Documentation
On the Table Off the Table By Nadège Grebmeier Forget
Conversation Score

Join Francesco Gagliardi, Shannon Cochrane and the artists and score-writing duos from A Score of Scores performance series as we gather post-event to reflect on collaboration, performance writing, authorship, and scores and their interpretation.  

Many of the performer and score-writing duos have been working together across vast geographical divides and will not have experienced the live work created from the scores in-person. If you do not live in Toronto and/or are not able to see the performances before this artist talk, not to worry. You will be in good company.

Artists from Toronto, Ottawa, Québec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Finland, Iran, Italy, N.Ireland and USA gather around the digital long table to tell stories, fill in all the details and construct a conversation score of all the scores together.

Abedar Kamgari & Naseh Kamgari
Holly Timpener & Enok Ripley
James Knott & Francisco-Fernando Granados
Keith Cole & David Roche
Laura Paolini & Tomasz Szrama
Mikiki & Jan Peacock
Paul Couillard & Elvira Santamaría-Torres
Rita Camacho Lomeli & Alejandro Tamayo
SA Smythe & Autumn Knight
Tanya Mars & Myriam Laplante

Moderated by Francesco Gagliardi & Shannon Cochrane

Register to join the ZOOM here.

FADO SCENT #2 – ENGAGEMENT PINK

The FADO website, created by the unique minds at I Know You Know, is guided by colour and scent.

The navigation menu contains the various categories by which FADO presents our work. The menu on the left side of your browser, where you see “about,” “performance,” “series,” “engagements,” and so on, highlights these areas. Each of the categories is color-coded and contains a description of a unique fragrance. The scent illuminates the qualities of the various ways FADO works. You can read the description of the categories/colours/scents in the footer of each web page. The notes of each scent (top, middle, and base) conjure the elements, memories, and characteristics of our performances, artists, engagements, writing, bulletin, and the archive. 

The fragrances are conceptual and actual. Some remain on the website as a description, in the form of a digital scratch n’ sniff that you can read and imagine for yourself. Some are formulated and are for smelling. Really smelling. 

FADO and I Know You Know are producing small editions of scented postcards and collectible objects for selected scents in the FADO scent collection. The second scent in the series is titled ENGAGEMENT PINK. Here we consider how artists and audiences connect, communicate, and engage. The engagements include artist talks, studio visits, workshops, round tables, Q&As, and more. Audiences ask, and artists answer.

Subscribe to the FADO mailing list and include your mailing address. If you are already on our mailing list, update your profile with your mailing address. DO THAT HERE, and your ENGAGEMENT PINK-scented postcard will be on its way.

Performance
A Score of Scores

10 artists. 10 score writers. A score is an old term for ‘twenty’ of something = A Score of Scores.


ARTISTS & SCORE WRITERS
Abedar Kamgari & Naseh Kamgari
Holly Timpener & Enok Ripley
James Knott & Francisco-Fernando Granados
Keith Cole & David Roche
Laura Paolini & Tomasz Szrama
Mikiki & Jan Peacock
Paul Couillard & Elvira Santamaría-Torres
Rita Camacho Lomeli & Alejandro Tamayo
SA Smythe & Autumn Knight
Tanya Mars & Myriam Laplante


Put together by Shannon Cochrane and Francesco Gagliardi

May 12: Performances by James Knott, Tanya Mars
May 13: Performances by Keith Cole, Laura Paolini
May 18: Performances by Paul Couillard, Holly Timpener
May 19: Performances by Mikiki, SA Smythe
May 20: Performances by Rita Camacho Lomeli, Abedar Kamgari


FADO’s spring performance art series invites 10 artists to perform the interpretation of a performance score, written for them by an artist of their own choosing. Artists from across a spectrum of practices grounded in live performance (including cabaret, music, experimental composition, intermedia, video and more) interpret a score designed for them by an array of Canadian and international artists. The duos have chosen to strategize their collaboration in myriad ways—from conspiring together to revealing the final score only moments before the live presentation.

Emerging in the early 1960s in the context of the FLUXUS movement and in conversation with the expanded compositional practices of John Cage and LaMonte Young, “event scores” relied on elements of collaboration, improvisation, and chance to challenge traditional understandings of originality and artistic creation. Often very short, event scores typically consisted of lists of prompts and instructions ranging from the mundane to the elusively abstract and were circulated among fellow artists with an open invitation to interpret and perform them however they wanted. 

A Score of Scores is an experimental back-to-basics platform for artists to create new small-scale work in a spirit of experimentation, collaboration, and agility.

Details & Info

  • 2 performances each evening. Free. All welcome.
  • Doors open at 7:00pm. Performances will start 15 minutes later (more or less).
  • Mask-wearing is encouraged in the performance space. Exemptions respected.
  • Building is accessible: ramps at entrances, elevator and accessible/all-gender washrooms.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks will be served. Maybe snacks. Please eat your dinner before arriving.
Artist
Jan Peacock

Canada
http://janpeacock.net/

Jan Peacock is an experimental media artist and writer and Professor Emerita of Expanded Media at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she also directed the Master of Fine Arts Program. In video and installation work she uses narrated, animated and performed elements to contemplate experiences of place. Her work is in public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Ludwig Museum in Köln, the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto and Fukui Museum in Japan. Retrospective screenings and exhibitions of her work have been organized at the Festival International du Film sur l’Art, La Cinémathèque Québécoise (Montréal), Dalhousie Art Gallery (Halifax) and TIFF Bell Lightbox (Toronto). Her video work has won awards at the Atlantic Film Festival, the Chicago International Film & Video Festival, and the Atlanta Film & Video Festival. In 2012 she became a Governor General of Canada Award laureate in Visual and Media Arts.

Artist
Naseh Kamgari

Naseh Kamgari is a writer, director, educator, and set designer. He studied set design for performing arts and holds a master’s degree in Dramatic Literature from the University of Tehran (2000). His books include Three Plays on One Set (2022), Three Animal Plays (2021), The Ceiling of this Home is Low (51 short stories, 2018), A Song at the End of a Dark Alley (six plays, 2017), The Boar (a story, 2000), and The 366th Day of the Leap Year (four plays, 2001), all published in Farsi. Forthcoming books Eastern Night (two plays) and In the Absence of Farhad (three plays) will be published in 2023. Notable works as set designer include I Can’t Remember Anything by Arthur Miller (2001), The Condemned of Altona by Jean-Paul Sartre (2006), Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar (2006), and over 20 Iranian plays. He has directed his own plays, Eastern night (2016), A Song at the End of a Dark Alley (2014), Snowman and Spring (2010), Poem of a Queenless Ant (2007), In the Absence of Farhad (1999), among others. Most of his plays engage anti-war themes and criticize socio-political matters. He lives and works in Tehran, Iran.

Artist
Enok Ripley

© Enok Ripley, 2023. Photo Lorenza Cini.

Canada
www.enokripley.com

Enok Ripley [they/them] is a Canadian Visual artist and Performer currently working in Quebec, Canada. Ripley completed their Studies in Studio Arts at Concordia University, and now works internationally in performing arts and installation, presenting their works all over Europe, Canada and the United States. Ripley has received several Grants and bursaries to participate in international performance festivals including the Venice International Performance Art Week, Summerworks Canadian Performance Festival, as well as others. Ripley’s performances examine their physical and metaphysical bodie/s in all its possible iterations both lived and imagined.

Through transformations transcribed in flesh, cloth, paint, and clay, they create hybrid creatures of self-exploration, to be embodied, held lovingly or worn as armour. Ripley creates a sanctuary within themselves, in which the bittersweet feelings of hope and grief exist simultaneously; reaching out to others through limbs that can move, decay and regrow as needed.

Artist
Alejandro Tamayo

Colombia/Canada
www.thepopshop.org  

Alejandro Tamayo is a visual artist originally from Colombia, currently living and working in Windsor, Ontario. Often taking a conceptual approach, Alejandro employs sculpture, drawing, text, photography, and installation as vehicles to reflect about contemporary modes of art production and systems of meaning. His work has been exhibited individually and collectively in Canada and abroad. Tamayo completed a practice-based doctorate in Visual Arts at York University in 2018 with a dissertation that explored experiential notions of time and space through sculpture, drawing and installation. 

Artist
David Roche

Canada

Born in Montréal, David was educated at Concordia University and York University. Writer, performer and musician, David’s one-man shows played locally and toured to Montréal, Western Canada, New Orleans, Los Angeles and Cyprus, Greece. David Roche Talks To You About Love (later a prize-winning first film by Jeremy Podeswa) and 1969 & 1975 (inspired by Spalding Gray). For Tarragon Theatre: the 5-hour Wagner’s Rinse Cycle. Toronto City Opera: featured roles for ten seasons. Toronto Fringe Festival: Tyrolia. Film: John Greyson’s Zero Patience and Nick Sheehan’s No Sad Songs. With David Bateman: People are Horrible Wherever You Go, Solar Stage. Currently: Pandemic Poetry at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre.

