Documentation
Moving Bodies by MC Coble

Performance
Moving Bodies by MC Coble

PULSE (Toronto) was presented as part of the year long series MONOMYTHS; conceived of and curated by Jess Dobkin and Shannon Cochrane and commissioned by FADO Performance Art Centre.

The Cinesphere at Ontario Place is the world’s first permanent IMAX movie theatre, built in 1971 by Eberhard Zeidler at Ontario Place, Toronto, Canada. It is a 35-metre-wide triodetic-domed, with a 19-metre outer radius. 

FADO’s REAL TO REEL series was screened as a complete program in Toronto on March 14, 2024. REAL TO REEL was made possible by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies grant.

WATCH the video below in the documentation gallery.

Documentation
More Cleaning and Loving (It)…Again by Margaret Dragu
Documentation
omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est by Simla Civelek
Documentation
Bonne Stern’s Spicy Tomato Penne by Heather Rule

Documentation
Pentagram – revisit by Gustaf Broms
Performance
PENTAGRAM – revisit by Gustaf Broms

Meeting a memory through image, brings on many mixed emotions. To sit here in Sweden on a cold quiet winter night, hearing the street sounds, of Toronto 2013, echo amongst the trees, something uncanny, something exciting. The past, always a contrast? A world more innocent or a mind more naive?  What remain is the excitement of seeing the people passing by, making the work whole. We are fleshy mirrors making the work? This excites me…so on it goes.

Gustaf Broms

In Pentagram – revisit, Broms returns to his epic 5-day durational performance, Pentagram, presented at FADO in 2013 in which Broms performed in public spaces in different locations in Toronto’s downtown core over the course of a typical work week—five days, from nine in the morning to five in the early evening. Using the vast amount of photos (taken by FADO’s resident photographer, Henry Chan) and other documentation material, ten years later and in the Swedish forest where he lives, Broms digitally returns to the cityscape again in Pentagram – revisit.

FADO’s REAL TO REEL series was screened as a complete program in Toronto on March 14, 2024. REAL TO REEL was made possible by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies grant.

WATCH the video below in the documentation gallery.

Performance
Bonny Stern’s Spicy Tomato Penne by Heather Rule

Bonny Stern’s Spicy Tomato Penne, a new video by Heather Rule, was inspired by W.A. Davidson’s Object Poem. Davison’s video, created during FADO’s Resolutions(s) at-home residency in 2021, was a result of a reviewing (and reworking) of a performance-for-camera work from the artist’s own performance video/documentation archive. In Rule’s video, her visual interpretation of literary form takes a cherished childhood recipe (chef Bonny Stern’s Spicy Tomato Penne) as the starting point for exploring non-traditional personal narrative through a audio recordings of the artist preparing the recipe and a “stream of consciousness” stop-motion tableaux created from images that appear iteratively throughout the artist’s body of work.

FADO’s REAL TO REEL series was screened as a complete program in Toronto on March 14, 2024. REAL TO REEL was made possible by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies grant.

WATCH the video below in the documentation gallery.

Performance
omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est by Simla Civelek

Inspired by her own works presented previously at FADO, in this new video for the REAL TO REEL series, Simla Civelek reflects on the fragmented performance body.

omnis festinatio ex parte diaboli est
Video, 5:55 minutes

This video began by thinking about how fragmented body parts can be recorded at different times in different places. I became curious how this differs from the body, as a whole, performing in space at a specific time. What is the relationship between those various body parts moving simultaneously, yet performing a non-action? In which particular moment does an opportunity appear; in decisiveness or through hesitation and slowness? I am not sure of anything at any time yet decisions are still made as time moves in circles. 

Simla Civelek

FADO’s REAL TO REEL series was screened as a complete program in Toronto on March 14, 2024. REAL TO REEL was made possible by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies grant.

WATCH the video below in the documentation gallery.

Performance
More Cleaning and Loving (It) … Again by Margaret Dragu

Canadian performance artists Margaret Dragu and Jordan King re-visit, re-kindle and renovate Dragu’s previous iterations of the performance cycle; Cleaning and Loving (It) (1999) and More Cleaning and Loving (It), which was produced by FADO (in collaboration with screening partner V Tape) in 2000.

Nearly 24 years after the first parade Margaret, along with Jordan and Alan Peng and Jeff Zhao (Peppercorn Imagine), have collaborated on the creation of a new performance and video document. More Cleaning and Loving (It) … Again is (once again) a reflection on the dirtiness of politics. 

Our foursome infiltrate Toronto’s 2023 Labour Day Parade for a covert cleanup operation; after which they take a tour down memory lane to walk ‘n’ talk about life and art. Margaret and Jordan recount the parade route of the 2000 performance, ruminating on the pre-gentrified city as they walk through present-day Toronto. This 2023 performance of More Cleaning and Loving (It) … Again was documented and edited by Peppercorn Imagine.

