Audio of introduction by Amanda Cachia

Video still from Diane Borsato Gems and Minerals, 2018.

Diane Borsato
Gems and Minerals, 2018
video, 25:00 mins
Courtesy of the Artist

In Gems and Minerals, museum guides discuss the hidden worlds of rock and mineral specimens in the Teck Suite: Earth’s Treasures galleries at the Royal Ontario Museum (Toronto). With expressive performances in American Sign Language (ASL) and site-responsive dance, the performers use their bodies to enact the origins of the earth’s oldest materials and the surprising quirks of chemistry and geology. They also tell fantastical stories: a hydro-geologist keeps accidentally swallowing pearls, a guard relieves his arthritis in the copper exhibit, bats are attracted to silver ore, an asteroid is on an ominous trajectory toward our future descendants. Through emotional, sometimes-comical gesturing in the busy public gallery, performers embody some of the most controversial and disturbing social, environmental, and economic impacts of mining industries, thereby evoking untold stories of global corporate violence and troubling the relationship between museum displays and extractive corporations.

Produced, Written, and Directed by Diane Borsato, 2018
Performances: Lukas Malkowski, Ralista Rodriguez, Valerie Calam, and Sage Lovell
Camera and Post-Production: Jason Tan

Audio transcription read by Amanda Cachia
Audio Description by Diane Borsato

A person standing barefoot on an empty airport runway wearing a long yellow coat

Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz
The Right to Have Rights, 2019
installation with HD video, 6:00 min
Courtesy of the Artists

The Right to Have Rights shows a performer (MPA) who speaks the text of the so-called 1951 Geneva Convention (Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees), a protocol by which 145 states guaranteed wide-ranging rights to people on refuge, and which, in theory, is still valid today. Instead of delivering this statement in a lecture hall and addressing an audience, it has been relocated to an empty runway at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. The performer’s speech has been partially altered through digital processing and turned into a piece of electronic music—or a song—even though this song is by someone human but not quite. Who is seen as “human” and who can access rights?

Performance: MPA
Director of Photography: Bernadette Paassen
Drone Operator and DP Assistant: Daniel Liepke
Sound Composition and Design: Rashad Becker

Audio transcription read by Amanda Cachia
Audio Description read by Marbles Jumbo Radio

Claire Cunningham
tributary, 2019
live performance and installation 
Courtesy of the Artist

tributary explores ideas of impersonation and tribute and links them to the ways disabled individuals may have been conditioned, through medical interventions from childhood, to strive for some mythical or iconic body. Looking through and into the world of the professional tribute artist, tributary examines notions of spectacle and control, as well as the provocation of disturbing bodies and the re-appropriation of crip movement. This work encompasses a live, three-day performance-installation by Claire Cunningham and performer Vicky Malin and its documentary residue (video, costumes, props), which will remain—as a tribute—within the gallery for the remainder of the exhibition.

Audio transcription read by Amanda Cachia
Audio Description by Claire Cunningham

Still from perfromance of The Rite by Brendan fernandes with two dancers in black leotards

Brendan Fernandes
The Rite, 2019
performance-activated installation
Courtesy of the Artist

Inspired by Nijinsky’s ballet The Rite of Spring, this performance-activated installation explores the tension between stillness, seat, and power. Dancers engage with a sculptural cage and chairs that rock in all directions—front to back and side to side. The performance challenges the dancers to achieve stillness and a sense of balance on these unstable seats. To do so, they must constantly engage their core and balance muscles. In this situation, stillness is achieved through active resistance. The labour of stillness is brought forward. Through this gesture and the surrounding choreography, the idea of stillness as metaphor for political resistance is explored. As an ongoing exploration of the tension between technique and self-care, Fernandes’ choreography further challenges the dancers to find a new sense of freedom and new movement from within these physical and metaphoric objects of restraint. When the dancers are absent, the installation is activated by the recorded sound of the performers.

Dancers: Megan Glauser and Elizabeth March

Performance Schedule
Friday, 13 September 2019 | 7:45 pm
Sunday, 22 September 2019 | 2:00 pm
Wednesday, 16 October 2019 | 7:30 pm 
Monday, 4 November 2019 | 6:30 pm

Audio transcription read by Amanda Cachia
Audio Description by Brendan Fernandes

Every Ocean Hughes
Help/What/The New York Times, 2019
mixed-media installation
Courtesy of the Artist

This installation is part of a new series of works in which Every Ocean Hughes (EOH) develops the concept of “queer death.” Thinking through the lens of the LGBTQ+ history of kinship and care, as well as the socialities and materialities of surviving and dying on the planet in our contemporary times, EOH asks questions about self-determination, mutual aid, the fantasy of continuity, finitude, and accountability. The artist has taken particular inspiration from a series of workshops devoted to becoming a death doula, caring for dead bodies, and performing home funerals. The glass and textile sculptures featured in this installation developed out of those experiences, as well as thinking about form, embodiment, containers, end-of-life aesthetics, and celebration. A black-and-white pattern reading “Help the Dead/What is Dead/The New York Times” gives a public and political context to these questions.

Graphic design made with Bryce Wilner

Audio transcription read by Amanda Cachia
Audio Description by Every Ocean Hughes

Three people standing and facing each other with palms up - an image of an ocean cave is projected onto them and the wall behind them

My Barbarian
Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon and Alexandro Segade
Hystera Theater, 2019
mixed-media installation
Courtesy of the Artists

“A world peopled by ghosts.” This phrase, borrowed from Luce Irigaray’s book Plato’s Hystera, serves as the point of departure for Hystera Theater, a music and film project that draws parallels between the cave, the womb, and the stage as a means of examining both the reproductive power of mimesis and the difficulties of representation. Offering a series of transferred images, the film juxtaposes HD video documentation of improvised performances based on ritualistic mirroring with laser-disc footage of both ancient ruins and famous “hysterical” mothers from Hollywood films. A vinyl record plays an accompanying score that combines readings from Irigaray’s texts with chanted lyrics that conflate birth, death, and economic class in a fated prophecy. Challenging the apparent seamlessness of digital production—and connecting it to obsolete, but fetishized, technologies of the past—Hystera Theater projects flickering images of voice, body, life, and death across gender, class, and race, in a place where cultural forms slip from mimesis to mimicry.

Inaugural Screening
Friday 13 September, 8:30 pm

Followed by screenings
Monday to Friday: 11:00 am, 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 2:00 pm and 4:00 pm

Vinyl Record
Side A, recorded 2019
22:00 min
Performed by: Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade, Ethan Philbrick, Mazz Swift, Samita Sinha, Somi
Side B, recorded 2009
22:00 min
Performed by: Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, Alexandro Segade, Jessica Espeleta, Giles Miller

Video Transfer to 16 mm film
Performances staged, shot, and directed by Alexandro Segade
Edited by Jade Gordon
Performers: Katy Pyle, the Ballez Dance Company, C. Bain, John Hoobyar, Talya Epstein, Carlo Villanueva, and My Barbarian

Audio transcription read by Amanda Cachia
Audio Description by My Barbarian