Artist
Myriam Laplante

© Myriam Laplante, Fly Me To The Moon, 2018. Photo Adelaide Cioni.

Canada/Italy
www.myriamlaplante.net

Myriam Laplante is a Canadian artist currently based in Bevagna, Italy. She works with performance, installation, video, painting, sculpture, drawing, etc. Her work has been widely exhibited from squats to museums in North America, Europe and Asia. She has been a member of the performance collective Black Market International since 2001.

Artist
Johannes Zits

Canada
www.johanneszits.com

My work uses the expressive capabilities of the human body to investigate the connection between personal and public and the various constructs that shape this connection. My artistic approach involves incorporating improvisation and random elements, both in my process-oriented work and in my longer durational performances. By setting boundaries and constraints for myself, and by working with specific sites and references, I encourage the audience to critically examine their own assumptions and beliefs.I have been collecting second-hand clothing for fifteen years, using this material present work that reflects a conflicted relationship with fashion and grapples with phrases like “socially acceptable” and “age-inappropriate.”  Should I be conscious about what to wear and what is considered to be in vogue? All of my performance-based works with clothing have, in one way or another, dealt with this dilemma, either in metaphorical ways or by directly addressing issues such as the influence of mass media, fashion trends, pride, labour, excess and burden.

Johannes Zits is a Toronto-based performance artist. Since graduating in 1984, Johannes has shown work across Canada and internationally. In 2013, he featured a collection of his videos at FIFA in Montreal and the following year presented the performance, Island, at M:ST Festival, Calgary, as well as venues in Shanghai and Chongqing, China. His photographic and collage work has been featured in Vienna, Berlin, Shanghai, Hamburg, Caen and Mexico City. In 2016, Johannes presented Body Traps, at the 7A*11D Festival, in Toronto, and also performed with the group No Object at the AGO Toronto. In 2019 the Copenhagen Contemporary Museum commissioned him to create a score for their permanent collection and he performed at the International Biennial of Asuncion, Paraguay. In 2020, Johannes was the artist-in-residence at the McIntosh Gallery, Western University, in London, Ontario, presenting the exhibition Listening To Trees. In 2022, he attended a residency at the Joy Kogawa House; performed at Centre A, Vancouver; and presented work for Treewilder, Oundle, U.K., as well as Como un Jagüey, in Havana, Cuba.

Artist
Abedar Kamgari

© Abedar Kamgari, Another Country (still), 2017.

www.abedarkamgari.com

Abedar Kamgari is an artist, curator, and arts worker based in Hamilton and Toronto. In her practice, Abedar considers contexts and conditions of displacement and diaspora using site-responsive, performative, and relational approaches. Her current projects explore body memory, border spaces, complicated inheritances, and the idea of distance, inspired by a play written by her father and garments passed down from her grandmothers. Abedar holds a BFA (2016) and an MFA (2022) in interdisciplinary studio and has performed, screened, and exhibited her work in a range of institutional settings across Ontario.

Artist
Holly Timpener

© Holly Timpener, There is a dissonance and density within my body: part two, Pi*llOry part three, 2020. Photo Aedan Crooke.

Canada
https://hollytimpener.wixsite.com/hollytimpener

Holly Timpener, MA, is a queer, non-binary performance artist working in-depth with themes of queer resistance and transformation. They use performance to challenge and understand their place in this world while investigating how queer people and communities are connected. Performance allows them to confront issues related to gender, intimacy, trauma, and the body by engaging themes of trust, power, control, and resistance. Balancing their personal experience, knowledge, and memories with insight gained through queer community research, Timpener embodies “The Personal Is Political” in a modern sociopolitical context. They believe it is within the embodiment of affectual transformation that Queer resistance is created through performative action. Within their works, they claim ownership of their own body and reflect on the lived and intermingled experiences of being Queer. Timpener’s work communicates identity, sexuality, gender, and community and creates strong images that transmute the space, public, and themself into a new awareness. 

Situated in Canada, Timpener works nationally and internationally. They have presented work forMonth of Performance Art Berlin, The Art Gallery of Ontario, SummerWorks, The Bronx Museum,Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery, La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, and the Venice International Performance Art Week, among others. They are also honored to have worked several times with La Pocha Nosta at Montreal Arts Interculturels, the Taos Paseo Festival, and Encuentro in Mexico City.  

Artist
James Knott

Canada
www.knottart.com

James Knott is an emerging, Toronto-based artist, having received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Integrated Media from OCAD University. Their performance-based practice employs tactics of self-mythologizing, and auto-iconographic aestheticism, as a means to bridge personal narratives into communal ones. Their work combines theatre, video, and audio with an emphasis on movement/gesture to create immersive and emotionally resonant experiences, exploring themes of paradoxical and queer identity, archetypes of desire, and the commodification of the femme body.

An alumnus of The Roundtable Residency, they’ve exhibited/performed at XPACE Cultural Centre, Trinity Square Video, the Toronto Feminist Art Conference,  the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, Montreal’s Festival Phénomena, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, and the Art Gallery of Ontario. They’ve received project and grant funding from The Artist Project Contemporary Art Fair, The National Arts Centre, The Ontario Arts Council, and The Canada Council for the Arts.

Artist
Keith Cole

© Keith Cole. High Tea with Keith Cole and Jeanne Randolph, FADO, 2022. Photo Henry Chan.

Canada

Keith Cole is a Toronto-based artist, performer and writer. He holds a BFA from York University (1989) and an MFA from the Ontario College of Art and Design (2012). His interdisciplinary artistic practice is a collision of the forms of theatre, dance, film and performance, and the intersections they create. Cole has appeared in films, television and performance events worldwide and is a recipient of a Harold Award (1999) a National Tap Dance Award (2004), the Roberto Ariganello Award (2007) a Dora Award Nomination for Outstanding Male Performance in a Musical (2008) a Pink Triangle Award (2000), XTRA! Magazine Mouthiest Queer Activist Award (2010). In 2010 Keith Cole was a leading contender in Toronto’s Mayoral Election. He placed 8th in the overall election putting him in the top 10 of well over 80 candidates. He has written for FUSE Magazine, KAPSULA Magazine, The Dance Current, XTRA! dailyxtra.com, Fab Magazine, The BUZZ and has contributed writing to three academic anthologies. In 2014 and 2015 NOW Magazine readers voted him Toronto’s Best Performance Artist. As an independent scholar his research work explores gossip, hearsay, rumours, theft, speculation and appropriation within the contemporary art world. 

Artist
Laura Paolini

© Laura Paolini, Make Your Bed, 2020. Photograph Adrienne Row-Smith.

Canada
www.laurapaolini.com

My practice stands between historical interrogation, personal experience, and the conceptual trajectories of contemporary art. I am interested in complex overlaps and fleshy folds: the space where the “political” person and “personal” person meet, merge and overlay. My work’s exploration concentrates on performative actions and the methods we use to engage with objects and spaces. Throughout my practice, bodies and objects work together as a scale, not exclusively measuring distance through space and time, but also a scale that includes functions, habits, and the conditioning of a body through these means.

Laura Paolini (she/her) currently lives in Ottawa, unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe Algonquin territory. Her artwork is primarily conceptual and manifests through installations, videos, and performances, often unfolding where these forms meet, merge and collapse. She has exhibited in various Canadian institutions including Hamilton Artists Inc, The Ottawa Art Gallery, and Art Mûr during the 17th edition of Fresh Paint/New Construction (2021). She recently performed during PERF; a performance art Biennale hosted by AXENÉO7 (evening curated by Anna Khimasia and Thomas Grondin). Paolini earned an MFA from the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Ottawa (2021). In addition to previously published writing, she is currently a member of the editorial committee for Peripheral Review, an independent platform for critical and experimental art writing in Canada. Her video works are distributed through Vtape (Toronto).

Artist
Mikiki

Canada
https://menshealthproject.wixsite.com/mikiki

Mikiki is a performance and video artist and queer community health activist of Acadian/Mi’kmaq and Irish descent from Ktaqmkuk/Newfoundland, Canada.

Mikiki has worked as a high school Sex Educator, a Bathhouse Attendant, Drag Karaoke Hostess, in various capacities in the Gay Men’s Health and HIV response, in Harm Reduction Outreach and HIV testing all over Canada. Mikiki is currently producing a quarter century retrospective of their drag performance art in August 2023 at The Rooms in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Artist
Paul Couillard

© Paul Couillard. Duorama #129 (performance with Ed Johnson), Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, 2020. Photo Fausto Luna.

Canada

Paul Couillard has been working as a queer artist, curator, and performance art scholar since 1985. He has created well over 300 performance works in 26 countries, often with his husband and collaborator, Ed Johnson. Paul was the Performance Art Curator for FADO from 1993 until 2007, and is a founding co-curator of 7a*11d. His main areas of interest include site-responsiveness, building community, and addressing trauma through explorations of our bodies as shared vessels of sensation, experience, knowledge and spirit. He is the editor of the monograph series Canadian Performance Art Legends, and has been a lecturer at McMaster University and the University of Toronto Scarborough. He recently completed a doctorate through the York Graduate Program in Communication and Culture. His dissertation Rethinking Presence with a Thinking Body: Intra-active Relationality and Animate Form offers a meditation on presence from the perspective of a thinking body, integrating insights from continental philosophy, popular neuroscience, and interactive performance art practices.

Artist
Rita Camacho Lomeli

© Rita Camacho Lomeli, 2022. Deep in the Streets. Photo Henry Chan.

Mexico / Canada

Rita Camacho Lomeli is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Moving across visual art forms such as paintings, print works, performances, installations, and everyday events like walking and conversing, her work focuses on revealing the contemporary condition of objects and spaces. She has exhibited her work in artist-run centres, festivals, and on the streets.

Moving across visual art forms and everyday events such as walking and conversing, my work focuses on revealing the formal, the material and the contemporary condition of objects and spaces, making them visible and tangible in a different way. I create paintings, print works, performances and installations. One of my main concerns is to examine one of the most critical issues in traditional aesthetics, “the frame.”  I consider the frame an open process of interaction with the environment. Therefore, in my practice, I contest to what extent nondescript objects, quotidian events, and the randomness of the every day are part of the meaning of my work. Consequently, I am in the continuous exploration in which the boundaries of art and the environment are no longer clear, searching to create works that interrelate art and life.

Artist
SA Smythe

www.essaysmythe.com

SA Smythe is a transmedia artist, critical theorist, and educator. Their art practice integrates (visual and text-based) poetry, soundscape composition, light sculptures, and archival ephemera to choreograph cartographies of black (un)belonging. They have exhibited their work internationally at Scuderie del Quirinale (Rome), Kampnagel (Germany), Centro nazionale di produzione Virgilio Sieni (CANGO, Florence), GXRLSCHOOL (Los Angeles), Polo del ‘900 (Turin), Berkeley Arts Centre (Berkeley), as a member of the Dark Matter Cypher under the direction of Sage Ni’Ja Whitson (Fathomers/CAAM), Mattatoio Museum (Rome), as a Africa Writes Literary Festival (London) headliner, and elsewhere in collaborative and solo projects, installations, and festivals. Recipient of the 2022 Rome Prize, Smythe is based between Tkaronto, Italy, and unceded Tongva land (Los Angeles).

Writing
Wednesday Lupypciw | Our Town Revisited: Bang the Drum Madly

Tribal. Turbulence. Tambour. 

Each drum movement is a chance to further establish ourselves and our intentions in the (psychic) space chosen.

—Wednesday Lupypciw

Wednesday Lupypciw (pronounced lu-pip-chew) loves art, drums, punk rock, and the aspect of community that glue it altogether. So much so that these tenets are the port of call around her latest site-specific performance: QUEER NOISE SOLIDARITY. A loud and confident initiative, QNS was curated by FAG, a.k.a Feminist Art Gallery (spearheaded by Allyson Mitchell and Deirdre Logue) and was proudly matronized by FADO Performance Art Centre. (For more information on what it means to matronize an event or artist, check out FAG’s mission statement on their Facebook page.)

Wednesday’s everyday multi-media art practice involves making low-fi video, film, and performance, with an ultra modernist approach to textile creation—weaving, machine knitting, and embroidery. She travels abound installing, presenting, lecturing, and sometimes making fun yet formal public happenings. Along with visual artists Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch, Lupypchiw is one-third sparring partner of the performance art collective LIDS, or the Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society. LIDS identifies themselves as a loosely knit group of purposefully lazy womenfolk. A third-wave feminist outfit that combines notions of female-ness with a blasphemed commentary that is smart, sloppy, and garish enough to awaken the unfunny academic giant within. For Lupypciw, QNS was “the next phase” in her practice, venturing out on her own to manifest a battalion of women armed with drum kits. 

I just want to do a living sculpture, with drums, with drummers facing one another. I’d like to provide more opportunities for a group of performers to engage with each other—to be focused on the tasks at hand, developing the group brain and sound.

—Wednesday Lupypciw

Wednesday’s vision on this Friday evening in May is a public performance in Christie Pits Park involving 12 rock drum kits that are set up in triangular form. Four drum kits inhabit each of the three sides of the triangle. For each kit, there is a drummer, 12 in total. The drummers face Wednesday, as well as one another, in order to track rhythmic shifts and other sensory cues. 

Enter the drummers’ dozen, made up of all shapes and sizes. A delight as the drummers are all of a female persuasion and/or simply female-identified, with a queersome bent and heart for all things pink, punk and percussive. The casting is unconventional, as those invited to participate possess a variety of approaches—from rock drummers to sound artists, artists to activists—and each possess varied skill levels. This is combined with what is most interesting—a generational diversity. The drummers range in age from 10 years old to over 60. A wonderful and deliberate equity ensures that everyone and no one is “the star”.

Manicured and benign as a golf course, this dip of robust land known as Christie Pits Park has a history of racist violence. How ironic and strange that the vast cleanliness of the park resembles a typified imitation of heaven. Irony aside, tonight the Pits will become heavenly as it undergoes a transformational ritual making it a “safer psychic space”, as per what this artistic mandate is after. 

In August of 1933, neighbours Francesca Di Prima and Maisie Cohen are shaking by the outskirts of the grassy bowl. Bloodied ant-sized males are swinging bats in the baseball diamond that was once a sand quarry. Their teenage boys can’t escape the bone-cracking fury. No end to the violence in sight, perched high and peering down, they holler until their throats crack, screaming for their kin to escape. But they are unheard under The Pit’s hellish battle acoustics, blaring charcoal noise like war drums. 

“The kids just came out here to play ball.”

“But we’re different. They don’t want us here.”

“One day, you’ll see—there will be harmony.”

“Keep dreaming. Crazy hate like this never runs out.”

Christie Pits is situated at the northwestern tip of what is the Annex region of Toronto. Its name triggers images that will always carry the burden of the park’s riots back in the 30’s. At that time, like many of the growing urban communities in the city, the Annex was populated with Nazi sympathizers. Imagine raging white goons swinging bats at anyone unlike them, namely Jews and Italian immigrants. So much for “Toronto the Good”. 

“The Pits” are also known for numerous muggings and rapes. Two QNS drummers were mugged and attacked here, and not long ago. A site-specific performance can by no means erase the memory of such trauma, but what about eradicating any trepidation and fear about being in the park itself? Can one’s weapon and talisman be blazing drum beats?

Regarding landmarks and memory, can Lupypciw’s experience heal? Transforming victims into the victorious? 

Calgary

The first incarnation of this event took place in Lupypciw’s hometown for the independent music festival Sled Island during the summer of 2012. Her idea garnered a spot on the bill, perhaps in part because of the title: Shitty Feminist Drum Circle. Was this a low-self esteem confessional? Or something else, directed at… who? Then upon then seeing the words on the page, you get the joke. It’s not hard to imagine these exact words coming out of some typical rocker dude’s pie hole as he nastily describes a parliament of women drumming in a circle, maybe sporting Birkenstocks, and—gasp!—with no apparent awareness of him whatsoever. Of course, this broad brushstroke of an image is an assumption based upon many assumptions that are both ridiculously and unfortunately true. And because Wednesday’s manner of casting welcomes both the technically proficient with the novice all drumming together, it makes one wonder if this early title for the work was meant to poke fun at the pedagogical and/or patriarchal manner of how we learn music. Or was it about seeing who you can piss off by calling a performance installation a “shitty feminist drum circle”? Art has no obligation to anyone to appear reasonable. We f*ck shit up in our line of business: They don’t call it risk for nothing, right Punk? 

