projects

May 6, 2017

2012mai8or72  sittin’ with cabot square at centre clark, 2017.

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_mg_9665_photo-guy-lheureux-2  headlines at ellephant, 2017.

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2016_kes_portrait_72dpi the sitter, the interdisciplinary writers’ unit, and the darling.

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on_and_on_2014 letters home/lettres à ma mère, ellephant, and galerie b-312, 2015.
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screen-shot-2015-08-26-at-10-40-40-am pourrait être fait, 2015, baie-saint-paul, québec.

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img_9411 blogeurs en captivité, 2014, montréal, québec.
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_MG_9829Photo Guy L'Heureux letters home, 2014, montréal, québec.
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07kes2013how  how many is too many?,  2013, 14th street, new york, new york.
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  hey! mike,  2012, new york, new york.
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sittin’ with,  2012/2013, montréal, québec.
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revus, 2012, galerie b-312, montréal, québec.

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_MG_7930 inked dreams, work on paper, 2012.

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le mur saint martin, 2011, paris, france.

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Read the rest of this entry »


2016_caught_in_the_act_mars_householder
walk a mile in her shoes : the art of karen elaine spencer

by christine redfern

in:

More Caught in the Act: An Anthology of Performance Art by Canadian Women

Vol. 2, ed. by Johanna Householder and Tanya Mars  420 pp. , 264 b/w photos, 18 colour plates ISBN 978-0-920397-64-0 (softcover) Montreal and Toronto: Artexte Editions/YYZBOOKS, 2016.

“One Day”
Opening on April 9th, 2pm to 5pm

ELLEPHANT
1010 Queen St. W. Toronto
Thursday-Friday : 3pm to 8pm
Saturday-Sunday : 1pm to 6pm

Exhibition continues until April 30, 2016
Curator Christine Redfern

Book Launch of  THE PARK by Kate Hutchinson

One Day features five contemporary artists whose powerful visual artworks reflect upon our shared humanity.

Jennifer Smalls three sculptural pieces start with orphaned religious objects that she modifies and recontextualizes in order to examine the Charlie Hebdo shootings and theology’s place within society. Kate Hutchinson presents three photographs selected from her publication The Park. By documenting people using Montreal’s Mount Royal, Hutchinson develops a project about the communal nature of public places. Elena Willis imagines and depicts a schoolchild from the 1966 mining disaster in Aberfan, Wales and a premonitory dream told to Buddha by his wife Gopa. These two masterful photographs focus on individuals who are often forgotten when history is recounted.

Skawennati’s machinimagraph Face-Off recreates the iconic photograph from the Oka Crisis. This production still from Skawennati’s celebrated TimeTraveller™ machinama continues her on-going drive to show Indigenous culture thriving in the present and future. Ten drawings are on view from karen elaine spencer’s headline series. Each piece contains a headline from the New York Times, the NYSE Composite Index and the date. These rapidly changing bits of information become permanent and timeless through the artist’s slow, labour intensive rendering of them in ink on paper.

(to see some of the nyt headlines click here : https://likewritingwithwater.wordpress.com/drawing/)

souvent j’étais

March 27, 2016

 

2016_souvent_jetais_encredechine_768

titre : souvent j’étais (texte de gabrielle roy)
année : 2016
material : encre de chine sur papier arches
dimensions : 168 x 152 cm

(clique sur l’image pour l’agrandir)

-donne le ton

February 28, 2016

2016_nil_72dpi

title : donne le ton
year : 2016
material : acrylic ink on arches paper
dimensions : 112 x 152 cm

(click on image to enlarge)

bandeau_accueil_lancement255_0.jpg
communique_spirale

some men say

January 15, 2016

_MG_9656_Photo Guy LHeureux
title : some men say (anne carson’s “if not winter” sappho translations)
year : 2015
material : india ink and gesso wash on found cardboard made into a box
dimensions : 30 x 38 cm.

 

02c_karen-elaine-spencer_33e-symposium-international-dart-contemporain_photo-renecc81-bouchard_br1-copy-2
artiste au travail/artist at work

en_6_ans_Karen-Elaine-Spencer_33e-Symposium-international-dart-contemporain_Photo-René-Bouchardle charlevoisien 22 juillet 2015. en 6 ans la
acrylique sur lin
30 x 30 cm.
2015

02_symposium_Karen-Elaine-Spencer_33e-Symposium-international-dart-contemporain_Photo-René-Bouchard_BR1le charlevoisien 5 août 2015. symposium international d’art
acrylique sur lin
30 x 30 cm.
2015

02sylvain_Karen-Elaine-Spencer_33e-Symposium-international-dart-contemporain_Photo-René-Bouchard_BR1le charlevoisien 12 août 2015. sylvain tremblay avance que
acrylique sur lin
30 x 30 cm.
2015

photos : rené bouchard
pour en savoir plus : https://pourraitetrefait.wordpress.com/

 

 

ELLEPHANT

@ quartiers des spectacles

1201 rue St-Dominique Montréal (Québec) H2X 2W3

WED  to  SAT 12:00 – 17:00

 inaugurating exhibition “letters home”  by karen elaine spencer OCT 28 – NOV 21.

Opening NOV 7, 2015

on_and_on_2014

“the word ‘home’ is an all-encompassing word that evokes all manner of emotional attachments.”

Christine Redfern founder / curator 514-778-7068 redfern@ellephant.org

check out more work by spencer @ ELLEPHANT

14h -samedi, 31 octobre 2015 

GALERIE B-312

372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest
Espace 403
Montréal (Québec) H3B 1A2
(514) 874-9423

Puis, jusqu’à 17 h, les artistes Sandra Lachance et karen elaine spencer seront présentes pour discuter avec vous,
on vous attend !

Performance et rencontres
 banniere_lancement_publication

NOUVELLES PARUTIONS ET LANCEMENTS

L’envers de l’endroit. The underside of site, un ouvrage qui explore la pratique de l’art public infiltrant à partir d’un corpus de treize œuvres et les essais et recensions de six auteurs.

Les traces des pratiques infiltrantes racontées (et le récit narré d’une résidence), un essai de Marie-Ève Leclerc-Parker, premier titre de la nouvelle collection Les carnets de l’art infiltrant.

Lancement à Granby

Jeudi 5 novembre 2015 – 18 h à 20 h

Lieu : 3e impérial, centre d’essai en art actuel, 164, rue Cowie, suite 310, Granby (Québec)

Avec la collaboration de Réseautage art et culture Montérégie.

Lancement à Montréal

Mercredi 11 novembre 2015 – 16 h 30 à 19 h

Lieu : Librairie Formats, 2 rue Sainte-Catherine Est, espace 302, Montréal.

Avec la collaboration de la Librairie Formats.

Photo: couverture de la publication L’envers de l’endroit / The Underside of Site.
À gauche: © Raphaëlle de Groot, Le poids des objets, 2012. À droite: © Véronique Malo, De passage, 2010.

(english follows)

Le 3e impérial, centre d’essai en art actuel lance deux publications :

L’ENVERS DE L’ENDROIT. THE UNDERSIDE OF SITE.
Des œuvres d’art qui infiltrent le réel dans tous les sens. Une pensée artistique perpétuellement en mouvement qui, pourtant, ne tourne pas en rond. Artworks that infiltrate the Real from behind, below and every which way. Artistic thought that is always on the move, but doesn’t turn around in circles.

