Beginning in 1969 with a self-constructed MFA at the University of Reading in conceptual performance and synaesthetics, Clive Robertson has been producing installation-performances, actions, events and related narrative and non-narrative works in audio. The themes of his performances and writings have frequently been about art and cultural labour, mediation and representation.
Robertson’s past works of long duration include Conversation Piece, (made on a 12-hour factory night shift in 1971); Burial Piece (3 days, 1971); A Year of F..F (with Su Clancy, 365 days, 1972-73); The Sculptural Politics of Joseph Beuys (21 hours, 1975); and Eight Hours (alongside Michael Banger and John Greyson, 1980). His more recent work has included the re-staging of earlier works for new audiences and the creation of hybrid conceptual performances in Japan, Poland and Québec.
Robertson organized international and local performance festivals in Britain and Canada in the 1970s and ’80s and is the co-editor (with Alain-Martin Richard) of Performance au/in Canada 1970-90 (Éditions Intervention-Coach House Press, 1991). He formerly teaches cultural theory and contemporary art history at Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario).
On December 11, FADO will mark 30 years of cultural production by senior Canadian artist Clive Robertson, presenting his new work, The Confessional. This is the latest event in FADO’s 12-month durational performance series, TIME TIME TIME.
In The Confessional, Robertson revisits the idea of the “museum display installation,” first explored in his 1975 work In Video Traction. The Confessional features a tool-shed scale folk museum attached to a similar-sized museum shipping crate in which the artist is “…temporarily and voluntarily incarcerated.”
Visitors are invited to enter the installation to engage in one-on-one, two-way exchanges about art production and the interruptions of everyday life. Each visitor is given a range of choices for talking or listening. Both parties can independently decide on the length and degree of responsiveness that will constitute the interaction.
Robertson describes some of the work’s intended resonances:
“The performance and its architecture … recognize an expectation of reflective speech technologies from the church confessional to ‘visits with Santa,’ from living history performances at heritage sites (including relics of Tom Thompson’s shack or Robert Fillou’s Tool-Shed) to the chat-rooms of cyberspace. Within the options provided by a dominant cultural rhetoric of interactivity, this performance chooses reciprocity over feedback.”
Performance hours: 8:00am – 8:00pm
Public Hours: 10:00am – 6:00pm
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?
yellow mandarin, mimosa
honey, chamomile, salt
narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer