Vancouver’s International Performance Art Celebration

Oct 5 & 6 highlights: VERB FRAU TV, artist talks, Mineki Murata, Lee Wen tribute, Lukas Avendaño, Kamikazee Nurse, Carmen Papalia Oct 5 & 6 highlights: VERB FRAU TV, artist talks, Mineki Murata, Lee Wen tribute, Lukas Avendaño, Kamikazee Nurse, Carmen Papalia

The final full day and evening – Saturday, October 5 – of LIVE 2019 programming began with another wonderful session of stretching and meditation led by VERB FRAU TV, artist talks, and the completion of Mineki Murata’s durational piece. The evening saw the world premiere of Dreams: the Lee Wen tribute film, Lukas Avendaño’s performance and a closing set by Kamikaze Nurse.

Then on Sunday, October 6, artist Carmen Papalia led a group of over 30 participants on walk that was a beautifully fitting way to end the festival: led by trust in each other.

Saturday October 5

VERB FRAU TV

Margaret Dragu and Sophia Wolfe’s self-care “with movement + no movement chair yoga + mindful meditation & low-key chat” practice was live-streamed and shared between an intimate circle of participants at the empty Pat’s Pub in Downtown Eastside. The practice itself oscillates between Dragu and Wolfe’s respective styles and energies, warm and lighthearted, soft and meditative. There are layers of parody and genuineness interweaved in this “TV” broadcasting of self-care routine: while Dragu and Wolfe’s movements and stretches make one wish to start each day like this, the “Funkytown” tune and constant surveillance aspect of the experience is undeniably humorous and curious.

Experience recollection by Katherine Chan.

VERB FRAU TV: Supporting, Day 3. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
VERB FRAU TV: Supporting, Day 3. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
VERB FRAU TV: Supporting, Day 3. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
VERB FRAU TV: Supporting, Day 3. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.

Watch the live stream recording of VERB FRAU TV, Day 3, LIVE 2019:

Artist Talks

On the final day of lunchtime artist talks at Pat’s Pub, Tari Ito, Raven Davis, and Thirza Jean Cuthand discussed their work, their process and their LIVE 2019 performances with moderator Doug Jarvis.

Artist talk, Day 3 at Pat's Pub. LIVE 2019. Photo by Xinyue Liu.
Artist talk, Day 3 at Pat’s Pub. LIVE 2019. Photo by Xinyue Liu.
Artist talk, Day 3 at Pat's Pub. LIVE 2019. Photo by Xinyue Liu.
Artist talk, Day 3 at Pat’s Pub. LIVE 2019. Photo by Xinyue Liu.

Completion of and reception for Mineki Murata’s durational performance piece

Japanese artist from Gunma, Mineki Murata finished his durational piece after a total of 18 hours. From October 3 – 5, Murata continuously and relentlessly drew huge sweeping circles on a large piece of plywood with vigor, occasionally grunting chants, primal, guttural sounds in a small, pitch dark room in the upstairs gallery of Ground Floor Arts Centre in Chinatown. Six hours, every day, physical repetition.

Entering the art space and going up the stairs to the room where Murata’s performance takes place is in itself an experience. The open entrance of Ground Floor transitions quickly to a narrow staircase with transient red light. Already, you can hear deep, near-growling noises from the staircase. As you ascend, the tone gets darker and darker until you are met with an almost imperceptible arrow on a heavy curtain, pointing to the opening into the room. When you enter through the curtain, it is impossible to know who is around you, if anyone is at all, because of how dark it is. You are then present with the artist who is in the depths of vision and physical articulation of executing their piece. In the final hour on the final day of Murata’s piece, there are numerous holes in the plywood which the artist has literally drawn through to the window on the other side of the wood from the hours of work. Rays of light that pour through those pinholes are the only light source, creating a partial silhouette of Murata.

Watching him and being in that room in those final moments is intense. Audience members go in and out between the room and downstairs. Words like “maddening” and “torture” are used to describe what seems in fact indescribable. I returned to the creation room a few times with breaks in between. Personally and strangely, I felt safe in that particular darkness and the primitive vibe of Murata’s performance. You are met with a different piece of the performance from visiting the creation period one hour from the next, because Murata is, in essence, moving with time as he erodes away the layers of plywood, demarcating it at each and every second. The sound of the repetitive scratching of the wood offers a similar sense of comfort that stability and routine do. Murata’s repetition and its impact remind me of the worthiness of labour, the significance of moving with time as opposed to stagnating, and of hope, in that humans find their way to the light.

Murata takes a pause and looks at the “canvas,” as he does throughout this performance, and as the audience expect him to return to drawing, he drops the pen, turns around, and leaves the room. He comes down the stairs to where the rest of the audience is. People clap with awe and suspension in the air. Someone finally asks him: “Do you want a beer?”, Murata immediately nods and responds with a quiet “yes”. In the light, the three-day durational performance results in a visual work of art: frantic circles on the wood, countless broken pens and a pile of sawdust on the floor. Looking at it, you sees the unimaginable journey that Murata was on in creating it and the depth of its concept.

Review by Katherine Chan.

Mineki Murata performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
Mineki Murata performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
Mineki Murata performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
Mineki Murata performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
Mineki Murata performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.
Mineki Murata performance at Ground Floor Art Centre. LIVE 2019. Photo by Bryce Hunnersen.

Lee Wen tribute films

Lee Wen (1957–2019) was a Singapore-based performance artist who shaped the development of performance art in Asia and the world. He passed away in March, 2019. He passing was felt around the globe, in the art world and beyond.