Cet ouvrage explore la pratique de l’art public infiltrant à partir d’un corpus de treize œuvres et les essais et recensions de six auteurs.

Œuvres d’art infiltrant /Artistes
Emma Waltraud Howes, Karen Elaine Spencer, Émilie Rondeau, Stéphane Gilot, Patrick Bérubé, Véronique Malo, Ani Deschênes, Douglas Scholes, Victoria Stanton, Magali Babin, Raphaëlle de Groot, Sylvaine Chassay, Christian Leduc & Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf.

Essais/Auteurs
Dominic Marcil, Ronald Richard, Guy Sioui Durand, Jérôme Delgado, Denis Lessard, Véronique Leblanc, Martin Dufrasne.

Comment échapper à la stabilité apparente du monde et du présent avec l’objectif de les transformer ? Comment révéler l’invisible ? Par d’habiles détours, par des renversements de perspective, des manœuvres épiques, la construction d’utopies, ou en dévoilant un entre-lieu ? Voici le défi posé par L’envers de l’endroit, cycle d’exploration et de création en art infiltrant, in situ et in socius, auquel ont été conviés treize artistes. L’ouvrage inclut une documentation visuelle de leurs œuvres, des recensions critiques et essais de six auteurs. « Qu’un objet puisse s’annoncer comme étant l’envers de l’endroit fait vaciller de soi la définition classique — classée — de l’objet d’art. » (Ronald Richard). Fondées sur la rencontre et la création de liens entre des univers qui, a priori, ne se fréquentent pas, ces œuvres, porteuses d’un effet de « dépaysement » (Denis Lessard), infiltrent le quotidien, usant de stratégies créatives : « poésie subversive », « activisme ludique géographique » (Guy Sioui Durand), performance, infiltration médiatique, filature, fiction construite, déambulation, marche sonore, projection vidéo, etc. « Tels des archéologues de l’ordinaire, [certains des artistes] envisagent le mot, le geste, l’objet ou l’attitude comme autant d’éléments à collectionner et à mettre en rapport les uns avec les autres pour sonder le caractère équivoque du réel. » (Véronique Leblanc) D’autres, encore, vont « perturber la belle image d’une utopie caractérisée » (Jérôme Delgado).

Sous la direction de Danyèle Alain
avec la collaboration de Patrick Beaulieu
Conception graphique de Pata Macedo
Textes en français et en anglais
352 pages, reproductions couleur, 2015
ISBN 978-2-9809723-4-8
30 $

OFFRE SPÉCIALE :
À l’occasion des lancements des 5 et 11 novembre, la publication Les traces des pratiques infiltrantes racontées sera offerte gratuitement sur achat d’une publication L’envers de l’endroit. The underside of site.

LES TRACES DES PRATIQUES INFILTRANTES RACONTÉES
(ET LE RÉCIT NARRÉ D’UNE RÉSIDENCE)

Un essai de Marie-Ève Leclerc-Parker, premier titre de la nouvelle collection Les carnets de l’art infiltrant.

Essai produit dans le cadre d’une résidence pour critique de la relève proposée en 2014-2015 par le 3e impérial, centre d’essai en art actuel aux étudiants universitaires du Québec et hors-Québec. Il s’agit du premier titre de la nouvelle collection Les carnets de l’art infiltrant destinée à diffuser les idées fraîches et à promouvoir le développement et le renouvellement de la pensée critique en art actuel.

Marie-Ève Leclerc-Parker est une auteure émergente qui s’intéresse à l’art actuel sous toutes ses formes, du furtif au performatif. Auxiliaire de recherche et étudiante à la maîtrise en histoire de l’art à l’Université du Québec à Montréal, ses recherches gravitent autour de la résidence d’artistes dans les centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec et, plus particulièrement, sur la résistance de cette pratique à la définition.

Sous la direction de Danyèle Alain
avec la collaboration de David Beauchamp
Conception graphique de Pata Macedo
Texte en français
8 pages, 2015
ISBN 978-2-9809723-5-5
3 $

www.3e-imperial.org
Tél. : 450 372 7261

L’ENVERS DE L’ENDROIT. THE UNDERSIDE OF SITE.
Des œuvres d’art qui infiltrent le réel dans tous les sens. Une pensée artistique perpétuellement en mouvement qui, pourtant, ne tourne pas en rond. Artworks that infiltrate the Real from behind, below and every which way. Artistic thought that is always on the move, but doesn’t turn around in circles.

Infiltration-based artworks /Artists
Emma Waltraud Howes, Karen Elaine Spencer, Émilie Rondeau, Stéphane Gilot, Patrick Bérubé, Véronique Malo, Ani Deschênes, Douglas Scholes, Victoria Stanton, Magali Babin, Raphaëlle de Groot, Sylvaine Chassay, Christian Leduc & Marc-Antoine K. Phaneuf.

Essays/Authors
Dominic Marcil, Ronald Richard, Guy Sioui Durand, Jérôme Delgado, Denis Lessard, Véronique Leblanc, Martin Dufrasne.

How do we escape from the seeming stability of the world and the present with the ultimate goal of transforming it? How do we reveal the invisible? Through skillful detouring, reversals of perspective, epic maneuvering, building utopias, or in revealing inbetween-places?

This is the challenge posed by L’envers de l’endroit, an exploration cycle that provided the context for creating many in situ and in socius artworks, artworks rooted in the creation of connections between, and encounters with worlds not normally in contact with each other. These works carry within them the agency of “dépaysement”—the positive disorientation provoked by a change of context—(Denis Lessard), infiltrate into daily life, employ creative strategies: “a subversive poetry”, “a playful geographic activism” (Guy Sioui Durand), performance, media infiltration, trailing, fictionalization, artistic walkabouts, sound walks, video projections, etc. “As archeologists of the everyday, [some of these artists] consider words, gestures, objects and attitudes as elements to be collected and connected to each other in order to probe the ambiguous nature of the Real” (Véronique Leblanc). Others will opt to “disrupt the pretty picture of constructed utopia” (Jérôme Delgado).

Edited by Danyèle Alain
with collaboration of Patrick Beaulieu
Graphic Design by Pata Macedo
Texts in English and French
352 pages, colour reproductions, 2015
ISBN 978-2-9809723-4-8
30 $

www.3e-imperial.org
Tel. : 450 372 7261

3e impérial, centre d’essai en art actuel
164 rue Cowie, suite 310, Granby, Québec, Canada  J2G 3V3
Tél. 450-372-7261 info@3e-imperial.org
www.3e-imperial.org

inter121_2015

le revue “inter art actuel” 121 pauvreté dépouillement dénuement

inter, une belle revue avec deux articles qui lance une regard vers mon travail :

De la ligne à en ligne. Le dessin comme zone créatrice intemporelle non dénuée de desseins
par GUY SIOUI DURAND

Performatif du désoeuvrement. Pour une esthétique du dénuement, de la vie nue.
par MÉLISSA CORREIA

KAREN ELAINE SPENCER
LETTERS HOME / LETTRES À MA MÈRE
Exposition
15 octobre 2015 – 14 novembre 2015
VERNISSAGE et PERFORMANCE –
Le jeudi 15 octobre 2015 à 17h30

_MG_9829Photo Guy L'Heureux
© karen elaine spencer—Photo : Guy L’Heureux—Galerie B-312

