Trace Elements by Paul Couillard

FADO celebrates the solstice on December 21 with Trace Elements, a new performance by Paul Couillard. This is the final event in FADO’s 12-month durational performance series, TIME TIME TIME. Lasting a full 24-hours, the piece will begin and end at astronomical twilight – 6:28 pm local time.

Trace Elements will generate a numerological mandala that re-marks 2000 years of calendar time. In this ‘action/installation,’ Couillard will turn YYZ gallery into a room-size colour field sculpture made up of 2000 pieces of cloth saturated in spice. The performance, anchored in the ritual action of creating the installation, will unfold through a series of casual and intimate one-on-one encounters between the artist and audience members.

In advance of the work, Paul offers these thoughts:

I see this piece as a representation of experience, how history layers and accretes, how time marks us. The whole piece is a personal time marker, both in the doing of the action and in the physical presence that is generated by the doing. It seems to me that our relationship to time – which was once more rooted in the rhythms of day, night, and the seasons – has become very shaky. We have no attention span for time; our ways of looking at it, and of representing it, are inadequate. We need new metaphors to help us envision time’s workings, not to mention its scale.

In part, Trace Elements is a hopeful conjuring act against the hype – and especially the boredom – of millennium frenzy. I think our boredom comes from a frustration with the lack of any real significance to attach to that flip of the zeroes. I’m willing to go to this place of boredom because of what all of my training has taught me, which is that boredom is a fantastic gateway to uncovering and creating meaning.

The Confessional by Clive Robertson

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

Intake by Jenny Strauss

FADO is pleased to present San Francisco-based artist Jenny Strauss in Intake, the latest event in its 12-month durational performance series, TIME TIME TIME.

A ‘fat femme dyke’, Jenny Strauss is one of the most uncompromising performance artists to emerge from the United States in the past ten years. In Intake, a new work timed to coincide with US Thanksgiving, Jenny Strauss will spend 24 hours living like a ‘pig’. Inhabiting an environment of easy chairs, mud, garbage, hay, junk food and urine, Strauss will delve into her archetypal ‘pig’ self. Expect a visceral performance that confronts our basic assumptions and projections around bodies of flesh. Audience members are invited to bring garbage to leave behind.

Strauss explains:

The pig is one of the oldest domesticated animals on earth, raised almost exclusively for human consumption. The pig is also a highly anthropomorphized creature in North American culture – an icon of love and helplessness shown in movies, and figuratively portrayed in endless precious figurines and collectibles. But at the same time that the pig is adored as a darling animal, it is also reviled as a symbol of sloth and filth.

I have often been compared to a pig, and associated with the misunderstood habits of this common farm animal. For the 24 hours coinciding with the U.S. Thanksgiving, I will inhabit the (imagined) characteristics of the human/animal pig – thought to be lazy, slow, dirty, disgusting, stupid, voracious, shameful and unhealthy.

I do this work because I am interested in spiritual transformation – and moving toward what’s hard or hidden or shamed is one way I encourage such a transformation into being. My values, beliefs and fears/hopes are entwined into my work as I use the primary element – my fat body – to meld the mind/body fracture trained into me by society. Other sculptural elements include mud, garbage, hay, raw pork, junk food, urine and an oversized piggy bank.


This piece came into life with the incredible support of my friends and family. Thank you to the White Food girls, Terry Berman, Katherine Steele and especially Liane Collins, for your passionate engagement with creativity and remarkable friendship. To my dear friend Kebo Drew – you are an amazing creative force and beautiful spirit – thank you for giving me your poet’s attention in the development of this piece and for standing by me with unwavering support. To my husband, Emily Howard – for your willingness to love (yet another) artist. To Elizabeth Grainger and Robin Maltz, for your friendship and femme sisterhood. To Tracey Grogan for your inspiring design work. To Paul Couillard for your incredible commitment to exposing and supporting the work of performance artists and for encouraging me during the development of this piece. Finally, I dedicate Intake to my mother, Maggie Nura Uehara, whose adventurous spirit, creativity and beauty I can never get enough of.

