Remembrance Day is a new performance work by Johanna Householder created in collaboration with her daughter Carmen Householder-Pedari, and is presented as part of FADO’s ongoing Public Spaces / Private Places series.
Describing Remembrance Day as a counter-monument, Householder uses war movies as source material to pose questions about the transferal of cultural values, information and attitudes from generation to generation. The work will be presented not as a theatrical narrative, but as an installation in which audience members are free to come and go as they choose – in the words of the artist, “less … a definitive performance experience than … some proposals for experiences.” Remembrance Day continues Householder’s investigations into the cinematic texts of the late 20th century, and her lifelong obsession with the gendering of knowledge.
In this performance, the artist works with her daughter Carmen Householder-Pedari. Carmen Householder-Pedari is completing seventh grade at Winona Drive Senior School. She has appeared in a number of film, video and performance works by artists such as Janice Cole, Robert Lee and Wende Bartley and Roz Kalloo.
From time to time over the last ten years I have collaborated with my daughter to produce performance works which explore some ideas around the transference of knowledges which we do not normally think of as taught — how to respond to emotional stimuli, how to physically occupy space, how to convey information with your face, which things are important to remember, and how our expressions are evaluated by others.
Parallel to this exploration is a fascination with how we take the large, crude expressions of popular culture; the big emotions, the clichéd syntax, the cartoon physiology, and adapt these ways of being to our own less grandiose existences. This too is something that is transmitted, perhaps involuntarily, in the intimacy of the mother-child relationship.
Remembrance Day is a kind of counter-monument to the things that are popularly commemorated, in this case, actions against the backdrop of war. How do we compose our anxiety (or lack of it) at being temporarily ‘at peace’? Re-embodying the codes contained in a variety of war time films, the performers will plunder their mutual memory banks for instructions for heroes and rules to live and die by.
Remembrance Day continues a recent series of investigations into the cinematic texts of the late 20th century and a lifelong obsession with the gendering of knowledge.
Some of the ideas we develop are visual, some active, some audial. Performance allows us to approach an idea from a number of directions and with a range of processes simultaneously. And speaking of processes, I find now that I am less interested in a definitive performance experience than in some proposals for experiences. For this reason we leave the audience free to come and go, to circulate around the work — more like one would view painting or an installation than theatre.
Johanna Householder, June 2001