La Galerie B-312 a le plaisir de présenter dans sa petite salle le travail de karen elaine spencer. Sa pratique intuitive, foisonnante et complexe oscille entre la spontanéité de la performance et le processus lent et minutieux de son travail plastique. Depuis plusieurs années, l’artiste se met en situation dans des lieux publics, parfois marginaux – parcs, couloirs du métro, coins de rue – et investit différents moyens de communication – réseaux sociaux, cartes postales, messages sur carton –, dans le but d’explorer la société qui nous entoure et de nous interroger sur les rapports de pouvoir qui la régissent. Le quotidien, l’actualité et le langage sont au cœur de sa démarche, comme en témoigne l’installation letters home / lettres à ma mère, comprenant deux œuvres sur papier et un dispositif sonore. Si les œuvres sur papier ont des allures de tableaux abstraits, les formes géométriques qui les composent sont en réalité des fragments de texte, issus de différentes sources – notes personnelles, listes de courses, poèmes, journaux – assemblés à la manière d’un collage. Par une gestuelle méticuleuse et répétitive, elle peint chaque lettre sur le papier, en ôtant la ponctuation, afin d’apporter une valeur égale à chaque mot. Ainsi elle ordonne et archive les différents événements tirés de ses performances et de son quotidien, allant de ses sittin’ au square Cabot, à la mort tragique de Naïma Rharouity dans le métro, en passant par ses questionnements sur les sans-abris et sur son propre rapport au « chez soi ». De ce processus de reconstruction de la prose, résulte un rythme visuel. La voix monocorde, presque incantatoire de l’artiste, déchiffrant ces « partitions » sur la bande son, au delà d’en offrir une simple traduction, amplifie la confusion face à ces mots qui se superposent, dans l’espace et sur le papier, envahissant l’esprit du spectateur. Les phrases, devenues motifs codés, nécessitent un engagement de celui qui en prend connaissance, pour en saisir le sens et toute l’humanité.
Le soir du vernissage, l’artiste fera la lecture des textes présentés en salle, extraits de la série letters home / lettres à ma mère, se confrontant dès lors à la difficulté inhérente du mode d’inscription choisi.
– Ophélie Chalabi

karen elaine spencer détient une maîtrise en arts plastiques de l’Université du Québec à Montréal et un baccalauréat du Nova Scotia College of Art and Design de Halifax. Ses œuvres ont été présentées au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Europe, notamment lors de Blogueurs en captivité, une collaboration de Dare-Dare et de Folie/Culture (2014) dans le cadre du festival Art in Odd Places à New York (2013) ainsi que dans le contexte du Festival d’art performatif et d’intervention à Moncton (2012). Plus récemment, son travail était visible au Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul (2015). karen elaine spencer a obtenu le Prix Powerhouse 2012. Elle est représentée par ELLEPHANT, nouvelle galerie d’art contemporain à Montréal.

À surveiller — La galerie ELLEPHANT présentera parrallèlement, du 28 octobre au 22 novembre une autre partie de la série lettres à ma mère. La galerie est située au 1201 rue Saint- Dominique. Le vernissage aura lieu le 7 novembre de 12h à 17h

GALERIE B-312 
372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest
Espace 403
Montréal (Québec) H3B 1A2 
(514) 874-9423
Du mardi au samedi 
12h à 17h
Les jeudis jusqu’à 20h
Info@galerieb312.ca

a portrait between two : while the performer performs the writer watches and writes

writer : karen elaine spencer
performer : adriana disman
title : dying continually (part of intimacy with fear)
date : march 28 2015
duration : 6 hours
location : rats9

adriana : bare feet. black knee-length skirt. black and white striped shirt. black hair cropped neck length.

performance space : thin slats of hardwood flooring, scratched, stained. white walls lit with ten spots, five spots on one wall, five on the other. floor length black curtain separating performance space from studios in back. brown wooden chair with paint stains in the centre of the performance space. metronome.

adriana : “o.k. i think i’m just gonna start.”
places metronome on floor in centre of room
starts metronome
 walks to chair 
 sits on chair
feet on floor, hands on lap
closes eyes

to download the text click on this link : adriana4final_2015

to read more about adriana disman’s project at dare-dare click on this link : http://www.dare-dare.org/fr/evenements/adriana-disman_intimes-avec-la-peur

KAREN ELAINE SPENCER
LETTERS HOME / LETTRES À MA MÈRE
Exposition

_MG_9829Photo Guy L'Heureux

Karen Elaine Spencer LETTERS HOME / LETTRES À MA MÈRE © karen elaine spencer—Photo : Guy L’Heureux—Galerie B-312

karen elaine spencer détient une maîtrise en arts plastiques de l’Université du Québec à Montréal et un baccalauréat du Nova Scotia College of Art and Design de Halifax. Ses œuvres ont été présentées au Canada, aux États-Unis et en Europe, notamment lors de Blogueurs en captivité, une collaboration de Dare-Dare et de Folie/Culture (2014) dans le cadre du festival Art in Odd Places à New York (2013) ainsi que dans le contexte du Festival d’art performatif et d’intervention à Moncton (2012). Plus récemment, son travail était visible au Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul (2015). karen elaine spencer a obtenu le Prix Powerhouse 2012. Elle est représentée par Ellephant, nouvelle galerie d’art contemporain à Montréal.

15 octobre 2015 – 14 novembre 2015

karen elaine spencer présente un corpus d’œuvres textuelles qu’elle adresse à sa mère. À travers des extraits provenant de différentes sources d’information, elle transcrit patiemment ces fragments de textes en lettres capitales tout en omettant la ponctuation. On ne peut donc déceler le commencement ou la fin d’une phrase. Ainsi altérées, ces œuvres exigent un déchiffrement pénible, comme si, à même ces élisions, quelque chose s’échappe et demeure intraduisible. L’une des œuvres, i maintain, en explore les limites à travers l’histoire de Naima Rharouity, morte après que son voile se fut pris dans un escalier roulant à la station de métro Fabre à Montréal en 2014. Ce travail de narration jongle avec les questions de l’exil, de l’itinérance et du territoire et soulève les limites du dicible.

GALERIE B-312

372, rue Ste-Catherine Ouest
Espace 403
Montréal (Québec) H3B 1A2
(514) 874-9423
Du mardi au samedi
12h à 17h
Les jeudis jusqu’à 20h

Info@galerieb312.ca 

comingtotermsLittle Berlin
2430 Coral St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19125
Coming to Terms

October 2 – October 31, 2015

Opening Reception: Friday, October 2, 6 – 10PM

Yvonne Lung (Philadelphia, PA), Kevin McNamee-Tweed (Austin, TX), James Sham (Washington, DC), Karen Elaine Spencer (Quebec, Canada)

Curated by Maddie Hewitt

Coming to Terms is a group exhibition dissecting the limitations of language. The show features work from four artists who mythologize the meaning of words, show gradual adaptations in storytelling, and expose the inevitable misunderstandings that emerge from multiple forms of communication.

The exhibition includes a range of media, such as videos with subtitles and eye-tracking technology, sumi ink drawings, handmade flyers, takeaway postcards, and self-published newspapers. Varied techniques of expression attempt to simulate the different ways information is distributed. Debate, reenactment, interpretation, translation, storytelling, handwriting, letters, advertising, and journalism are considered, corresponding in a frantic, nonverbal call-and-response to uncover the indefinable.

Coming to Terms shows the contradiction of language interpretation; the inadequacies of the rational mind to “come to terms”, and the point at which we leave those terms behind. This empathetic study calls attention to the paradoxes inevitable in language, bringing us closer to the creation of alternative, newer forms of expression.

Curator Maddie Hewitt continues with similar themes and tactics from her last exhibition at Little Berlin, Hard To Please. Her curatorial projects reveal her preoccupation with omnipresent human desires, disposition, and language in order to understand human interaction and its struggles.

Gallery Hours during special events or by appointment. For more information or to schedule an appointment contact berlin.little@gmail.com

genevieve_519

e s p a c e  p r o j e t
353, rue Villeray

Montréal, Québec, Canada
H2R 1H1
514 439 9337

Textile Museum of Canada

We are pleased to introduce Montreal’s Nadia Myre and Karen Elaine Spencer (Naka Collective), representing Canada in WATERCOLOUR, presented by the Textile Museum of Canada in conjunction with the TORONTO 2015 Pan/Parapan Am Games and featuring 41 boat sails with work from artists from each participating Pan Am country.

For their design, titled AKI, Myre and Spencer were inspired to play with language and colour while creating a site-specific design reflecting on the complexities of the Americas. It’s a play on the words AKI – Anishnabe-mowin for land; AQUI – Spanish for where; A QUI – French for whom; ACQUIRE – English for get/win. Who will win in this land here?

Join us for WATERCOLOUR on Toronto’s waterfront on July 12 at 11:00 am and July 19 at 5:30 pm!

Textile Museum of Canada's photo.

symposiuminternationald'art

check it out : http://symposiumbsp.com/

never

April 24, 2015

 

ArtNow-04-2015-web

double click to enlarge

CBC Montreal Artists

painting/1990’s

January 20, 2015

 

IslBG
benetton
1994
oil on canvas
144 x 144 cm.IslBG
fallopian tube
1992
oil on canvas
144 x 144 cm.

IslBG
rogier van der wyden /crop
1996
oil on canvas
144 x 144 cm.

IslBG

kes1997leslanguesauxdoights72
title : les langues aux doigts/tongues into fingers
year : 1997
material : barbed wire, silk thread, white glue, ribbon
size : to fit the hand

performed at: centre de diffusion à l’université du québec à montréal
sculpture photo by : paul litherland
performance photo by : teofil valeriu ghetiu

kes1996burgcup72
title : barbed (burgundy)
year : 1996
material : barbed wire, silk thread, white glue, ribbon, needles
size : to fit the body

photo by : paul litherland

kes1996cupbarbeedwirethreadglueribbon72
title : barbed (cream)
year : 1996
material : barbed wire, silk thread, white glue, ribbon
size : to fit the body
photo by : paul litherland

IslBG

IslBG
title : cocoon (1 & 2)
year : 1996
material : barbed wire, silk thread, white glue
size : to cover the body
photos by : paul litherland

6_heymike1

7_heymike2

8_heymike3

The HEY! MIKE newspaper (fall, 2013) features a commissioned text by the lawyer Mara Verna coupled with images from the hey! mike project. Verna’s text chronicles how the housing policies of New York City, under Michael Bloomberg’s administration, failed the homeless and ultimately led to a 61 percent increase of the homeless population.

By juxtaposing the two texts, the journalistic essay with the hand crafted paintings, two strategies of transmitting information are highlighted. The one employs the journalistic format and is meant to be informative; it speaks from the objective viewpoint of the educated lawyer/journalist. The other references handcrafted art and requires effort and time to decipher; it speaks with the subjective voice of the solitary individual. Both means of communication bear witness to a socially created hierarchy where some have, while others do not.

The newspaper format continues the mail art strategy employed by the artist throughout the hey! mike project and once again is a give-away destined to reach as many people as possible.

HEY! MIKE
Fall, 2013
4 page publication on newsprint
15 x 11 inches
Author: Mara Verna
Artist: karen elaine spencer
Editor, Design and Layout : Jack Locke
Produced by: karen elaine spencer
with the support of The Canada Council for the Arts

canadacouncil_logo_small_grey

isbn : 978-0-9313384-1-5

New York Stories: Twenty Years of ISCP

November 8th, 2014 – January 30th, 2015

This exhibition, organized on the occasion of ISCP’s 20th anniversary, includes work by 17 ISCP alumni that – in the broadest sense – considers the global city of New York from the perspective of an artist-in-residence.

Artists: Balam Bartolomé, Taysir Batniji, Maura Biava, Christine Coenon, Jacqueline Doyen, Patrick Hamilton, Laura Horelli, Anna Jermolaewa, Anouk Kruithof, Kakyoung Lee, Marklinger + Waerndt, Max Pam, Bundith Phunsombatlert, Karen Elaine Spencer, Axel Topfer, Christoph Weber, and Yamashita + Kobayashi.

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International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)
1040 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

New York Stories: Twenty Years of ISCP

November 8th, 2014 – January 30th, 2015

This exhibition, organized on the occasion of ISCP’s 20th anniversary, includes work by 17 ISCP alumni that – in the broadest sense – considers the global city of New York from the perspective of an artist-in-residence.

Artists: Balam Bartolomé, Taysir Batniji, Maura Biava, Christine Coenon, Jacqueline Doyen, Patrick Hamilton, Laura Horelli, Anna Jermolaewa, Anouk Kruithof, Kakyoung Lee, Marklinger + Waerndt, Max Pam, Bundith Phunsombatlert, Karen Elaine Spencer, Axel Topfer, Christoph Weber, and Yamashita + Kobayashi.

International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP)
1040 Metropolitan Avenue
Brooklyn, New York 11211

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img_9411

photo courtesy of : dare-dare

a project initiated by folie/culture (http://folieculture.org/) in association with dare-dare (http://www.dare-dare.org/fr) where adam bergeron and i were held captive inside these two glass fish tanks in seriously hot weather. the purpose? no; not sensitivity training on what it is like to live in an aquarium, but rather to blog about being alienated while experiencing alienation. however, we were very much NOT alienated from the weather conditions, but probably would have preferred to have been lol.

to check out the blog click on the link here! yeah, right here!!: http://folieculture.org/blog_spencer/

 

the day is sunday, december 15, 2013. the starting time is 14h, the place is hub 14, the event is link & pin. the title given to this event is, participation.

participation is a performance event created, produced and hosted by the curator adriana disman. the photographer henri chan and the videographer (whose name i do not know,) hired by the artists, document the performances. the volunteer intern, veronica abrenica, takes care of the door. food is provided by the baker, natalie boustaid who receives a small sum of $15. the performers and the writers are invited by adriana disman. no performance fee is forthcoming, no writer fee is allotted, although monies obtained through the suggested entry fee of $10 are divided equally between the performers and the writers ($20 each.) adriana, also non-remunerated, welcomes us all.

to download pdf click on link: linkandpin

 

 

 

 

_MG_9829Photo Guy L'Heureux

title : never ending
year : 2014
material : ink on paper / encre sur papier
dimensions : 56 x 76 cm.

Untitled-2

title : word
year : 2014
material : ink on paper / encre sur papier
dimensions : 76 x 112 cm.

photos: guy l’heureux

 

myrespencerFrozenblue72

Un projet d’art public sur la façade arrière du Théâtre de la Bordée conçu par Nadia Myre avec la collaboration de Karen Elaine Spencer

La Galerie des arts visuels de l’Université Laval est heureuse de présenter son tout premier projet d’art public. Cette bannière d’artiste, présentée avec la collaboration du Théâtre de la Bordée, sera visible jusqu’au 11 avril sur la façade arrière du théâtre, rue Notre-Dame-des-Anges.

Conçu par l’artiste Nadia Myre en collaboration avec Karen Elaine Spencer, le projet intitulé Frozen Blue se présente comme une bannière déjouant les règles de l’affichage urbain. Inspirée d’une lecture de la pièce Frozen, présentée jusqu’au 29 mars au Théâtre de la Bordée, l’œuvre présente des fragments d’un poème caché, à déchiffrer. Nadia Myre évoque dans ce poème la métaphore hivernale si présente dans la pièce:

Nuit pénible / Figé. Glacé Rien coule / Maux / Le vent  disperse les mots

Ce projet est présenté grâce au soutien précieux de Louis Garneau qui développe depuis une vingtaine d’années un partenariat fructueux avec l’École des arts visuels de l’Université Laval.

Karen Elaine Spencer will speak in Art Now at 12:00 noon in the Recital Hall on March 15

Friday, March 15, 2013 – 12:00am – 12:50am

Karen Elaine Spencer lives and works in Montreal, Québec, Canada. Spencer’s work questions use values and investigates how we, as transient beings, occupy the world. The notion of progress is resisted through the repetition of an action that leads nowhere. Metro-riding, rambling, dreaming, and loitering are among the activities Spencer folds into her practice. A project is sustained over time, often a year, and materials of our day-to-day existence are favoured. Through a détournement of materials or intentions, Spencer intervenes into specific places, where she marks and is marked by spatial and social geographies.

Spencer’s practice oscillates between work in the street, exhibitions in galleries, and disseminations via the web. In 2011, she curated the program Gosser le Furtif at Galerie Skol, Montreal. Her text for the performance group TRAFIC was published in the catalog “Lost and found/Les Bureau des Objets Trouvés,” and she was an artist in residence at The John Snow House in Calgary, Alberta. Her work has been exhibited in Canada, Europe and the U.S.A. She is the recipient of the 2012 Powerhouse Prize.

sittin’ for 7a*11d, 2010

October 27, 2010

title: sittin’

year: 2010

location: union station, toronto, ontario, canada

duration: 9 days from 9am – 5pm

supported by: 7a*11d international festival of performance art

press: steel bananas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

i am wondering what it means, what it asks of us to locate the body between the active and the utterly passive, between standing and lying down? i am wondering what it means to sit in a public space as a deliberately repeating presence.
a presence marked as female.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
thursday, october 21, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

upon entering union station from front street you will see a row of red seats. these seats are for the ‘red caps’, and they won’t like it if you sit there.

friday, october 22, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

at the top of the stairs leading to the main mall of union station there is a sign. the sign says: “see something suspicious? say something! call union station security…”

saturday, october 23, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

union station was part of the great nation building unity project, i.e. capitalism. now the station is part of the transportation system, this never-ending movement of bodies and goods, i.e. capitalism. i just wanna know, when do we get to stop?

sunday, october 24, 2010 – union station 10 am – 5 pm.

every morning i take myself to a place of transit. here i sit, mostly; but i also stand up, walk around, go to the washroom, eat and drink. i do not read or write, text or call, photograph or videotape. nor do i capture sound. at the end of the day i walk back to my hotel and write my sentences for paul to upload onto this site.

tuesday, october 26, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

this morning one of the ‘red caps’ walked over to where i was sitting, stuck out his hand, and said, “hi, i’m dan.” i took his hand, smiled, and said, “hi, i’m karen.”

wednesday, october 27, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

when in the great hall turn west and look up at the arched window between the interior and exterior panes of glass. you may see a ghost-like silhouette of a person walking from one side to the other.

thursday, october 28, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

the impulse is to share, but i withhold. certain things can be destroyed through their transmission, so today i withhold from sharing and fold into that place of protection my already articulated and re-membered recollection.

friday, october 29, 2010 – union station 9 am – 5 pm.

if you come to see me but cannot find me, does this mean you missed my performance? this is not my question. if you come to see me but cannot locate me, my question is, “what does this produce?”

saturday, october 30, 2010 – union station 10 am – 6 pm.

he asked me what i was doing here. i replied, “working.” i then contextualized this by saying i was doing research, embodied research, researching what it was to be a stationary presence within a place of transit. he accepted my explanation saying if there was anything i needed, they were always here.

7a*11d blogspot

As her performance project for 7a*11d, Karen Elaine Spencer has chosen to spend eight hours a day in a single location throughout the festival – not quite a squatter, but a sitter, inflecting her presence as observer and (un)observed. After spending a day walking the streets of Toronto, Spencer has chosen her point of arrival, Union Station, as the location for this inhabitation. At the end of each day she will post her reflection on the day’s experience on the 7a*11d website, distilled to a single sentence.

 

 

 

 

photos: henry chan

natalie loveless, festival blogger posts:

Natalie Loveless is an artist, teacher and writer. She recently completed a PhD from the University of California, Santa Cruz, on transdiciplinarity and its implications for new models of pedagogy and socially engaged art practices. She is a visiting assistant professor in the Visual Arts Department of the University of Western Ontario and is on the editorial board of >> liminal << the journal of new performance. Natalie’s blog posts are marked ‘(NL)’.

Thursday, October 21, 2010
Karen Elaine Spencer: Thursday October 21, 2010 / Day One (NL)

It is 2pm and I am wandering through Union Station to find Karen Elaine Spencer, who is performing a durational piece called Sittin’. Over the course of the festival she will sit from nine to five each day in the same spot at Toronto’s Union Station. I wonder about the choice to sit, for a full day, in the same place. If it were me, where would I sit? What kind of place? A designated seat? A corner of a stairwell? In the middle of a throughway? It takes me a while to find her – she is literally in the last place I look, and I find her right before being ready to give up.

Spencer is sitting, nondescript, in a corner, five chairs in front of the Front Street entrance. She sits in her hoodie and drab old sweater staring into space. As I approach she greets me and I ask how the day has been. No one has bothered her yet. She has taken food and pee breaks, always returning to the same seat. I ask if I can observe for a little while, and step back to decide where to sit. Sitting in front of her and watching seems, somehow, wrong. Though designated performance, this action doesn’t want attention. Her body posture invites the eye to move on: arms gently crossed over bag, slightly slumped, and eyes staring into the distance, first left, then right, as if waiting. I am reminded of Faith Wilding’s poem and performance “Waiting” and decide to sit with her for a while, to try and get inside the performance for a bit.

In front of us are three advertisements. I wonder how much time she has spent staring at them. I find myself fixating on the people passing by. How they walk. The middle aged man slumped at an unnatural angle under a duffel bag; the aging couple shuffling towards the coffee shack. The workers. The crinkle of a donut bag being crumpled and thrown away. Everything is suddenly worthy of attention as I contemplate the task of sitting here from nine to five. Nine to five: a full day’s work. The temporality of industrialized labour. The train-station as site. My back begins to hurt and my eyes move to the roof. The architecture. The signage with departure times and destinations. I expect that all of this has, over the course of the day, moved towards a kind of local, inhabited knowledge for Spencer. I wonder about the patterns, temporal rhythms, and textures of existence she must be experiencing as time stretches and slows over the duration of the performance.

For me, it’s only been 46 minutes and 12 seconds. For her, it will be 480 today, 4,800 over the course of the festival.

I leave her sitting.

Posted by Natalie S. Loveless at 1:29 PM
1 comments:

Anonymous said…

An illustration of the Foucault idea that the production of the working body is the main effect of modernized,
alienated work? Thematizing the
rigorous discipline, endurance, and physical
effort that is required to simply remain present at a
workplace from the beginning of the working day
to its end?
Kenny
October 22, 2010 3:17 PM

Friday, October 22, 2010
Karen Elaine Spencer: Sittin’, Union Station, Friday October 22, 2010 / Day Two (NL)

This time I approach from the other side and spot Spencer, sitting, eyes closed, hoodie partially hiding her from the world. She is sitting in the same set of chairs as yesterday. I skirt around silently to take a seat a little way down from her and watch. She opens her eyes, sips a drink through a straw, and looks off into the distance. Today she has no backpack, just a little paper bag tucked up beside her.

She notices me and smiles. I approach and ask how today has been. Busy, she says. Lots of foot traffic. The guards have begun to notice her but no one has yet talked to her or asked her to move along. She tells me that today has been more internal than yesterday – instead of watching so much she has been listening. She suggests that I close my eyes and just listen. I do. A deep hum. Low bass. A drone. A slightly higher rumble with a slight whine. Someone is talking on a phone loudly at my right. It irritates me to no end, wanting to just drift into the ambient sound. But I am learning a lot about his wife. His job as an insurance agent. His son Michael. Eventually I manage to tune him out and move back to the hum. The rumble of the trains. The little buzz of suitcase wheels. The clop of footsteps. All the sounds are predictable but somehow it is just delicious to sit here for a bit, listening. It is like listening to the world through a railway-station shaped conch shell.

I open my eyes to a little child running around. I see a wall of workers in front of me. I look at them intently and wait to see if they will notice me, return the look. They don’t. I glance at all the elements that attracted me yesterday – the architecture, the signage, the advertisements. I stare at the marble floor and, after a while it is transformed into a lovely detailed drawing – each crack a gesture speaking to time, weight, stress, history. The stone walls, too, emerge as paintings with delicately rendered all over patterning. I take a deep breath, glance back over at Spencer, and return to the sounds of the space. Beautiful. Dramatic. Symphonic. Today I experience sitting with Karen Spencer as a gift of music. With gratitude I return to her and leave her to the hardness of the seat, the expressiveness of the space, and the onslaught of passing people.

Posted by Natalie S. Loveless at 1:25 PM

Sunday, October 24, 2010
Karen Elaine Spencer: Sittin’, Union Station, Sunday October 24, 2010 / Day Four (NL)

We are less than halfway through Spencer’s ten-day performance action: sitting for eight hours a day on a set of benches near the Front street entrance of Toronto’s Union Station. I approach the performance site half expecting not to see her. Expecting that at this point she might foil expectations, change the rules of the piece and sit somewhere else. But no, she is still there. And this makes sense, as one of the things that Spencer is curious about is how long she can “loiter” in one site before someone – anyone – asks her what she is doing there.

I approach her, ask how her day has been – it’s now four, the workday is almost done – and about yesterday. It was great! she says. A couple people came to see me after reading the blog and sat there watching me for an hour before introducing themselves. I had no idea I was being watched. I sit down with Karen again and think about this. I look around. Could I mistake anyone for a surreptitious observer? There’s one young man, maybe twenty years old, texting and glancing up now and then. He could easily be an art school student. I look off into space, sitting, and imagine him watching me. A wedding party enters. A woman with a limp passes by. A Muslim woman struggles by with a baby carriage and too many suitcases. Someone catches my eye and then looks over at Karen. Is he here for the performance? No, his eyes move on and land on his travel partner and they move off.

If day one, for me, was about sight, and day two was about sound, today what I notice most is the cold. These seats are directly in front of some vents and after only twenty minutes I am chilled to the bone. The other thing I notice is a kind of anxiety linked to boredom, both actual and prospective. I am not actually bored, but the moment I stop and just sit, contemplating eight hours a day every day, I begin to feel the oh god what have I gotten myself into and how and I going to do this that I often feel at some point near the beginning of my own durational pieces. It’s a sensation linked to moving towards the unknown in an experience. It’s a sensation linked to any act of experimentation: the parameters are set up and the phenomenological journey embarked upon, in all its unexpectable complexity.

Spencer spends most of the time I’m there alternating between sitting and standing next to the chairs. While the performance is called Sittin’, today it is more about loitering than sitting. Sitting as synonymous for occupying space. I loiter, in solidarity, and wonder how long it will take for someone to say something to her – whether a question: what are you doing here everyday? Or a command: stop sitting here every day. I also wonder at my desire for exactly that – for some drama. I remember Spencer talking to me a bit about her inability to just drift off and relax during her days because of the site she has chosen: directly in front of the “Red Caps” – people who function, as far as I can tell, as a mix between security officers and porters. Sitting in front of them keeps her always alert to her role as public performer, as interloper, as potential problem. I think about this as I loiter in front of the Red Caps, trying to ignore them and dissolve into my surroundings, go back into the visual or sonic detail of the site. I listen to the echo of the hall, to a couple arguing in a corner. I wonder how long it would take me to exhaust my surroundings and what, exactly, exhaustion might mean in this context? Would I just keep peeling layers away from the space like an onion? Only if I wasn’t chilled to the bone. Maybe someone reading this will bring Spencer a windbreaker…

Posted by Natalie S. Loveless at 6:50 PM

Thursday, October 28, 2010
Karen Spencer: Sittin’, Union Station, Thursday October 28, 2010 (NL)

It is three thousand seven hundred and twenty-three minutes into Karen Spencer’s Sittin’ performance at Union Station. It is cold, and I am not the only one here. I recognize a festival-goer sitting with her. Together they gaze gently into the distance, in roughly the same direction, as if waiting for something or someone.

I know from having talked to Spencer earlier that her experience of the site has changed. One of the “Red Caps”, sitting in front of us, named Dan, introduced himself to her the other day, asking how she was doing and if she needed anything. Only in Canada, I think to myself, having recently moved back from the US. The drama I was waiting for finally arrived and it came in the form of a gentle query. No request to move on. No harsh what are you doing here and where is your ticket? Feeling somehow included in the formal social life of the station, no longer waiting for someone to notice and say something – perhaps to send her packing – Spencer is visibly more relaxed. Or at least it seems this way to me.

Spencer comes up and offers me her seat: it’s the best seat in the house, she says. I put aside my computer and just sit. At first I notice visual rhymes: two green bags, two yellow ones. But quickly, this time, possibly because of the set-up by Spencer, I find myself feeling more deeply rooted in the space. I’m reminded of a wonderful short story by Ursula K Le Guin called “The Direction of the Road”. It is told from the perspective of an oak tree watching the world walk, gallop and drive by. Similarly, here, I feel like a node in the center of a world that is spinning at different speeds.

Today I am tired. Doing this bloging with a new baby at the breast has wrung me out — its own form of durational performance. Even at a slight distance from the vents that blow just behind the row of chairs, I am chilled to the bone. I can feel it around my neck and creeping into my jaw. Nonetheless, sitting here with Spencer relaxes me. I let the rest of the world drift away and concentrate on the production of space. On inhabiting a thoroughfare. On experiencing architecture. On the subtleties of the intervention: sitting. A seemingly passive act rendered so very active in intensity.

Three thousand seven hundred and fifty seven minutes into the performance, I leave, refreshed.

Posted by Natalie S. Loveless at 1:45 PM

daniel baird, festival blogger post:

Born in Los Angeles, Daniel Baird lived and worked in New York City from 1989, where he was a founder of The Brooklyn Rail, a magazine for which he worked as an art editor, feature writer, and monthly columnist. Since moving to Toronto in 2000, he has written on the arts for numerous Canadian publications, including Canadian Art and Border Crossings. He is the former editor of The Walrus, and remains a regular contributor on topics as diverse as contemporary art and history, political theory and religion. Daniel’s blog posts are marked ‘(DB)’.

Most performance artists insist that what they do is distinct from what is disparagingly termed “mere spectacle.” I take this to mean something like this: performance is not reducible to the images it might result in, which can be remarkably beautiful or grotesque, but rather consists in the ineluctable series of acts that unfold in time. This may seem obvious, or tautological, but it’s important to keep in mind right now since the work of some of the most influential performance artists, like Marina Abramovic, is largely experienced through finely staged and crafted documentation, and is now conceived in a way that performances can be restaged like theatre events, sometimes decades after the original performance. Yet it is the specific, vanishing singularity of actions in time that gives performance art its distinctiveness, and is also the place where the boundary between art and life begins to blur.

The Fluxus artists famously insisted that no real distinction should be made between art and life—art is life, and life is art. This, of course, raises the broader philosophical question of what constitutes “life” and “art” in this context. These questions were given special importance for me this morning when I headed off in search of Karen Elaine Spencer’s performance in Union Station, which was scheduled to take place between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. I purposely did not investigate in advance the nature of the performance but rather went there cold, hoping to encounter it accidentally like any other passerby on his way to catch a train to Montreal or Winnipeg. This proved considerably more difficult than I had expected. Lurking in front of the station, I found myself focusing in on a short, compact woman somewhere in her thirties dressed in tight jeans and a windbreaker, her straight blond tamped down by a toque. She looked upset, agitated, standing beside a suitcase packed to the point of bursting. Occasionally she stamped her feet as though about to launch into a tantrum, muttered to herself, and walked out in a semi-circle around the plaza in front the station. She did this repeatedly with such precision it struck me that it was part of a routine, and I was convinced that she was Karen Elaine Spencer and that this was the scheduled performance, or at least part of it. At some point she pulled an iPhone out of her pocket, stared at its screen, and began to cry, and I started to feel uneasy about the fact that I had been standing there watching her and even taking notes for a long time—after all, she might not be Karen Elaine Spencer! Then a woman I gradually realized was probably her mother arrived and she started yelling, in French, about how she had too much luggage with her, how she had to get rid of some things, and her mother told her that she had to calm down or else she would miss her train. By then I fully understood that this could not be Karen Elaine Spencer, and that I was not watching a work of performance art, but still I followed them into the station and to the line for the train to Quebec City. She was not Karen Elaine Spencer, was not a performance artist, was simply a woman on her way back home to some sad event, like a funeral. But then maybe she was Karen Elaine Spencer, maybe the performance consisted of posing as someone going to Quebec City under tragic circumstances. Or not. And so forth.

I later learned Karen Elaine Spencer was sick and the performance that day had been canceled.

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STEEL BANANAS

 

Ideas Incarnate: 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art Descends upon Toronto

The 7a*11d collective, also known as Gale Allen, Annie Onyi Cheung, Shannon Cochrane, Paul Couillard, Jess Dobkin, Adam Herst, Johanna Householder, and Tanya Mars, are descending upon Toronto for the eighth time with the biennial 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art. With 30 local and international performance artists in tow, from October 21st to October 31st the elusive world of performance — so often living spontaneously, cryptically, and ephemerally in urban areas across the globe — is opening itself to Toronto audiences who may or may not be aware that they are stumbling into a world where ideas are incarnate, and bodies transcend traditional norms of performance. If you are not filled with joy and terror, you should be.

Martine Viale | Courtesy of 7a*11d

Martine Viale | Courtesy of 7a*11d

The world of contemporary performance art is typically outside of the usual fine arts crowds of Toronto, straddling the barriers between theatre and installation, text and embodiment. The work of performance artists is to engage crowds with something both visual and interactive, often transcendental, often absurd and conceptual.

The body itself can be used as an art object, as Canada’s Karen Elaine Spencer’s Sitting suggests, as she kicked off this year’s festival performing publicly in Union Station, sitting, perhaps waiting, still in the same seat amidst travellers in transition. Her body is working against the movement of the crowd in flux, her stationary position the antithesis of their motion. I think of the homeless people I see outside of our invisible superstructure. I think of Hardt and Negri’s assertion that the only way to subvert globalization is to stop moving. I think of people in waiting rooms, waiting for a loved one, bad news, a cab, a route canal. The body itself becomes a springboard for interpretation, begging us for the scaffolding of cohesion, offering us a sitting body in wait and letting us fill in the gaps. It is performance art at its best, and its intent exists only in autonomous fragments of a body in memory; what each individual subjectivity can take away.

Art object or provocateur, the body can be used to provoke and stir the audience’s notions of the finite. As Norway’s Stein Henningsen’s untitled performance at the Mercer Gallery suggests, the body and its limitations can be used to actively provoke and disturb the viewer. Beneath a four hundred pound block of ice, Henningsen lays with his hands beneath him, ice melting into his body, water pooling on the floor. Labouring to a knife across the room, he crawls onerously and the body’s limitations become the viewers’ concerns, each breath stinging through the crowd’s singular body. This performance is tactile, physical, breathtaking.

The festival has only just begun, and Steel Bananas will be weaving in and out to sample the spontaneous fare of Sylvie Tourangeau, Michael Fernandes, TouVA Collective, Agnes Nedregard, Martine Viale, Étienne Boulanger, and more. The festival is more than worth the two-year wait, as this year’s miscellany of artists from all over the globe offer a striking pastiche of perspectives which will surely move audiences to fits of joy, fear, laughter, and tears.

Check out the festival guide here, and we hope to see you there

  • Chantal Bélanger, Véronique Malo, karen elaine spencer, Jean-Ambroise Vesac : Une étendue apparemment infinie et tentaculaire Sept. 10 → Oct. 23, 2010,skol, 372 sainte catherine, suite 314, montréal, québec.
  • my contribution:
  • artist: karen elaine spencertitle: transient traces (postcards)

    year: 2008, 2009, 2010 – ongoing

    location: http://www.transienttraces.wordpress.com and anywhere the mail is delivered

    postcard history: the où je suis n’est pas qui je suis (where i am is not who i am) postcard image is taken from my dream listener intervention at l’état d’urgence in 2007. the postcard, subsequently produced for l’état d’urgence, 2008, was distributed on site to convey the message that where one sleeps does not define who one is. for transient traces the original postcard is stressed or damaged through folding, ripping and staining.

    project: communicate with the “housed” as if they were the “unhoused” –deliberately blur boundaries through a directed miss communication.

    selected text lifted from the homeless nation web site as a “ready-made” is transcribed in quotation marks on the back of the postcard. the postcard is then sent to an artist, educator, politician or communicator. all the names and addresses of postcard recipients are found via the web.