FADO’s REAL TO REEL series was screened as a complete program in Toronto on March 14, 2024. REAL TO REEL was made possible by funding from the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies grant.

WATCH the video below in the documentation gallery.

Documentation
where do I go from here? by Stefanie Marshall

Documentation
Unraveling the Daughter’s Disease Secrets, Knitting and the Body by Anthea Fitz-James
Documentation
6 hours 6 minutes 6 seconds by Arkadi Lavoie Lachapelle
Documentation
digestion liquidation by Emma-Kate Guimond
Documentation
The trip, and the fall, and the lost heap of longing by Jessica Karuhanga
Documentation
Ululation by Rah Eleh
Documentation
T.M.K.L Presents: beit Suad by Basil AlZeri

Documentation
Planetaria by Cressida Kocienski
Documentation
The School of Bartered Knowledge by Golboo Amani
Documentation
Variations on Absurdity by Maryam Taghavi

Series
REAL TO REEL

ARTISTS
Gustaf Broms (Sweden)
Heather Rule (Canada)
Margaret Dragu (Canada)
MC Coble (USA/Sweden)
Simla Civelek (Canada)

As an immaterial practice, performance art’s relationship to documentation and the archive has always been a fraught one. On the one hand, documentation—and its circulation—is critical for an artist’s work to be discoverable to audiences and take its rightful place in the historical canon. On the other hand, as Anne Marsh writes in Performance Art and its Documentation: A Photo/Video Essay, “the camera’s viewfinder has no peripheral vision so it records a flattened reality… the time-based image becomes lifeless.” As performative practices continue to gain popularity in galleries and museums (institutions that practice conservation) the complex relationship between ‘live’ art and its mediated image persist.

This series, Real to Reel, invites artists to activate and challenge the archive as a site for, and of, performance. The five participating artists in this series have created new digital works utilizing their own documentation from FADO’s archive collection as either the inspiration or the actual source material. The goal here is not necessarily to cut a new trailer (though reconstituting a self-history in this way is also the artist’s prerogative) rather, the hope is to upend the singular and linear lens that the archive itself implies. Here, we are not only looking back, we are moving forward at the same time, in only the way that performance artists working in the digital realm can.

The form of these new works are myriad: an experimental documentary about a 20-year old parade that happens (where else?) in a parade; a performance film made in the woods in winter using the images from a performance made in the city in spring; queer protest told through the lens of personal transformation; FADO’s own history as a container for performance history told by ceramic characters come to life through DIY animation and more.

In 2023, FADO celebrated 30 years of continuous performance artist activity in Canada, and this series is one part of our on-going love letter to performance. Real to Reel was made possible with thanks to the Canada Council for the Arts Digital Strategies project grant.

FADO’s REAL TO REEL series was screened as a complete program in Toronto on March 14, 2024. The individual videos are available to watch on the website (see each project link).

Performance
Wind from Sky (and other works) by Sakiko Yamaoka

FADO is pleased to present a trio of new performance works by Sakiko Yamaoka. Her work is presented in the context of the 7A*11D International Festival of Performance Art. 

Sakiko Yamaoka is a Japanese performance artist, and since 1990 her work has been presented and exhibited in Asia, Europe, and North America. Her work is elegant and often darkly humourous. About her work Yamaoka says, “I define my art-works as sculptures depicting action and time and relationship between artist and audience, artist and materials, in which I attempt to create an example of the human condition.”

Delusion is the central idea of my life. Sometimes delusion gives me the hope to continue, and sometimes it attacks me and tempts me to commit suicide. I saw a very attractive logical misunderstanding from a book about schizophrenia: “Human beings are alive. Plants are alive. Therefore human beings are plants.” I felt this to be true. I love such dramatics. I define my art-works as sculptures depicting action, time and the relationship between artist and audience, artist and materials. In my work, I attempt to create an example of the “human condition.” For the last several years, I have been working within the framework of the geographical, political, historical and social contradictions of Japanese consciousness.

Sakiko Yamaoka

Best Place to Sleep (“Come with me” version)
October 27 | 12:00pm–5:00pm, various locations
Between 2007 and 2012, Best Place to Sleep has been performed in various cities including Tokyo, Warsaw, Boston, Zagreb and Toronto. In this intervention into public space, the artist (sometimes alone and sometimes with a group of willing participants) occupies space in banks and bank machine kiosks by lying down on the ground and attempting to take a short nap. The performance is immediate and often short, ending when the artist is asked to leave the premises.

Wind from Sky (Human Beings Are Plants)
Wednesday October 29 | 12:00pm @ Poppies Flower Shop
Thursday October 30 | 12:00pm @ Queen St. W. & Bellwoods Ave.
Friday October 31 | 12:00pm @ Queen St. W. & Crawford St.
November 1 | 8:00pm, XPACE Cultural Centre, 58 Ossington Avenue

Yamaoka rounds out her time in Toronto by performing another public intervention, Wind from Sky (Human Beings are Plants), at various local flower shops and variety store locations where flowers and plants are sold. In this intervention the artist occupies space, close to and around flowers and plants, sitting alone and silently, attempting to become a plant herself.

Elaine Wong’s eyewitness account of Best Place to Sleep (“Come with me” version)
Elaine Wong’s eyewitness account of Wind from Sky (Human Beings Are Plants) (October 29)
Andrew James Paterson’s eyewitness account of Wind from Sky (vol. 2)

7A*11D is a not-for-profit, artist-driven collective that curates and produces English Canada’s oldest ongoing biennial of performance art. 7A*11D was established in 1997 by a group of performance artists, collectives, and organizers, eager to develop a forum for performance art in Toronto. The first 7A*11D International Festival of Performance Art, in August 1997, presented the work of 60 local, national and international artists.

Documentation
Potential Fertility Rite by TallBlondLadies

Documentation
One Number Twelve by Caroline Gagné

Documentation
One Number Eleven by Jocelyn Robert

Documentation
One Number Ten by Georges Azzaria

Documentation
One Number Nine by Amélie Laurence Fortin

Documentation
One Number Eight by Alice de Visscher & Evamaria Schaller

Documentation
One Number Seven by Alice de Visscher & Evamaria Schaller

Documentation
One Number Six by Adriana Disman

Documentation
One Number Five by NadÚge Grebmeier Forget

Documentation
One Number Four by Liina Kuittinen

Documentation
One Number Three by Olga Prokhorova

Documentation
One Number Two by Ronnie Clark

Documentation
One Number One by Tanya Mars

The Ephemeral Library Society

Ephemera are things that are virtually useless in research most times. However, they may be useful in some pinches. They mostly occur in special library collections such as those found in archives
 You should not go into a research resource looking for ephemera, but they can give context for your understanding [my emphasis].

Reed, H. & Horalek, D. “Reference Librarianship,” February 14, 2023.

FADO invites you to The Ephemeral Library Society
DROP IN: From 5pm – 7pm
DATES: Wednesday January 10, 17, 24, 31, & February 7, 14
Series facilitated by Claudia Edwards

The Ephemeral Library Society is a weekly research social held in the Library & Research Centre at the Commons @ 401. Over six consecutive Wednesdays in mid-winter, you are invited to join FADO for performance-art themed group activities and solo study time in a community setting. All are welcome—from the newly performance-curious, to lifelong-devotees.

Each session may or may not include:

  • Opening group activity (creative exercise, performance game, screening, etc);
  • 30-40 minute quiet study period (solo research, browse the archive’s books and useless ephemera, or any work you choose to bring with you);
  • Closing group reflections and discussion.

Weekly activities will be iterative, taking shape based on the interests of participants. There is no need to prepare or attend every session: you may come and go, show up late, leave early, come for quiet time and skip games, whatever suits. There will be space for offerings and interventions from members, too.

Come with your burning questions and your soggy answers, leave with more questions than when you arrived, or join for the ride and tabula rasa that shit! This winter, FADO wants you to gather and dissolve with us each week at The Ephemeral Library Society.

Group Activities may include:

  • performance games, fluxus games, relational exercises (all activities adaptable);
  • creative prompts and written reflections;
  • facilitated group discussions;
  • screenings;
  • collage night???

Quiet Study Period (30-40 min)

  • with a group of focused peers, bring your solo research, or any work you’d like to get cracking on!
  • co-working / body doubling / parallel play at its finest.

Don’t sweat it if you’re unsure of what to work on, we’ll have activities on hand such as:

  • activate our Zoom livestream installation with creative interventions;
  • write letters for Gaza;
  • browse the archive’s books and useless ephemera;
  • Ask the Librarian: If you want to explore any topic or artist in particular, email us your research questions ahead of time and we’ll prep some materials for your visit!

Amenities / Accessibility

  • laptop-friendly space with outlets & wifi; AC/ventilation system; washrooms close by;
  • building with accessible entrance and elevators (Commons Library located on the 4th floor);
  • Reach out to info@performanceart.ca if you have any other access needs, or let us know when you arrive and we’ll sort you out!

Helpful Links & Contact
401 Commons Library and Research Centre
Map: See last slide

Email us at info@performanceart.ca to sign up for Society updates!

