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.


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. 


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


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


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. 


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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. 

Violence Is In Me by Sinéad O’Donnell

FADO is celebrating our brand new scented website, created by the unique minds at I know you know, by giving you the opportunity to SMELL our website for yourself. We are producing a collector’s edition of scented postcards and we want to send the first one to you. The first postcard in our collection is FADO’s signature scent (how could we resist?) — PERFORMANCE YELLOW.

If you have ever wondered what the essential performance art fragrance smells like, or what we think performance art smells like, now is your chance. All we need is your mailing address. (We will not share your information with anyone.)

Join the mailing list and/or update your current profile by adding your mailing address. DO THAT HERE and your PERFORMANCE YELLOW collector mail (performance)art will be on its way.

SCREENING: Performance on Camera

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.

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

Sinéad O’Donnell

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

N. Ireland

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.

Hugh O’Donnell

1978 – 2022

Belfast, N. Ireland

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.

Art Immuno Deficiency Syndrome, subtitle; Does This Giacometti Make Me Look Fat? by David Bateman
Single Use Salmon Plogging by Ayumi Goto
Cock & Bull by Nic Green
On the Table Off the Table by Mani Mazinani
The Magic Table by Joe Culpepper & Marcin Kedzior
On the Table Off the Table by Cara Spooner
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.

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.

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.

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. 


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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

M.Gros [Mr. Big]
Natalie S. Loveless


Natalie S. Loveless received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She also holds a PhD (History of Consciousness, UCSC) and an MA (Art History, Theory and Criticism, Tufts University). Previous curatorial projects include Participatory Dissent at Vancouver’s Western Front Society (2007) and Intervene! Interrupt! Rethinking Art as Social Practice at the University of California, Santa Cruz (2008). Also an interdisciplinary artist, her wall-drawing installations, performance actions and video works have been presented in festivals, galleries and artist-run centres in North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Her son, Orion, is almost two.

Gina Miller


Gina Miller is a visual artist who lives in Vancouver, Canada. Her recent work focuses on narratives surrounding growth: psychological, spiritual and physical. Family Tissues is Miller’s first foray into performance. Gina has a Fine Arts diploma from Capilano University (2003) and will graduate in the Spring of 2012 from Emily Carr University with her B.F.A. She is mother to thirteen-year old Hewitt, seven-year old Rupert, and six-year old Harper.

Yumi Onose

Japan / Canada

Yumi Onose was born in Japan. Yumi’s passion in traveling and learning lead to her study of visual arts and performance. She was invited to be artist-in-residence and exhibited in Poland in 2003, created art for contemporary dance piece Red Dream directed by Keiko Ninomiya in 2006, and exhibited Evolving Forms with Harvey Chan in 2007. She has performed in Something about Gender (2009), we see their work on friday and on saturday they respond to it” (2010) and 24h of butoh and it is not butoh (2010), all directed by claude wittmann in Toronto.

Vassya Vassileva

Bulgaria / Canada

Vassya Vassileva, performer and lecturer, is cuurrently working on her PhD in Visual Semiotics at New Bulgarian University, Sofia. Her previous studies include MA in Philosophy and Intercultural Studies, BA in Art Pedagogy at St. Kliment Ohridski University, Sofia. Since October 2004 she has been searching for the artist Friedrich Nichtmargen. Areas of interest: visual discourse and culture, contextual analysis, empathic reason, discourse ethics, mental mapping, geography of time-space formations, friedrichology, gargarisma, art as experience…

Curatorial notes from the 2003 Trans <---> Tech festival catalogue

Irma Optimist and Pekka Luhta curated by Paul Couillard

For this installment of FADO’s ongoing International Visiting Artists series, we feature solo performances by two Finnish artists who incorporate digital media in the form of video projection.

Video has been a staple component of performance art since the technology became accessible to artists with the development of the Portapac in the 1970s. The refinement of projection technologies and the widespread availability and affordability of video recorders has accelerated the dialogue between these two time-based disciplines. What was once a complex and technically challenging relationship has rapidly become relatively commonplace, and the ability to accommodate basic video projection is now standard for most performance art producers.

Video’s strength is its ability to conjure up images that are not readily at hand: recording what has passed, moving through faraway spaces, or manifesting images that are beyond the everyday laws of physics and logic. By contrast, performance art’s strength is that it offers the opportunity for performer and audience to breathe the same air. In performance, the artist can respond spontaneously to the exigencies of the moment.

