Workshop – “other orders: a participatory workshop on archiving & amplifying street art”

  • Facilitated by Ryan Hayes (York University)

what is different about street art in the digital resistance era?

this workshop will introduce participants to free the streets, a tumblr blog dedicated to documenting and disseminating images of political posters and street art in toronto.

by examining a physical reproduction of this digital archive, participants will be asked to make meaning, find patterns, and share their thoughts about the politics of street art.

we will then form small affinity groups to curate a collection of images and strategically display them on campus.

afterwards we will reconvene, reflect on this activity, and continue to discuss the possibilities and limitations of street art, and potential pathways for archiving and amplifying this work.

about ryan: i am a big fan of art and activism. i keep a photo blog about street art called free the streets. in 2011 i co-facilitated radical design school, offering free introductory workshops on design theory, remix culture, silkscreening, bookbinding, linocutting, and digital design to propagate the radically inclusive notion that we are all artists. since this summer i have been working with political artists and activists to assemble a digital archive of visual culture produced by progressive social movements in toronto.

Performance installation – “Void Simulacrum”

  • By Kaloyan Ivanov

In Void Simulacrum the audience is the performance as participants help shape this wall of fabric into different pieces. Void Simulacrum begins as a 50-foot long wall of fabric enveloping two performers. Over 3 hours, the sculpture incorporates willing spectators and passers-by, who become full participants and owners of the piece. As each performer makes aesthetic decisions, the originally static sculptural mass shifts and breaks. Thus, each spectator bears responsibility for the artwork, eliminating the stage, which usually alienates and assigns a static role for the audience, in favor of collective choice and emergent behavior.

Kaloyan Ivanov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria in 1986. His fascination with drawing was noticed at age 6. He moved to Daytona Beach, Florida in 1997 with his mother and sister searching for a better life. In Daytona Kaloyan focused on painting, earning numerous awards and scholarships from local art organizations and the schools he attended. He received an AA Degree in Visual Studies from Daytona State College in 2006. Looking forward to an advance in his artistic practice, Kaloyan moved to Brooklyn, New York in 2007 to study at Pratt Institute. There he received a BFA in Painting. For the past three years he has been dedicated to the concept of the void through performance and painting. Currently Kaloyan lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Curated Paper Panel – “Fat in the City: Multimodal Body Activisms of Corpulent Proportions”

  • Panelists: Jill Andrew (York University), Aisha Fairclough (Television Producer; Programming Director, BITE ME!)

The “war on obesity” discourse criminalizes and alienates fat bodies particularly female fat bodies. The fat female body, through these politics of fear, is defined as the abject uncontrolled, unhealthy, “grotesque” “unhappy” body in need of external, often medical, “expert” interventions and controls. Mainstream research on fat female bodies has primarily been conducted by males and through an Amerocentric lens and therefore have not centrally included the situated narratives of diverse fat women in the Greater Toronto Area for example. This panel explores a counter-narrative– an articulation of ways in which two fat women in the city are redefining their own and societal perceptions of the/their fat female bodies. The panelists will discuss and analyze the transformative potentiality of fat fashion blogging, body activism film festivals and  performance ethnography as resistances against fat discrimination. Panelists will argue these interventions as critical components of fat activism and fat studies scholarship that can support systemic changes towards a philosophy of HAES (Health at Every Size) and FAES (Fashion at Every Size) in the GTA.

Jill Andrew (panel chair) is a PhD student in the Faculty of Education at York University. She is also the founder/director of BITE ME! Toronto International Body Image Film & Arts Festival, Curvy Catwalk Fashion Fundraiser and an award-winning columnist with tonightnewspaper. Her current research titled “Abject in the City: Stories of Female Corporeality at the Margin” on female body images & personal narratives, representations and activisms is primarily informed by feminist, poststructuralist, postcolonial, fat studies scholarship and qualitative decolonizing methodologies. Specific body projects within her dissertation will include Fat in the City: Monologues of Corpulent Proportions andBleached in the City: Erasing Darkness (exploration of skin-bleaching practises in the GTA)  For more on Jill visit www.BiteMeFilmFest.com

Aisha Fairclough is a television producer and fat fashion “plus-size” blogger in the GTA. Her most recent story producer credits include “Million Dollar Neighbourhood Season 2” currently airing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) Canada. Aisha is also programming director for BITE ME! Toronto International Body Image Film & Arts Festival. Her blog Fat in the City was created to challenge dominant thin discourses on female bodies through her own exploration of her fat embodiment and the experiences of other diverse fat women. For more on Aisha visit www.fatinthecity.com.

Paper Panel A – “Negotiating and Contesting Nationalisms through Public Intervention”

  • Kerry Whigham (New York University), ”Intersecting Violence:  HIJOS, Practices of Intersection and Biopoetics in Post-Dirty War Argentina”

Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s in Argentina, HIJOS, an activist group formed by the children of parents who were disappeared during the military dictatorship of 1976-83, staged massive public protests and demonstrations in the streets of Buenos Aires and other major cities across the country.  Their goals were to reveal the perpetrators of past crimes that were still living amongst them and to call for justice for these criminals.  Their public performances filled the city streets, challenging the silence of the public and the state in relation to the past through acts that I call practices of intersection.  Practices of intersection traverse and transect space through the movement of bodies across swaths of territory.  This paper analyzes the work of the HIJOS as a co-embodied practice of intersection that served to process past state-sponsored violence.  Using Sara Ahmed’s assertion that acts of migration provide space for the “disorientation and reorientation” of bodies (2006: 9), I argue that these practices of intersection provide an opportunity to rewrite what it means to be a normative body in the public sphere.  Since, in cases of state violence, the normative body is a terrorized body, a body still affected by the affective force of past repression, this rewriting of normativity allows for the processing of past violence.  I describe how these acts of crossing work to lay new claim to public space by undoing the power of state terror not only to atomize bodies, but also to paralyze them.  Finally, if Foucault’s biopolitics work to discipline and restrict bodies in various ways, I use Argentinean poet Julián Axat’s concept of biopoetics to describe how these acts of crossing space can work to reorient relations of power through “poetic” uses of the body.

Kerry Whigham is a doctoral fellow in Performance Studies at New York University, where he is studying how state-sponsored violence continues to perform within populations unless various social acts are undertaken to process it.  His doctoral work focuses on how this violence is refigured through embodied practice and the institution of physical memorial sites.  He is the recipient of the Corrigan Doctoral Fellowship and of NYU’s Global Research Initiative Fellowship in Berlin.  His work has been presented in the United States, Argentina, and England.  He is also a freelance theater director.

  • Darja Davydova (York University), “(Dis)organization of public feelings: Nationalism and anarchy on the streets of Vilnius”

Every year March 11th, the day marking the restoration of independence of Lithuania in 1990, witnesses a battle of clashing nationalist symbols on the streets of Vilnius. The ultra-nationalist movement annually celebrates the date with the marches that openly express anti-semitism, homophobia and racism, while opposing groups try to counteract this violence through alternative celebrations. In 2012, local human rights organizations attempted to create an all-inclusive and cheerful space in the city that could outweigh the nationalist hatred and provide a happy alternative to violent patriotism. This space was marked by bright costumes, colourful balloons and public expressions of joy and love. However, this did not satisfy all the opposition. Several queer, feminist and/or anti-capitalist artists and activists organized a series of performative events that rejected the promise of liberal patriotic happiness and created their own spaces of discomfort within the city. To provide an example, one of these groups performed as pregnant Roma women and genderqueer trouble-makers creating a human wall in front of the nationalist march. Another activist performed crude rhymes in public space and dramatized his arrest. In this paper I explore how these multiple cultural and political performances differently employ public feelings of hatred, joy, anxiety and discomfort in order to engage with the ideologies of nationalism, liberalism and statehood, and how these public feelings are managed, tamed, repressed, policed and boosted by (dis)organization of street life on the day of national celebration.

