Artist
Joanne Bristol

Canada

An artist and writer, Joanne Bristol has presented installations, performances and video work across North America for the past 15 years. Current projects include bentaerial.net, a work for the web about technology, obsolescence and invention; and the Institute for Feline & Human Interaction, a matrix for ongoing projects in inter-species communication and cohabitation. In the fall of 2009, Joanne starts a practice-based PhD at the Bartlett School of Architecture (London, UK). Her thesis, titled Performance Spaces for Domestic Animals, combines research in spatial culture with the emergent field of animal studies.

Performance
Escapist Action: Performance In Recession

ARTISTS
Joanne Bristol
John G. Boehme
David Frankovich
Tomas Jonsson
Rodolphe-Yves Lapointe
Julian Higuerey Núñez
Ignacio Pérez Pérez
claude wittmann

Curatorial Statement by Don Simmons

Daily media reports bombard us with the reality of the current worldwide economic situation. We are in the midst of a recession. Businesses are failing and offering discount prices on everything in the store, the stock market is volatile, companies are looking for bailouts, and government agencies are giving away bloated stimulation packages.

Despite these tough economic times, some businesses are experiencing a boom. Alcohol sales are up; Hollywood movies are experiencing a surge in attendance and theatres are reporting a rise in audience numbers. People need to escape from their problems and forget about reality. During tough economic times, art relating to escapism prospers.

Escapism is an immersive art. It satisfies a desire for sensual pleasure. It envelops the viewer in a hermetic and narcissistic space where reality is suspended. Stimulated by an individual’s need for escape the realm of the imaginary is opened and new possibilities arise. Non-places that do not exist make themselves possible, submerging the individual and leaving them in a state of confusion. Spectators who participate or view an escapist action become disconnected from their everyday surroundings and transport themselves to a place of contemplation or simply blank out. 

Escapist Action: Performance in Recession begins with a weeklong series of performance events that investigate economics and presents the audiences with alternative methods of exchange. The series culminates in three evening programs of performance entitled Black Friday, Red Flag Saturday, and Grey Cup Sunday. These three evening investigate the mixed emotions evoked by the volatile economic market. The performances navigate the sensations of fear, despair, laughter, and hope. The audience is transported from the dark emotions of Black Friday through the humour of Red Flag Saturday arriving at the celebratory Grey Cup Sunday.

Julian Higuerey Núñez and Ignacio Pérez Pérez activate Escapist Action by creating an alternative barter system in which performances and time can be exchanged between the artists and audience. The exchange starts with an Open Barter Market on Monday, November 23, followed by a 72-hour performance (6 days / 12 hours each day). Tomas Jonsson’s work creates a redundant economy across the street from a storefront display he mimics. In the piece Magpie, Jonsson observes the shopkeepers display, purchases items from the shop, and then sets up shop across the street. Jonsson consciously contradicts traditional exchange structures by giving away items, available for purchase at the neighbouring store, to passersby who engage the artist in conversation. Joanne Bristol presents an intimate service based performance dealing with internalized space as a form of escapism in her performance entitled Association for Imaginary Architecture.

The first evening program takes place on Black Friday. Renowned as the biggest shopping day in the US, and an indicator for financial forecast for the upcoming holiday season, Black Friday also refers to the financial crisis of 1869. On Black Friday, Julian Higuerey Núñez and Ignacio Pérez Pérez start the evening with the last performance of their twelve-hour day. claude wittmann explores the fears we experience in times of economic uncertainty and the mob like tendency to blame it on the “other”. In this case Wittmann looks at the instances in history where woman have been labeled as witches and damned for financial hardship within communities. Rodolphe-Yves Lapointe addresses risk taking and responsibility in a final desperate act of escapism.

Black Friday is followed by Red Flag Saturday. The Red Flag signifies warning, defiance, left-wing politics and amazing sales at department stores. This evening’s tone is decidedly lighter than Black Friday, compelling the audience to escape from their recessionary blues and find some relief in humour. This evening begins, like Black Friday, with a portion of The Artist and the Beanstalk by Julian Higuerey Núñez and Ignacio Pérez Pérez. Then John G. Boehme explores adolescent escapism and Joanne Bristol encourages Torontonians to relocate to the “wallet friendly” city of Winnipeg. 

Escapist Action: Performance in Recession concludes with Grey Cup Sunday, and a performance party in celebration of escaping the daily grind with cheap televised entertainment and the excitement of an annual national sporting event. David Frankovich’s Grey Cup Party mixes high and low brow activities, morphing the football party with an Earl Grey tea party to reveal hidden sexual truths.


BLACK FRIDAY | 8:00pm
My First Witch Piece by claude wittmann
Nut your way out!
 by Rodolphe-Yves Lapointe

RED FLAG SATURDAY | times various
Magpie by Tomas Jonsson
Association for Imaginary Architecture by Joanne Bristol
Calentura by John G. Boehme
My Winnipeg Can Be Yours… by Joanne Bristol

GREY CUP SUNDAY | 6:00pm
Grey Cup Party by David Frankovich


PERFORMANCE DESCRIPTIONS

Association for Imaginary Architecture by Joanne Bristol
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. 

My Winnipeg Can Be Yours… by Joanne Bristol
In this lecture performance Joanne BristolI will describe the advantages of living in Canada’s low-budget cultural capital. This performance is especially designed for Torontonians who might like to experience the joys of living an in what is arguably North America’s most affordable city.

Calentura by John G. Boehme
Calentura (first in the series) intends to investigate autobiographical escapist narratives of adolescent disenfranchisement projected through direct akshun.

Grey Cup Party by David Frankovich
The final day of Escapist Action: Performance in Recession ends with a party to celebrate all things…football? Join us for Grey Cup Party by David Frankovich. A team of dandies gather to honour Earl Grey’s Cup over a cup of Earl Grey. The sports bar and the Victorian tearoom collide. Dressed in thrift store finery, they engage in male bonding over tea and biscuits while watching the Grey Cup final. Masculinity is reconstructed through a recession-friendly social ritual. Join us for a cuppa and the game!
6:00pm | The Gladstone Hotel Art Bar, 1214 Queen Street West

Magpie by Tomas Jonsson builds on a person engagement with a variety store that has been a long time fixture in the Junction District of Toronto, which is increasingly precarious as a result of the rapidly altering the retail identity of the street. Creating a dynamic that resisted the usual flows of investment, speculation (eviction and/or gentrification) this performance installation piece is an ongoing adjunct redundant economy. By selecting, sorting and taking advice from the seller the collection of items will be built to there after offered them on the streets to the passers-by for exchange. In place of monetary gain, other forms of exchange are favoured. The objects will function more or less as token opportunities for discussion about the economic and material transformations in the neighbourhood and city, the role and ritual of corner store shopping, and the determination of value and exchange.
1:00pm–10:00pm | 3072 Dundas Street West, Toronto

Nut your way out! by Rodolphe-Yves Lapointe
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
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.

Performance Yellow

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?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer