Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Todd Janes (Edmonton, Canada), Tuesday, Oct 23/07

In the Dutch Light of a perfect autumn Tuesday, Todd Janes presented an exquisite intervention-diptych.

Todd Janes durational performance Iron Man Oct 22-23/07

Todd performed IRON MAN in a metered parking space in front of Pulp Fiction Bookstore. By placing private/domestic/trad-female or sterotypical-gay-male labour/fetishes in a public/corporate space, Todd Janes drew an array of attention from the public. People were amused, curious, entertained, questioning, and sometimes really annoyed with the loss of a parking spot although Todd had filled the meter and had the right to "park" his ironing board between the white lines.

Todd is well-known for this well-crafted agit-prop intervention. He has performed it in many cities (including Victoria last week as a satellite LIVE event). It is the kind of performance the media loves. Although TV/radio/newspapers play the "oooooboy look at the wacky artist" reading of IRON MAN, this intervention-jewel is political, layered and provocative.

Later that afternoon, Todd Janes took the Olympic motto of FASTER! HIGHER! STRONGER! and slowed down with it for a durational intervention. Dressed in drab pants and hoodie, Todd Janes carried several heavy bags of Army & Navy tinned grocery items (what was in those tins? -- coffee? beans? cookies?) and s-l-o-w-l-y walked through the urban madness of the randomly gathered public in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery. Todd responded to the frequent sirens by s-l-o-w-l-y looking up to the aural trail then continuing his journey. Janes' focussed aktion made me slow down and begin to see the city background as if it were a film or mural. Over the half hour I stayed, Janes' aktions alternated between background and foreground as he oscillated (like a 3D black velvet painting of the Last Supper) between the performer and a background/drone/pulse allowing the random public to "perform".

Todd Janes' Faster! Higher! Stronger!

Janes is surely asking us where the urban competition of faster/richer/more and the Olympic Mania of dislocation/real estate development leaves the poor.

A bittersweet diptych. I bussed/biked back to the south arm of the Fraser River arriving as the sun set and the Dutch light faded to black.

... respectfully submitted by Margaret Dragu

LIVE5 Photos: Faster! Higher! Stronger! Photo Set

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