Artist
Heather Rule

Canada
www.uselessceramics.com

Heather Rule is a ceramicist, animator, and ‘zine maker based in Toronto, Canada Her work explores self-narrativization, drawing on memoir and self-portraiture to explore how we create our personal histories. Heather has participated in ceramic residencies in Santa Fe, New Mexico (2018, 2019) and most recently in Skopelos, Greece (2023) where she continued to develop her particular approach to incorporating ceramics and animation.

Documentation
Holler Rat (the performance) by Anya Liftig
Performance
One (Sommes Personnes)

12 artists are invited to present a 12 minute audiovisual sort-of-self-portrait.

One (Sommes Personnes). A self that is one, just one, one amongst many. But that’s still you, still in a room different from anywhere else—the present of presence fully in a here and now deferred by pressing record. Portraiture that eschews the frontal in favour of the partial—the barely there, the fleeting, the merely-passing-by, the a-bit-askew. Staying still, but not stiff. Alive and well, simply at ease with the minutes passing, the unmomentous moment. The room we see might be the One’s home but does not need to be. The person you almost see is One that could be You but is not.

The single-take recordings will be stretched from 12 to 15 minutes (Ă  la Warhol). Eight of the resulting 15 minutes will be presented in groups of four during the first and last hours of the 12 hour event. Each One will be presented on its own, as one, followed by another one, and so on. So, there are four solos in a quartet, times two. The remaining four will be presented at the end of hours 7, 8, 9, and 10.

This edition is presented by FADO. Artist selection done in collaboration by Christof Migone and Shannon Cochrane.

12:00pm EST
One Number One by Tanya Mars
One Number Two by Ronnie Clark
One Number Three by Olga Prokhorova
One Number Four by Liina Kuittinen

5:45pm EST
One Number Five by NadĂšge Grebmeier Forget

7:45pm EST
One Number Six by Adriana Disman

8:45pm EST
One Number Seven by Alice de Visscher & Evamaria Schaller

9:45pm EST
One Number Eight by Alice de Visscher & Evamaria Schaller

11:00pm EST
One Number Nine by Amélie Laurence Fortin
One Number Ten by Georges Azzaria
One Number Eleven by Jocelyn Robert
One Number Twelve by Caroline Gagné

For programming for the full 12-hours, plus start times for all time zones, click on the project links.

One (Sommes Personnes) is the fourth edition of Different From The One Place Time Mood Mindset You Are In Now, taking up a total of three hours out of the 12-hour event Are (Sommes Sonnes) happening for 12-hours on December 12, 2023. Are (Sommes Sonnes) is part of Christof Migone’s epic 12-year project entitled, You And I Are Water Earth Fire Air Of Life And Death.

Are (Sommes Sonnes) is presented by Avatar and to close their 30th anniversary celebrations.

Writing
Malcolm Sutton on Anya Liftig’s Holler Rat (the performance) – A Live Response

FADO has invited writer Malcolm Sutton to compose a text about Anya Liftig’s performance, a live reading of Holler Rat her memoir. As Anya’s performance is about about (writing and then) reading a book, Malcolm’s process for writing will also take shape as a time-based activity. Malcolm will be present for the 6-hours of the performance, writing alongside the unfolding of the performance—writing an article about the reading of a book. Malcolm’s text was “published” here at the conclusion of the performance.


Watching via YouTube because of being under the weather. Ambient gymnasium sound, with no one on screen, a vast room with mostly symmetrical view. No one on screen, but a voice over the PA announcing a code blue on Queen Street. Do not know if that is part of the performance, though anything incidental is sort of part of it.

Four mics set up, maybe six, maybe eight.

When Anya begins this will all change. I recently tried to describe a live improvised music set as it happened, as though a sports play-by-play, and know that as soon as you start describing, you stop hearing, and when you stop hearing, you become lost, you no longer know how things unfolded as you were thinking of words to describe the performance. Description has that reputation of killing narrative.

And now at the far end, there is Anya, lying on her back. When she appeared I don’t know, and now starfishing on the floor and the video feed creates jumps in time, someone else appeared and then disappeared.

Not being in the room, being in another room at the other end of Toronto, with my own ambient sounds. My youngest, clearing his throat, getting over an illness, in another room. The sound of whatever he is watching. Anya in the gymnasium at CAMH, making her way like a sea creature toward one of the mics. The reflection of the wood floor is almost like the reflection of a still lake.

Code white announcement over the PA. The gymnasium doesn’t not become part of CAMH during the performance.

There are strands pulled at, the mic leads, there is a book opened, feet on the book, everything symmetrical until Anya begins pushing the mic stand, with its heavy base, across to the left – no, tracking the centre circle of the court.

We see Anya standing, the book an object, we hear her breath.

She begins reading, begins her memoir with a family member dying. “The history of my mother’s family…”

Anya moves the mic.

