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The show must go online
by Sylvie Parent and Angus Leech

13.1 - January
There's no lack of stimulating ideas with the arrival of the new year at HorizonZero! To get 2004 off to a good start, we're surveying performance art in the digital and telematics age.

First, we'd like to extend our warmest thanks to Calgary's One Yellow Rabbit Performance Theatre (OYR) for inspiring HorizonZero to develop an issue about digital performance art in the first place. The launch of PERFORM! was timed to correspond with OYR's 18th annual High Performance Rodeo, a month long festival running from January 7th to February 1st in Calgary, Alberta (see www.oyr.org). During many discussions over the past year or so with Michael Green (co-artistic director of OYR and Rodeo curator), we were encouraged by his vision of pushing boundaries, and offering something for everyone. We were awed by the inclusive attitude, open mindedness, trust, and enthusiasm about our genre which Michael and OYR's staff displayed in inviting HorizonZero to participate in their festival, to do what we do best - present digital media. In many ways it was OYR's interest in diversity, and urge to innovate, which made Issue 13 possible, and we are humbled to see our live event (see below) billed at the Rodeo alongside artists like Compagnie Marie Chouinard and Kronos Quartet, and showcases for emerging talent such as Mutton Busting.

Second, a few words about PERFORM! Digital tools have transformed the issues at stake for performance artists, while the Internet has opened up a new space in which to present this work. Many performance artists have made inventive use of the Web, gaining access to a wider audience and new possibilities for an interactive relationship with that audience, as well as a new space for distribution. In Issue 13, we will take stock of these developments through a number of articles and projects, and also by means of a very special live event.

In her column Quintessence, our editor-in-chief Sara Diamond explores the intertwined histories of performance practices and networked media's emergence, linking past and present. Meanwhile, following a call for submissions to performance artists sent out in November, we have selected some recent works and are presenting them in two sections of the magazine. In Virtually Vaudeville, we document recent high-quality performance work by presenting several pieces adapted for digital distribution on the Web and elsewhere. Also, in The Stage is Everywhere, we provide a commentary on distributed performance projects available on the Internet; works which incorporate network technologies to bring remote performers and audiences together in real time. Our call for submissions was a great success and we'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those artists who submitted work.

In addition, on January 25, 2004 we will be staging a much-anticipated event conceived especially for this issue! Don't miss the hour-long Internet broadcast of the 1-Minute Web Cam Cabaret, featuring ten original performances of one minute each streaming live to the Web from Calgary and Montreal. This Webcast event has been programmed by the One Yellow Rabbit theatre company as part of the High Performance Rodeo. This is the first-ever Webcast event to take place at the Rodeo, and represents HorizonZero's double mission to bring digital performance to the festival, and also to transport a small piece of the Rodeo to Canada and the rest of the globe via the Web. The line-up of five Alberta-based performers has been curated by writer and filmmaker André Rodriguez, who will host the Calgary event from OYR's Big Secret Theatre. In Montreal, five performances selected by Valérie Lamontagne - curator, performance artist, and our Montreal host - will be Webcast by our venue partner the Société des Arts Technologiques (SAT) from their dedicated spaces. The Montreal portion of the Cabaret will also be projected live for our Calgary audience. Renowned artists have been chosen by both curators for this event, which promises to include a wide variety of work that is both amusing and amazing - even disconcerting! We'll see you there - spread the word! Make careful note of the time and date in your agenda, and don't forget to be at your computer on January 25 at 3:00 p.m. Calgary time (MST) or 5:00 p.m. Montreal time (EST).

The New Year also brings a change here at HorizonZero, with English Editor Angus Leech and myself filling in to write this editorial introduction to the Webzine's content upon the departure of Creative Director Martha Ladly. Martha has left our crew to take up a full-time teaching position, and we'll miss her very much. Yet we can't help but feel overjoyed that she will now be sharing her creativity and passion with tomorrow's artists following her appointment at the Ontario College of Art and Design. We wish her every success and express our warmest thanks for having shared her talent, skills, and overflowing enthusiasm with us these past months.

Finally, we wish all our readers a very Happy New Year!

~ Sylvie Parent, French Editor

13.2 - February
February is upon us, that shortest, coldest month, but we at HorizonZero are still basking in the warm afterglow of Calgary's High Performance Rodeo (HPR). Our very own Rodeo event, the 1-Minute Web Cam Cabaret, was streamed live to the Web on January 25, 2004, and we're pleased to report that it was a big success! Huge thanks to all the performers, hosts, and onlookers who joined us live at Calgary's Big Secret Theatre and Montreal's Société des arts technologiques de Montréal (SAT) - and of course on the World Wide Web - for an afternoon of performance.

HPR curator Michael Green is fond of serving up culinary metaphors to describe his one of a kind midwinter festival of performance, particularly in reference to its diversity. As Green writes in his introduction to this season's program, "Think of it as some surreal version of The Iron Chef, wherein each challenger creates a dish live on stage: the salad, the meat 'n' potatoes, the tongue, the jellied eel." Something for everyone - from those who crave the tried and true, to those who've acquired a taste for wild theatre - is the One Yellow Rabbit motto. And we at HorizonZero might describe the 1-Minute Web Cam Cabaret as our attempt to match OYR's gastro-generosity by offering up a feast of bite-sized morsels: canape, crackers 'n' cheese, and the occasional honey glazed Madagascar cockroach to tempt the adventurous.

In Calgary, our gentle host (or perhaps maître d') André Rodrigues smacked his lips, rubbed his belly, and introduced us to some of Alberta's finest live performers, who filled our bowls with performance poetry (Jeremiah John, Samuel Garriggo Meza, Sheri-D Wilson) and our ears with dinner music (Frances Kruk + Diego Medina, Jennifer Andersen). Later, Web casting live from Montreal, eloquent co-host Valérie Lamontagne set out the second course: a buffet of virtual treats, from the deviled egg antics of Pierre Beaudoin, to the savoury satiations of Katarina Soukup and Jayson Kunuk, to the corndog parade revelries of Michelle Kasprzak, and - for dessert - the better-than-baked-Alaska eye-and-ear-candy of VJ Pillow and James Duhamel, followed by K-Project.

Not to overcook the metaphor, but the 1-Minute Web Cam Cabaret is now also on the menu permanently with the launch of Issue 13.2: check out our newly launched video archive of the Web cast, and taste the excitement! Full credits and kudos for the production of this live experience reside elsewhere, but once again we want to raise our glass to Michael Green and everyone at One Yellow Rabbit, and propose a toast to Monique Savoie, Martin Chartrand, and everyone at the SAT in Montreal, and to Luke Azevedo and the Creative Electronic Environment (CEE) at the Banff Centre, whose unflagging support made this event possible.

On other stages, Issue 13.2 also extends our editorial coverage of the field of digital performance with a special text remix piece called Re-takes. This montage of cut-ups and quotes plumbs the profound thinking of many artists and writers on performance who have taken virtuality as their muse. And in our latest Horizontal gallery, we feature AFK, an interventionist performance piece by Michele Teran and Isabelle Jenniches. These artists love sending secret messages to one another via publicly viewable Web cameras, carving their SMS codes into the malleable landscapes of Canada and California, and reflecting poetically upon the environmental differences experienced by all of us communicating instantaneously across a networked globe. And if it's nice to close one's eyes and imagine the sun at Cayucos and the sound of waves at Ventura Beach, then it only makes one appreciate the powdered plains and corniced peaks of home all the more... for the moment.

Stay warm, the days are getting longer...

~ Angus Leech, English Editor

Links :
High Performance Rodeo


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