Wednesday’s premiere performance for Sled Island was a slightly more subdued version of QNS: 6 drummers, set up in a circle. One of the players featured in the Calgary premiere also appears in the Toronto follow-up: Lupypciw’s mentor Rita McKeogh, a Halifax-based artist/educator who performed in the women’s jazz/rock fusion group DEMIMONDE and is known for her challenging multi-media performance pieces, which have been exhibited worldwide. Sincerely heart-felt, the student creates a role for the role model, bringing the relationship full circle. 

In Calgary, I think I knew what I wanted to do deep inside, but in Toronto I admitted what I wanted to do. Out loud, and cultivated it. I made the stakes higher, the work became very necessary. In Toronto, I had a lot of feelings, whereas in Calgary I had a lot of thoughts. I screamed longer, louder, unabashedly in Toronto.

—Wednesday Lupypciw

Post-Calgary, Toronto

Lupypciw’s next step of evolution with the work is to replace the circular set-up with a triangular one. The triangle anchors many organic and manmade creations with a mathematical reliability. Triangles are meta-fractals of nature: leaves to trees perform the same mimicry, as mountains are fractal to rocks and boulders. Many ancient and occultist rituals apply triangle and/or prism-like apparatus, which bring mystique and magic to the practice. Lastly and perhaps most significant, the LGBT triangle as an emblem is an elevated moniker thus inverted of its hideous Nazi roots where it was used as a tool to brand and track people of otherness. Lupypciw’s appliqué of the triangle as a theatre set embodies a highly politicized mode of what queer solidarity looks like.

This new triangular set-up echoes aspects of the drumming circle applied in Calgary. Wednesday elevates her role of Shamanic Guide with her tribe of drummers and with us the audience. Are we the collective embodiment of a pagan village in ceremony? Heard chanting all the way to the next village? She has transformed the front “man” role into a queer traveling Carney, yelling and running around, compelling the space with a different intention. The playing of orchestral music is not unlike the building of a small community. As a musical pageant, QNS is a social democracy. Wednesday keeps it fun as a “Miss Mischievous Speaker of the House.” She races in and around the triangle to her congress of drummers, coercing like a motivational gym coach, guiding like their Sherpa, wearing a hoodie, equipped with a whistle.

Under a silver spring sun in harmony with a chilly pastel sky, the audience anticipates what this pulsating cavalcade will be. The Drummers prepare, setting up inside a triangular boundary of rope and spikes hammered into the earth. The 10 year old drummer positions her crash symbols with an enthusiasm beyond playing the latest Xbox. Lupypciw kicks off the event with megaphone in hand. She declares the space of the park as OUR space. The performance follows, in three movements. Each movement starts with a collective chant by led by herself and echoed by the drummers’ dozen.

1. “HEY! HEY! HEY! HEY!” with pure waves of just snares or cymbals. Mobilizing.

2. “ALL HERE NOW!” group drum tag, communication between sides of the triangle.

3. “ALL! NIGHT! LONG!” sunset observance with heavy/dark kicks and floor toms, growing into max noise sendoff. Making noise to resonate into the night, all though the night.

The performance contains three extended play-movements. Each movement is about 20 minutes long, and even with the designed short breaks in between, there really is no stopping. Rather, the drummers sit and click their sticks together in time during the breaks, while one goes off to the washroom, or gets something to drink, then the drummers organically reassemble and start the next movement. 

Each movement is its own marathon, and this marathon is on message: beats are bullets that paint pictures of rage, and/or gratitude. This drummers’ village is a metaphor for the adversity that queer life and/or alternative thinking has endured against corporatism’s monolithic shadow. Toronto has a unique site-specific performance art legacy, peppered by a queer presence nearly three decades old. Many of these actions have involved spiritualizing neighborhoods as newly protected areas for refuge. Some artists who have maximized this local history-based gesture would be Jess Dobkin, Will Munro, Leif Harmsen, Sky Gilbert, amongst the many others.

This evening here in The Pits is curiously sentimental, tremendous even, as a severity of styles are played, passionately and in unison. Skin shivers from the militaristic patterns mixed with tribal drum rhythms. It harkens to the genesis, the Mother of all minimal bamm-bamming: Mo Tucker.

Alternative punk drumming took its cues from the harbinger of thunderous minimalist drumming, Maureen (Mo) Tucker of The Velvet Underground (1964-1973, 5 recorded albums). Tucker took basic rock drumming patterns, made them small in their bigness and big in their smallness. Her finite style, puncturing accents in a moody hollow of reverb, re-addressed rock n’roll as depressingly theatrical—an even darker expression of 60’s Girl Group Producer Phil Spector’s tragic resonances. It was no surprise then that the VU were featured in performance art happenings during the 60’s, like Andy Warhol’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable.

At the time, critics and rock contemporaries alike abhorred The Velvets for a sound that was clearly ahead of its day. Less than 10 years later, after the group’s demise, Tucker’s stamp birthed a zenith of female drummers during a sliver of time where a post-punk/no-wave canon of girl bands (circa 1981) fashioned their homage to her shtick in smashing a bent out of shape hit, that was minimalist, militaristic, and tribal. This new mode of angry young girls thumping skins a la Mo Tucker was a reaction to the exhausting male posturing drum solos that smeared the mid to late 70’s era. The presence of the Bonhams and Moons turned drumming into an unidentifiable disturbance, lacking compass and distinction. It was this next generation of women who trashed that norm with an innate style and arrogance, elevating performance all the same. And so by 1981, it was comic how drum trills and bombastic solos that we had been accustomed to were now perceived as a clichéd caricature. Some key hitters: Ikue Mori (DNA), Lislot Ha (Kleenex, Lilliput), Palmolive (The Slits, The Raincoats) GB Jones (Fifth Column), and June Miles Kingston (Mo-Dettes).

As drummers of this breed pioneered a style that was stubborn and uncompromising, this gesture innovated how other instruments were to surrender to its mission, planting a completely new sound that was intrinsically post-punk. It was inevitable that someone was going to break the heterosexist sound barrier. This was the underground music and fashion culture of its day, solely popular with renegade feminists and late night pirate and college radio enthusiasts. Concurrently, there was another interesting ilk of drum-heavy experimentally charged women’s groups, reinventing jazz, folk-rock fusions and reggae rhythms. The groups who come to mind would be The Moral Lepers (Vancouver), Demimonde (Toronto) and Essential Logic (UK). 

This female drum style was strikingly precise in its mathematics, influencing its canon of music, thus confusing the male rock critic argument about gender-based dexterity in playing. The good news was that when it came to feminist music festivals, the female band shortages left promoters no other choice but to program all these styles together under a general women’s (or Womyn’s) banner. And like variant species on a lost island, these modes of female music shared the jungle’s resources in harmony.

Congruently, Queer Noise Solidarity embodies the binary of these drum styles, simply by casting players informed by one or both styles. And it works because the drum movements that Wednesday designed have a universality to them. The act of the “drum band” as a whole is greater than its sum of the parts as the participants are bashing together in a matching (maybe even marching) goal towards a utopic collectivity.

QNS takes what would be a choir of female voices and replaces it with a society of drums, united in sync, powerful in anger and joy. Drumming for drumming sake (sans guitar, bass, and vocals) eradicates all that is expected in a rock n’roll artifice. There is no plot needed to this play, as the play is about pure presence. This gesture is as far away from commercialism and capitalism as can possibly be, monumental and exhilarating. We embrace this spirited confluence of live drums where the natural elements go hand in hand with the art, showing us a new manner of “religious” congregating. As player to player and from player to audience, we commemorate humanity’s compassion in concert with sound and nature. 

Lupypciw arranges the three movements structured inside a formal sound-based plan. The plan enables her drummers to play their interpretation of the assigned structure, as long as they keep on the same accent and in unison. And like a concert bowl, The Pit does a fine job containing a “wall of sound” that imbues a widened and orchestral sensorial feeling. Do you recall the aforementioned, great and troubled people-hater, 60’s pop producer Phil Spector? He made sonic history by applying instrumental multiplicity in a most bombastic way. His reverberated beats, layered atop one another, made us aware there could be theatre for our ears. Imagine hearing glimmering sheets of steel creating a textural depth to the frequencies. At the time, this mono-based orchestral pop competed with the grandeur one could have from listening to Herbert Von Karajan or St. Martin in the Fields. Spector’s style changed the complexion of popular music as an unforeseen black swan of sophistication and glory. He elevated his singing protégés from their mean streets into teen idols bellowing heartbreak from an echoing Mount Olympus. This ear theatre was like a fractal of nature, where the use of multiplicity and unison-playing techniques were the main ingredient for building a “populated” resonance reflecting the populated world it was made for. Spector’s other goal was for this orchestral fantasia to conjure a sex magic inciting the heterosexist sale of seduction, or the promise thereof, especially for nerds, not unlike the self-proclaimed misogynist-impresario himself.

Contrariwise, Lupypciw’s mission in creating live sonic multiplicity deals a different deck of romance, where a sonic queer village of all-sorts create a homebrew of sound that is locally harvested, and solely for self-consumption: uncomplicated, unconventional and un-commercial. One drummer likened the Queer Noise Solidarity experience to a big ship on big water trying not to capsize, where drummers drummed non-stop like their lives depended on it. 

This living sculpture creates a celebratory reminder, an heirloom to the past, present, and future. The Take Back The Night homage, ALL! NIGHT! LONG!, was a closing show-stopping chant that came off like an ancient spell, perhaps to keep the bad-isms at bay. This last act gave this event a successful conclusion, which is rare in critical agit prop performance art. And lest we forget all of the many inspiring women fighting back (whether it be Pussy Riot or The Gulabi Gang, a group of pink sari wearing vigilantes who pressure men to stop abusing their wives or face the bamboo stick themselves).

Lupypciw’s performance unabashedly offers up a heightened incantation of third wave feminism, contributing to a queer sentiment in staying united and inspired. It would be exciting to imagine QNS traveling from city to city, each time with a new drummers’ battalion. This is where collective drumming can enliven dangerous arenas into the safe public places they are intended to be. 

I never liked the park after the mugging. Remembering the incident and all the horrible feelings that came from it. Park felt cursed to me. 

Drumming in the Park: Felt vindicated, powerful, maybe even euphoric.

I think the 3rd movement was my favorite. We used mostly tom and kick drums with crashing cymbals. There was a continuous build up and then come down but the loudest parts were my favorite—felt like an exorcism. Felt safe and supported as a large group of women and queers—just felt free. Playing drums is freedom to me and to do it in a space I never imagined hanging out in again—I was unleashed…reawakened… the project being a huge reminder for a loner like me that sisterhood is powerful. 

—Wednesday Lupypciw

Caroline Azar is a Canadian Playwright-Dramaturge/Director and Teacher. She instructs Actors and Writers using a self-designed method called “The Archival” in order to complete performance work that is rigorous, relevant and frightening for stage and film. Azar is teaming up with Trinity Square Video presenting an intensive for artists in the fall of 2013. From 1981 to 1994, Azar was the lyricist-lead singer and organist with the 80’s Toronto female experimental punk group Fifth Column. The group is best known for the song All Women Are Bitches, Repeat!. Despite the controversy surrounding the song, it was reviewed by Everett True and named Single of the Week in the UK music magazine Melody Maker. She has teamed up again with founding Fifth Column member GB Jones in creating interactive art and Theatre projects for the public like The Bruised Garden for Nuit Blanche 2012 and the She Said Boom Feminist Zine Making Symposium. Azar also volunteers for Girls’ Rock Camp Toronto. Azar has a play in development called DINK, which will be published in a National Anthology collection in 2014.

Writing
Song-Atmosphere-City-Song-Atmosphere

The Event

The top floor of a defunct transformer factory at 213 Sterling Avenue in Toronto is the site of a recent event curated by claude wittmann and initiated by Shannon Cochrane of FADO Performance Art Centre. Following claude’s premise, the task of the three performers—Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, Simon Rabyniuk, and Yumi Onose—is to set something in motion on January 14th and then respond to it on January 15th. This event goes beyond simple responses to become a continuous bodily transformation spanning 26 hours and sweeping up performers, audiences, spaces, sounds and materials into its corporeality.

The Garden

Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, a powerful calming force, welcomes us. She sits on a carpet amongst plants arranged in a semi-circle. The audience is drawn closer to form another semi-circle: plants and audience now embrace Jo. Our Experience is transformed by the way we engage with each other. Jo tells us she grew up in her Lola’s (Grandmother’s) garden beneath the banana leaves, protected from the hot sun of the Philippines. As she speaks, a red spotlight lingers on the varnished wooden floor like a sunset…we are in a garden; Jo’s words and gestures transform our surroundings. Have we been here before? What we cannot remember is how the plants sing! They sing!

Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, 2011. Photo credit: Henry Chan


The Market

Next we hear a story about Jo visiting a sari-sari market with her Lola. A place where you can buy only 1 of each thing. Her Lola points with her lips to objects she wants to buy. Jo purses her lips. Stories are the most valuable currency.

The Mint

Surveying the garden around her, Jo’s hand follows a line ending under a plant from where she pulls out a golden bottle cap! She smells it. She holds it towards the light, letting it linger a moment as a sedentary sun. Then Jo pushes the cap into a broad leaf, forcefully cutting it to make coins: Philippine pesos. I could feel the bottle cap against my fingers as I pressed it against the plant and could hear the crunching sound. Although it is sensual, making pesos creates wounds. To become the market, the garden first becomes the mint, and the plants become raw materials for the production of pesos. Gaps, holes, soul-wounds, physical shadows, clean geometric holes are what remain in the plants. On coins we read the presence of the state, we are supposed to feel unified; here the coins dismember. We must forget some things in order to live. A tragic yet beautiful silence descends. These wounds are the remnants of Jo’s dreams in the garden. What follows is punishment and isolation.

The Song

A story-teller is more a crowd than an individual. Jo’s hands linger near the growing leaves around her. These plants have parts that are missing—yet they sing! Conductive thread is infused into the plants’ bodies and connects to an electronic grid allowing each plant to speak, to tell a part of the story. When our bodies come close to these plants one of them makes isolated bells sounds; another, melodic instrumental sounds; the next, long mournful chanting sounds; and the last, is Jo’s own voice speaking. The sounds resemble and connect to traditional Philippine music. All the plants sing but the songs are full of sudden ruptures, breaks in connectivity, repetitions and re-starts like music skipping over wounds.

Memory   

This hole is ripped not only into the plant but into our own bodies too. Jo presses the green pesos to her wrists and neck and slowly bandages them with rolls of cloth. These white rolls orbit around her body’s wounds in attempts at recollection, orbiting around an unknowable and ungraspable centre. A body is made of distinct parts—to re-member is to reconstitute a complete body, but this does not work. Ours is already a living historical body in which forces from various times and places play out, creating tensions here, exhilarations there; a body that is a field of action for a memory that is always current; a body that makes physical and present the dreams of the past. Traumatic events are embedded in our bones…Our cells resonate with our ancestors’ acts of resistance. 

Bird

Yumi Onose, forgetting gravity, flies into the space. With a red sheet spread like wings she circles around the space, over snow-capped mountains that are, in actuality, stacked rolls of toilet paper. Reveling in the vastness of the space, she creates an enormous terrain, and the very act of moving through it is the act of making it. As she flies the performance setting becomes an ephemeral, open landscape–a space which is unlimited, or at least without measurable limits.

Yumi Onose, 2011. Photo credit: Henry Chan

Dreamer

In a performative turn of dream-logic, Yumi’s cloak becomes a bed on which she, finally, collapses. As if waking from an uproarious dream—Yumi begins to laugh. She laughs, we laugh, she laughs harder, we laugh harder we laugh! That dream was hilarious! What happened? No one knows. The dream’s content is replaced by an intense feedback loop.

The Atmosphere

For a moment the space rolls over and stands up in a posture of uncontrollable joy!  Suddenly, the laughter turns to equally strong bawling. With poise, Yumi walks on a tight-rope between an abyss of absurdity on one side and dark profundity on the other. The real movement, however, happens in the audience’s reaction which creates a constantly oscillating atmosphere. We are a community, a unified reactive body. Our collective reactions spread like a sandstorm through the space, hitting each others’ bodies and creating a shifting ground on which Yumi’s gestures are apprehended.

Horizon

Yumi recapitulates her own flight with rolls of toilet paper she tosses across the space. With these traces—long white lines—toilet paper is both cartographic and meteorological. It is a map that carves up the ground, creating linear wounds, physical shadows. It is a weather phenomenon that tangles, intersects, speeds up, slows down, forms indeterminate cloud lines. The new tight-rope is the horizon between fields and skies. Territory Yumi. Snowstorm Yumi.

Love

What follows is silence. Ceremoniously Yumi holds a bell to the light, letting it linger.  Suddenly, she strikes the singing bowl: circles of sound dissolve in the space. Our cells resonate. Quickly, Yumi distributes rolls of toilet paper to the audience. Saying much without words, Yumi points at us both lyrically and aggressively with her mallet. Without hesitation, those with rolls of paper come forward. Activated: we fling the rolls across the space becoming so many vectors, each with its own speed, direction and personality. These lines become many things: our intentions, bodily contours, drifting thoughts, etched habits, postures…Lines leave our bodies, go out into the world and mingle with others’ lines, forming new ones together. 