Contemporary artists have employed a wide range of strategies and have a variety of reasons for combining these two distinct forms. In the case of Irma Optimist and Pekka Luhta, two artists whose works inevitably rely on interactivity and improvisation as key artistic tactics, video projections become the fixed supporting player in an unpredictable larger action. The projections serve as an emblem to reinforce the underlying intentions that compelled the performer to engineer this unstable moment of communion with his or her audience.

While the two artists have distinct and highly individualized practices, they deploy a similar strategy that provides a coherence for their pairing in this series. Both present performance works that stage an intersection of the deconstructive impulses of intellectual or emotional energy (theory in process) with the reconstructive impulses of the material or physical reality of their bodies (theory in practice). They are fearless in their willingness to mine the charms and foibles of their bodies to provide metaphors that demonstrate, disseminate and at the same time problematize theoretical concepts.

For Irma Optimist, who leads a double life as a respected professor of advanced mathematics, female sexuality is the tactic of choice in her performance art works. Using various personas, from sex kitten to the mythical huntress Diana, she seduces, captivates and captures males within her audience in order to explain mathematical formulae. For Pekka Luhta, a prosthetic limb provides the departure point for setting up complex readings of cultural and social theory. Both present works that hint at a slightly surrealist sensibility, employing rapid-fire humour and high-impact visual imagery. A sense of fun generated in the moment where artist and audience come together cushions the later, deeper impact of serious thought that remains.

Devora Neumark


Devora Neumark’s interdisciplinary artistic practice includes live-art, durational performative interventions, sound and photography installations, public commissions and storytellings. In 1995, she initiated and co-organised (with Regine Basha) the international symposium “Visual Art and Jewish Identity: A Contemporary Experience” at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts, Montreal. More recently she initiated and co-organized (with Loren Lerner and pk langshaw) Public Art as Social Intervention…, a Montreal-based project held at Concordia University in November 1999, which included a symposium, artistic interventions and an extensive website. From 1995 to 1999 Neumark served as Vice President of Auberge Shalom…pour femmes, Canada’s first Kosher crisis intervention centre and shelter for women victims of conjugal violence. As a frequent lecturer, she has addressed a wide variety of audiences, speaking about engaged artistic practice, the authority of memory, formations of identity, and inter-generational violence and healing.

Kristyn Dunnion


Kristyn Dunnion‘s dystopic Tarry This Night made CBC’s top 20 fall fiction list and Bitch’s November must reads. The Dirt Chronicles (also with Arsenal Pulp Press) was a 2012 Lambda Literary Award finalist and ALA Over the Rainbow selection. Recent fiction appears in The New Guard, Cosmonauts Avenue, and The Tahoma Literary Review. A performance artist and local musician, Dunnion’s provocative work incites critical questions about identity, justice, and power.

Adrian Piper

b. 1948, USA

Adrian Piper is a first-generation Conceptual artist and analytic philosopher. She began exhibiting her artwork internationally at the age of twenty, and graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 1969. While continuing to produce and exhibit her artwork, she received a B.A. in Philosophy with a minor in Medieval and Renaissance Musicology from the City College of New York in 1974 and a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Harvard University in 1981. Adrian Piper produces artwork in a variety of traditional and nontraditional media, including photo-text collage, drawing on pre- printed paper, video installation, site-specific sculptural installation, digital imagery, performance and sound works.

Open Fire | Feu Ouvert
Statement of Matter
The Confessional
On the Table Off the Table

A performance series for the start of times

Put together by Shannon Cochrane and Francesco Gagliardi

Cara Spooner (Toronto)
Claudia Edwards (Toronto)
Jehan Roberson (USA)
Joe Culpepper (USA)
Mani Mazinani (Toronto)
Marcin Kedzior (Toronto)
Mathieu Lacroix (Montréal)
Nadège Grebmeier Forget (Montréal)
Sue Murad (USA)
Vanessa Dion Fletcher (Toronto)

PLUS limited-edition placemats designed by Lisa Kiss, with drawings by Hazel Meyer.

