STAGE SET STAGE
ON IDENTITY AND INSTITUTIONALISM
PERFORMANCES, SCREENINGS, TALKS & WORKSHOPS
JANUARY 15 - 19, 2014
Curator: Barbara Clausen
STAGE SET STAGE presents a five day series of performances, screenings, talks and workshops by artists, film makers and theorists who engage in new forms of research, that explore, via the performative, how identity and gender are manifested in relation to site specificity and institutionalism. Each of their gestures, actions and forms of display - from still and moving images to spoken text or song - challenge and investigate how the Self, as a contingent entity and cultural construction, continuously rewrites itself into - as well as out of - cultural, educational and urban socio-political contexts.
WEDNESDAY, January 15, 2014 at 6 – 9 pm
Performance by Adam Kinner & Jacob Wren followed by a talk and conversation with Jeanne Randolph.
Different art forms have different modalities, one might even say different personalities, that run within and alongside them. Some aspects of these modes are directly connected to the nature and history of the form, while others are more anecdotal in nature. For their first collaboration, Adam Kinner and Jacob Wren will focus on the art forms of music and theatre. The project began simply enough with the observation that Adam began his career in Music while Jacob began in Theatre. Yet along with these beginnings come questions, ambiguities, frustrations, ambivalences, joys, resentments, trajectories, observations, histories, something we might call experience, training and untraining, insights, panic, paranoia, etc.
- Adam Kinner and Jacob Wren
THURSDAY, January 16, 5 – 9 pm
Film program and discussion by Dorit Margreiter and Barbara Clausen at the CCA on how gender and architecture correspond and relate to one another unfolding within the tension field of moving and still images. With films by Oliver Husain, Josiah McElheny, Katrina Daschner, Wu Tsang and Dorit Margreiter.
Curated by Dorit Margreiter and Barbara Clausen
At the Paul Desmarais theatre at the CCA
1920 Rue Baile, Montréal, QC H3H 2S6
Oliver Husain, (CA), Purfled Promises, 2009, 10 min
The theatre is demolished: Curtains hang upon quite flimsy, free-standing frames. The camera moves through each set, approaching it, gradually quicker, until the curtains open and reveal the next. Frame-by-frame we start to see more of the hands that pull the strings; painted, be-gloved, bejewelled. The curtains are green crushed velvet, white petals, studded wooden cabinet doors, billowing silk, a black book, an empty box, women’s dresses, helium balloons, umbrellas… until they are strings of beads that are cut to finally reveal a plain and empty screen. For the first time we hear a male voice, the boom and doom of Hollywood disaster. Without our noticing, it says, the screen itself has been moving slowly towards us. It is almost on top of us. It is. The building has collapsed. Chaos. A tonne of rubble. We try to clamber through and as we do so—stop!—somebody TOUCHES US. We reach the exit only to find that it is an entrance, an entrance to another entrance.
Josiah McElheny, (US), The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women's Picture, 2012, 30 min
Imagine a surreal light spa beneath the gardens of James Deering’s lush winter home, Vizcaya. That’s what New York-based artist Josiah McElheny has done in his film, The Light Club of Vizcaya: A Women’s Picture, by referencing a little-known short story by German writer Paul Scheerbart, The Light Club of Batavia, published in 1912. Architecture, as the means to realize dreams and fantasies, is the main theme of Scheerbart’s satirical short story, and Vizcaya’s architecture and geographical location echo the setting of Scheerbart’s novella. The characters in Scheerbart’s story become obsessed with the construction of an underground light spa built entirely out of Tiffany glass. McElheny substitutes Scheerbart’s main characters with figures from Vizcaya’s history, re-creating a narrative about the promise of modernity and utopia. The film collages footage of historical and archival documents with images of Vizcaya’s grounds, interiors and architectural elements today. The narrative unfolds through a series of stills and moving images accompanied by Zoe Leonard’s voice-over narration. The script was written by Canadian-born poet Rachel Zolf.
Dorit Margreiter, (A), Broken Sequence, 2013, 8 min
Dorit Margreiter has developed an artistic practice that examines how art, architecture, design, film, electronic media, and performance correspond and relate to one another. In line with the artists’ ongoing interests, this screening revisits modernity’s relationship to the body and notions of gender constructed and reconstructed through the photographic and the cinematic images. For STAGE SET STAGE, Margreiter discusses the context and evolution of her new work Broken Sequence, which she recently shot in the vernacular landscape of a dilapidated - and in the meantime torn down - Disney-esque amusement park outside of Bejing. The film is a sequence of static images that conveys the past and the present through Margreiter’s manipulation of ambient sound, echoing the conflict of the ultimate capitalist dreamscape with the communist reality of this abandoned site. This site, over its decade long failure to come to realisation, was both appropriated by farmers and served as a liminal meeting space for gay and trans-gender communities.
