Extra-Rational is a series of performances by emerging Canadian artists that embrace the aesthetics of popular culture and seek to recuperate/utilize these “low brow” processes of production and cognition. The artists in Extra-Rational intentionally make use of aesthetic choices and methods of production that directly challenge the rubric of high-brow vs low-brow culture. These artists use the position of the trivialized, the unmentionable, the frivolous, the carnal and the other as a means to challenge the rationalization of high culture.
Trust My Gut: A Drag Opera Surgery by Johnny Forever & Marisa Hoicka
March 12 @ 1:00pm–5:00pm & 7:00pm
Trust My Gut: A Drag Opera Surgery, performed by Mini Maul and Uncle Wink (two characters selected from the drag oeuvre of Johnny Forever and Marisa Hoicka) dramatizes the recent merging of home and stage on social networking sites such as YouTube, Vimeo and facebook. This eight-hour durational installation references Orlan’s televised performance art surgeries of the early ’90s. Framed by a crochet replica of a YouTube window, Mini Maul performs surgery on Uncle Wink with a pair of tailor’s scissors, crochet hooks and a sewing needle. While splayed open Uncle Wink remains gloriously conscious as Mini Maul crafts his innards, a mass of yarn and fabric, into outrageous sculptural forms that rise from his belly and spill onto the floor. From time to time patient and doctor break into lip-synced duets chosen by audience members from a nearby laptop.
Pop Tarot by Iris Fraser-Gudrunas
March 8 & 12 @ 1:00–5:00pm
Insight mixes with consumerism and pop culture to create intuitive knowledge in Iris Fraser-Gudrunas’ performance Pop Tarot. Fraser-Gudrunas divines the future and answers the viewers’ life questions using a collection of strange and unfamiliar pop bottles. Viewers are invited to blindly select 4 beverage bottles/cans from a large inventory, stored in a nondescript cardboard box. The bottles represent the past, present, future and soul of the participant. Carefully analyzing the qualities of the consumer packaging, the clarity of the labels, the visual nature of the liquid and the list of ingredients, Fraser-Gudrunas provides the viewers with insight and guidance.
NANA by Amy Jenine Ling Wong
March 12 @ 7:00pm
NANA is a four-hour durational performance that references narcissism in youth culture and questions the rise of the self-made Internet celebrity. Occupying the gallery’s street level window, Wong confronts viewers caught off guard with the image of her slowly licking a honey-encrusted monitor. Under the honey, the monitor flickers with a mirror image of herself performing various actions. NANA is an extension of Wong’s online Vimeo library, in which she plays a wide variety of characters including: a young girl offering advice on the application of Avatar make-up, a sullen woman smoking a cigarette while explaining her attempts to replicate the “real community” of the ‘60s on facebook and a teenager aimlessly video blogging about piercing her nose.
Droozle Help Me by Amy Lam
March 12 @ 7:00pm
Droozle Help Me, a performance that references the comedy sketch genre, makes use of humour and high concept comedy. In this performative lecture Amy Lam plays a character named Droozle who is looking for a new roommate. She uses inappropriate props and costumes in her attempt to be persuasive. As the performance unfolds Lam creates deliberate incongruence between herself as performer, the goals of her character and the audience’s reactions. Lam’s work continues the dialogue started by female comics of the ’50s who used intelligence, wit and a fair amount of acting out to comment on contemporary culture.
We Don’t Love Each Other by Lisa Visser
March 12 @ 7:00pm
We Don’t Love Each Other is a reflexive performance that investigates the female abject body. Composed of a series of simple actions and objects, Visser drinks a copious amount of hard alcohol while attaching her left arm to her right with the use of a sewing needle and thread. The performance combines contrasting images of harm and repair: what appears to be harmful (sewing) is conceptually approached as repair – or reclamation – of not just a body but everything that is given and compromised in a relationship. And the repair – drinking and drowning one’s feelings in alcohol – is actually harmful. The piece is implicitly humorous; the artist is drunk, awkward and bloody, while the audience is compelled to watch seriously and earnestly while the hour-long performance unfolds.