International Visiting Artists: Dorothea Rust & Victoria Gray

FADO Performance Art Centre is proud to present new solos performance works by Victoria Gray (UK) and Dorothea Rust (Switzerland) in the context of the on-going International Visiting Artists series. Dorothea Rust and Victoria Gray’s appearances in Toronto are presented in partnership with VIVA! Art Action, the next stop on the artists’ tour. Established in 2006, VIVA! Art Action is an international performance and live art festival presented once every two years in MontrĂ©al.

Ballast by Victoria Gray

“An action may be gentle, but it is not benign.” ~Victoria Gray

Often durational, Victoria Gray’s performances utilize slowness and stillness, in conjunction with performing unsighted, bringing a cellular-attention to kinesthetic sensations. Integrating affect studies, process philosophy, political theory, and somatics, her work aims to bring dormant psychosomatic memory to consciousness. Specifically, that which subsists at the sentient level of the bones, muscles, organs, fluids, glands and nerves. This cellular-attention aims to disturb “common-sense” hierarchies of sensory organization, activating the political potential of a body that is intimately attuned to affective experience. Each work is highly contingent upon the audience’s particular presence and the specificities of each performance space. In this sense, like time, affect becomes a material in performance, it is “shaped” moment-by-moment in an immediate exchange between performer, audience and site. 

Ăśbung / Exercise No. 6 – Gender – Render by Dorothea Rust

My (our) languages is (are) (long ago already) ramified: expanding to technological documentation and medias of expression, onto the handling with objects, including music, sound, text and movement/choreography and probably more to come. Thus constantly throwing another (new) light onto the relationship and my (our) being with others present or absent in a (different) space/place, be it audience, visitors, co-performers. 

I don’t consider performance as an ephemeral, singular event, disappearing like a soap bubble. I see it as a space and a ‘milieu’ [The term ‘milieu’ refers to Jean-Luc Nancy in: Sybille Krämer: Medium, Bote, Ăśbertragung – Kleine Metaphysik der Medialität, 2008 , pages 54 – 66], me (us) moving in it, being part of a flow, of a social, cultural environment, hence performance an  incident, an intervention, a disturbance, a time/moment in a process … 

Any kind of preparation and processing before and after – such as script, notation, documentation, narration, photos, video, audio – can function as a possible trace which can become again a script and material for the next performance, a new intervention, disturbance etc., like Ariadne’s thread in a labyrinth with many exits, which is picked up not only by me, but by others. Thus the performance doesn’t belong to me, it’s part of a ‘milieu’, others as much belonging to it and being part of it as me.

Image © Dorothea Rust, Ăśbung / Exercise No. 6 – Gender – Render, 2015. Photo Henry Chan.

Legs, Too

Offered as an antidote to Toronto’s annual all-night “art thing” Nuit Blanche, LEGS, TOO is an all-day performance art relay. The form of the event is dictated by a chosen duration (in this case 8-hours), which is then divided equally by the number of performance artists from the local community who invited to participate.

We asked a staggering 116 artists to participate, and 53 decided to join in. For this second iteration of LEGS, TOO, audience will witness a continuous performance work made up of 53 eight-minute performances over the course of 8 hours.

Participating artists are suggested by other participating artists, snowballing a self-organizing event that is disinterested in traditional curation. Founded on a belief in community trust, performative dialogue and artistic self-determinancy, the resulting collective event lets participating artists be responsible not only for the continuous stream of idea- and image-making, but also for the realization of event itself. There is no staff, no coordinator, no stage manager, only artists working together. LEGS has legs. LEGS is a manifestation of the social and performing body through the collective network and expanded community.

The first iteration of LEGS was presented in our sister performance art network in Montréal on February 7, 2015, at Le Cercle Carré. The score and format of the event was initially imagined by an informal collective of artists (including Christian Bujold, Michelle Lacombe, Marie-Claude Gendron, Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Katherine-Josée Gervais and Jean-Philippe Luckurst-Cartier) and was created with the intention of activating and making-visible the often fragmented local performance art community.

(The score) LEGS,

  • is made by local artists (local/provincial) participating on a voluntary basis.
  • is not crafted by a singular artistic direction or selection method, and refuses all curating models (there is a lead organizer who acquires a space and starts the chain of invitations – this is the only entity-driven action).
  • is intergenerational, and the invitation is extended to performance artists at all stages of their careers. It does not however pretend or attempt to be an exhaustive representation of a community.
  • is a minimum of 7 hours and a maximum of 9 hours long; the durational for each work is decided by dividing the total chosen time with the number of participating artists in order to realize a continuous performance relay without pause. The order of the performances is arbitrary.
  • is not performed for the sake of the camera, but is photo documented and live streamed, if possible. Images will be collected by the transmitter, made available to participating artists, and published on a collective LEGS website, where the multiplying manifestations can co-exist.
  • is characterized by the fact that each participating artist is autonomous; there is no technical or material support. Artists are responsible for their own set up and clean up (which is part of their allotted time). No performance will be stopped but artists will begin at their scheduled time.
  • is not financed by any public program or entity and doesn’t generate monetary profit for the organizers or the participants.
  • asks, if desired, for a donation from attending audience who are free to come and go as they please; the collected donations compensate venue rental or documentation, if necessary, and the remainder is spent on refreshments for all.
  • can only be transmitted to/in another community by an individual (or a small group) who has participated in the directly previous edition, and the physical participation of these transmitters in the next event is preferred.
  • is shared through this score and set of principals across the performance art network.