Darja Davydova is currently a PhD student in Women’s Studies at York University, Toronto, Ontario. She has completed her MSc in Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, with the thesis on sexual nationalism in contemporary Lithuania. Her current research includes national identities, queer movements, homonationalism, queer sexualities and sex work. Darja is also a queer rights and feminist activist.

  • Colin Lalonde (University of Warwick; University of Arts Belgrade), “Unlisted Yet Possessed Spaces: A Challenging Incident of Contesting Public and Private Space in a Transitional Belgrade”

This paper will discuss my, and my colleagues’, experience working on the project Singular Plural or: How I Remembered to Listen, See, Touch, Taste and Smell, workshop. The piece was part of the larger street performance curatorial project Unlisted: Twice in a Lifetime that was presented as part of BITEF in Belgrade, Serbia in September 2012. The aim of the project was to bring an international ensemble to one of the many untended and ignored courtyards in the city, in order to create a dance performance that directly focused on sensing the space. Whilst attempting to generate the dance performance the piece transformed into a social confrontation between the performers and individual residents, individual residents with other residents of the buildings, and the police with individual residents and performers. The reaction to our performative intervention into the space was mixed between perplexity, aggression, interest and joy. However, in actuality the performance never occurred, the reactions were simply to the developmental process. The piece became a curation of a performance that never happened, as well as a social discussion that confronted questions of public and private spaces in a city going through the harsh and awkward transition from Socialism to Capitalism. The paper will present the performance as well as explore the conversation that arose from the intervention.

Colin Lalonde is a performer, director, and performance researcher from Montreal Quebec, Canada. He has just submitted his Masters dissertation to the University of Warwick and the University of Arts Belgrade as part of the Masters of Arts in International Performance Research (MAIPR). His undergrad was in theatre at the University of Ottawa. During his time in Ottawa he worked as a performer and director with the performance and research collectiveLes Atelier du Corps, which developed new performance training techniques and performances that have been included in the Canada Dance Festival’s program.

Paper Panel B – “Cannibalistic Appetites: Desire, Consumption, Subversion”

  • Natalie Doonan (Concordia University), “Consuming Publics: Street Performance in Montreal”

This paper will focus on the production of publics by performance art that is located outside of institutional (gallery/museum) settings. The question what is ‘public art’? will be addressed by exploring a performance presented through the curatorial project le/the Sensorium. I founded le/the Sensorium in 2011, and have been inviting an ongoing series of performance artists to create participatory performance events in Montreal. This paper will focus on Atom Cianfarani’s CONSUME LOVE. Performed in Montreal on the same day that the Occupy encampment was evicted and about a week before the COP17 climate talks, CONSUME LOVE was billed as a project of peace and anti-consumerism. Atom Cianfarani, an artist who has built her practice around salvaged materials for over ten years, led a group of fifteen people on a trash tour, teaching participants how to locate good quality, discarded food. Eager students of ‘freeganism’ took notes and modeled Cianfarani’s techniques in approaching grocery store managers to inquire about garbage drop-off times and locations. The term ‘freegan,’ playing on ‘vegan’ refers to both a resolution to eat free food and more largely, to a disengagement from capitalism. To consume means to purchase – to enter into abstract relations through commodity exchange. Alternatively, it means to take into the body, to assimilate into one’s self. The title CONSUME LOVE is an invitation to buy into more intimate and communal forms of exchange. The website (www.lesensorium.com) is an archive for the conversations that emerge from this and other events in the series, thus compiling alternative narratives of place.

Natalie Doonan is a multimedia and performance artist, writer and teacher, currently pursuing a PhD Humanities in the areas of Sensory Studies,Performance and Urban Studies at Concordia University. Natalie is founder of le/the Sensorium (www.lesensorium.com), and co-founder of The Miss Guides (www.themissguides.com). She holds a diploma in Art and Art History from Sheridan College, an Honours B.A. in Fine Arts with a Major in English from the University of Toronto, and an MFA from the University of British Columbia. Natalie has exhibited inside and outside of institutions, nationally and internationally. Her research interests include pedagogy, public art, and collaboration.

