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ELLEPHANT @ quartier des spectacles
Montreal (Québec) H2X 2W3
(corner of rue Charlotte)
Karen.. I really enjoyed our extended conversation while you were “Sitting” last Friday, and also your prescence throughout the 7a*11d festival. If I get some whatever and get to Montreal some time soon let’s get together and chat or take in something.
You have a letter in the mail…
I just wanted to say thank you for everything and wish you well on your trip home. Todd said you leave tomorrow morning…I was very happy to see you again, your smile like your writing is like a shadow that shifts and changes becoming more fasinating and intreging as time passes . I just finished looking at your bread/ neck performance and it moved me. The actions are very dirrect and purposeful but it’s subtle too. Your work leaves room for the viewer to think, to breathe. I have been thinking a lot about “pre intentions” and what it would be like to let go of them when performing. Years ago I say a guy with a shirt that said: “No expectations, no disapointments.” It made me laugh when I first say it but as I kept thinking about it it started to make me think differently about understanding the beauty of life as it is not as we may want it to be.
I like how your work exists within environments – for the most part- that are uncontrolled and constantly in flux. The idea of creating space and taking ownership of that space is a lot more challenging when outside the protective space of a gallery. Not that the gallery is a completely dead space and therefore obsolete/ unnesecary- as it lets the artist address its history and can engage the viewer(s), participant(s) and artist(s) in ways that being in public can’t, but saying that I don’t think it holds the same ‘power’ it used to. Which makes me think of the breaking down of “authority” within the arts in general. To me there are no alternative spaces anymore, anyway. I think it’s more important to me to think in terms of context and maching the work to a space rather than the other way around. We all exist somewhere at some time and so does the manifistations of our actions/ ideas. For the most part, how the viewer reads a work depends on the individual and what they bring to it. The thing that I think is most difficult about performing outside of the gallery is that there are very few free spaces where a person can express themselves without being moved along. It’s criminal that cities make it nearly impossible to enjoy a space in the way we need to- from the no loitering signs to the blatant middle bars placed on benches to the concrete seats with steel plates afixed to their edges- to detere skateboaders from sliding across them. When I lived in Toronto- (by York University) (Jane and Finch area) I was always struck by the bleekness of all the concrete towers. So drab and hollow and cold. Everything was grey and univiting. On my way to the store I would always see this group of men sitting cross-legged on a small patch of grass in front of one of those towers with their tiny colman burner trying to have a picnic. It struck me that cities basically asign places where citizens go and can’t go. Even nature is like this now. We can’t roam freely, anymore. There is so much control our our human spaces. This is something that I liked about Amy’s last piece- she seemed to take ownership of her space in that park. She marked the ground but also marked our need to take back what is all of ours.
You have such a big heart- the way you where with the other artists- the way you make people feel. I really respect you. I enjoyed being around you these last few days. Those morning chats were golden weren’t they? I felt honoured to listen and to be listened to. There is so much value in getting inside people, in going beyond the facade of image and identity. When I look at you I think that everything is the way it should be. Thank you for your courage. Thank you for going deeper and showing your depth via your blog entries, your one to one chats with each artist and your personal research.
When Emilio and his mother performed their collaboration I was struck by how much the audience wanted to give. This is the power of making work with honest intentions. Emilios’ mother exuded a power and strength that I have been privileged to witness through many women I have known. Their piece made me think about the bond between a mother and child but also the others bonds that are more fleeting like the bond that sometimes happens between the audience and performer(s). I think that Emilio has adeptly shown our most basic universal connection- to nurture and be nurtured. The strength is in his work seems to stem from his softness- his openness to the people in the room. He didn’t just include us in the piece he held out his hand and walked us into his home. I actually think the most revelling part of the performance was when he was speaking in Spanish to his mother and not translating- the intimacy in doing something public and private at the same time. A small moment. But it’s in these small moments where this crossover between doing and living exists- between memories and dreams; between anticipation and acceptance; between love and reverence. Anyway, a performance is beyond an experience or a memory- it’s a portal into something deeper…
Tell Jess I miss holding her hand… that holding it felt like we were conjoined twins…lol I didn’t want to let go!
I really hate goodbyes… so see you later…
Hi Karen. Yes. Feel free to post what I wrote. Edit out the person stuff as you feel fit.
Really happy to get this discussion together last Friday @ Skol during my “writings/drawings” (pseudo-)performance in the context of “Sortons les archives”.
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