie by Randy & Berenicci

FADO is pleased to present Feu de Joie, a new performance by Randy & Berenicci. This work is presented as part of FADO’s Public Spaces / Private Places series and is performed on the autumnal equinox.

Feu de Joie uses optics, trompe-l’oeil effects and a bit of low-tech magic to transform the Toronto Island airport into a backdrop for a meditation on the nomadic nature of contemporary existence. Disaster and delight intermingle as the artists frame themselves as miniatures on a puppet stage, endlessly struggling to arrive – or is it to escape?

Whether they are creating public art commissions or site-specific performances, Randy and Berenicci have proven themselves to be masters at creating intimate, small-scale monuments. They are pioneers of a style of work that combines sensitive and playful references to site with visionary metaphors that infuse historical and popular cultural references from art, media and science. Poetic and multi-layered, their work is unexpected, surprising, but never out of place.

Meet the shuttle bus at the Cameron House (408 Queen Street West) for transport to the performance location.

Open Surgery by Oreet Ashery & Svar Simpson

FADO presents Open Surgery, an interactive live art installation with British artists Oreet Ashery and Svar Simpson. This is the latest instalment in FADO’s ongoing Public Spaces / Private Places series. Presented with support from the British Council and London Arts.

Surgery (Concise Oxford Dictionary)
2) a place where a doctor, dentist, lawyer or other professional person gives advice or treats patients;
3) the occasion of this

Open Surgery is a playful investigation of notions of ‘self-improvement,’ with references to psychiatry, psychoanalysis, alternative therapies and ‘self-help’ industries. Ashery and Simpson look for ways to address notions of isolation and alienation while exploring the role of the artist as communicator, activist and magician.

Open Surgery kicks off on Sunday, August 19 with an opening party in the Waiting Room, an installation space where the general public is invited to play. The Waiting Room will be open every day from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. At the opening, ten lucky individuals will be invited to book an appointment in the Consultation Room, where the artists will work with the visitor to identify the participant’s sense of their own physicality and difference. A Treat-Meant will then be proposed.

Join us after Open Surgery hours on Thursday, August 23 at 8:00pm for an artist talk with Oreet Ashery and Svar Simpson. The exhibition closes with a feedback party on Sunday, August 26, 2001.

The Treat-Meant may involve, for example, text, photography, creating body-prosthetics, breathing, touch, self-prescribed herbal remedies, food, juice, sense-stimulation, clubbing, and so on. We might propose to cook a dinner for the visitor, or make a toy for them/with them….We’re addressing the ‘confessional’ and notions of ‘true/fictional/performed-self’ in relation to confession. Open Surgery is interested to act out a common obsession to know-and-better-oneself, especially in relation to our bodies, our differences, and our sense of identity/identities. We want to investigate and develop models of shared intimate experiences.

Oreet Ashery & Svar Simpson

ARTIST STATEMENT by Oreet Ashery and Svar Simpson

Open Surgery will take place in two rooms. The first room will act as a Waiting Room open to the public throughout the duration of the piece. Entrance into the Consultation Room will be by appointment only, for participants who have booked a session. Participants/visitors come for a first one to one/two consultation with the artists. This initial session will combine various methods of communication, like: conversation, questionnaires, touch, the use of websites and ‘gadgets’, art-making, etc. We work together with the visitor to identify an aspect of the participant’s sense of their own physicality and difference.

Combining our ‘life-experiences’ (as a move away from using notions of ‘expertise’) the two of us then create a Treat-Meant for the participant, which than becomes a Treat-Meant proposal. The Treat-Meant may involve for example text, photography, creating body-prosthetics, breathing, touch, self-prescribed herbal remedies, food, juice, sense-stimulation, clubbing and so on. We might propose to cook a dinner for the visitor for example, or make a toy for them/with them.

The participants come for their second meeting, where we present them with our Treat-Meant Proposal, and then they can commission us to go ahead and treat them, which we do. At the end of the piece, participants are invited to a feed-back party/dinner/ meeting.

Open Surgery is working with and critiquing institutions like psychiatry, psychoanalysis and psychotherapy, new-age/alternative/art-therapies, methodology of conventional science, western medicine, ‘self-help industries’. Therefore, the relationship between us and the participants attempts to mobilize some of the power-structures and epistemologies embedded in institutions such as those mentioned above, and offer a channel for shared communication in ways that re/address notions of isolation, alienation, a disturbing sense of difference, displacement, feelings of lack of attention/time. We offer a treat!

We are interested in acknowledging the artist as communicator, activist, magician, shaman, alchemist, cook, visual performer, as a friend and as a stranger. We’re addressing the ‘confessional’ and notions of ‘true/fictional/performed-self’ in relation to confession. Open Surgery is interested to act-out a common obsession to know-and-better-oneself, especially in relation to our bodies, our differences, and our sense of identitiy/ies. We want to investigate and develop models of shared intimate experiences.

Although the project is performative, it’s intentions are by no means cynical. The process involved intends to be experimental, experiental, expanding and playful by nature.

Open Surgery also plays with notions from the art -world like ‘commissions’ and ‘open surgeries’ [a term sometimes used in the British art system for art crits], as a way of exploring the slippage between art and general strategies of survival and expansion.

© Oreet Ashery & Svar Simpson, Open Surgery, 2001. Photo Paul Couillard.


FADO presents Shut Up!, a series of 10 outdoor performances dealing with the themes of incarceration and wrongful imprisonment—literally, the state of being “shut up.” This event is the second half of a performance art exchange between Chicago and Toronto that began in 1998. Shut Up! offers a unique opportunity for Toronto audiences to sample the styles and aesthetics operating in Chicago’s performance art community in relation to performances by some of Toronto’s hottest performance artists.

The evening will feature a range of styles, from tableaux to spoken word, from interactive, participatory works to spectacle and multimedia presentations. The theme of incarceration will be approached from a wide variety of perspectives, from the highly topical and political (e.g. the recent persecution of Falun Gong practitioners) to considerations of the philosophical, psychological and emotional aspects of incarceration.

Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga
Jeff Callen
Julie Laffin & Andrew Cook
Louise McKissick
Marlon Billups & Shannon Harris

Ed Johnson
Louise Liliefeldt
Paul Couillard
Shannon Cochrane
Will Kwan

Untitled by Jeff Calan
Jeff Calan continues his work with storytelling using a series of intimately mechanized objects and a camera obscura, and will perform inside it. A frame in a false wall shows what appears to be a photograph, but upon closer inspection it seems to be a film or video, as it is moving, yet it is very sharp, sharper than a film. A hand is seen pulling a scrolling roll of paper, upon which is written a narrative that is full of various events, their causes and effects, and the desperation that comes from being unable to connect cause and effect. The image the audience sees is really from an old, large-format camera with a groundglass back which is behind the frame and it is pointed toward the performer who is moving a roll of paper that contains text from court transcripts of wrongly convicted people on death row. Small objects will be presented within the frame every few minutes. If an audience member walks behind the false wall, the performer takes a flash photograph of the audience member.

Eleven Cent Magic by Shannon Cochrane 
With Jennifer Rashleigh. Thanks to Andrew Pommier. For Kenneth because he invented and constructed the first ‘portable pitcher’s mound’ in 1952. Unfortunately, when it was filled with sand, it was too damn heavy to actually be transported anywhere. His father looked out the cottage window, laughed and went back to reading the paper. The research continues here. Eleven Cent Magic: an experiment to prove that time flies and birds really only float.

Blackstrap by Paul Couillard
In this tableau work, using the fitness trail apparatus, Paul’s body slowly shifts from light to dark.

Untitled by Edward Johnson
This solo tableau work (in the skating rink) considers the physical and psychological realm of confinement in all of its vastness and claustrophobia.

Untitled by Will Kwan
This performance draws links between the ‘silent’ gestures of mime performance and ‘silent’ displays of state power as exhibited through a popular form of punishment known as community service, in this case, maintenance work. The performance addresses the issue of the function of the artist in society: as performer, worker, criminal and clown.

255 by Julie Laffin & Andrew Cook
255 is not a performance. It is an actual memorial to the practitioners of Falun Gong who have lost their lives since July of 1999 when Jiang Zemin branded Falun Gong an “evil cult” and launched his campaign to erase all the Falun Gong practitioners in China by any means necessary. Falun Gong is an ancient moving meditation (Qi Gong) that was once supported by the Chinese govt. for it’s great abilities to improve health. It was banned partly because of the sheer numbers of practitioners, which before the crackdown began, far out-numbered communist party membership in the PRC. The number 255 attempts to quantify the number of human lives that have been taken (that we know of) by means of unspeakable brutality by the Chinese authorities during the deadly campaign against Falun Gong. Practitioners who would not renounce their faith were and are at this moment being tortured to death. When we began this project in May of this year, only two months ago, the number of documented deaths was 196. The number 255 does not begin to speak about the tens of thousands of Falun Gong practitioners now illegally detained in prisons, psychiatric facilities and labor camps. It does not speak of the rapes, torture, beatings, threats, intimidations, indignities, humiliations, unfair trials, force-feedings, forced druggings, “re-education” efforts, psychological abuses, and countless other inhumane acts against a group of people for simply asserting their right to their spiritual beliefs and peaceful practices. The number also can never represent the suffering of the families and loved ones of the practitioners that have been murdered or have had atrocities perpetrated upon them. The dress you see documents with photos and written names those Falun Gong practitioners who have been killed in police custody since the merciless crackdown began in China exactly two years ago yesterday. It is a companion dress to one that is currently in Washington, D.C. at a rally held there to bring global attention to end the crackdown in China. As citizens of the free world, we urge you to refuse to tolerate the policies of the Chinese government against Falun Gong practitioners in whatever large or small ways you can.