Clock by Jennifer Nelson & Glen Redpath

FADO is pleased to announce Clock by Jennifer Nelson and Glen Redpath, the latest event in its 12-month durational performance series, TIME TIME TIME.

Visit seats of government around the world and you will find towering clocks. Situated at the centre of public life, they mark the passing hours and give order to the day, fulfilling that most basic of human impulses – to know the time. In an unusual US-Canada collaboration, two performance artists will offer Toronto’s city hall a different kind of monumental timepiece – a ‘human clock’.

At sunrise, Jennifer Nelson will begin moving almost imperceptibly around the reflecting pool at Nathan Phillips Square, completing a single circle as the sun sets almost 12-hours later. Meanwhile, Glen Redpath will follow the same path at a run, covering the distance of several marathons over the course of the same 12-hour day. Testing human limits of speed and endurance, these two artists will act like the hands of a clock, using their bodies to mark the time. Nelson writes, “Time … appears in the space between seconds, when the strain of prolonged physical and mental concentration alters perceptions of what is slow or what is long.”

Nelson and Redpath began working together four years ago when both were at the San Francisco Art Institute. They continue to collaborate despite the geographical separation – distance fueling their interest in the possibility of a universal body. Both artists use duration in their performances as a way of allowing time to contribute its influence on their bodies.

Presented with travel support from the Manitoba Arts Council / Conseil des art du Manitoba.

PASSAGE by Otiose

passage: n. passing, transit; crossing, being conveyed, from port to port; corridor; (pl.) what passes between two persons; part of speech or literary work.

Bring two artists who usually work together to the same city a continent away from home. Split them up and set them loose in different parts of the city. After five days, bring them back together with 24 tape recorders for 12 hours to hear what they have to say to each other. The result is Passage, the latest performance in FADO’s 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME.

Upon arrival in Toronto, the two members of otiose will go to separate locations, unknown to the other. The following 5 days will be a solitary process of speaking, searching & witnessing; for each other. This will culminate in a 12 hour public dialogue between them.

Ailith Roberts and John Dummett, known collectively as otiose, have been working together for the past three years, presenting actions and installation works that invite us to reconsider our relationship to the world while calling into question the nature of public space. Past performance activities by otiose include what may well be the quintessential British performance – 3 days of repeatedly making single cups of tea. This piece was part of otiose’s Showhouse series, which also featured an 8-hour performance spent arranging 6 ornaments on a mantelpiece, and an in situ exhibition of 10,000 Polaroids of an empty house. Whether fingerprint dusting the floors and walls of a public gallery to reveal traces of past activity, or spending hours browsing in a supermarket to see how long it will take to be noticed and asked to leave, their works point out the uneasy links between inhabited space and human behaviour.

Travel support provided by the British Council.

Dying is Sexy by Frank Moore

“As artists, our tools are magic, our bodies, taboos, and dreams.” ~Frank Moore

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with a new work by acclaimed US performance artist Frank Moore. Performed with Michael LaBash and Linda Mac, featuring guest artists Philip Cairns, Harry Cee, Paul Couillard, Anna DiPede, LInda Feesey, Fred Hatt and Heidi VanderMolen.

Dying is Sexy is a 48-hour erotic, musical, ritualistic, intimate, personal climax of the magical life of the American controversial/revolutionary performance artist Frank Moore, a web of many small improvisations.

In a two-day performance that blurs the distinctions between life and art, audience members will have opportunities to engage directly with the artist and his cast in an improvisational setting. From intimate daytime rituals to performance evenings that echo the style of cabarets and “happenings,” Moore will bring to bear all of the skills he has acquired in a career of art- and ritual-making that extends back to the early ’70s. Variously called a shaman and a trickster, Moore transforms what at first glance may seem unbelievable, corny, or even tacky into an awake dream of deep transformative power.

Born with a severe form of cerebral palsy that leaves him unable to walk or speak, Frank Moore has spent a lifetime exploring and breaking taboos—from the fear and ignorance that keeps many disabled people unnecessarily institutionalized to the phobias against touch, intimacy and pleasure that pervade our culture. He writes:

“There are all kinds of art. There is art that calms, art that pacifies, art that sells, art that decorates, art that entertains. But what I am committed to is art as a battle, an underground war against fragmentation. Performance, like any avant-garde art, is the way society dreams; it is the way society expands its freedom, explores the forbidden in safety, loosens up. Society needs its dream art, just as an individual needs to dream or will go insane.”

Linda Mac recalls:

“When Paul Couillard first invited Frank to perform at his festival TIME TIME TIME he told Frank that the series was inspired by Frank’s extended time performances. Frank said he would like to do a 72-hour performance for this series. This was almost two years before the performance was scheduled to happen. During that two year period Frank performed at a week-long festival the WE FEST in Wilmington North Carolina after which he got pneumonia and was hospitalized and was very sick and had this 72 hour performance coming up in Toronto! So Frank changed it to a 48 hour performance, had Paul rent him a hospital bed and changed the name of the performance to DYING IS SEXY figuring if he died during the performance it would be on theme!”

Additional resource:

Get Trained by Shannon Cochrane

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with local artist Shannon Cochrane. Her 3-day performance, Get Trained: Celebrating 13 Years in the Service Industry, takes a practical approach toward the ‘job’ of performance art.

Over the course of three days, Cochrane will recreate her career in the service industry in the name of art. Shannon describes her performance regimen:

“On June 23rd, you will be able to find me pounding the pavement armed with my resume. I will complete an 8-hour work day attempting to deliver my resume to every business that crosses my path. No stone will remain unturned. Bars, restaurants, offices, clothing shops, galleries. I work my way from Bloor West Village to the Annex, Yorkville to the Eaton Center, Kensington Market to Queen West. Finally I work my way through Parkdale and up Roncesvalles to finish.

On June 24th, I will wait with my phone by my side for any interest that comes my way. I will spend the day making follow-up calls and scheduling interviews. I never quit a job until I have another, so potential employers should keep in mind that I am only available after I have completed my shift tomorrow. My last day.

On June 25th, I go to work as I have for 13 years. Only this time, you will be able to see examples of ALL my work, scattered throughout the Queen West community. Following a preset itinerary, I will be employed for 12 hours at a minimum of six different establishments, two hour shifts each. I am the girl serving drinks at the bar, greeting customers at the door, offering advice about home furnishings, dusting the shelves, selling books, the employee that made your cappuccino. I am energetic, responsible and prompt. I am a hardworking and loyal employee.”

To receive a “Get Trained” package, including the complete itinerary for the June 25 performance, a detailed copy of Shannon Cochrane’s resume, her CV and letters of reference, send an e-mail to or leave your name and address at (416) 821-4674. If you are based in Toronto, she’ll deliver it to you while on her rounds on June 23rd.

Statement of Matter by Roddy Hunter

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with Scottish artist Roddy Hunter in Statement of Matter: Performance(s) of Indefinite Duration.

Hunter’s performance will begin at noon on June 2, 1999 and continue into sometime the following day. Evidence of the performance will be on view through to midnight on June 3, 1999.

Through his work, Hunter investigates and creates charged, complex environments. Using simple materials, he moves through and acts upon a space, mapping out territories and time periods, tracing and erasing interrelationships among himself, his audience, and whatever objects are present. For this performance, his primary materials will be an empty white room, two video monitors with live feeds, a large sack of flour and a roll of white gaffer tape.

Statement about Statement of Matter by Roddy Hunter:

This performance is one of an ongoing series of inherently interdisciplinary negotiations of anterior spaces, places and actions. This anteriority does not imply, however, that these exist in the past, that they are lost to us. Rather, these states of matter and being remain ‘before’ conceptions and perceptions of causal thinking and doing in linear time frames. As such we are in their midst and by uncovering them we realise participation in a new milieu where previously rigid forms are no longer assured.