On the Table Off the Table is a series of commissioned performance works engaging with the table as context, stage, and trope. Aspiring to aesthetic neutrality or demanding attention as a chosen object, the table reappears throughout the history of performance, at times taking center stage, at other times hiding in plain sight.

For this series, artists working at the confluence of performance art and a range of diverse practices—from writing to dance, from sound to magic—will create live work in conversation with performance traditions about, around, and on tables.

FADO Performance Art Centre’s first post(?)-pandemic live series, On the Table Off the Table also intends to provide artists and audiences with an opportunity to re-learn together how to inhabit the space of public presentation, rediscovering the solitary workstation as a place of gathering and play.


  • There will be 1–2 performances each evening.
  • Doors will open at listed times. Performances will start 30 minutes later.
  • Mask-wearing for audience is mandatory in the performance space. Exemptions respected.
  • Performers will not necessarily be masked while performing.
  • Accessible washrooms are located on the 4th floor.
  • Non-alcoholic drinks will be served, please eat your dinner before arriving.

Free. All welcome. Tell us you will be attending. Register on Eventbrite.

September 23 @ 7:00pm: Cara Spooner, Vanessa Dion Fletcher
September 24 @ 7:00pm: Joe Culpepper & Marcin Kedzior, Claudia Edwards
September 29 @ 7:00pm: Sue Murad, Mathieu Lacroix
September 30 @ 7:00pm: Mani Mazinani, Nadège Grebmeier Forget
October 1 @ 5:00pm: Jehan Roberson

Jehan Roberson’s performance is co-presented by Hemispheric Encounters, a partnership project supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

M. Gros [Mr. Big] by Geneviève et Matthieu

Curated and presented by FADO in the context of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
In partnership with L’Ecart Lieu D’Art Actuel

Do you have a special relationship with your sculptures? What if they were the ones performing? How would they do it?

This installation-performance is inspired by the Canadian investigative technique called “Mr. Big,” which allows an undercover police officer to obtain a confession from a suspect of a serious, unsolved crime. Led by shape-shifting characters, living sculptures, dual weapons and a televisual soundscape, M. Gros [Mr. Big] tackles identity issues relating to surveillance, infiltration, idea theft and copying; but moves beyond classic investigative games with a narrative that pays special attention to a contemporary art ecosystem.

M. Gros [Mr. Big] takes many forms. A performative version was presented at La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines (Montréal), Centre Wallonie-Bruxelles (Paris), La Capella (Barcelona); and has appeared as an installation-performance at Pierre-François Ouellette art contemporain (Montréal). In addition to being presented by FADO at the 7a*11d festival in Septeber, M. Gros [Mr. Big] will also be presented at la Biennale d’art performative de Rouyn-Noranda, Galerie d’art Louise-et-Reuben- Cohen (Moncton), Festival Actoral (Montréal, Usine C) and at the Théâtre du Trillium (Ottawa).

7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
September 6–10, 2022

Nadège Grebmeier Forget

b. 1985, Canada

Nadège Grebmeier Forget’s interdisciplinary practice unfolds via durational, live, live-streamed and private performances, which sometimes result in drawing, photography or installation works. In these performances, she models and hybridizes herself to defuse expectations of beauty and explore the effects (and affects) of the concerned gaze on the unfolding identity as it is observed and analyzed by others, including oneself. Seeking to confront desires and ideals (aesthetic, commercial, sexual, etc.) through an empowered and performative manipulation of her own image, she intrinsically questions the labour of making and becoming; including the ways in which performance (of self or art) can be documented, shown, disseminated or exhibited.

Engaged within both of Montreal’s visual and live arts communities—as an artist, freelance project coordinator, creative consultant or artistic director. She has participated in numerous events, festivals, panels, residencies, and exhibitions across Canada, the US, and Europe, and is the first performance artist to receive the City of Montreal’s Prix Pierre-Ayot (2019), awarded in partnership with the Contemporary Art Galleries Association (AGAC).

Geneviève et Matthieu


The duo Geneviève & Matthieu, from Rouyn-Noranda in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, started working in the late 1990s, blending visual art, performance, music and everyday life. Geneviève & Matthieu play on interdisciplinarity—happening, musical composition, performance art and installation—to create group performances and productions of social tableaux that are at times festive but always human.