LEGS in Toronto is initiated by FADO Performance Art Centre. The custodians of this iteration are Shannon Cochrane and Adriana Disman. There will be two LEGS transmitters from the authoring collective/performers from the first iteration present in Toronto.

Audience is invited to come and go throughout the day. If you cannot make it, watch the LIVE STREAM.

ARTISTS (in order of appearance)
Nadège Grebneier Foget (transmitter from Montréal), Katherine-Josée Gervais (transmitter from Montréal), Tiffany Schofield, Adam Filek, Ed Johnson, Shaista Latif, Kate Barry, Emma-Kate Guimond, Katie Kehoe, Holly Timpener, Yan St Onge, Ellen Furey, Johannes Zits, Jonathan Simpson, Fiona Griffiths, lo bil, Anna Sarchami, Adam Herst, Lauren Scott, Eroca Nicols, Andrew James Paterson, Coman Poon, Alisha Mascarenhas, Brianna MacLellan, Alan Peng, Maggie Flynn, Dorothea Rust, Paul Couillard, Clayton Lee, Moynan King, Bojana Videkanic, Carrie Perreault, Johanna Householder, Christopher Willes, claude wittmann, Juliana Pivato, Liz Khan, Simon Rabyniuk, Robert Luzar, Marcin Kedzior, Golboo Amani, Liz Peterson, Aliya Pabani, Chad Dembski, Berenicci Hershorn, Teena Lange, Francesco Gagliardi, Zeesy Powers, Jessica Cimó, Alex Beriault, Rosa Mesa, Raki Malhotra, Tanya Mars, Adriana Disman, Shannon Cochrane

For an archive of the collected events in the LEGS series including the original event in Montréal, and subsequent events in Toronto and Zurich, visit the LEGS website.

Performative Writing with Teena Lange

Teena Lange, from Legs, Too, 2015. Photo Henry Chan.

Co-presented by FADO Performance Art Centre + LINK & PIN Performance Art Series

Performative Writing or Creative Critical Writing is claimed to be, in itself, a form of performance, often taking as its subject a work of visual art or performance art. The core of this workshop is to develop sensitization for textures and the practice of taking the time to do the doing. 

Entering into performative writing allows the re/activation of the wording & being less paralyzed by the empty page, breaking through the trained fixation of meaning seeking structures of texts. Everyone can write. This workshop allows you to take time to experience another writing practice or develop one if you don’t currently have an active writing practice. Through a series of exercises the workshop will deal with linguistic matters, performative utterances, writing styles, the playground of proverbs, documentation dots & lines, various mechanisms of memory and referentiality, readership & queer quality management.

Performance lecture by Teena Lange on performative writing
October 1, 2015 @ 7:30pm
Robert Gill Theatre, 214 College Street, Toronto

Presented by the University of Toronto’s Centre for Drama, Theatre and Performance Studies, FADO Performance Art Centre and LINK & PIN Performance Art Series.

How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Eat Brunch?

Join Jess Dobkin and Martha Wilson for an intimate conversation and reflection on the performance, How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? (For Martha Wilson) and discussion of the relationship between contemporary live performance and documentation. 

As the founder of the Franklin Furnace, a pioneering artist-run space that has led the exploration, promotion and preservation of performance art, Martha Wilson has been a trailblazer in preserving the history and documentation of live art practices. Speaking to the role of documentation in live art from the 1970s to present day, topics of interest will include the role of the archive, performing for the camera, and the ever-evolving relationship between live art and new technologies.

Post-performance Brunch + Talk with Jess Dobkin and Martha Wilson
Co-presented by Onsite Gallery at OCAD University and FADO Performance Art Centre

Photo Tanya Anderson

How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb? (For Martha Wilson)
By Jess Dobkin and 40 volunteer documenters
Presented by The Images Festival

Made in response and as an ode to one of America’s foremost groundbreaking performance artists, Martha Wilson, performance artist Jess Dobkin’s newest work, How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb (For Martha Wilson), is at once a question, a joke, and a reflection on the ways we see. Taking a direct cue from Wilson’s 2005 video The History of Performance Art According to Me, Martha Wilson, Dobkin takes on the complex and riddled history of performance art, defining its terms and conditions, while acknowledging the slippery temperament of her task. Wilson is also the founder and director of the renowned Franklin Furnace, a legendary artist run space in New York City that once served as a venue, and in more recent years, exists as a virtual archive with the mission of “making the world safe for avant-garde art.” 

In Wilson’s oral history of the history of performance art, she by direct address to the camera, relates the following joke: 

Q: How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?
A: I don’t know. I left after 4 hours.

True to the character of the light bulb joke oeuvre where deviations occur over time and regions, Dobkin adds an additional variation of this joke concerning performance artists:

Q: How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb?
A: One to change the light bulb and 40 to document it.

As a manifestation of these jokes and as a reflection of our screen dependent culture, Dobkin has developed a four plus hour durational performance where a performance artist (Dobkin) will change a light bulb with at least forty people documenting the piece through an exhaustive list of forms. From the ever-present phone camera, social media fanfare, and GPS locator, Dobkin also turns to the generations of how performance art has been documented, revisiting the various models of photography, video recording, film formats, drawing, writing, along with treaded analogue technologies.

How Many Performance Artists Does it Take to Change a Light Bulb (For Martha Wilson) will be an attempt to overwhelm the definitions and intersections of performance, documentation, the archive and image reproduction to investigate the nature of performance itself. 

Questions at stake include: how is performance shared, transmitted, recalled, remembered? How do we understand the lifespan of a performance? How does the form and quality of the documentation impact our understanding of the original work? How have technological advances in documentation and image making changed our understanding and definition of performance art practices?

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