Wings

Eventually, the lines of paper wind around all of us. Yumi, the great silent orchestrator, encourages us to flap our newly discovered wings. Previously we were isolated points looking and thinking inwards—now we are a continuous flowing line moving outwards.

Voluntary Prisoners

Suddenly the atmosphere changes and we realize we have become inmates. Up to a certain threshold we were enhanced by the rolls of paper. We were animated, united, communicating movements: our bodies could do more. Now some of us are tied to steel poles. The tight-rope quivers. claude surveys a room of bandaged bodies. Our wrists and necks have soul-wounds. The bell rings.

The Cemetery

Simon Rabyniuk kneels amongst piles of clothes. We are transported to his room, which feels all the more empty by our presence there. He lays out a black duffel bag upon which he ceremoniously draws a cross using graphite. Who is he drawing for? Setting in motion the ritual of a traveler, he begins to fill the large bag with his clothes. The space becomes increasingly empty. Gradually, the bag takes on substance and weight until it finally stands up!  Simon stands, lingering over the bag, and kicks it with the inside of his leg. Then once again: the other leg. Thud…thud. The bag awakens to correct its posture. We become serious and something in us says: Someone lies buried here. 

Simon Rabyniuk, 2011. Photo credit: Henry Chan

The Walk

Tomorrow I will walk from 8am to 8pm…I will probably fail…I will hold my place of brightness open to the gaze of others. With his back to us Simon sits, assuming the posture of the monolith he has just filled with clothes. The monolith just sits there, staring at us, making solemn fun. Simon is looking at the blank wall with his shoulders rhythmically swaying. He is in a trance, walking while staying still, with his mind entering the vast snowy landscape that is the white wall. For a moment he is gone.

Infant

Next we witness disoriented experiments in walking. While lying on his back, Simon’s feet are kicking, generating enough inertia to shift his whole body across the ground. He walks while laying down…he walks towards the ground…he walks on the wall…he walks: anticipating all possible positions his body will take tomorrow. The earth has already rotated and he is catching up. Simon leaves a horizon of footprints on the wall. We don’t yet know what a walk can be, how it can destabilize the ground we take for granted. What else is dancing but forgetting how to walk?

Old Man

Simon’s walking experiments have lasted a long time, maybe decades; we have witnessed a whole life through various configurations of walking. We are invited to consider walking as a state of mind…walking as thinking…walking as so many forms of encounter with others…walking as moving through life…walking. Simon finally limps away, he leaves through the door, he is gone. We can barely hear his steps on the metal stairs. Some of us run to the window. After a moment Simon appears! He is outside walking. There is applause as he turns the corner and disappears. Someone says: I don’t think he’s going to make it.

Sleep

I dreamt I was running while singing a song about home. I kept coming back to the refrain, to come home.The road was steep and sandy but I was fast. The event is stretched over the night and day. We process, we eat, sleep, dream, think. Look, there is Simon walking! We imagine when glancing out the window while getting dressed in the morning. Will he look us in the eyes when he comes back tomorrow and maybe say nothing? Yumi is laughing today! We feel when we hear wind chimes mid-day. Jo is watering her plants! We know while cleaning and shining our dishes after supper. How close will she come to her wounds? We feel more…But where is the stage? What is being orchestrated? Who will clap? The curtain does not fall.

Waiting

We all come back the next day and wait. On the first night we were boisterous but tonight a solemn and anxious air hangs in the space. We have been anticipating a performance that has been in progress all day, absent from our view. claude burns sage and the smoke rises up the steel columns. Tonight, he also distributes smoke by the windows. We remember the outside. It is dark and cold. We wait.

Hero

From a distance a figure approaches the building—Simon! The door to the studio opens and Simon walks in. He hasn’t really been gone since we’ve been thinking of him. But he hasn’t really come back either since he seems incredibly distant at first, not accepting the hero’s welcome, doing laps around the space which are more mechanical than victorious. Walking in a daze except when he passes the audience: Simon then makes close eye-contact and can’t conceal a smile.

Feet

Tonight, Simon is no longer the same. He walks into the space holding his shoes in his hands, carefully setting them down on the floor as an offering. Simon’s shoes recall those painted by Van Gogh: portraits that reveal how far one has walked and where one has been. Taking off his socks, Simon continues his laps around the space. His feet represent nothing.  They enact. Scratched, blistered, white from the cold they are a double record of the day-long performance. This twin-portrait of Simon rhythmically moves across the floor.  Thud…thud.

The City

To walk in a snowstorm was beautiful. Simon opens all the windows. Walking in a large loop around the space he occasionally stops and leaves a heavy bundle of clothes, shaken out of the duffle bag from yesterday. As the clothes land on the ground they construct a giant map of his walk. He tells us a story of what happened at every bundle of clothes. I started here this morning. Simon moves to the next bundle, recapitulating his walk, I stopped at the Calbrese Bakery, I felt too heavy, so I stopped. The remnants of Simon, his clothes, are distributed around the space because his body and compassion have been distributed throughout the city. The city itself, as understood during his walk, is the site and material for the construction of Simon’s self.  We are inhabiting a physical model of a city, a person, a series of interactions. This city is in the process of construction and we inflect it at every moment, building an Event Urbanism.

Code

Time has passed; Jo’s plants have grown a little. They have taken on new names and virtues: claude, trust; Yumi, Joy; Simon, Brightness. The performers and curator now inhabit Jo’s plants and make the fitting sounds. We learn that over time these plants alter their code, the sensors expand so the entire plant can sing. The performers, too, have infused their entire bodies with a sensitivity to the audience and to the various materials distributed around the space. Jo has altered her code, incorporating Simon and Yumi’s gestures. Thoughts and bodies melting, the plants sing the claude-Simon-Jo-Yumi song!

Necklace

Instead of rolls of bandages today there is a large white cloth hanging to Jo’s right. On it there is a faint, haunting, drawing of Jo as a young girl. It seems to say: Let’s remember our past selves, are they still with us? Is it good to become them now and again? Jo’s mouth is moving. What comes out is not a story but green pesos that have been joined together to form a necklace. Jo adorns her drawing with the necklace—the young Jo is thrilled! The banana leaf turned first into pesos then a necklace; that has been bandaged, then ingested; is now worn, embracing Jo. 

Healing

Jo tells us a story of plants healing themselves: an orange-brown lattice develops around the wound: a tough scar to protect itself…We came to Canada to forget. It is too painful to remember. What does healing mean for bodies that are composed of so many past selves?—Bodies that are composed of the environment, unthinkable without their connections to living materials, hidden languages, customs and forms of life? All these elements infuse the fibers of our bodies. Sometimes they are silenced, sometimes they sing. Throughout this performance we attempt to listen.

Time-Traveler

Today does not simply respond to yesterday, it acts on and transforms yesterday: building a two-way bridge. Yumi intervenes in Simon’s map of the city. She tries on a shirt, as if trying on Simon’s experience. Yumi’s hand follows a line and from under a pile of sweaters she pulls out a golden ball of socks—and throws them! In this ruinous playground, the displacement of clothes disrupts the sequence of events. Yumi transports an event from one part of Simon’s walk to another, moving it through time and space.

Swimmer

Amongst the psycho-sartorial rubble Yumi finds and puts on a pair of swimming goggles!  She slowly, beautifully, moves down the central aisle in the space, hands pushing through the dense atmosphere. Simon’s city is underwater! Jo’s garden is underwater! We have been flooded; we try to speak but only produce a necklace of bubbles.

Model

Throw your shoulders back. Yumi tries on Simon’s white running shorts. Push your pelvis forward. The watery atmosphere has transformed into a fashion show. Weight on ball of foot. Yumi walks confidently down a newly created runway. Put one foot in front of the other. On a tightrope, between a control-freak and trickster, she walks. Point hips, shoulders, and feet to the side and look straight on at the audience over your shoulder. She smirks. Capture the essence of the clothes you are wearing with the expression on your face. As Yumi starts walking away, Jo’s plants respond! These new performers are a frustrating surprise to Yumi but hilarious to the audience. Make head and shoulders sturdy like a coat-hanger. Yumi comes closer and attempts to orchestrate the plants in order to regain control, but they stop. With her arms demanding a response, Yumi becomes increasingly authoritarian the more contingency opens up. She can do no more. Defeated, Yumi walks away but after several steps the plants rebelliously activate again! There is no silencing this uprising—she starts to dance. Hips swaying. Her fervor reaches a certain pitch and the plants stop. 

