One of the working titles proposed for this panel discussion was Performativity ≠ Performance. Admittedly there is a combative undertone to this stance. The collective had recently reviewed hundreds of submissions to the festival, and there remained an impression that many artists want to pursue ideas or execute actions that seem tailored to appear like performance, without actually making a commitment to engaging an audience. It seemed that the performative gesture might be making a bid to replace performance. But is engagement an essential constituent of performance? If so, what might constitute engagement with and for the performance/artist? For some engagement has been taken up to describe “artists working in the public realm and engaging communities within their art practices. Community Public Art, Interventions, Relational Art and Art Engaged Activism…” (Live in Public – The Art of Engagement, a three-day conference held in Vancouver in October, 2007), leaving other forms of performance art unmoored. Since performative can now describe buying a newspaper and performance describes everything from bein’ a DJ to being a VJ, can presence stand up to performativity? Confounding this question, one of the panelists will be with us via Skype.
Terms of Engagement: Presence and the Performative
Sunday November 2 12 pm
XPACE Cultural Centre
A panel of the 7th 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
with Annette ARLANDER, Paul COUILLARD, Johanna HOUSEHOLDER and Tanya MARS.
Also accompanied by interventions from Norbert KLASSEN.
Annette Arlander lives in Helsinki, where she is Professor in performance and theory at the Theatre Academy. She graduated from the department of directing at the Theatre Academy in 1981 and completed her studies for Doctor of Arts (Theatre and Drama) there in 1999. During the ’80s she worked with performance art in the group HOMO $. In the ’90s Arlander studied the use of space in performance, especially the theatrical use of found spaces and site-specific work, and published Esitys Tilana (Performance as Space) in 1998. From 2000 most of her work has been concerned with performing landscape by means of video or recorded voice.
Paul Couillard has been working as an artist, curator, and organizer since 1985. He has created well over 100 solo and collaborative performance works in more than a dozen countries, often working with his partner Ed Johnson. He was the Performance Art Curator for Fado from 1993 until 2007, and is the editor of La Dragu: the Living Art of Margaret Dragu (2002) and Ironic to Iconic: the Peformance Works of Tanya Mars (2008).
Tanya Mars has been active in the Canadian alternative art scene since the early 1970s. Her dramatic, humorous and satirical works – ranging from performance through to sculpture and video – have influenced an entire generation of artists over some 30 years. She currently teaches at the University of Toronto Scarborough. She received a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts. Tanya will appear via Skype from the Canada Council for the Arts Paris Studio.
Johanna Householder has been making performances and other artwork in Canada since the late 1970s. She was one of the notorious, satirical feminist performance lip sync ensemble, The Clichettes, who performed throughout the 1980s, and has continued to use these strategies in her subsequent performance work, recently performing Alain Badiou and DJ Spooky. With Tanya Mars, she co-edited Caught in the Act: an anthology of performance by Canadian women (2004). She is a Professor at the Ontario College of Art & Design.
Eyewitness report by Andrew James Paterson
Eyewitness report by Elaine Wong