Beginning in 2001, their discography includes five titles. Between the baroque, abstract expressionism and arte povera, their works have been presented over forty times in Québec, across Canada, the United States, France, Belgium and Spain. Actively involved in their community, Geneviève & Mathieu have been developing the artist-run centre Écart and the Biennale d’art performatif de Rouyn-Noranda for over 20 years.

The duo takes a critical look at past and current artistic movements: DIY culture, conceptual art and performance art. Through residencies, public dissemination and the experience of a body that bounces, transforms and blends into art, their works are constantly evolving. Propelled by the human spirit, their creative approach favours a living art that challenges usual modes of presentation through the change of the place, duration, and manner of exhibiting and performing.

Jehan Roberson

Image: Jehan Roberson. Photo © Jay Bendett.


Jehan Roberson is a queer writer, scholar, artist, and memory worker using text as the basis for her interdisciplinary practice. Born and raised in Memphis, TN, Jehan’s work explores text as a site of liberation, place making, and historical intervention for Black peoples in the Americas. Her art and research have informed her previous work in archives and cultural sites such as the National Civil Rights Museum and the Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis, Kismet Productions in Chicago, and the Borges Cultural Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Jehan is a PhD student in English Language and Literatures at Cornell University. She holds a MA from NYU’s John W. Draper School of Humanities and Social Thought and a BA in English Literature with a double minor in Spanish and Journalism from the University of Missouri.

Mathieu Lacroix


Mathieu Lacroix is a Montreal-based artist from Drummondville, Québec. He holds a BFA from UQAM in Montreal. He has recently exhibited at Clark Center in Montréal, Maison de la culture Côte-des-Neiges in Montréal and CIRCA art actuel in Montreal. He has performed in many locations, for example at 7a*11d, the International Festival of Performance in Toronto. His works can be found in the collection of La Ville de Montréal. Mathieu Lacroix has been invited to participate at the Off Biennale of Contemporary African Art in Dakar, Senegal, and he performed in a group exhibition at Dazibao, Montreal.

Mathieu Lacroix’s multidisciplinary practice comprises drawing, sculpture, installation and performance. The notion of the “sketch” is central to his work, employing it as both a conceptual approach and a literal technique across a spectrum of media, helping to subtly unify his wide-ranging intellectual and formal interests. He creates unusual environments borrowing from both the domestic space and the commercial. Lacroix’s interventions question the complex relationship between the individual and his environment, habits, and identity. His work touches lightly but profoundly on issues from many areas such as politics, economics, personal and collective identities, and perceptual experience. 

Joe Culpepper


Joe Culpepper is a magician, consultant and researcher. He is an associate researcher at Montréal’s National Circus School, is a member of London’s Magic Circle, and has adapted magic effects for Cirque du Soleil, Concordia University, and others.

WORKSHOP: Performance on Camera with Rah Eleh

Performance on Camera investigates the intersections between performance art and the camera. It is a two-intensive workshop hosted by the performance and video artist Rah Eleh. During the first day of the workshop, attendees can expect to do a series of physical exercises that will focus on character development, exploration and physicality. The second day of the workshop will be a lecture about filmmaking techniques such as framing and lighting.

Workshop attendees will be given the opportunity to create their own video that will be screened at 401 Richmond in FADO’s presentation and screening space at a later date (TBD). Attendees do not need any knowledge of performance or video production to attend, however a camera (phone or tablet cameras are acceptable) will be required for participation. Some knowledge of post-production editing is beneficial but not necessary. Attendees are welcome to explore a character they have previously developed or explore a new one. Participants will provide their own camera and any necessary materials (costumes, props, pen and paper are encouraged).

This workshop is offered for free of charge. Space is limited to 15 participants. Attendance is required on both dates. This workshop is in-person. Participants are required to mask in the co-working space and when social distancing is not possible.

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

Marcin Kedzior


Marcin Kedzior is a writer, journal editor, urban thinker, experimental dancer and educator focusing on critical theory and collaborative urban improvisations. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Art from Queen’s University and a Master of Architecture from the University of Toronto. He teaches interior design at Humber ITAL and architectural studies at the University of Toronto. He was on the winning team of the Nathan Philips Square revitalization and he has exhibited work at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal, the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, the Architectural Association, London and in numerous other venues. By considering both the construction and inhabitation of spaces as social performances of people and materials, Kedzior attempts to deal with the necessarily dynamic, improvisatory and contingent aspects of bodies, materials, plans and programs.

