FIVE HOLES: Touched is the second in a series of performances dealing with the five senses. The first part (FIVE HOLES: I’ll Be Seeing You, A Space, 1995) used the device of a peep show to explore the sense of sight and the process of seeing. For Touched, artists are using the nooks and crannies of Symptom Hall to create performance installations that explore aspects of touch and our attitudes surrounding it.
Touch is arguably the most intimate and revealing of the senses, the one that, above all others, can move us to ecstasy or shatter us. To touch is to ‘feel’. When we are deeply affected by something, we sometimes say we are ‘touched’. At the same time, to say that someone is ‘touched’ is to say that they are crazy. To give something one’s own ‘touch’ is to infuse it with a personal style, while to keep ‘in touch’ is to maintain contact. Human cultures are rife with taboos around the sense of touch — who, what, how, when and where we can or can’t touch — governing even the touches we give our own bodies.
The common threads among the diverse performance works chosen for Touched include a fascination with the personal, a strong regard for the everyday — whether real or as a staged simulation — and a need to venture into the visceral in search of expression. The artists’ approaches to the sense of touch vary widely — Frank Moore’s hands-on sensual eroticism, May Chan’s handling of everyday foodstuffs in the simple act of cooking — yet each shares a vulnerability that seems essential to the nature of touch.
Artists were chosen both through solicitation and an open call. With the possible exception of Frank Moore — whose cerebral palsy has no doubt had an influence on his interest in touch as a vehicle of communication, expression and transformation — there was a curious lack of response from ‘heterosexual’ men. I believe this reflects how much the concerns with ‘the body’ in art and critical writing over the last 10 years, at least in North America, have in fact been the terrain of those who feel disenfranchised from what we identify as ‘mainstream’ culture. More than anything, however, I think the quality that binds all of these artists is courage. A willingness to enter and explore risky places — whether that means doing work that is quiet, physically grueling, or uncompromisingly simple — is universally evident. Performance is generally understood as a visual form, and to move to an exploration of the tactile demands a whole different approach from both the artists and the audience members who follow them on their journeys.
@ Symptom Hall | 160 Claremont St (just south of Dundas St W, west of Bathurst St)
Thursday, August 7 8 pm – 1 am
installations, residue and some performances continue throughout the festival
A program of the 1st 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
Presented by FADO
Curated by Paul COUILLARD
Sense of Touch
Frank GREEN (with Michelle ALLARD, Churla BURLA, Lucia CINO, Curtis MACDONALD, Thea MIKLOWSKI & Holly WILSON)
Anonymous Test Site
To Touch Is To Feel
Frank MOORE with Michael LABASH and Linda MAC
The Cave of the Metasensual Beast
Julie Andrée TREMBLAY and David JOHNSTON (jAT & jHAVE)
gravity light wind thought scent