  • Joanna Donehower (Concordia University), ”Curiocité and the Street: Imagining Rue Ontario through the Practices of Curiosity, Comedy, and Commerce”

What is the relation between the commercial street and the dramaturgy of site-specific performances that occur there? The street is, in different views, a public space, a site of culture and commerce, and a route toward and vantage on the utopian city. Anthony Vidler’s Scenes of the Street (2010) provides an account of the role of the street in shaping theatrical architecture in the Renaissance, and, conversely, the role of the perspectival stage in shaping nineteenth century urban planning and its privileging of wide boulevards leading to “theatrical” views. As Vidler notes of Palladio’s Teatro Olimpico, the city streets were incorporated into the scenic architecture of the theatre in the Renaissance as sites in which particular genres—tragedy, comedy, and pastoral— were to unfold (2010, pp. 18–19).1 This essay will take the historical evidence of the dialectic between theatre and the urban street as a starting point for a reconsideration of the dramaturgy of street performance along a commercial-residential section of Montréal’s Ontario Street, known as the Promenade Ontario. What spatial histories, imaginaries, and discourses emerge in passing, inhabiting, and performing (in) the street, or in thinking of the street as performance?

This essay, structured as a fragmentary tour of Rue Ontario, unfurls through description of and reflection upon Curiocité’s performance practices of the commercial street. Moving between public, private, and everyday archives of Rue Ontario, this essay will place my collaborative street performance practice in conversation with the modern street scenes of Walter Benjamin, Bertolt Brecht, and Guy Debord. Curiocité, a mobile theatre and ludic museum of Rue Ontario, pursues at least three intertwining lines of inquiry in relation to its street, seeking out, collecting, and playing with the curious, the comic, and the commercial. I will consider the possibilities of curiosity as a research method and performance practice, and look at how the comic mode— and the tropes of the comedy of street life—might operate in relation to the everyday practices of commerce.

About Joanna K. Donehower: I am a playwright, dramaturg, and doctoral student (PhD in Humanities – Arts-Based Research, Performance/Theatre Studies, and English Literature) at Concordia University. My research and practice ask how site-specific performances articulate, revise, and construct urban imaginaries and histories. Working through and against the well-rehearsed claim that performance outside of conventional theatre settings producesan engaged and participatory (if not democratic) subject position for the perspectival spectator within the event, my research, after Rancière et al, reconsiders the [re]situation of the spectator in in situ and bipedal performance, exploring the relationship between the walking, watching, and thinking spectator, and between passivity, activity, errancy, reflection, and criticality. In particular, I am considering how artists in Montreal are pursuing and [re]producing—at the street level—scenarios of radical democracy and historiography in response to nationalist and regionalist metanarratives, massive urban development projects and maps, and neoliberal austerity measures. My current project Curiocité/y— the creative site for my doctoral research—is a curiosity cabinet, mobile archive, miniature theatre, and cantastoria device which begins its perambulations of rue Ontario in Montreal in spring of 2013.

Paper Panel C –  ”Rupturing the Quotidian Gaze: Ground, Sky and Promenade”

  • Zita Nyarady (York University), “The Role of the Stilt Performance in Political Street Theatre (as told from a bird eye view)”

The 2012 International Stilt Council at Odin Teatret in Holstebro Denmark brought together stilt professionals from across North America, South America and Europe. Throughout this week of skill sharing, collective creation and performance many discussions about the role of stilts in street performance occurred. Always at the stilt walker’s disposal are the tactics and practices of being tall. Towering above crowds, the stilt performer rarely has to worry about the audience’s ability to see the show.  However, no longer satisfied with the mere spectacle of tallness, stilt performers are challenging the art form and creating innovative new ways in which a stilted being can interact with space. It was from this place where my stilt street performance Bird Brains and City Hearts emerged. Bird Brains and City Hearts followed three tall birds (and one musical squirrel) exploring various Toronto neighbourhoods questioning public space as they looked for a place to rest their nest.  In this paper I explore the current climate of stilt creation today as mode of subversive street performance. Through an unpacking of Bird Brains and City Hearts I ask how stilt street performance relates to political, social and environmental change.

