claude wittmann was born in Switzerland where he worked as a molecular biologist and now lives in Toronto; works as a bicycle mechanic and in performance art; has performed in festivals, in curated events, in self-produced pieces, and in the public space; in butoh-based solos, in intent-based durational process work, in body-directed although very psychological gender identity work, in improvised voice/noise/sound experiments and improvisations, during teaching and on live FM and internet radio. his most recent projects include Radio-Equals (one-on-one egalitarian conversations about equality, broadcast on FM radio and/or internet radio) and 2894 (participative reading on an internet radio of the Truth and Reconciliation’s Commission report). claude is concerned by the (in)ability of art in triggering social change.
MONOMYTHS is conceived and curated by Shannon Cochrane and Jess Dobkin. Presented by FADO Performance Art Centre, in association with The Theatre Centre.
MONOMYTHS invites a diverse collection of artists, scholars, and activists to revise Joseph Campbell’s conception of the hero’s journey through performance art, lectures, workshops, and other offerings. This new assemblage of non-linear un-narratives proposes a cultural, political and social feminist re-visioning of the world. The MONOMYTHS perception of the universal journey dispels the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his demons—both inner and outer—in consideration of community, collectivity, and collaboration.
MONOMYTHS Stage 11: Refusal of the Return Refusal of MONOMYTHs claude wittmann with Adam Herst
For me the question in the arts right now is not “How?” (form), “When?” (place/time),”By/for whom?” (authorship/audience), but “What for?” which is locating the projects in a political and ethical path. ~Tania Bruguera
2894 by claude wittmann asks participants to read outloud from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report (TRC report, 2015.) Each participant reads the report to a live streaming radio station with the aid of a cell phone and streaming software provided by the artist. Readers start where the last one left and read as much as they want. Sometimes the readings take place in a specific location, but mostly, participants may read anywhere they choose–in their homes, or in public. Participants read as much or as little as they can. Listeners can similarly be anywhere, listening on any device at any time. The connection of the radio provides a special kind of intimacy between readers and listeners. This project started in April 2016. It is on-going, until the entire report (all 2894 pages) has been read or until the project transforms into something more relevant to social change. 2894 is not a Truth and Reconciliation project. It is a Truth project. It is currently co-managed by claude wittmann and Adam Herst.
2894 starts at the point where we acknowledge that it is not possible yet for Indigenous People and Settlers to meet in equal terms. 2894 reads the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report (TRC report). 2894 is nothing else than reading the TRC report with integrity. 2894 is a trial at triggering something. 2894 will bring stuff up in the hearts of readers and listeners. We will see what we choose to do with it.
2894 is managed with an artistic ethics: 2894 will not exploit the suffering of people who went to residential schools; 2894 asks us to act with integrity at all times, even if this has the risk to create discomfort; 2894 should generate equality; 2894 is not owned by anybody.
In 2894: Refusal of MONOMYTHs, claude and Adam facilitate a 3-hour reading session. Audience is invited to attend to listen to readings of the report. Audience is invited to become readers should they wish. Readers read as much or as little as they choose, to the assembled audience of witnesses.
Quatre re-traités* tiré de ‘”ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron (work-in progress) is a psychogeo(hörspiel) performance involving radio transmission, narration and action, with a simultaneous translation from French to English and/or Italian. Psychogeo(hörspiel) is a neologism created by combining ‘psychogeography’ meaning an approach to geography that emphasizes playfulness and drifting around urban environments; and the German word ‘hörspiel’ meaning radio-play or radio-drama.
This performance is part of a work-in-progress by Letourneau entitled, “ils” “viennent” : Khédive et Mamelouk, en un seul, sur son patron, which is a 3-hour site-specific text-based science-fiction conceptual performance that can be performed for any media.
This version includes the participation of Toronto performer claude wittmann, and on recorded media by Alice Lafontaine, Alexandre St-Onge, Marie Brassard and Jac Berrocal.
The audience is encouraged to bring portable radios or walkman radios so they can leave the gallery and move around the neighbourhood during the action, picking up snippets of the narrative remotely.
ARTISTS Jo SiMalaya Alcampo Yumi Onose Simon Rabyniuk
They see us. They perform in front of us. We see them perform. We see them. They feel us. They perform near us. We feel their work. We feel them. Something happens. Something goes through us. Something goes through them. They process the encounter. We process too. We eat. We sleep. We dream. We think. We all come back the next day. We see them. They see us. We see their response to the day before. We see more. Way more. We feel more. They feel more. Way more.
Jo SiMalaya Alcampo, Yumi Onose and Simon Rabyniuk perform on Friday and the next night they present a new work in response to the previous evening’s performance, creating an interrelated series of actions that exist in dialogue with each other. This situation challenges the artists to work directly and immediately with site, a changing and repeating audience and to consider the impact and influence of working side by side over a duration of time.
Association for Imaginary Architecture by Joanne Bristol 1:00pm–4:00pm @ Interaccess
This performance involves architectural design and touch. I am interested in investigating relationships between our physical experiences of the built world and how we imagine and internalize those spatial experiences. The performance involves a one-on-one exchange between the audience and myself: I will ask audience members to verbally describe an architectural space. It could be a space from memory, a dream, or any kind of space in the built world that is of significance to them. As the space is described, I will draw a ‘plan’ of it on the speaker’s clothed back with my hands. Sessions will last no longer than five minutes.
Nut your way out! by Rodolphe-Yves Lapointe 8:00pm @ Interaccess
The intensive use of the spoken word, nonverbal languages and the ingenuous manipulation of props is what typically characterises Lapointe’s Performance Art work (“textactions”, in his own words.) But, the thematic of ‘escapism’ induced a restrained use of expressive means and the Quebec-based artist radically reduces his display of objects to a plain hemp rope, and the flow of words to only two, “Pull it!” In Nut your way out!, as he leads the public through productive time-killer activities (knot-tying), social games (tug-of-war) and skills tests (rescue techniques) until he reaches the “highest stage” of escapism. The end of the performance virtually lies in the spectator’s hand.
My First Witch Piece by claude wittmann 8:00pm @ Interaccess
Today, my first witch piece exists as an idea that has to do with my body and with escapist acts, which I see as impulses to avoid or to transform a certain system of beliefs. I am fascinated by myths about 15th century witches, and I allow myself to ossilate between believing and not believing that they had unusual abilities, such as “flying” or temporarily depriving men of their male organs. I wonder what kind of consciousness shift I would need in order to commit to their philosophical view of the world, and to see myself become one of them. What are my embodied psychological walls? Doubt? Fear? Judgment? My relationship with death? My goal with this work is to take my audience on a journey that makes visible our resistance to a shift of consciousness.
This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?