lance mclean reflects…
text by: lance mclean
I have been thinking a lot about “pre intentions” and what it would be like to let go of them when performing. Years ago I say a guy with a shirt that said: “No expectations, no disapointments.” It made me laugh when I first say it but as I kept thinking about it it started to make me think differently about understanding the beauty of life as it is not as we may want it to be.
I like how your work exists within environments – for the most part- that are uncontrolled and constantly in flux. The idea of creating space and taking ownership of that space is a lot more challenging when outside the protective space of a gallery. Not that the gallery is a completely dead space and therefore obsolete/ unnesecary- as it lets the artist address its history and can engage the viewer(s), participant(s) and artist(s) in ways that being in public can’t, but saying that I don’t think it holds the same ‘power’ it used to. Which makes me think of the breaking down of “authority” within the arts in general. To me there are no alternative spaces anymore, anyway. I think it’s more important to me to think in terms of context and maching the work to a space rather than the other way around. We all exist somewhere at some time and so does the manifistations of our actions/ ideas. For the most part, how the viewer reads a work depends on the individual and what they bring to it. The thing that I think is most difficult about performing outside of the gallery is that there are very few free spaces where a person can express themselves without being moved along. It’s criminal that cities make it nearly impossible to enjoy a space in the way we need to- from the no loitering signs to the blatant middle bars placed on benches to the concrete seats with steel plates afixed to their edges- to detere skateboaders from sliding across them. When I lived in Toronto- (by York University) (Jane and Finch area) I was always struck by the bleekness of all the concrete towers. So drab and hollow and cold. Everything was grey and univiting. On my way to the store I would always see this group of men sitting cross-legged on a small patch of grass in front of one of those towers with their tiny colman burner trying to have a picnic. It struck me that cities basically asign places where citizens go and can’t go. Even nature is like this now. We can’t roam freely, anymore. There is so much control our our human spaces. This is something that I liked about Amy’s last piece- she seemed to take ownership of her space in that park. She marked the ground but also marked our need to take back what is all of ours.
When Emilio and his mother performed their collaboration I was struck by how much the audience wanted to give. This is the power of making work with honest intentions. Emilios’ mother exuded a power and strength that I have been privileged to witness through many women I have known. Their piece made me think about the bond between a mother and child but also the others bonds that are more fleeting like the bond that sometimes happens between the audience and performer(s). I think that Emilio has adeptly shown our most basic universal connection- to nurture and be nurtured. The strength is in his work seems to stem from his softness- his openness to the people in the room. He didn’t just include us in the piece he held out his hand and walked us into his home. I actually think the most revelling part of the performance was when he was speaking in Spanish to his mother and not translating- the intimacy in doing something public and private at the same time. A small moment. But it’s in these small moments where this crossover between doing and living exists- between memories and dreams; between anticipation and acceptance; between love and reverence. Anyway, a performance is beyond an experience or a memory- it’s a portal into something deeper…
Emilio Rojas in the Edmonton Journal
Be a part of Visualeyez: Emilio Rojas’ call for participants
We’re busy getting everything ready for Visualeyez which is coming up next week, starting on the 13th. This week we’ll be launching the full details of performances and the schedule on visualeyez.org but first, before all of that, we have a special request from one of the artists, to you, our audience:
Dear community of Latitude 53,
My name is Emilio Rojas, and I’m an artist participating in Visualeyez festival of performance this year, exploring on themes of worship and rituals. I want to ask everyone for your participation my piece, a collaboration with my mother in Mexico entitled , “Algunas cosas deverian de permanecer en silencio/Some things should remain in silence” which will be presented at the festival.
I’ve written to my mother, all the things that I’ve never told her, and she has written to me all the things that she hasn’t told me. Both letters were sent on March 1st, 2011, but have never been open, and remain framed in both of out rooms.
Your participation involves writing a short paragraph or a letter to your mother, with a confession of something you haven’t told her. It can be as short as two sentences or as long as you need it to be. All the text from the participants will then be translated into Spanish and read to my mother mixed with my confession. As the private becomes collective, the individual becomes faceless. These ritual of confessing will question why do we keep these things silent and what are the taboos of society which prevent us from talking about these subjects.
Your participation is totally voluntary, and your names will remain confidential. My mother will be present during the performance via skype, as an archetype and the receptor of the collective confessions.
You can send your letter, or paragraph to email@example.com. I know that this project involves a lot of trust and your trust will be honored. You can also drop or send your letter without a name to Latitude 53, with the title confession. This is a collective project that requires your participation and so far 60 people from all over the world have already participated.
ADDRESS: 10248 - 106 Street Edmonton, Alberta T5J 1H7 CANADA
DIRECTIONS: Latitude 53 Contemporary Visual Culture is located on the corner of 106 Street & 103 Avenue on the second floor of the historic Creamery Building in downtown Edmonton. We share the building with Metro Billiards and Inner Spaces Furnishings and our entrance is located on the South end of the building. We are only 2 blocks from the Corona LRT Stations and close to bus routes travelling to all parts of the city.
grateful for your help and trust,
Introducing Visualeyez 2011
Today we’re very happy to announce the lineup for Visualeyez 2011!
The festival takes place September 13–18 of this year, with the curatorial theme worship, and will feature ten artists: Aimee Henny Brown, Michael Dudeck, Gillian Dyson, Danny Gaudreault, Amy Malbeuf, Emilio Rojas, Turner Prize* (Jason Cawood, Blair Fornwald and JG Hampton), and Helene Vosters. We’ll also be hosting Festival Animator Karen Elaine Spencer who will keep those of you in blog-land updated with the festival-goings on at visualeyez.org.
Over the next few weeks we’ll have lots more about the festival artists and programming, so stay tuned!