 Zita Nyarady is a dance-theatre artist, stilt walker and PhD student in Theatre Studies at York University. She has performed and taught across Canada, USA, Jamaica, Scotland, Sweden and Denmark. Her research interests include guerilla theatre, community arts and how communities perform memory and migration. Upcoming projects include co-directing the Wapsipinicon Theatre Festival’s production of the Odyssey along the Wapsipinicon River in rural Iowa. More information on Zita’s projects can be found atwww.cryptozoologplayground.com

  • Aidan Dahlin Nolan (New York University), “Becoming Still: exploring the politics of stagnation”

 Monday morning and I’m walking up Bay Street from Union Station. People in business attire brush 
past, scented with colon and perfume, and the footfalls of high heels beet out a constant rhythm on 
the pavement. Reaching the southwest corner at the intersection of Bay and King streets, I lie down. Taking 
in the world from this new perspective, my gaze drifts skyward along the outer edges of the bank 
buildings comprising the city’s central business district. “You alright?” asks a woman in brimmed 
 interrupting my sightline with a concerned expression. “I’m fine,” I say, “I just wanted a change
 in perspective”. “Is this a political protest about troops dying?” asks a man with a sleek black
 case. “No, it’s not about the troops”, I respond, a crowd is starting to gather…

 stagnates the flow of 
 in downtown Toronto; people stop what they are doing, and engage with a new and unfamiliar 
circumstance – someone who wants see the city differently. García’s work asks us to make contact
 with the street and reconsider the ways in which neoliberal cities construct our relations to one another, 
as well as the earth beneath our feet. My work in amphibious street performance explores a similar
 trajectory with wetlands. Grouped together, these performances can help us to interrogate the question: how can
 street performance help us to re‐imagine our relationship to the more‐than‐human world?

 Dahlin Nolan is a Teacher and Performance Artist conducting practice based research in the emerging field of performance and ecology. An M.A. Graduate from the Performance Studies program at NYU’s Tisch School 
of the Arts, Aidan’s work involves re‐imagining our relationship to the nonhuman
 knowing. Aidan will be starting a PhD in Theatre Studies at York University in the fall of 2013.

Paper Panel D – “Exercising the Imagination: The (R)evolutionary Power of Play” 

  • Lauren Beck (Northwestern University), “Exercising the Imagination: The Theatre of Zombies Run”

Zombies, Run!, available for any smartphone, is a game marketed as a tool to help motivate outdoor runners. In the primary mode of play, the runner uses headphones to listen to a narrative that places her or him in a post-apocalyptic world in which survival is based on escaping the ever-growing population of zombies.

Michael Bull, Tia Denora, and Jean-Paul Thibaud have theorized how personal sound devices like mp3 players and smartphones have the power to change an individual’s relationship to the surrounding environment. When used to deliver content like Zombies, Run!, these devices serve as ideal scripting mechanisms in the creation of individualized theatrical performances within public spaces. The theatrical experience of Zombies, Run! usually only employs one person as a conscious participant, and he or she serves as both performer and spectator. In altering a participant’s perception of an environment, augmented sound games encourage role-play, imaginative ways of engaging with spaces, and fictional interpretations of the environment. The narrative space is both virtual and real, incorporating three major components: the environment, the creator/artist’s concept, and the participant’s perception. Although the recorded track of Zombies, Run! is the same for all participants, they individualize the games by choosing the location (urban, suburban, rural) and the way actions will be performed – creating unique performances of the work.

Lauren Beck is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program in Theatre and Drama at Northwestern University. Her dissertation explores augmented reality in audio tours, artistic audio walks, and pervasive games that frames cities as theatrical spaces and encourage participants to co-create new narratives. Lauren earned a B.A. in Theatre from the University of California, San Diego, and an M.A. in Theatre Arts from San Diego State.