In our climate of syntactical formalism, I propose that the actuation of installation, through its precise location of action as the site of both the perception and conception of the aesthetic matrix, provides a necessary undoing of any preexisting equation whereby language solely equals thought.
~Roddy Hunter, Some notes and sources toward a realisation of installation, 1999

Statement of Matter: Performance(s) of Indefinite Duration is one of a series of projects bearing the same title. In a manifesto for these works, Hunter writes: “Art has, for too long, operated as a formal ‘response’ to the world… The realisation of Performance Art… is… a realisation of the difference between uncovering and understanding (or translating)… [T]here is no thing to understand, or put an other way, it becomes impossible not to understand everything. When art is lived, so living is art; and when living is art, so art is lived.

Hot by Tanya Mars

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with Toronto’s own Tanya Mars in a new performance entitled HOT.

Tanya Mars is well-known for performance works in which she creates spectacular images that function as living pictures. HOT is a sensitive look at middle age and the persistent desire for intimacy. In an elegant, slowly evolving tableau, Mars considers the search for unconditional love.

As always, humour, absurdity, and a dense overlay of visual metaphors are the essential building blocks of Mars’ complex vision. Forsaking the ‘hot’ sexuality of youth for the ‘hot’ flashes of menopause, Mars offers us the image of a bearded lady, setting thousands of household mousetraps with red cinnamon candy hearts as a video projection of a woman cuddling with a dog suggests where true companionship and uncomplicated bonding might be found. Irony, poignancy and even pragmatism play a role in this meditation on the lessons time has to offer aging baby boomers at the end of the millennium.

Mars notes: “It is ironic that just when a woman reaches intellectual maturity and is in her prime, her level of desirability as a mate plummets. HOT is not about sexuality, but about comfort, companionship and loyalty.”

Manifesto by Rebecca Belmore

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with Manifesto, a new work by Canadian artist Rebecca Belmore.

Sitting in a storefront window where she can be viewed and heard from the street, Belmore will spend twelve hours writing and speaking. At the end of twelve hours, she will organize her writing into a neat pile and invite people to an ‘opening’—the exhibition of her writing.

Belmore says of this piece: “I do not enjoy writing about my own work. But I like writing. I speak about my work in front of others. Revisiting sites. Places. Looking again at my ideas. Hearing the sounds made by my voice trying to remember time. ‘Manifesto’ is a place to hear the sound of my own writing. It is a private inner place made public. I like writing. But never real writing like a writer. Just my hand and my head working to mark down and speak beyond my body…. I view this experience as a process where I have the time and space to make my thoughts into an object. The result of this performance work will be the writing, not to be read but to exhibited as an object.”

For the past ten years, Rebecca Belmore has been exploring issues of identity and place through installation and site-specific works as well as performance art pieces. She has performed in numerous festivals, conferences, public galleries, artist-run centres and unofficial spaces for a wide range of audiences. Some venues include the Havana Biennale (1991), two performance biennials in QuĂ©bec City (Premiere biennale d’art actuel de QuĂ©bec, 1990; Rencontre internationale d’art performance de QuĂ©bec, 1994), the American Indian Art Institute (1995), the Banff Centre (1997), 7a*11d Performance Art Festival (1997) and a tour of Germany organized by Boris Nieslony in 1998.

Image (above) © Rebecca Belmore, Manifesto, 1999. Photo by Paul Couillard.

EMIT TIME ITEM by Alastair MacLennan

FADO continues its 12-month duration performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with EMIT TIME ITEM, a new work by internationally acclaimed Irish artist Alastair MacLennan. Famous for his ‘actuations’, MacLennan’s term for his performance installation works, he is a key practitioner in the field of durational performance.

In EMIT TIME ITEM, MacLennan uses the number 30 as a departure point to explore the past 30 years of political and social turmoil in Northern Ireland, known as ‘The Troubles’. The piece will run for 30 hours, presenting a subtly but ever-changing image of 30 place settings at an expansive white table. Like MacLennan’s previous work, this piece deals with political, social and cultural malfunction. ‘The Troubles’ are an ongoing concern for the Belfast-based artist, who represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 1997 with an intermedia work commemorating the names of all those who died as a result of the political trouble in Northern Ireland since 1969.