DEVI by Louise Liliefeldt
Devi, also known as the “Bandit Queen,” was born into a poor lower-caste rural family in the northern Indian state of Bihar. She became the subject of great fame and notoriety throughout India as the leader of a violent gang of dacoits (bandits) who terrorized authority for years until their surrender in 1983. Phoolan Devi became a popular cult figure, a vigilante liberator and a symbol of empowerment for the lower-castes of Bihar. This work is a homage to her journey and the strength for which she stands.

I Will Cut Your Grass by Louise McKissick
Digital Video, 1:26:13, 2001
At one time, Dorothy Gaines ‘loved the wrong man’ and ended up in prison. She was put away by purely circumstantial evidence – her ex-lover, a convicted crack dealer, accused her of dealing drugs in order to obtain a reduced sentence for himself. The prosecutors found no evidence of cocaine or any other illegal drugs in her home. She was given a 19-year sentence. “I will cut your grass” is based on a letter written to the judge by Dorothy’s son, Phillip Gaines, age 11, at the time of her sentencing. A fluidly moving camera tracks youthful exuberance at the Washington Park waterslide on a Sunday afternoon, providing a counterpoint to Phillip’s words.

Untitled by Andrea Polli & Chuck Varga
Andrea and Chuck are interested in the use of sound in the establishment of power in government and the military. Their piece involves a ‘Speaker’s Corner’-style open mic, but those who try to use the forum will discover that the words broadcast are not those spoken in the microphone.

PLUS: The Ghetto by Marlon Billups & Shannon Harris

© Louise Liliefeldt, DEVI, 2001. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Remembrance Day by Johanna Householder

Remembrance Day is a new performance work by Johanna Householder created in collaboration with her daughter Carmen Householder-Pedari, and is presented as part of FADO’s ongoing Public Spaces / Private Places series.

Describing Remembrance Day as a counter-monument, Householder uses war movies as source material to pose questions about the transferal of cultural values, information and attitudes from generation to generation. The work will be presented not as a theatrical narrative, but as an installation in which audience members are free to come and go as they choose—in the words of the artist, “less … a definitive performance experience than … some proposals for experiences.” Remembrance Day continues Householder’s investigations into the cinematic texts of the late 20th century, and her lifelong obsession with the gendering of knowledge.

In this performance, the artist works with her daughter Carmen Householder-Pedari. Carmen Householder-Pedari is completing seventh grade at Winona Drive Senior School. She has appeared in a number of film, video and performance works by artists such as Janice Cole, Robert Lee and Wende Bartley and Roz Kalloo.

ARTIST STATEMENT by Johanna Householder

From time to time over the last ten years I have collaborated with my daughter to produce performance works which explore some ideas around the transference of knowledges which we do not normally think of as taught—how to respond to emotional stimuli, how to physically occupy space, how to convey information with your face, which things are important to remember, and how our expressions are evaluated by others.

Parallel to this exploration is a fascination with how we take the large, crude expressions of popular culture; the big emotions, the clichéd syntax, the cartoon physiology, and adapt these ways of being to our own less grandiose existences. This too is something that is transmitted, perhaps involuntarily, in the intimacy of the mother-child relationship.

Remembrance Day is a kind of counter-monument to the things that are popularly commemorated, in this case, actions against the backdrop of war. How do we compose our anxiety (or lack of it) at being temporarily ‘at peace’? Re-embodying the codes contained in a variety of war time films, the performers will plunder their mutual memory banks for instructions for heroes and rules to live and die by.

Remembrance Day continues a recent series of investigations into the cinematic texts of the late 20th century and a lifelong obsession with the gendering of knowledge.

Some of the ideas we develop are visual, some active, some audial. Performance allows us to approach an idea from a number of directions and with a range of processes simultaneously. And speaking of processes, I find now that I am less interested in a definitive performance experience than in some proposals for experiences. For this reason we leave the audience free to come and go, to circulate around the work—more like one would view painting or an installation than theatre.

Disclosure by UNDO

FADO presents three separate site-specific performances collectively entitled Disclosure, created and performed by the audio-based duo UNDO. This work is presented in the context of FADO’s ongoing Public Spaces / Private Places series.

UNDO uses minimal electronics to perform intimate sensual live soundscapes. For Disclosure, the performers accent the intimacy of the enclosures of a living space. The performers and their “extensions” (small B&W monitors and speaker/amplifiers) will be placed in closets and cupboards so that the audience will encounter the performance simultaneously in various forms at various locations. A second set of actions will refer to disclosure by focusing on corridors and thresholds (the spaces of negotiation between an outside and an inside). In this series, the performers will narrow or block the audience’s passage and force a reconsideration of the space given the intervention of the performer’s bodies.

UNDO offers these thoughts on the work:

“To enclose is both to hold and to be held by your own grip. To occupy an empty apartment is to fill it with its own emptiness, to saturate it with nothing. To disclose is to open yourself up to closeness, a reduction of distance, a proximate and narrow. How to read a throat as a corridor, a closet as a mouth, a threshold as lips and jaws. Investment of closet spaces, diffusion onto outside spaces; a room under, a room aside, a room over. How to speak here and in the next room and in the other’s mouth. Bare speaker and barely speaking. In Disclosure you will have to step over, listen inside and duck under.”

Disclosure on Christof Migone’s website:

June 28 @ 8:00pm
June 29 @ 8:00pm
June 30 @ 2:00pm–5:00pm

© UNDO, Disclosure, 2001. Photo Paul Couillard.

Meridian Performance Description

In May 2001, I celebrated my 50th birthday, and if I live to be 100, it could be considered my meridian year.

I performed this durational piece on June 21st, 2001. It was the summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and on Ward’s Island Beach in Toronto, Canada, that day started at 5:36 AM and ended at 9:02 PM, a total of 15 hours and 26 minutes. During that time, I answered questions concerning 100 years, moving from the past into the future, from 1951 to 2050, ranging from personal to global concerns.

Starting at the east end of the beach at sunrise, I moved progressively down the beach 100 times, or, 12 feet every 9 minutes, until I ended at the west end of the beach at sunset. I carried 100 smooth lake stones, a pen, a timer, a trowel, and a ball wound of gray ribbons. The questions were written on the ribbons, and so every 9 minutes I unfurled the next year’s questions and read them aloud.

More than one hundred questions were emailed to me in advance by friends, family and strangers, from Argentina, Canada, Chile, Croatia, England, Germany, Korea, Macedonia, Portugal, Taiwan, and the United States.

The audience on the beach assisted me in answering the questions, and lively and intimate discussions ensued, often between strangers. The audience, which ebbed and flowed throughout the day, was made up of people who knew of the event and others who happened upon it while walking on the beach.

When we finished answering the question, I tied the ribbon to the back of the chair. I then wrote a private message on one of the lake stones that I was carrying, and buried it in the sand at my feet. I trust that the 100 stones will eventually rise to the surface and be found.

Those who could not attend were asked to be there in spirit, and to pay attention to what they heard at the precise time that the question was answered on the beach. Did they hear the answer? They told me of their experiences in later correspondences.

Meridian by Marilyn Arsem

FADO presents Meridian, a new work by Boston artist Marilyn Arsem, presented as part of FADO’s ongoing Public Spaces / Private Places series.

Meridian will take place at the beach on the south side of Ward’s Island on the longest day of the year. Beginning at dawn and ending at sunset, the artist will follow the line of the sun, marking out a hundred years of time. Now in the 50th year of her own life, Arsem will use this solstice mid-point as an opportunity to take a considered look in both directions – back into the past and forward into the future. As she undertakes her measured progression along the beach, Arsem will recount the history of the last 50 years, and imagine the next 50 years. Audience members will have an opportunity to ask questions about specific years and enter into discussion with her as she buries the past and sows the future.

ARTIST STATEMENT by Marilyn Arsem, May 2001

In recent years I have been creating site-specific installations in outdoor locations in the United States, Europe and Asia. In each work I am responding to both the history of the site, as well as to the immediate landscape and materiality of the location. All of these recent works examine hidden worlds that lie beneath the surface, ones which lurk underground, and those which eventually decay and dissolve back into the earth.