Talk by / Conversation with Dorit Margreiter
Katrina Daschner, (A), Parole Rosette, 2012, 8 min
Extremely confident in her mastery of style and taking obvious delight in her citations, in PAROLE ROSETTE, Katrina Daschner uses the performance by a well-rehearsed group of queer couples to stage a controlled game around/about social conventions and (sexual) self-determination, interwoven into an architecturally sublime setting (the Carlo Mollino´s Teatro Regio in Turin). This piece demonstrates, once more, her intricate knowledge - inspired by a combination of fine arts, photography and theater--of style, codes, staging and image conventions as well as of the elements that constitute "classical beauty." Here, she subverts her own so tantalizing abundance of images by cross-cutting them with detailed close-ups and performative interventions, by a storyline that is nearly militaristic in style, and a subtle, yet clear and queer diversity of the individual actors and actions. Time and again, Katrina Daschner conceives of the stage or exhibition context as sexualized fields of play or performance where processes of desire and power as well as visual regimes are enacted and negotiated. Her films are performative spaces of experience. By connecting theatrical spaces and acts with cinematic elements, she deliberately works with variations of a seemingly familiar mise-en-scène, into which she inscribes subtexts using citations, stylistic set pieces and codes, thereby sounding out the possibilities of the media chosen and cunningly transgressing the limits of its conventions.
Barbara Reumüller, translation Erika Doucette /
Wu Tsang, Wildness, (US), 2012, 72 min
Rooted in the tropical underground of Los Angeles nightlife, WILDNESS is a documentary portrait of the Silver Platter, a historic bar in the MacArthur Park area that has been home for Latin/LBGT immigrant communities since 1963. With a magical-realist flourish, the bar itself becomes a character, narrating what happens when a group of young artists create a weekly performance art/dance party (organized by director Wu Tsang and DJs NGUZUNGUZU & Total Freedom) called Wildness, which explodes into creativity and conflict. What does “safe space” mean, and who needs it? And how does it differ among us? At the Silver Platter, the search for answers to these questions creates coalitions across generations.
8:30 - 9 pm Discussion and conversation followed by Q & A
FRIDAY, January 17, 6 - 9 pm
Performance by Maria Hupfield followed by a conversation with Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre and cheyanne turions.
Maria Hupfield presents the absent artist’s body in the gallery. Using live performance she interprets a selection of labels taken from four recent exhibitions as scores, to reintroduce the physical presence of the artist, unified across various venues. Followed by a discussion with Anne-Marie St-Jean Aubre and cheyanne turions, SBC curator in residence, about strategies of engagement and presence in recent exhibitions that simultaneously address spaces of irreducible difference or not-knowing as something more than polite deferral or instrumentalization, as something robust and uncomfortable, taking into account the ideas and histories of institutional critique."
Wednesday, January 15 at 12.40 pm
SATURDAY, January 18, 3 - 7 pm
Talk and demonstration by Sharon Hayes based on her work Her Voice (2012) and I Saved Her a Bullet (2012) and a screening of Andrea Geyer’s Three Chants Modern, 2013, 25 minutes, followed by an artist talk.
Talk and demonstration by Sharon Hayes
In recent works, such as Her Voice (2012) Hayes investigates and appropriates descriptions of female voices taken from newspapers dating from the 19th century to the present. Ranging from ostensibly objective accounts to critical judgments, these citations reveal ways in which voices are evaluated and, as a result, what borders are imposed around an individual. Implicit in these citations are assumptions of gender, an important factor in the complex relationship between speech and its reception and interpretation. By substituting first-hand reports for actual speech, Hayes explores the tension among the written, verbal, and embodied voices.
Screening and artist talk by Andrea Geyer
Three Chants Modern, 2013, 25 min:
“We can never rise to be great people until we bring art back as an inherent part of life.” —Katherine S. Dreier
How can one rethink time? How can one rethink its form, authority and structure? How can one consciously recognize ideology and politics as embedded within the organization of time itself? What would it take to break open the existing structures that hold power over time – to release time by calling on history to reveal itself to us in new ways?
Abby Rockefeller, Lillie P. Bliss, Mary Sullivan (MoMA), Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, Hilla Rebay (Guggenheim), Helen Clay Frick, Katherine S. Dreier (Société Anonyme) founded the institutional pillars of Modernism in New York City. Women wrote, painted, curated, organized, drew, danced, sang, protested and raised money. The financially fluent supported those with a cause. They met in and across Salons, exhibitions, on boats out on the Atlantic, in speakeasies, at dinner tables, in bars and on the street. It was their work that allied them across class separations and cultural background. Futurism, Political Reform, Feminism, Cubism, Birth Control, Blues and woman’s right to vote linked them inextricably together in one of the most exciting and creative moments of the 20th century. Yet Three Chants Modern doesn’t simply offer a revisionist history of the Modernist project but an insistence that the tireless work, spirit and convictions that drove these women to create a cross-pollinating and far reaching network across art, politics, education and social reform remain present wherever we closely look today. The work invites us to rethink time, to discover it as a non- linear presence and potential that continuously surrounds us.
SUNDAY, January 19, 10:30 am – 1 pm
Screening and workshop by Pablo de Ocampo: Lis Rhodes’, Light Reading, 1979, 16mm, 20 min, courtesy of Lis Rhodes and LUX, London.
Breakfast will be served
Lis Rhodes, Light Reading, 1979, 16mm, 20 min, courtesy of Lis Rhodes and LUX, London
Rhodes manipulation of, and dexterity with, cinematic techniques is a constant throughout her work. Light Reading is, as Michael OPray states, a technical and aesthetic tour de force of rapid fire editing, myriad techniques, and a compelling text which both manipulates and questions language. The constant themes of repression and the price of rebellion are all anchored around the hypnotic elliptical voice... -- Gill Henderson, A Directory of British Film & Video Artists, 1996
For more information on the exhibition click HERE
This exhibition is part of SBC’s Focus Program on Sovereignty.
SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art wishes to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, the ministère de la Culture et des Communications, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the Austrian Cultural Forum and AXENÉO7.