In keeping with TIME TIME TIME’s curatorial focus on duration and its effects in performance, MacLennan will place an emphasis on marking time as his key role as the performer in the work. He writes, “As well as ecology of natural environment, there is ecology of mind and spirit. Each is a layer of the other, interfused, three in one. The challenge for us today is to live this integration. Already we are late. Time we have is not so vital as time we make.”

During the 1970s and 1980s, MacLennan made long durational performances of up to 144 hours each, non-stop, usually neither eating nor sleeping throughout. Since 1975, he has been based in Belfast, and was a founding member of Belfast’s Art and Research Exchange. He is currently a research professor at the University of Ulster, travelling extensively throughout Europe and North America presenting his actuations. MacLennan is also a member of the European performance group, Black Market International.

MacLennan says of his practice, “A primary function of art is to bridge our spiritual and physical worlds… Art is the demonstrated wish and will to resolve conflict through action, be it spiritual, religious, political, personal, social or cultural.”

Appreciating the Chakras by Linda Montano

FADO Performance Art Centre is pleased to kick off its 12-month durational performance art series, TIME TIME TIME, with a new work by acclaimed US artist Linda Montano, Appreciating the Chakras.

In a 3 1/2 hour public presentation created in collaboration with local artists, Montano will offer Toronto audiences a ‘happening’ environment using music, chanting, video projections, text and live performance. Audience members are invited to participate through their presence and through single-question Tarot readings with Linda. The more adventurous and dedicated are also invited to reserve a spot in the second part of the performance, during which Linda will enact a 7-hour healing meditation for participants’ chakras, followed by a morning talking circle.

In performances over the past 25 years, Linda Montano has steadily sought to erase the barriers between art and life. Her demonstrations of the theory that attitude, intent, and awareness transform ‘life’ into ‘art’ are a terminal assault on the art-as-commodity establishment. Montano’s work redefines art as a vigilant state-of-mind.

In 1984, Montano assured her place in art history along with Tehching Hsieh when the two completed an art piece in which they were tied at the waist with an 8 foot rope for a full year, never touching. That same year she began a personal experiment in attention, studying the body’s chakra system, in which she wore only one-colour clothes; listened to one note 7 hours a day; stayed in a coloured space 3 hours a day; spoke in a different accent each year; and for 7 years read palms and gave Art/Life Counselling in a 7-year installation at the New Museum. Her work in the areas of performance, writing, video and installation have had a profound effect both in their own right and in the influence they have had on artists around the world.


TIME TIME TIME was a 12-month series of durational performance art works by artists from the UK, US and Canada, presented in Toronto and curated by Paul Couillard. TIME TIME TIME presented works ranging from 12 hours to several days. Ritual, endurance, attention span, community-building, altering states of consciousness, boundaries between public and private, narrative, linearity and transformation were explored in the series by artists presenting their compelling, urgent visions of ourselves and our world at the end of the 20th Century.

January: Linda Montano
February: Alastair MacLennan
March: Rebecca Belmore
April: Tanya Mars
June: Roddy Hunter
June: Shannon Cochrane
August: Frank Moore
September: Otiose (Ailith Roberts and John Dummett)
October: Jennifer Nelson and Glen Redpath
November: Jenny Strauss
December: Clive Robertson
December: Paul Couillard

Curatorial Statement by Paul Couillard

‘Performance art’ is a difficult beast. Not many people really know the term, and even less could say what it means. For those ‘in the know’, the definitions vary widely: some definitions are very personal, while others are tied to very precise and limited historical references.