Our treatment of photographs, inserting them in books, an Encyclopedia Britannica, the dead, she asks what we do with a photo of the dead. She needs the picture of the dead grandfather to know herself. She needs to transform it.

At a university writing centre, where I work, I’m often telling students to transform their notes into another form, to spatialize them, to make connections between the isolated points that they’ve written about chemistry, health studies, biology.

And then elsewhere, when I work as an editor, I sometimes tell a writer that even when they are writing fiction they write towards the what is true from their own experiences.

The sound now, of Anya in the gymnasium, duct tape pulled, yanked, pushed against the floor. It is red. In my house, I’ve moved downstairs where the ambient sounds are the clock ticking and the hum of the stereo amplifier that I didn’t turn off.

Anya is barefoot, which makes me wonder how warm it is in the gymnasium of CAMH. She has moved to a trolley and is able to move with the trolley as she reads.

I need to say: Anya’s memoir is serious, and there is a search for meaning. She is searching for meaning in family, at least at the beginning. There is a wonderful moment in the last minute when she struggles to say “superstitious” and it becomes a much longer word that my brain anticipates as “supercilious” but then she completes the words.

Now I find myself listening to her describing another performance, and when she says “I make prolonged eye contact with each one,” in the audience, she herself does that in this performance, but because I am watching on YouTube, I don’t know if the screen has suddenly freezed. In the described performance, the audience pours glue on Anya


Another announcement on the PA, from CAMH.


on her body, and it seems to me like such a strange distance, layers, Anya describing an old performance in a new performance, years later in another space, and me responding to the current performance through YouTube, not in the same space, but at home on the other side of the city because I woke with a fever, now missing the moment when she sits on some kind of chair on castors and moves about the gymnasium, pushing the trolley, or dolly, or wheelie, or whatever it is, like a library cart, which is also on castors. And it looks fun and awkward, awkward now that she’s run up against a mic cable, which she has to work her way over.

Anya sandwiches herself between shelves on the library cart and begins again and then opts for the lower shelf that has more space. She trips over some words and laughs, which I love. I crave anomalies. They are openings to something.

“Hollow” becomes “holler” in the Appallachians. And I can’t figure out how to spell Appallachians.

The cart squeaks. There is so little sound, but the mics pick up those sounds. Gymnasiums often have sound buffers on the ceilings or upper walls because the sounds are amplified and hang in the air for so long. 

You would not know the posture of Anya just by listening. Now she is lying on her back, reading into the mic. It is clear. Now she lies on her front, and her voice does sound different, but you would never know what the posture is, that it mimics a carefree child in the summer, reading a book, feet swinging up into the air.

She speaks the voices of her ancestors, hill people in America.

A disease from inbreeding, that makes one’s skin blue-tinted, with a name that can’t be pronounced easily.

And then when she rolls to her side, then back, the mic gets closer to her mouth, and you now something has happened with her posture.

The ancestors speak through her with an accent. I know so little about my ancestors. I know how my grandparents sounded, their Essex county, England accents. I don’t know that I would be able to write what they say, and speak in the way they do.

I don’t think often of my ancestors. I’m so intrigued by those who find out about themselves through them. I feel as though I am always like this, describing something in the present.

And I look away, because next door a smoke detector is going off, and I look back and Anya has disappeared off screen. She returns with one of those wonderful janitorial super-wide floor sweepers, as long wide as she is tall, and she is cleaning the gymnasium floor. Systematically, back and forth, and that brings her closer to the camera that I see everything through. I realize I do not know what she looks like, what those patches of colour are on her grey outfit. She has been so far away this whole time.

Now more duct tape, which she uses her feet to press to the wood. Since she just cleaned the floor, it will stick better than the first round. Something X-like, like a target. Or a spot marker.

She sends a stool on wheels across the floor. She sends an office chair on wheels across the floor. She sends a dolly on wheels across the floor. Through the centre, so that each wheeled object kind of jumps through the duct tape. The second time doing this, the chair lands right in the centre of the target. And then some kind of shelf on wheels that looks like a prison gate, which she leaves in the centre. It all seems so satisfying.

As an adult, it’s easy for gymnasiums to not be part of one’s life. Then as a parent, you return to them, in schools. Indoor soccer, indoor basketball.

More duct taping. I should try to avoid “more.” It doesn’t feel right.

Anya is able to partially lie down on the prison gate-like thing on wheels. These pauses are wonderful.

Anya rotates the prison gate-like trolley so that the bars are now between the camera and her. The trolley transforms the space. Like the office chair. Like the microphones. They all seem like guests in the house of basketball nets. As does the writer who reads her memoir in its entirety, and the person who occasionally walks along the side with a long camera lens, documenting in a different way from how I am documenting this. All guests. All the different mediums happening. Far away duct tape as a medium.

I’m sad not to be there in person. I miss the spaces of art making. The rooms with suspended expectations. A gymnasium and duct tape. The physicality of pulling duct tape from its roll.

One starts associating this narrative of rural Americans with this gymnasium, or at least see this gymnasium as the end point of the narrative. The gymnasium says: How did Anya come from those faraway people to arrive here off of Queen Street?

I wonder if that gate-like dolly is normally used for storing basketballs. At this moment Anya is moving it back and forth across the court.

I write “Anya,” though I have not met her. I tell my students to use the author’s last name in their essays, out of respect and convention. Liftig continues to move the dolly back and forth and now pauses in the centre. Coming back to the centre. I await the sound of her breath at a mic; I anticipate she will begin reading again.

I also miss the time of art.

Her breath, as she reads now, seems a bit strained. It may be her position in the gate-like dolly in the centre of the gym. Now speaking of her mother’s attempt to lose her rural accent after entering the big city. Her leg through the gate.

Not seeing her face. The voice is everything. But not everything. The gym, the gate dolly, the body. But no facial expressions to go on.

I wonder now if Liftig has practiced reading all the way through, which would take a long time. I recall practicing short pieces seven times before reading them in front of an audience.

I don’t write as Liftig reads a section on her mother wanting to leave her world – the holler – behind to and go to university.

Liftig sets up lights at the back, a couple of goose-neck standing lamps and a few set on the floor. More duct tape. Or packing tape. It reflects like packing tape. This time creating a tent-like structure using the standing lamps.

The last reading that I went to was a couple of weeks ago. One of the readers I had worked with as editor on her collection of short fiction. She was launching her book alongside two poets. Each read in the packed side room at the Tranzac for about 7 minutes.

The taping continues. Liftig becoming a spider, the packing tape the web connecting several objects – the lamps and chairs. There is something habitat-like about it. But also working oneself into a space that becomes hard to exit.

The camera suddenly zooms closer, because she is at the far end of the court. She stands in the  centre of the web and begins to read about her childhood, the finding of a lump near her groin. And the web of tape becomes stitches, nerves, mistakes, a world barely held together, the possibility of losing the use of a leg, unclear lessons.

She pauses in reading. She snacks from a white paper bag. I’ve had some popcorn. She drinks some water. I have a glass of water. She sits where she had stood. I think she crumples up the back. She moves closer to the centre. Past the centre. Microphone sound as she carefully places it on the floor.

She pulls some of tape away and balls it up, as she does so some gets stuck to her bare foot, which is one reason why her feet are bare perhaps, for incidental things to happen. And now she sits right in the centre and tapes her legs to the floor, several times, thighs, shins, ankles. This looks like white duct tape. Tape that can be torn across a grain. She continues taping beyond when you expect her to end.  Spider becomes fly. Spider is fly.

There is not a steady rhythm to the pulling a tearing, but there is a regularity, and it keeps going, and it reminds me of an art assignment, perhaps from NSCAD, to use the entirely of a ball point pen for a drawing. But here it is the entirety of a roll of tape, and not about drawing lines and density and whatever that carries with it, but taping the body down and whatever that carries with it. And she lies back and tapes across her waist, and it makes me think of what happens to villains in Spiderman movies, stuck to the wall, but here it is the floor of a basketball court at CAMH. And here is takes several minutes, and it is done to the self, and follows a life-altering surgery.

My Word crashes, and I miss the end of her Liftig taping herself down. But she is still down, now reading from taped repose.

Now one sees a pattern with the tape, at least an increase in the deliberateness with which it is applied. There is a progression. Things have been personal for the whole reading. It is, after all, a memoir. But now we have left ancestors behind, and the story of the mother is in the past, and the childhood has been examined, and now we are in adulthood, at the Yale Psychiatric Institution, after self-harm, and the tape has moved on from structural web, one that semi confines, to a seriously confining work.

I see the bottom of Anya’s feet, pale white in the arch and darker at the heel and balls. She is still and quiet and we are left at the psychiatric institution. And then she picks up again, there in the institution. Her feet moving back in forth perhaps in rhythm with her speech.

Memoir’s dialogue. I always wonder how close it is to what happened, and whether it is any less true than exposition. I never remember words from conversations, but some people are able to remember exact words.

De-webbing now. And it occurs to me, as she rolls up the tape, that sometimes there is comfort in that feeling of being confined, as with a heavy blanket. Anya rolls up the tape and bends it inward to create a ring.

The space of a memoir is special, particular. It is a form of knowledge. When I teach reflective writing at university I contrast it with most other forms of writing at the university. Reflective writing, like memoir, values personal experience as a form of knowledge. Most university writing is not like that. Most uses different kinds of evidence to form knowledge.

Anya stands on the library trolley, having lifted the mic stand up there. She is crouching, so perhaps she has taken the mic from the stand. It is hard to see across the gym. Her story has moved to another institution for therapy.

I end my discussion of reflective writing there, with it being a form of knowledge not often recognized at university. I don’t push it further. I don’t say that it is generalizable, because I don’t know what steps to take to make it generalizable. Perhaps it is enough in its particularity, for its sometimes-trueness. For its true-in-at-least-one-circumstanceness. I haven’t thought this through. Liftig is walking around the gym, some things in her hands, the lights, maybe more tape.

Now seated in the office chair, cross-legged.

Had to rush upstairs, as my eldest was frantically coughing.

Her office chair suggests something else. More control. She pushes herself around on the office chair, using her toes and heels to propel her. Many mics, one person. She lands at one of the mics, and it looks as though she is using the duct tape ring to lean her book against. Or something like that. She is distant, near the three-point line on the left side.

There are windows at the back of the courts, and the light is beginning to fade now.

I’m always amazed at what people are able to remember of their lives. My memory is so poor, I could never write a memoir. Only a daily journal. I often wonder if people remember things or logically work them out, those things of the past. This must have happened to explain this other thing. In fiction, for a while, once we first discovered Javier Marias, The Dark Back of Time, we were so drawn to misremembering the past, the faultiness of memory, maybe this happened. The slippery line between fiction and reality. But now that slippery line has been reduced to very little, or instead of a line there is an overlay of fiction over reality and reality over fiction. A simultaneity. Is there a paradigm after this?

Anya is using the gate-like trolley now for the objects that she’s been manipulating since the performance began. And now she has unpacked it all, organized it. There is more of a sense of order than previously. Almost a dollhouse logic. The objects standing like people in a semi-circle.

Someone is at my door.

When I return to YouTube, Anya is sitting on the skateboard-like trolley, in the middle, among the objects, which become a kind of attentive audience, and she describes a performance and the audience of that performance. The detail in describing a performance, this one with a salmon.

Pushing with her hands to roll across the floor on the skateboard-like trolley.

Now hidden behind the recycling bin.

The space of a personal story, a memoir. You listen and accept. You wonder what was left out. But I don’t really wonder what is left out of this memoir because the choices seem always to go to the difficult parts. 

One experiences a durational piece to feel change, to let the mind drift, to encourage thoughts that might not otherwise be allowed in other kinds of time. I’m still surrounded by the ordinariness of being at home, now my children have run into the room that I’m writing it, now at the beginning of the fifth hour of the performance. My eldest son, nine, sees the performance on the screen and asks if it is real. I explain what is now happening, with Anya pushing herself across the room, a light saber-like light in her hand that has no doubt caught his eye. It is real, yes. A performance.

His questions are warranted. There is a mysteriousness to what is happening, and Anya is a small figure in the space. It is hard to see what is happening, particularly coming in in the middle of things. He quickly loses interest and becomes a meat-eating dinosaur with his younger brother.

Anya is now taping herself into the prison gate-like dolly. Another kind of web.

In the centre again, free of tape. A description of works as an artist, free of schooling. The sensorium of art in contrast to the world from which one emerges, and all of the overlapping too.

Still now, cross-legged, book resting on lap, hands over knees is a meditation pose. No ambient sound in the gym. A slow wilting, then yawning. A strange kind of peace, tentative. What feels like a reset.

Now the book orbits as Liftig reads the next chapter, how she attaches herself with yarn to art fairs. Orbiting and attachment. With the standing lamp shining sun-like, the objects become planets in orbit. The objects are of an in-between category, not belonging to the gym, but likely belonging to the institution attached to the gym. Improvisational objects that accumulate into Liftig’s orbit. When the solar system is taken apart, it is done so manually, one part at a time, at an institutional pace. The pace of things at the end of the day.

Another announcement on the PA.

I wonder how different my experience would have been had I been there in person. How different the writing would be. Would I be feeling different things. The microphone feels like a lifeline to this performance. And the camera from the single perspective.

Cross-legged on the floor, in the centre, Liftig begins speaking. The description of a performance with a live lobster. And she tears leaves out of her book and places each one in front of a fan, following her last word, “destroy.” The pages have a life of their own, and the effect of watching them streamed on YouTube makes the motion choppier, more erratic. I have probably described too much in the past almost-six hours. There is the ambient sound of the fan. There is something funny about this destruction, with the fan creating exteriority, wind, inside the gym, and the floor being low friction, so that the paper easily zooms across it. There’s also a small flutter when each page is released. The fan can be pushed around like a lawn mower, which Liftig does for a short time, and then it seems like it unplugged itself. And then it’s over, with clapping from the audience that I can’t see.