I am particularly interested in implicating the audience directly in the concerns of the pieces. I use different strategies to design a very distinct role in the work for the viewer, so that they have an experience that is both visceral and intellectual. To accomplish this, I incorporate a range of media, including text, video and performance, as well as using materials and objects generated from and in response to the site.

I insert my installation into the site so that it is nearly invisible. The viewers’ initial impression is that there is nothing to see. It is only as they begin to pay closer attention that they become aware of the elements that I have hidden in the landscape. The audience must make an effort to discover the buried images, take time to assemble the fragments, use their intellect, often in discussion with other audience members, in order to decipher and construct meaning out of their experience.

The installations operate in a liminal space, blurring the boundaries between art and life. Because of the almost imperceptible images, and the inevitable intrusions of the real world, the viewers’ interpretation of the experience has as much to do with their own projections and concerns as it does with my own. In that respect, the work functions as a kind of Rorschach test, and the audiences’ response is a critical component of the final work. Documentation of their interpretation of the pieces reveals the collaboration between artist and audience in the construction of meaning.

Image © Marilyn Arsem, Meridian, 2001. Photo Paul Couillard.

One Stitch at a Time by Devora Neumark

One Stitch at a Time is presented in the context of FADO’s ongoing Public Spaces / Private Places series and begins with an artist talk in Toronto. The project then continues, over several weeks in residency with three separate families.

This project follows upon and works with the tradition of the itinerant seamstress, who once moved into the homes of the people whose clothing she made. For One Stitch at a Time, over the course of several weeks, Devora Neumark will take up residence with three separate host families for as long as it takes her to stitch (crochet or embroider) a personalized object for a family member or the home.

One Stitch at a Time honours intimate spaces as a means of community engagement. It is an invitation to share and explore daily life and issues of the heart through personal storytelling and stitching. This participatory process is a key component, as the work is not meant primarily as a viewing experience. In the deliberate blurring of roles – invoking a question of who is the audience and who are the performers – is a statement about the capacity for each and every one of us to be authorizing agents of individual and collective memory and history.


To date my projects have included durational performative interventions on street corners, in subway stations and bus terminals, private homes and outdoor parks; place-mats inserted into restaurants; postcards; photographic works installed as memorial structures in public gathering places; stone markers, storytellings, sound pieces, and community based collaborations.

Working within seemingly ‘ordinary’ frames of action (peeling beets, crocheting, singing, telling stories, making dough, sweeping flour, walking the landscape), the contexts that I create for my work are in many ways a (re)negotiation of daily dwelling practice — attempts at rewiring both self and society in the aftermath of violence and trauma. Performative rather than performance, the work has been characterized by a direct sharing and exchange with the individuals who come across it (mostly incidentally) and who choose to approach / witness / participate.

I have been concerned with the authority of memory, social agency in the memorial form(s) and the negotiation of control and authority inherent in historical and cultural constructions and their representations. I place a particular importance on the continuum between the private and public spheres (the individual and the social body) and on the nexus between public(s) and community(ies).

Devora Neumark, 1999

The artist wishes to thank The Canada Council’s Inter-Arts Program and SKOL, a Montreal-based artist-run centre, for their support of this project.

The Addmore Session by Istvan Kantor

FADO is pleased to present The Addmore Session, a new work by internationally acclaimed Toronto artist Istvan Kantor. Presented as part of FADO’s Public Spaces / Private Places series, The Addmore Session is the latest instalment in The File Cabinet Project, a body of work that Kantor has been developing since 1993.

Audience members are invited to meet Kantor in his favourite environment, surrounded by file cabinets in Addmore Office Furniture, one of Toronto’s largest office furniture stores. Kantor and a number of guest performers will demonstrate the links between the office and the concert hall, information technology and sexual symbolism, communication and insanity. The all-day performance will include a furniture-opera, desktop-dancing, cabinet-catwalking, office-crucifixion and much more.

Kantor explores the file cabinet as a sculptural element in machinery installations, performances and video productions. His interest is more than a physical fascination or aesthetic obsession with monolithic office furniture. In Kantor’s hyper-theoretical interpretation, the world wide web is a machinery-monument of information storage furniture interconnected through computers. The gesture of moving cabinet drawers in and out, sliding them back and forth, becomes the engine of information exchange.

© Istvan Kantor, The Addmore Session, 2001. Photo Paul Couillard.

E-Bulletin Green

This scent is an homage to the future; for things to come. Cut grass, string bean, coriander, and ivy diffuse a smell of ever-green, or the eternal return, however you decide.

Top Notes

cut grass, lovage, coriander

Middle Notes

string bean, fennel

Base Notes

ivy leaves, moss