The line drawn between artist and audience member in contemporary performance is frequently an ambiguous one. What often regulates the relationship is an unspoken, assumed agreement, or what Michael Polanyi calls tacit knowledge – that which is understood but not quite articulable. In a number of recent performances, such tacit knowledge has been called into question by practices that convert unsuspecting and sometimes unwilling spectators into complicit collaborators. This panel will examine the implicit and explicit contractual agreements that exist between artist and audience. Do artists have an ethical responsibility towards their audience or the public at large? Conversely, what are the obligations of a “good” audience member? Panelists will discuss a variety of artistic practices including tactical public interventions, relational aesthetics, satirical media pranks, and masochistic body works.
Sunday October 29 2 pm
A panel of the 6th 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
Speakers: Gale ALLEN, Jessica BLEUER, John Paul RICCO and Joey SKAGGS
Moderator: Johanna HOUSEHOLDER
Gale Allen is a performance and video artist based in Toronto. Her performative works remix contemporary advertising culture, machismo stunt culture, and pop music into feminine performances of Jackass. Allen is currently researching abject behaviour and dangerous stunts as a form of revolt in contemporary youth cultures. Her work has been presented in the First International Prize for Performance (Italy, 2005), the Paris Gay and Lesbian Film Festival (2006), Festival Némo (Paris, 2006), Signal and Noise (Vancouver, 2005), That 70’s Ho (Vancouver, 2005), and the Reel Asian International Film Festival (Toronto, 2005).
Jessica Bleuer studied with Augusto Boal, the founder of the Theatre of the Oppressed, and she practices various Boal techniques, including Invisible Theatre. Part of her current practice explores how invisible coercive social structures can be made more visible, through the practice of Invisible Theatre. Bleuer graduated with an M.Ed. from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) in 2005. Her graduate work focused on the ethical implications of using theatre for social change. She has taught two summer institute courses at OISE and has led several theatre of the oppressed workshops with a number of groups across Canada, the U.S. and Northern Ireland.
John Paul Ricco is a critical theorist, art historian and curator who teaches at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Logic of the Lure (2002), and guest editor of the journal Parallax (April-June 2005). His current work concerns the question of community, specifically those modes of sociality that operate as the resistance and refusal of identitarian logics, categorical imperatives, and structural unification and totalization. Recently, this work has begun to include live performance art practice, in which Ricco sets out to explore masochistic touch and masochistic trust, and the non-contractual, non-negotiable limits of these acts.
Joey Skaggs is a conceptual performance artist, sociopolitical satirist, and dedicated proponent of independent thinking who has, since 1966, used the media as his medium. His performances have fooled numerous journalists working in television, radio and print, drawing attention to the media’s gullibility and exposing its ideological agendas while focusing attention on issues such as disinformation, hype, hypocrisy and the misuse of power. He is the perpetrator of infamous hoaxes such as the Cathouse for Dogs, the Celebrity Sperm Bank, the Fat Squad, Portofess, and the New York Annual April Fool’s Day Parade (now entering its 22nd year), descriptions of which can be found at joeyskaggs.com.