    the project deflects communication from the homeless nation networking site whose members represent a certain social/economic status toward individuals of a different social/economic status. transferring text from the homeless nation site to the postcard redirects a text that is intended to be disseminated to a specific community to infiltrate, one-by-one, the target community. the work performs by communicating “as if” the target community is part of the homeless community. the boundary defining the “unhoused” community from the “housed” community is transgressed to render the distinction momentarily suspect.

    the text selected from the homeless nation website is used as a means of infiltrating one sphere into another. permission is not sought from the original “author,” the project performs the position that information disseminated through social networking sites is in the public domain and open for fair use.
    :as of september 2010: 2136 postcards mailed/130 blog posts/217 tweets

rocking/sucking

May 21, 2010

title: rocking/sucking
date: november 3rd, 4th and 5th, 1999
location: saint mary’s hospital center, sir mortimer b. davis jewish general hospital and montréal general hospital, montréal, québec
duration: 40 minutes each
supported by: public art as social intervention

the three interventions were unannounced (no time, date or location was given in advance) and no visual documentation was recorded on site. the work was presented orally at the conference on november 6th, 1999.


on the way home from saint mary’s hospital i stopped at the photo-booth in the metro and took these photos

rocking/sucking at saint mary’s
i enter saint mary’s hospital with my backpack containing the jar of honey. i go up to the fourth floor waiting room. i take off my back pack and sit on the floor. i assume a sitting position: feet together, legs bent, arms wrapped around knees and hands clasped together. i slowly shift my weight backwards until i surrender into the fall, into the rocking motion. i rock myself. i rock myself back and forth. i rock turning my body on its axis in a clockwise rotation. rotating twice, i stop, wait, lift myself to the standing position, retrieve my backpack and leave the building.

still on the hospital grounds i sit on a bench at the front entrance. i sit next to a man who is dressed all in white and smoking a cigarette. i take the honey-jar out of the backpack. i hold the jar in my hand. i open the lid and place it nearby. i raise my right hand and slowly submerge my fingers into the honey. i lift my honey-drenched fingers to my open mouth, close my lips around my fingers and suck. i suck and suck until all the honey is gone. i then slide my fingers through my lips and begin again. i repeat this gesture until half the honey in the jar is gone. then; i put the lid back on the jar, return the jar to my backpack, sling the backpack on my back and walk away.

me and jess (2)

May 11, 2010

may 27, 2003
jess and i meet on the grounds of the st. james united church.  jess is already there sitting at a picnic table.  i am bringing food:  bagels, salmon, cream cheese, chocolate, yellow pepper, some chip mix with chocolate and peanuts and an exotic kind of fruit i don’t know the name of.  we sit at the picnic table facing each other and i  feed jess and jess feeds me.  we can’t put food into our own mouths.  a guy walks over and asks us if he can have some of our food cuz he doesn’t want to go into the kitchen where food is served at the church.  he sits with us and chats while we prepare his sandwhich (actually it is jss who does the preparing.)  another guy comes to sit with us and asks for a light, jess asks for a cigarette in exchange for chocolate.

me and jess

May 9, 2010

may 13, 2003

jess and i are in the metro. we are sitting together in the metro car. we begin at one end of the orange line and continue to the other end. this takes about fifty minutes. as the metro travels to the end of the line jess tells me her life story. as the metro travels back to the beginning i tell jess my life story.

may 20, 2003

jess and i are walking up the hill to the top of mont royal. on the way up the hill i tell  jess her life story as if it is my life story. i stick pretty much to the way jess told me in the metro, except i add in feelings. we are holding hands. on the way back down the mountain jess takes my life story and tells it to me as if it was her life story. we are still holding hands. jess is more imaginative in telling me my life story. she says she doesn’t remember everything i told her.

piss tree

April 30, 2010

winter 2001/2002

performance or action begun alone, not with the intent of repeating, not with the intent of bringing others into it. a slowly formed idea, arising from a long time desire to piss in public, as a way of claiming territory, as a way of acting free like a man, although as a woman. (i often see men pissing in public in my neighbourhood, living as i do next to a bar and a metro station.) did not begin pissing at the weeping willow. this was later to become a marked destination, both in terms of the tree, and in terms of the length of the walk. it was important it was winter, both for the solitude of the walk, and for the sensation of cold air on the ass, and the trace of pee left in the snow. i performed it probably about 21 times over the winter. i did not take it upon myself to keep track. the walk from home to tree was about five miles. i will mark this out on the map.

piss tree

it is a one hour walk to the tree. i walk at night, it is quiet and calm and cold. i walk with my dog swimmer. we walk through the vacant field and over the train tracks till we are along the bike path next to the lachine canal. the canal is frozen over, snow covers the path and we are alone. we walk past construction sites, factories and empty lots.
the tree is beautiful. it stands along the water. it is a weeping willow. i walk off the path towards the tree. i stand underneath the tree and i undo my belt buckle, i undo the top button of my pants, i unzip my fly. i drop my pants, i squat, and i pee. the air is cool on my ass, the pee leaves a hole in the snow, and because i drink a large bowl of tea before i leave home, i pee for a long while. i watch the cars go by on the other side of the canal. afterwards i stand, pull up my pants, and buckle my belt. i stay with the tree, then i turn and walk with swimmer, till one hour later, we are back home.

march 21
it is my forty-second birthday. montréal is having a spring snowstorm. i go to the metro place saint henri and meet kelly-lynne wood, zoe kreye and brigitte dazcier. it is 7pm. we are going on my one-hour walk to the tree with my dog swimmer. we walk out in the cold snowy night. swimmer loves it. the wind is blowing. i lead and they follow. we must make our own path through the snow. we are about halfway there and we stop for a juice box, and try to hide from the wind. we are coming up to the –in the process of being constructed- bridge that goes across the canal. a man stops us who tells us we cannot pass, i tell him we can, that i have done it before, and i keep on walking. the others follow me and we step around the fence blocking the pathway. we continue. finally we get to the tree. i am relieved to have arrived. i realise that it is a long walk. i squat and i pee, and so do the others. four squatting women marking this tree as theirs. i am so happy i kiss everyone. we hang out for a bit, then start the long trek back home. i feel a warm glow seep through me as i realise the gift these women have given to me. by the time we get back we are all cold and tired. it is 9:30pm. i invite everyone back to my house for some hot chocolate and i dry their wet clothes in my dryer. after we have thawed out they put their dry clothes back on and head for their homes. i take a hot bath and go to bed.

spoken word performance from 1998.

arm sculpture made from barbed-wire, silk thread and glue.
a recital of irigaray’s text. performed in a gallery and a vacant lot.
duration 15 min.

(the text was approached as a collage, below is a portion of the memorized text)
avant que
l’oralité soit,
le tact est déjà.
le guardien
le plus subtilement
nécessaire
à ma vie étant
la chair de l’autre.
m’approchant
et me parlant
avec ses mains.
me carressant,
il ne me convie pas
à disparaitre
ni à oublier,
mais à me remémorer du lieu
où se réserve,
pour moi,
la plus secréte vie.
cherchant
ce qui n’est pas encore,

pour lui,
il m’invite à devenir
ce que je ne suis pas encore devenue.
a accomplir une naissance
encore futur.
me replongeant
dans les entrailles maternelles
et, en deçà de cette conception,
m’éveillant
à une autre naissance
– amoureuse.

irigary, luce, éthique de la différence sexuelle, les éditions de minuit, paris, 1984, pp.174-197.