  • Alex Megelas (McGill University; Concordia University), ”Sports for the People, by the People: Anarchist Soccer, Body Politics and Educational Autonomy”

If you don’t know what anarchist soccer is, it does indeed have some rules though the idea to celebrate fun, spontaneity and hard-work while doing away with the discriminatory practices that are unfortunately a big part of organized sports (sexism, homophobia, machismo). Players of different ages and backgrounds come together and play in an environment that is competitive yet friendly and supportive. Anarchist soccer games are willed, conscious alternatives to traditional/mainstream/commercialized sports. Yet, to its participants in games across the world, anarchist soccer cannot be simply summed up as a casual expression, sports for the fun of it.  In fact, anarchist soccer allows a wide range of people with access to a safe space where the physical self can be explored and played with.

Over the course of this paper presentation, I will present anarchist soccer, as a performative and playful experiment in social autonomy connected to a broader array of politicized sports. I will argue that anarchist soccer can be as an example in emancipatory education and social autonomy as envisioned by Paulo Freire, Margaret Mead and Hakim Bey – a revolutionary act through which one acquires an awareness that can then lead to transformative action. In doing so, I will showcase examples (photographs, audio clips and anecdotes) drawn from my own ten-year participation in the Montreal anarchist soccer weekly game. When winning and being “better” cease to be important, we tend to have a much better time of it.

Alex Megelas is a Montreal-based community organizer, educator and visual artist. He is the coordinator of the Personal and Cultural Enrichment Program (PACE) an experiential-learning unit at McGill University. His current research (Concordia University) is on hackerspaces as autonomous educational communities of practice. His collaborative visual projects are Power Up!, a bike-powered exploration of the intersection of technology, community and self-reliance and Best Friends, a musical group with a revolving door 30+ membership that performs 70s and 80s songs as well as other music of significant importance to the collective consciousness.

  • Veronica Schiavo (University of Innsbruck; University of Trento), “Mercutio Doesn’t Want to Die”: Notes Concerning a Street (Anti) Tragedy with the Actors of Volterra’s Prison and Citizens”

“To go outside” may have many different meanings. It could refer to a concrete movement from an inside, like for instance a prison, to an outside, like the streets of a city. But it may also mean to create an ideal movement, a centrifugal one, that is capable to bring people in a different place, away from the “self”, away from history (or at least away from the plot).

As Marcuse said (1965), art is against history, that is a story of oppression. Art responds to different rules and therefore creates a different reality. But in which sense can this be true? Does art itself have this “revolutionary” power? It seems a naïf question today, but it becomes suitable and concrete if we analyze the artistic work of Compagnia della Fortezza, that during the last 23 years created a different space and a different time inside a penal prison, changing also the institution itself (maybe we could call it a “concrete utopia”, see Ernst Bloch). But this specific “revolution” is in a constant precariousness, due to uncertain founding and schizophrenic policies.

The project “Mercutio doesn’t want to die”, investigates the possibility for minor characters of “Romeo and Juliet” not to play their roles (see Heiner Müller, Carmelo Bene and Giles Deleuze), choosing not to take part in the tragedy. Mercutio, the dancing poet of the lightness (see Italo Calvino) and the choir – the citizens – take the centre of the scene in a street collective performance or, saying it better, a street (anti)tragedy, prepared in months of rehearsals (inside and outside the prison), public workshops, sharing of ideas and materials on social networks and media. The final public event, that contained elements of agit-prop, mass-theatre and flash mobs, created several levels of participation, awareness and interpretation (both in an aesthetic and in a political sense).

Veronica Schiavo is a PhD candidate of the Austrian, German and Italian project “Political Communication”, with a research about the Italian theatre’s activities in prison and their interaction with the public policy and “discourse”, both on prison and on theatre. She graduated in Performing Arts at the Alma Mater Studiorium of Bologna, with a thesis about “Teatro de los Andes”, an international theatre group based in Bolivia. She researched in South America with a scholarship of the University of Bologna and she worked with Artistas Unidos (Lisbon, Portugal) and Teatri di Vita (Bologna, Italy). Now she is based in Berlin (Germany).

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