My own approach to understanding or defining the term ‘performance art’ is ‘radical’ – in the sense of looking to the ‘roots’ of the practices grouped under the term ‘performance’. Performance has four basic formal elements: time, space, the body of the performer(s), and the relationship between performer and audience. In broad terms, performance includes the various established forms of ‘theatre’ (in all its genres from recitation to puppetry to melodrama and so forth); ‘dance’ (from ballet to tap to ballroom); and ‘music’ (classical, a cappella, rap…). I use the term ‘performance art’ to name works that engage the four elements of performance, but use one or more of them in ways that are unfamiliar, unexpected, or initially unrecognizable within the cultural context that they are presented.

For the past 15 years, I have been creating and producing works that I call performance art. In calling them performance art, I am suggesting that the ‘project’ of these works, or at least of my involvement with them, has been to explore the basic elements of performance, to experiment, to research—often, to push at what appear to be the established boundaries of form. To create new forms. To look at forms outside of my personal cultural currency. To be consciously a misfit.

The premise of TIME TIME TIME is to look at the element of time or duration through performance art.

We have very odd ways of understanding time. This is apparent in how we mark time in units that can seem relatively ‘objective’ (‘days’ and ‘years’, determined by the earth’s relationship to the sun – and useful for things like planting crops or knowing when it will be dark or light) or ‘subjective’ (e.g. ‘the millennium’), depending on what we know or imagine about how these measurements came to be. Is a second meant to be a heartbeat? Why are there 60 of them in a minute? Why 24 hours in a day? Why 12 months in a year?

Here in North America at the end of the 20th Century, the measurement of time seems to press heavily upon us. Our attention spans have been perhaps sharpened but undoubtedly shortened by technologies of our own creation, while an artificial row of zeroes may be poised to wreak havoc on the electronic infrastructures of what we call ‘civilization’ and possibly on our collective psyches as well. It seems an appropriate time to look at ‘time’, to return to our ‘roots’ in time.

TIME TIME TIME is a series of 12 works by different artists, presented in Toronto over the course of a year (1999) – approximately one a month – with each work lasting a minimum of 12 continuous hours.

Twelve continuous hours is one full sweep of the face of a clock, a commonly understood time marker that surely holds many conscious and unconscious cultural connotations. Half the length of a day, twelve hours is generally long enough to encompass at least one transition of light—from ‘day’ to ‘night’ or vice versa. It is longer than the average work period, but within the realm of many types of shift work. Twelve hours is certainly a far longer time period than that normally associated with either spectatorship or entertainment, but not an unheard-of length of time for engagement in a task, or for many forms of teaching, community activity, or spiritual practice.

Twelve hours is also a long enough period to raise several practical bodily considerations for the artist in terms of going to the bathroom, drinking, eating and sleeping. Artistry is, in many ways, a response to restrictions; it is the agency that one carves out of the confrontations and resistances one encounters in the struggle to create or express. With but a single formal restriction (that the piece must be a minimum of 12 continuous hours in length), TIME TIME TIME offers the audience a chance to look at how 12 sets of artists solve these ‘practical’ problems that time brings about. How do these artists turn 12 or more hours into a performance? How do they invite an audience to engage with this work? And what clues does this provide to us about how these artists understand what performance is, what time is, and how meaning is produced through time?

This sampling of work is in no way meant to be taken as a definitive survey of the durational performance work being produced right now. Although I attempted to bring together a range of artists and approaches, the curatorial process was limited by both financial restrictions and my own ignorance. Every day I learn of other artists and works that I would have liked to have seen included here. Nevertheless, I am extremely proud of the calibre of work in this series—by artists from several cultural backgrounds, of varying ages, and at various stages of their careers. They are teaching me a great deal about the mysteries of time. It is a rare privilege to be able to observe and participate so closely in the process of these generous, creative souls—and I am forever transformed by their work.

Series Purple

An ode to FADO's history, Series Purple is composed of a collection of purple fragrance materials dating back to the Roman Empire. Dense, intense, and meandering, this fragrance tells us non-linear stories.

Top Notes

huckleberry, violet

Middle Notes

cassis, lilac, heliotrope

Base Notes

orris root, purple sage, labdanum