Malcolm Sutton works as a writing instructor at University of Toronto Scarborough. He is the fiction editor at Book*hug Press, where he also designs many books. His fiction and articles have appeared in Maisonneuve, Joyland, C Magazine, and Border Crossings. He is the author of the novel Job Shadowing and is currently finishing a nonfiction book on listening to improvised music in Toronto.

Artist
Amélie Laurence Fortin

© Amélie Laurence Fortin. Photo Peter Rosseman.

Canada
www.amelielaurencefortin.com

For over a decade, AmĂ©lie Laurence Fortin’s artistry has been firmly rooted in the realms of exploration, territory, and time. Her fascination lies within the subtleties of the peripheral reality, unraveling the chaos in random and non-linear systems, and the sheer joy of serendipity. With a keen interest in bridging the pragmatic world with the richly expressive realm of art, Fortin brings forth models that translate complex information into visually engaging narratives. Her work embodies a symphony of immersive installations, each meticulously curated with elements of kinetic sculpture, resonating sounds, expressive photography, intricate light play, and thoughtfully placed objects. Through her creations, Fortin elucidates the profound relationships humans share with their surrounding spaces.

Currently, Amélie Laurence Fortin divides her time and artistic creativity between Québec City, Canada, and Warsaw, Poland. Her riveting body of work has graced numerous solo and group exhibitions, been part of artistic residencies and festivals, and is proudly displayed in both private and public collections across Québec and Europe.

Artist
Christof Migone

© Christof Migone. Photo Marla Hlady.

Canada
www.christofmigone.com

Christof Migone‘s research delves into language & voice, bodies & performance, intimacy & complicity, sound & silence, rhythmics & kinetics, translation & referentiality, stillness & imperceptibility, structure & improvisation, play & pathos, pedagogy & unlearning, failure & endurance. Current and ongoing investigations: microphone hitting, book flipping, tongue extruding, record releasing, word hyphenating, para-pedagogical positioning, careless curating, noise making, sequitur following, paper passing, interval counting, rhythm repeating, phone licking, machine fingering, playlist compiling, silence listening, dozens of dozens, strobosonoscopics and stroboscopsonics.

Performance
Holler Rat (the performance) by Anya Liftig

Curated by FADO Performance Art Centre and presented in partnership with Rendezvous With Madness

In Holler RatAnya Liftig’s recently published debut memoir, the writer and artist traces the many contradictions of her life—from her Appalachian childhood to her career as a performance artist, to a year-long period in which her life completely fell apart. Her story is a journey of catalysts, calamities, art-making and madness, and catharsis. 

Using her own book as a performance document, in Holler Rat (the performance) Anya Liftig performs a 6-hour reading of her memoir—the typical author appearance at a book launch elongated to absurdity—while moving around and taking up various positions on a basketball court empty of players and gameplay.

FADO has invited writer Malcolm Sutton to compose a text about this performance. As this is a performance about (writing and then) reading a book, Malcolms process for writing will also take shape as a time-based activity. Malcolm will be present for the 6-hours of the performance, writing alongside the unfolding of the performance—writing an article about the reading of a book. Malcolm’s text will be “published” on this website at the conclusion of the performance. You can read it HERE.

Rendezvous with Madness, presented by Workman Arts, is the first and largest arts and mental health festival in the world. Using art as the entry point to illuminate and investigate the realities and mythologies surrounding mental illness and addiction, Rendezvous With Madness spotlights the human capacity for endurance in the face of great challenges. This year’s tagline “Mind the Gaps” considers gaps in infrastructure and the systematic “cracks” people, particularly those with lived experience of mental health and addiction, fall through. It is a call to think through what is missing and how things could be better. This year the festival takes place from October 27–November 5, 2023

Artist
Evamaria Schaller

© Evamaria Schaller, IDYLL verwegt, 2022. Photo Almut Elhardt.

Belgium
https://www.efeumaria.com/

Evamaria Schaller’s work oscillates between performance art, film and installation.

I work with the media film as a documentary instrument. Film with its bodily materiality is a central theme. In my video performances I use the recordings to fragment the body into moving particles. I deal with social environment and liminal spaces and use my body as a measure. In my Live-Performances I work with daily actions and its absurdity. In this examinations I reflect and intervene with site-specific conditions and create actions or installations through simple, clear gestures. I am interested in this interaction with site-specific conditions which govern human behaviour and relationships. I transform and decontextualize daily materials or found footage and combine it. I always have to adjust my own borders—failure as a constant companion.

Artist Orange

Just as a performance artist uses their body as their medium, this is a fragrance composed entirely of the orange tree: fruit, leaves, bark, roots, and flowers. Artist Orange performs itself.

Top Notes

neroli, blood orange

Middle Notes

fresh orange juice, petit grain

Base Notes

orange twig, orange seed