He is aided and inspired by warehouses of literary ghosts, tactical board games, scaffolding, shoelaces, John Cage’s experimental musical notation, railings, Simone Forti’s dance constructions, goat pastures, counter monuments, and shadows.

COMPASS: to re-orient our practice of being together

Artist-led embodied research project by lo bil
Hosted by FADO Performance Art Centre

While this is performance-artist-based invitation, there is no imperative to perform for others. Through presence and attending to what you wish to do, you are potentially helping others attend to doing something they wish to do. Artists can use the time and space in any way they wish, however it is important to note that this project makes space for different forms of movement to occur.

COMPASS is a cross between a studio, a gym, a playground, a library and something unknown that welcomes all kinds of action and participation from both artists and visitors.

We are seeking artists who wish to spend 2–3 hours between September 5–9 in a process of navigating shared space while engaging in their own performance practice. Each session will be very open for experimental approaches, varying levels of public interaction, and is intended as real-time embodied research. Each artist will discover for themselves the benefits and challenges of working in this way. Artists may choose to attend one or more sessions.

Date: September 6–9, 2022
Time: 11:30am–2:30pm, daily
Location: The Commons @ 401, 401 Richmond Street West

From September 13–16, a smaller group of artists from the first week will continue to develop the discoveries they have encountered, working towards a public showing on the afternoon of September 17. Artists involved in this second week of COMPASS will be paid a small honorarium for their participation.

We welcome proposals from artists who cannot be physically present at COMPASS sessions to connect via video call or to offer provocations for public to engage in. All contributions, whether in-person or remote, will be credited. Everyone from emerging to established artists are welcome to join. Artists are also welcome to drop by during the first week or the final showing to see what’s up and/or to participate in unexpected ways.

Join us for an open showing of COMPASS on September 17 @ 1:00pm–4:00pm.

If you would like to join COMPASS for one or more days, send an email to: lbil@rogers.com using the subject line: COMPASS / FADO and include:
your name and contact details;
which dates you would like to join us between September 6–9;
an artist statement or description of your art interests;
a short proposal of how you would use the space and time (not knowing is always a possible option).

This is not a review process. All proposals will be accepted. Asking for an brief outline of your proposal for the space and times helps us make space for everyone that wants to join in. Please note that the space will be open for anyone to join on any day.

we imitate sleep to dream of dissent by Emily DiCarlo

With the participation of: Jacqui Arntfield, Ellen Bleiwas, Simon Fuh, Chris Mendoza, Dana Prieto, Matt Nish-Lapidus, Mehrnaz Rohbakhsh, St Marie φ Walker
Guided by five themed prompts, each dreamer-participant engaged at their own pace with short readings, various media and creative exercises that steered their performative responses. Intended to function as alternative embodied approaches to traditional research, each participant was encouraged to trust their intuition, lean into play and follow their feelings to experiment with the ephemeral and dream of alternatives to our current position. The project commenced in a collective action of rest in Toronto’s Queen’s Park, a historic site of protest and strikes. 

The findings of each participant will be collected, collated and transformed into an alternative publication in the form of a field guide as a tool for score-based self-practice. Coming in September 2022.

Performance Home: An Archive by Louise Liliefeldt

Performing for the archive; the archive is a performance.

For Louise Liliefeldt’s Performance Home project, over the course of fall/winter 2021, the artist is taking a deep dive through her personal archive of materials, photos and videos documenting her performance practice over the last 20 plus years.

On the surface, the goal is to create a website that illustrates Liliefeldt’s practice, providing a chronological history for those familiar with her work and for new audiences. Behind the surface however is the endless work of sifting, sorting, accessing and editing that the archive needs from us. How does the performance artists make order from what is essentially ephemeral, chaotic and non-linear?

This project was partially funded by the Ontario Arts Council. The website design is by Kathleen Smith of 7Pirouettes.


Writing Blue

Writing Blue is the smell of interpretation. Composed of materials that many "know", blueberry candy offers a flicker of nostalgia. Grounded in blue cypress like a hunch that comes from speculation, it is the lavender that offers overwhelming explanations.

Top Notes

blueberry candy

Middle Notes

lavender, mens shaving cream

Base Notes

hyacinth, blue cypress