Sunday, October 28, 2007

Public Displays of Affection, by Emerging Artists, Sat Oct 27

Saturday was a cloudy, 8+ degree, & 10 km/hr wind kind of day. It was also the final day of THE LIVE BIENNALE 2007. Around and about the Waterfront Skytrain Station were three emerging artists presenting intervention works addressing the theme of Public Displays of Affection.

Unfortunately, I arrived too late to see Francisco-Fernando Granados.

Francisco-Fernando Granados (Vancouver, Canada)
I ran into DEEP DISH who told me it was a lovely piece that was a series of poetic aktions executed by the tuxedoed artist in front of a church/fountain and employing a bridal bouquet. It sounded bittersweet and perfect for a day made for the soundtrack of a French Nouvelle Vague film. I appreciated Deep Dish's description but hearing about a performance art work is like istening to someone descibe last night's dream. Often it is a case of "you just had to be there". I sincerely wish I had been (at Granados' performance).

Francisco-Fernando Granados' performance at Habour Green Park, Oct 27

More LIVE5: To Francisco Fernando-Granados Photo set

Julianna Barbaras (Edmonton/Vancouver, Canada)
Julianna Barbaras is not an emerging artist.


If I accept Canada Council's criteria that one has the right to self-declare oneself to be a professional artist; and furthermore, that one also has the right to determine or describe oneself to be an emerging artist , mid-career artist, and/or senior artist -- then I have to accept the fact that this is none of my business.

But .... Allow me to say this. Barbaras has already completed a series of performances creating an anatomical ring "cutting" her body in half over a period of several years; and, she has performed a series of walking-talking-lecture-style performances in and out of various institutions. This is "mid-career" enough for me -- if anyone is asking for my opinion.

On this particular Saturday, Julianna (artist-at-large) was dressed all in white. She pinned a large white fabric circle on her chest upon which she had written in black ink " 50% ". Julianna walked around the four corner intersection of Howe and Cordova and approached any and every one with a smile and an outstretched hand looking for a handshake. Sometimes she offered a hug. She did not speak.

My first reading of her 50% sign was that I was watching a hooker walk the streets with a Saturday bargain for the tourist trade. After over half an hour of watching her approach men, women, groups, young, old, rich, & poor with a very open heart, I had to revise my first impression. The 50% badge had to mean something else. But what? I remembered a piece Barbaras performed at a spring FUSE at the VAG that centred on how many women and/or artists of colour were represented in the gallery. Perhaps her 50% buttoniere was a statement that at least 50% of the people walking around downtown Vancouver and our planet are, in fact, female?

Julianna's work often includes illusive buttons, signs, and nomenclature. I watched for awhile longer. Julianna, like all telemarketers, surveyors, Green Peace petition seekers, beggars, and other street-traders, would experience waves of "success" ie. lots of pleasant exchanges, handshakes, hugs; and then this was inevitably followed by waves of "rejection" ie. cold shoulders, sharp words.

These interactions affected her face, her posture, her attitude, her kharma, and hence her exchange with the next member of the public. No matter how lonely the planet feels, we are living together and affecting each other all the time.

More LIVE5: To Julianna Barabas Photo set

Christine Grimes (Vancouver, Canada)

After each day/night I journeyed to Vancouver for LIVE performance events, I came home and complained bitterly about spending hours trapped on a bus full of people talking on cellphones.

I hate being forced to be with people were relating to people who are SOME PLACE ELSE.

I have grown to loathe being anywhere in public where people are talking on cellphones which, at this point in history, happens in every public space. I have peed in toilets in shopping malls and train stations while a woman in the next stall talked on her cellphone. I have sat/stood beside people talking on cellphones in libraries, doctors' offices, elevators, grocery checkouts, banks, and hiking trails! Cellphones make me want to stay home and never travel or go out anywhere or ever again!!!

Perhaps addressing this change in our public life, is a thoughtful intervention performance by Christine Grimes. On the street curb beside the bus stop, Chrisitne put up two chairs and a sandwich board that said: "No Connection Fee". Her performance appeared to be a one-on-one public interaction whereby Christine apparently offered a free connection-to-conversation-live-and-in-person along side the usual ads for FIDO, Rogers, Sprint, Virgin, etc.... She was so deeply engrossed in a long chat with a member of the public that I did not wish to interrupt. And since it was time for me to get on the 98B-Line and head home, I had the joy of sitting between two people yelling on cellphones producing boring but loud one-sided conversations all the way to Richmond.

More LIVE5: To Christine Grimes Photo set

Poontang in the Park (Vancouver, Canada)

Poontang in the Park: Priscilla Costa, M.Fla and T.Flan are in fine 'clown du bouffon' form as they animate Vancouver's Victory Square in the curated theme of "Public Displays of Affection".

More LIVE5: To Poontang in the Park Photo set
... respectfully submitted by Margaret Dragu

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