Bodies

The ceremony from last night is repeated but more methodically. Toilet paper is distributed amongst the audience. We toss our lines, as long as possible, into the space. A lesson in fervor: most of us use too much force—the paper breaks! Yumi looks at us, mockingly disappointed. Suddenly, there is a break with tradition: Jo’s plants activate again, someone throws a roll of paper over a steel beam. Eventually all is a frenzy of white paper. It is beautiful to walk in a snowstorm. The plants act as a gauge of energy. There is a general carnival atmosphere with everyone running around with toilet paper, some spinning it, some wrapping it around each other, some fluttering it, some making architecture out of it, some using it as a weapon, some making clothes, ripping it, stuffing it under their shirts, unrolling it, rolling it up again. There are no longer individual selves to speak of but an atmospheric community—partly frenzied partly invigorated, partly dangerous—colliding with each other then moving on; all flowing in relation to each other, all aware, full of joy, abandoned to the space. We are simultaneously in a garden, a city, in the air, recreating the space with our bodies in a way no other material can.

Statue

At the end, this entirely distributed and free composition of bodies centers in again on Yumi and the audience begins to cover her with the paper in large clumps: building a statue, a monument to certainty. Eventually all that is visible is a large mound of paper with swimming goggles peeking through. Yumi is still holding a bell. She strikes the singing bowl, redoubling the flood of paper. Someone places a roll of paper on her mallet, she tries again to ring the bell but this time we hear a dull thud. She disappears under the white paper…stillness…silence.

Remnants

I dream that we can dance with weather, it moves at our speed. Wind moves as fast as we can run, the night passes the length of time we need to rest, a cloud moves as fast as we need to imagine; it moves at our speed. Among chaos, among stories, clouds, buildings, gardens, markets, birds, horizons, infants, feet…among debris in this ruinous playground, among the clamor, murmuring and frenzy of bodies we hear Yume No Ato—The remnants of dreams.


Marcin Kedzior is a dancer, musician, architectural designer, writer and professor living in Toronto. Kedzior is on the editorial board of the journal Scapegoat: Architecture, Landscape and Political Economy, which confronts the coercive and violent organization of spaces, bodies and resources. He is interested in the city as an agglomeration of bodies and realities in which certain spaces produce bodies as commodities, useful tools, mere statistics, elements to be kept in line and entities that can be known. Kedzior understands movement practices as experiments in constructing unthinkable spaces and realities, affirming alternate forms of action and existence. 

Documentation
Violence Is In Me by Sinéad O’Donnell
Performance
FADO SCENT #1 – PERFORMANCE YELLOW

The FADO website, created by the unique minds at I Know You Know, is guided by colour and scent.

The navigation menu contains the various categories by which FADO presents our work. The menu on the left side of your browser, where you see “about,” “performance,” “series,” “engagements,” and so on, highlights these areas. Each of the categories is color-coded and contains a description of a unique fragrance. The scent illuminates the qualities of the various ways FADO works. You can read the description of the categories/colours/scents in the footer of each web page. The notes of each scent (top, middle, and base) conjure the elements, memories, and characteristics of our performances, artists, engagements, writing, bulletin, and the archive. 

The fragrances are conceptual and actual. Some remain on the website as a description, in the form of a digital scratch n’ sniff that you can read and imagine for yourself. Some are formulated and are for smelling. Really smelling. 

FADO and I Know You Know are producing small editions of scented postcards and collectible objects for selected scents in the FADO scent collection. The second scent in the series is titled ENGAGEMENT PINK. Here we consider how artists and audiences connect, communicate, and engage. The engagements include artist talks, studio visits, workshops, round tables, Q&As, and more. Audiences ask, and artists answer.

Subscribe to the FADO mailing list and include your mailing address. If you are already on our mailing list, update your profile with your mailing address. DO THAT HERE, and your PERFORMANCE YELLOW-scented postcard will be on its way.

SCREENING: Performance on Camera

© Rah Eleh, Oriental Drag. Image courtesy of the artist.

In September, FADO hosted a two-day intensive workshop entitled Performance on Camera. Led by video and performance artists Rah Eleh, this workshop invited artists to investigate the intersections between performance art and the camera through their practice. Artist participants engaged in a series of physical exercises focused on character development, exploration and physicality; followed up by hands-on learning of some of the practicalities of filmmaking techniques and lighting.

Using this guidance and the generated performance and video materials, the artists in Performance on Camera created a series of new video works. It’s two month later, but we can’t wait to see the results. Join us for a screening of all the works created in Performance on Camera.

Snacks, refreshments, conversation.

Artist
Sinéad O’Donnell

© Sinead O’Donnell, Violence is in Me, 2010. Photo Henry Chan.

N. Ireland
https://sineadodonnell.com/

Sinéad O’Donnell has been creating performance, installation, site and time-based art since 1998. Encountering a place’s territoriality, and frequently referencing Ireland, Sinéad chooses actions or situations that demonstrate complexity, setting up confrontations between matter and memory, timing and spontaneity, site and space, and intuition and methodology. Sinéad O’Donnell is based in Belfast, N. Ireland and her performance work has been presented in Ireland, South America, Middle East and Eastern Europe. She is highly active in the local Belfast performance art scene, working with Bbeyond and other local organizations to foster performance art activity and mentor emerging artists in her community. This will be Sinead’s first performance in Toronto.

Artist
Hugh O’Donnell

© Hugh O’Donnell, Invert Two, 2010. Photo Henry Chan.

1978 – 2022

Belfast, N. Ireland
https://flaxartstudios.org/flax-art-artists/Hugh-odonnell

Hugh O’Donnell’s has been creating installation, video and performance works since receiving his MFA in Fine Art from the University of Ulster. His performance practice is informed by drawing, found and made objects. Often of an auto-personal nature, O’Donnell’s work is material-based and conceptual, and is concerned with notions of gender and sexuality.  Hugh O’Donnell is based in Belfast, N. Ireland and his performance work has been exhibited in Ireland and internationally in Switzerland, Serbia, Romania and Quebec City. Currently he works with Bbeyond, a Belfast based performance organization established to preserve and promote performance art exchanges within Ireland/N. Ireland and abroad. This will be Hugh’s first performance in Toronto.

Documentation
Art Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, subtitle; Does This Giacometti Make Me Look Fat? by David Bateman
Documentation
Single Use Salmon Plogging by Ayumi Goto
Documentation
Cock & Bull by Nic Green
Documentation
On the Table Off the Table by Mani Mazinani
Documentation
The Magic Table by Joe Culpepper & Marcin Kedzior
Documentation
On the Table Off the Table by Cara Spooner
Writing
Reflection on M. Gros [Mr. Big] by Geneviève et Matthieu

Image © Geneviève et Matthieu, M. Gros, FADO Performance Art Centre, 2022. Photo Henry Chan.


Geneviève and Matthieu bring me into their studio. They take my coat and hang it up. Monsieur Gros and Monsieur Gros are in the checkroom with a coat hanger, a cotton candy machine and a rope-knife. There is no shortage of evidence, in fact, that’s all there is; everywhere, evidence that an artist’s life is violent.

Crime often comes from within. Geneviève speaks over Matthieu, then he reproaches her for expressing herself poorly. They lay themselves bare. They love each other, and above all, they say the same thing. Two big babies, one united family. M. Gros is a story of appetite, of thirst, of excess, but it is also the story of a duo of artists who emancipate themselves. The large painting, they knocked it down because it oppressed them so much.

Since I have known them, I feel like taking everything from them. Sometimes, alone at home, I imitate Geneviève’s eloquence, I invoke Matthieu’s quiet strength. They are so big.

While they are discussing wiretapping, I record them. Geneviève confides to me that she dreams of writing an investigative script, but that she is unable to do so. Immediately, I say to myself: I will write one for them. I infiltrate their workshop, I will be inspired by their characters, I will slip into their skin. Then they say, “We’ll find the copycat artist, and if we have to, we’ll look for him among the members.” They set me up. That’s the beginning of Operation Mister Big.

Performance
Things I’ve Forgotten by Cindy Baker

Presented in the context of -I (2022)
Curated and organized by Christof Migone

The third in a series of twelve annual 12-hour events taking place on December 12 from noon to midnight EST (9-21 PST, 11-23 CDT,  17-05 GMT, 18-06 CET,  1-13 CST, 2-14 KST). Each year the event moves through each word of the 12-word phrase you and I are water earth fire air of life and death and activates the word of the year in a myriad of ways. This year the word is ‘I’, consequently the focus is on selfless selves, linked Is, and not-Is. The first year it started with ‘you’, last year ‘and’ came to connect you to anything and everything, this year that point of connection is ‘I’. The porous one. The sole collective.