Curated by Snežana Golubović, the world premiere of DREAMS – Tribute to Lee Wen happened on October 5 at VIVO Media Arts as part of LIVE’s 2019 programming.

Thank you too the artists who created films for this tribute: Snežana Golubović, Ricky Unik, Inari Virmakoski, Fausto Grossi, Daisuke Takeya, Myriam Laplante, Roi Vaara. 🙏

Lukas Avendaño

Room arranged like a fashion catwalk, rows of seating flanking.
Bathed in red.
Giant butterfly backdrop.
Lukas tall elegant beautiful
in 8 inch heels, he dances, he moves and dances the whole time.
Lukas talks to us, talks to us in Spanish the whole time,
he shares his lived experience, his pain, his struggles, entirely in Spanish
English translations, written like poetic verses, are projected onto the corner, difficult to read tucked behind speakers and chairs,
But perhaps the text is only meant to serve as a hint, not a focus, our focus should be on Lukas, and it is all of our attention is, they are alluring, entirely utterly undeniably irresistible.
We want him but not in a sexual way even though his walk and costume and body are sensually charged, we want him because he speaks the truth, we want to be with him because he is real, we want to side with him and fight with him against the hatred and discrimination and bigotry that stains the world.
Despite a broken heel early in the performance, Lukas maintains his poise, never misses a beat. This perhaps is poignant, he shows how we should always be: poised despite setbacks and infiltration and crushing fists.

Experience recollected by Ash Tanasiychuk.

Lukas Avendaño performance at VIVO Media Arts. LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.
Lukas Avendaño performance at VIVO Media Arts. LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.
Lukas Avendaño performance at VIVO Media Arts. LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.
Lukas Avendaño performance at VIVO Media Arts. LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.
Lukas Avendaño performance at VIVO Media Arts. LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.
Lukas Avendaño performance at VIVO Media Arts. LIVE 2019. Photo by Ravi Gill.

Kamikaze Nurse

Kamikaze Nurse is a rock band featuring KC Wei, Ethan Reyes, Sonya Eui, and John Brennan. Named after Simone Weil’s unfulfilled humanitarian death wish, the band formed in Spring 2018, and have released their debut LP, Bucky Fleur, on AgonyKlub in June 2019. Their music has been described as “ethereal skronk,” “Deleuzian rock,” and “best of the 90s” by people on the internet and irl.

On the final evening of LIVE 2019, they provided a wall of sound that was delicious to absorb. At the end, amongst the applause, one audience member declared, with absolute authority, “You’re the best band in Vancouver!” We totally agree and are excited to see what heights Kamikaze Nurse rise to.

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Sunday October 6

Carmen Papalia

On my cheek, I can feel the fur hood of Tito, the man in front of me. I just met him but so badly I want to rest the side of my face on his shoulder. Inevitably, in this shape we are in, he supports me.

“The project is about a group of people coming together and finding ways to support each other,” Carmen Papalia says, leading us on a 40 minute walk through Hastings Park.

Everyone’s eyes are closed. We are linked, arm to arm, in a single-file chain.

I am surprisingly relaxed as I feel Tito pulling my right arm forward, Mina pulling my left shoulder back, at the collective whim of the other 30 people that make up this swaying organism. In this push/pull, all I can control is my breath. I notice my frustration when we keep starting and stopping; I notice my surprised when a hanging leaf or web caresses my face; I notice my delight when the colour of my eyelids changes (the sun is out!).

In this exchange of trust,
We will keep eyes shut.
We will communicate obstacles and directions to each other.
If there’s a break in the chain, we will stop.
And, he will guide us safely.

Mindfulness of body, of senses.
Awareness of place, of people around you.
Interpretation of information in different (non-visual) ways.
Relationship to place and people in different ways.
Responsibility to find ways of completing the experience together.
Trust that someone will tell me before I run into something, and that they will wait for me and help me. I am not a burden.

The question is, how do we make a system that comes together for everyone, as Papalia has shown us is possible?

Review by Jaz Papadopoulos.

Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.
Carmen Papalia participatory performance. LIVE 2019. Photo by Alisha Weng.

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LIVE 2019 was September 28 – October 6, 2019. The full schedule will continue to live on our websiteour website and on our Facebook pageour Facebook page.

Find out what happened at LIVE 2019!
Sept 28 highlightsSept 28 highlights
Sept 29 & 30 highlights and looking ahead to the rest of the festSept 29 & 30 highlights and looking ahead to the rest of the fest
Oct 1 highlights: Do Not DisturbOct 1 highlights: Do Not Disturb
Oct 2 highlights: Tari Ito – LIVE 2019Oct 2 highlights: Tari Ito – LIVE 2019
Oct 3 highlights: VERB FRAU, artist talks, Mineki Murata, Preach R Sun, Jon Sasaki, Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, Adriana DismanOct 3 highlights: VERB FRAU, artist talks, Mineki Murata, Preach R Sun, Jon Sasaki, Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, Adriana Disman
Oct 4 highlights: VERB FRAU TV, artist talk, Mineki Murata, Fatimah Jawdat, Thirza Jean Cuthand, Raven Davis, New Body Language panel with SUM galleryOct 4 highlights: VERB FRAU TV, artist talk, Mineki Murata, Fatimah Jawdat, Thirza Jean Cuthand, Raven Davis, New Body Language panel with SUM gallery

We will be posting a full festival recap in the coming weeks. Be sure to check back on our site’s Update page our site’s Update page for that post. It’ll be a media-packed good time!

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