the project bread-bed has been presented in canada at: the new gallery in calgary, alberta (2002,) eyelevel gallery in halifax, nova scotia (2002,) galerie verticale in laval, québec (2003,) eastern edge in st. john’s, newfoundland (2003,) espaces émergents in montréal québec (2003,) in finland at anti-contemporary art festival, kuopio (2004) and in france at the cité internationale des arts in paris (2005.)

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year: 2005

location: cité internationale des arts, paris, france

duration: three hours

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photos: jack locke

this outdoor corridor at the cité internationale des arts in paris was “home” to between eighteen and twenty men. when night fell the “guys” would come and claim their place. some had cardboard and sleeping bags, some did not. every morning the corridor was hosed down and all traces from the night before were washed away. in the day you would never know the ground you walked on was occupied each night. my room was above the corridor, above the men who slept there – i started to see the men like images from a dream, ephemeral beings with no physical trace of their existence. and i started to wonder what dreams they were dreaming while sleeping below me…

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year: 2004

location: at the office of the kuopio area employment union, kuopio, finland

supported by: anti – contemporary art festival

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during the time of caesar, the romans viewed bread as a political tool. in order to pacify the people and discourage revolt, bread was distributed freely to the poor at state-organized circuses.

“what the people want is bread and circuses.”

nine people are hired through kuopio’s unemployment office to produce a bed made of bread. the job description is to make a bed using twenty-five loaves of white sliced bread. the bed is to be constructed in a slow and leisurely fashion, with time taken for coffee breaks and socializing. after the bed is made the person lies down on the bed. people are hired for half a day to “lay down on the job”, and to gain comfort from their “daily bread.”

in bread-bed the laborer lies down on the job and produces no product. it is an act that refuses to equate human value with performance quotas. it is also a peaceful and strangely quieting activity, to make a place for one’s own body and to occupy that space.

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title: bread-bed

year: 2003

location: eastern edge gallery, st. john’s, newfoundland

duration: performance opening night, installation one month

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i hired people to make and lay on the bread bed for the duration of the opening. the trace of the action stayed in the gallery as an installation for the duration of the exhibition.

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title: american can(‘t) for espaces émergents, coups de dés – “déterritorialité” curated by guy sious durand

year: 2003

location: old american can factory in montréal, québec

duration: one night

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i hired four people to make bread beds, four people to throw onions against a brick wall. working with food in the former “american can” factory i wanted to evoke ideas of revolt as well as comfort.

for me, one of the most beautiful moments was after the performance was over and the crowd had moved on. i sat back in one of the darkened alcoves, just contemplating what had happened when a young man came into the area. he did not see me. he picked up an onion from off the floor and whipped it with all his might against the wall. and then he picked up another onion and whipped it with all mjhis might against the wall, and another and another. to me, his gesture was one of absolute freedom, the movement in his body and the force of his throw exquisite.

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title: bread-bed

year: 2003

location: galerie verticale, laval, québec

duration: one month

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photos: paul litherland
-she buys twenty-five loaves of white sliced bread at the painerie pom surplus outlet in her neighbourhood. sometimes the bread is SUPERGAIN Enriched White Bread, it comes in canary yellow bags with red, white and blue type.

-after she has bagged her bread she walks to the st. henri metro. the bread is heavy and awkward to carry. she notices people are polite, doors are held open, someone gives up their seat. or she notices people are rude. maybe they think either she is very poor, or she works in a soup kitchen somewhere making sandwiches. this is o.kay. she stays on the metro until the end of the line: henri-bourassa. now she takes the laval bus. she gets off at 2084 boulevard des laurentides.

-she walks up the steps and into the gallery.

-she dumps the bread out. she rips open the bread bags and lays the slices of bread down on the floor: eight slices wide, eighteen slices long. she keeps laying the bread down, with precision and care. she places the bread one slice on top of the other, like an overlapping grid. it is about four layers high. she uses all the bread.

-she crawls onto the bread-bed. she lays her body down. she rests for as long as she likes. she is o.kay. when she gets up the trace of her body remains, it is imprinted into the bread.

-she repeats this buying and traveling and arriving and making and laying down and getting up and leaving. she repeats this on every tuesday, wednesday, thursday and friday for the one month duration of the exhibition. it is a ritual. an accumulation.

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title: tit sucker, bread-bed

year: 2002

location: eyelevel gallery, halifax, nova scotia

duration: one month

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