FADO Performance Art Centre (Tkarón:to/Toronto) presents -I HOUR 12
Things I’ve Forgotten by Cindy Baker (Edmonton)

A work that incorporates audio and performance to explore the relationship between trauma, memory and the body. The project is based on a very specific, mostly-forgotten childhood memory; I’m fascinated by the ability of our brains to block out traumatic events from our conscious memory, but their inability to prevent those events from making their mark in ways that impact us into adulthood. I often wonder how much this childhood trauma had a role in the formation of my personality, my physicality, or my disabilities. Through this work and the revisiting of dreams long forgotten, I am attempting to set in motion a process by which I can trigger the emergence of memories long-buried by past trauma while also engaging in an ongoing project of resisting the imperative to demonstrate the output of labour in performance; sometimes rest is part of the work. This experiment in personal betterment and catharsis through the creative process has a long art historical tradition. In my own practice, this type of experiment walks a tightrope between earnestness and cynicism; setting up (usually hilariously futile) challenges to my personal limitations, and attempts to make myself into something that I am not serve to highlight the futility of the search for perfection and the altogether human desire for knowledge.

Performance
Resolution(s) by Cindy Baker

Over several months in 2021, I created performances for people I know, using their yards and/or the spaces outside their windows as my stage and source of inspiration, creating small intimate experimental performances with no preconceived themes or ideas. 

For this residency supported by FADO, I resolved to begin to claw back the things I’ve lost over the past year, in small and incremental gestures.

I resolved:
to perform for live audiences rather than virtual ones.
to see other artists and close friends (if only through a window).
to spend more time outside to work with the weather rather than against it or in spite of it.
to have intimate encounters.
to go to friends’ homes.
to make new performances, to experiment, to learn, to move, to think, to feel.

My practice has tended to focus on issues of identity and corporeality as they relate to gender, queerness, fatness, and disability. The work has always come from personal experience but focuses on universal themes. As my work has evolved, my practice has focused more and more on the deeply personal. It’s less concrete, literal, and intellectual than it once was and has shifted gradually to work which is more poetic. The process is still relatively new territory to me, but I’m navigating it through experimentation, into a place that includes concepts and ideas that are more ephemeral, and less visible or less concerned with public access/interpretation of the “meaning” than before.

As an artist that has generally been most comfortable with a working method that privileges research, planning, writing, making, and gathering, performance is usually the culmination of months or years of labour. Recently I’ve started to shift to a more intuitive style of performance as a way of creating new knowledge; as a way to exercise and increase my flexibility and responsivity. For this residency, I forefronted intuition, putting planning not just on the back burner, but leaving it out of the recipe altogether (as much as that’s possible.) 

This project demonstrates a commitment to a deeper exploration of process than I’ve engaged in the past, using myself as subject, object, and, in many ways, the primary audience. Elaborating on a larger exploration of memory, bodies, and trauma via intensely intimate experiences, I’m pursuing the goal of deep affective experience. I want to be changed by my work, and to examine that change so I can better understand myself and become a better artist.

Writing
This is a Queer Series

Welcome to the fall 2019 iteration of Performance Club where three queer artists take you into the heart of their processes, practices, and deepest fears. Through performance gatherings, readings, discussions and one workshop, these experimental forays into a hybrid form—somewhere between the academy and the studio—seek to provide an opportunity for you to contribute to, reflect on, and shine in the light of three innovative interventions into performance and being. 

In order to enhance the experiential proceedings that define Performance Club, we provide you, here, with this syllabus and course pack (even though this is technically not a course). All will become clear soon enough. 


Club Objectives

This Performance Club will increase your ability to:


  • Compare and contrast various styles of performance
  • Discuss art with strangers
  • Critically engage with original live performance
  • Formalize the space between performance and learning
  • Enhance your conceptual understanding of performance
  • Enhance your conceptual understanding of clubs
  • Gain a deeper understanding of process and its centrality to performance
  • Develop confidence in your ability to communicate in a club setting
  • Understand the ways that performance is in conversation with the social and political forces that surround it
  • Laugh and then cry 
  • Retreat and then rejoin
  • Eat snacks and then eat more snacks
  • Embrace your inner queer


Required Reading: A Script, A Story, A Score

These Performance Club events are self-referential insomuch as each refers back to a previous performance, gestures toward a future performance, or imagines a related performance. 

Research, creative engagement and hands-on learning intersect in this multi-pronged approach to develop spectatorship that is aesthetically, socially, and formally engaged. As clubs, these events necessarily rely on collective meaning-making and shared interest in specific topics. Assembled here, in one handy volume, are all the printed materials required for your fully informed club experience. 

Take this syllabus home with you. Read it, review it, and come prepared to discuss its contents in an open and friendly environment. Extra points will not be given for talking at length. 


Club Structure

Attend Performance: September 10
Performance Club begins in week one with Book Club: snowflakes in the echo chamber by Moe Angelos. Moe’s performance contemplation of fragility, fear, and the flattening of knowledge in contemporary society is performed as a “sort of” sequel to her previous Performance Club contribution, entitled Queer/Play, which you will find published in this volume. Moe wants you to know that: “When you arrive, you should be aware that performance will take place and you may be a performer and/or in the audience. And there will be snacks.” 

Readings: September 6–11
Participants must read this introduction, plus the entry by Moe Angelos entitled Queer/Play, as well as the entry by Cornell Woolrich entitled Three O’Clock in preparation for the coming week’s club performance. 

Attend Performance: September 12
In week two Hope Thompson performs a conjectural interaction with the ghost of Cornell Woolrich to dissect the trans-historical connection between queerness and mystery. This conjuring is inspired by Hope’s work-in-progress play inspired Woolrich’s Three O’Clock, which is included in this volume. Hope hopes you know that: “You will be watching an interview with a deceased writer. I don’t expect you, necessarily, to know much about the writer.” 

Reading: September 13–18
Participants must read the entry by David Bateman entitled I Wanted To Be Bisexual But My Father Wouldn’t Let Me in preparation for the following week’s club performance. 

Workshop: September 14
Attend Death, Sex, & Macrame where there will be some macramé weaving. The workshop is not mandatory, but it is compulsory. 

Attend Performance: September 19
For the third and final performance of this series, David Bateman, who wants you to know that he is “trying to configure new and current work as aspects of 35 years of creating performance, and the influences that continue to affect [his] ongoing performance work,” will delve into the ambiguities of gender and performativity to either enrich or confuse your previous views, depending on his current state of gender/mind. 


Participation

Each event happens only once, and while the events are connected they are not the same— interlinked, but unique. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend all Performance Club events related to the materials in this syllabus. Extra points will be given for initiating discussions that draw on material covered across the entire series. 

Grading

The grading scheme for participants will be fully self-regulated. If, however, you prefer to be graded by an experienced professional, please feel free to approach me at the final event. But, be advised, once you have been graded by me that grade will be considered final. 

This Is Not A Course, Nor A Show

How do we define the spaces between learning and viewing, between art and politics, between being and performing? These clubs seek to extend the reach of performance to find new forms with which to answer these questions and to pose many more questions along the way. The club format, likened to the traditional salon, can be seen as a default space of education, or as an open forum for creative expression. The club is always about engagement and in this club we hope you will find yourself engaged and embraced in a series of performances that are not just for show.

Artist
Yvonne Rainer

Yvonne Rainer, a co-founding member of the Judson Dance Theater in 1962, made a transition to filmmaking following a fifteen-year career as a choreographer/dancer (1960-1975). After making seven experimental feature films  — Lives of Performers (1972), Privilege (1990), MURDER and murder (1996), among others — she returned to dance in 2000 via a commission from the Baryshnikov Dance Foundation for the White Oak Dance Project (After Many a Summer Dies the Swan). Her dances since then include AG Indexical, with a little help from H.M.RoS Indexical, a Performa07 commission, Spiraling Down, Assisted Living: Good Sports 2, and Assisted Living: Do You Have Any Money? Her dances and films have been shown world wide, and her work has been rewarded with museum exhibitions, fellowships, and grants, most notably two Guggenheim Fellowships, two Rockefeller grants, a Wexner Prize, a MacArthur Fellowship, and retrospective exhibitions at Kunsthaus Bregenz and Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2012), the Getty Research Institute, L.A. and Raven Row, London (2014). A memoir — Feelings Are Facts: a Life — was published by MIT Press in 2006. A selection of her poetry was published in 2011 by Paul Chan’s Badlands Unlimited.

Artist
Idil Mussa

Somalia / Canada

Idil Mussa is a Toronto based, Somali-Canadian artist. She is most fascinated with how social and political movements inspire people to action and the ways in which those movements shape art and culture.

Documentation
M.Gros [Mr. Big]
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