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virtually vaudeville: multimedia gallery
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A gallery of digitally-distributed performance art
Introduction: Can-Con Canned
Digital technologies have not only begun to extend and enhance the performing artist's prop box, they have also provided new avenues for recorded distribution, from digital video and streaming audio on the Web, to cd-rom and dvd-rom, to live digital projection and wireless transmission. This gallery presents some of our favourite Canadian examples of performance art (often already digitally-enhanced) adapted for stand-alone digital presentation - projects selected in the main from the overwhelming number of entries received by HorizonZero in response to a recent Call for Submissions of performance work suited for online distribution. From the world-touring digital video performances of Julie C. Fortier and Dempsey and Millan, to the live-to-video image mixing of K-Project, to Dana Claxton's documentary cd-rom Ablakela, to the Web-distributed poetics of Ian Ferrier, all of these artists have reached new audiences by traveling the path of ones and zeroes. Enjoy!
Julie in the Box
Julie in the Box (2002) is a compilation of five digital videos made between 1999-2002 by Julie C. Fortier, whose artwork sets out to question acts of representation through video performance and installation. Using basic special effects, Fortier challenges the integrity of her image and her physical resistance within absurd situations derived from the comic cruelty of cartoons and burlesque cinema. Born in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Fortier now lives in France. See Fortier's Web site (http://juliecfortier.free.fr/) for more.
Dana Claxton is an award-winning director and media artist born in Yorkton, Saskatchewan of Lakota Sioux descent. Her performance work Ablakela (1999) was produced as part of Vancouver's Live at the End of the Century performance festival, produced by the Grunt Gallery. Ablakela (a Lakota word meaning "calm") features the artist wrapping bear grass (live and on video projection) accompanied by peyote singers of the Native American Church (Verdell Primeaux and Johnny Mike). This performance exploring notions of ritual, performance art, and First Nations tradition in a contemporary context is available from the Grunt Gallery (www.grunt.bc.ca) as a cd-rom containing videos, audio tracks, and essays by Glen Alteen and Lakota Anthropologist Bea Medicine.
Lesbian National Parks and Services: A Force of Nature
Winnipeggers Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan (www.fingerinthedyke.ca) have been using humour to articulate their feminist politics through performance art, films, and public art projects since 1989. Their provocative creations have toured extensively throughout North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. Lesbian National Parks and Services has been realized as both a 23-minute mock-u-mentary video (2002) and as a traveling performance piece. As Lesbian Rangers equipped with informative brochures and keen interpretive minds, Dempsey and Millan patrol the globe's parklands, challenging ideas of tourism, recreation, and the "natural" environment. This project was originally developed with the support of the Walter Phillips Gallery at The Banff Centre.
The scratch video El Mareas is a lush example of the live digital image mixing performances of Montreal duo K-Project (Valérie Leduc & Frédéric Beaulieu; see www.k-motion.com/k-project for more). Recorded during the World Film Festival of Montreal in 2002, this VJ mix (featuring music by Juanself) is a sensual trip into the midst of a marsh; an invocation of the duality between terrestrial and aquatic universes, interior and exterior worlds, dream and reality.
Tango / e-poets.net
The e-poets network (www.e-poets.net)
is a Chicago-based online repository of performance poetry, including a huge
archive of spoken word audio tracks and "videopoems". The site also features
Canadian multimedia poets like Sheri-D Wilson (www.sheridwilson.com),
Heather Haley (www.heatherhaley.com),
and Ian Ferrier. Ferrier is a Montréal poet whose work traverses textual, spoken,
and musical poetries. His audio piece Tango appears on e-poets.net,
and is originally excerpted from Ferrier's book/cd compilation Exploding
Head Man (Planète rebelle, 2000). See also Wired on Words
a Quebec-based performance poetry site started by Ferrier.