Thursday 21 March 2019

The Last Night - Sackville

Photos: Annie France Noël

This is the last post from the PERFform 19 tour. So much travelling, so much creative exploration and energy put into the performance works, and so much conversation with people over the past month—curiosity, meaningful connections, shared imagery and ideas abound. The last performance evening was at Struts Gallery in Sackville. There was a full crowd, a receptive multigenerational crowd, with many people familiar with performance art. Gillian Dykeman performed REVOLUTION REVOLUTION again with fervour. Mathieu measured the distance between people with his measuring tape as well as performing his interactive matchstick action, and Linda said HELLO in many languages to each person in the room before performing her brooming performance with bookcovers lit and hundreds of wooden letters. The sound of the letters being broomed is like the ocean observers said, while Mathieu’s measuring tape created a space of tenderness, of longing to connect. The crowd was satisfied to hear what Gillian was saying rather than working out with her, different to her Fredericton performance where people exercised as well.

The conversation continued afterwards with audience members excited by the smallest gestures, evocative gestures, and the many ideas suggested. Interpretations varied and discussion continued. Since that night, many people have stopped to talk to me about what they experienced. It is satisfying to know that we have been able to offer artwork which people can carry with them to contemplate.

And so, the PERFform 19 Biennale is over, the second year of touring the province with  performance art. This year we had six artists performing. Hopefully in two years’ time, we will have more!

Photos: Annie France Noël

Friday 1 March 2019

Edmundston, St. Andrews and Saint John

On the road to Edmundston on another winter day

Performance art frequently touches on political and personal concerns, examining issues such as race, class, language, aging and feminism, for example. On this tour, we have shown performances both intimate and topical. Audience responses have been positive, questions and discussions have delved deeper into the meaning of our performances, generating thoughts and ideas for all of us. Poetics and the mundane have surfaced every evening. We, the performers, are energised and inspired, learning from our own actions and from the audiences’ responses.

Our bodies have personal stories which seem to reach out and touch others as we transform often repetitive actions into poetical/lyrical images, leaving these images to germinate in the minds of the viewers.

PERFform 19 is especially excited to have had other NB artists join us on the tour. Our hope is to build a strong community of performance artists in the province so that PERFform can continue to grow and create close ties across all of our communities.

Both Mathieu and Linda have continued to develop their performances as they subtly change over time. Luc Charette joined PERFform in Edmundston to rework his Pour nourrir les oiseaux (see Fredericton and Bouctouche post). We had not been able to find any local performance artists in Saint Andrews and Saint John so it was only Mathieu and Linda's works at these locations. Audience turnout goes up and down everywhere, some people returning again for the second tour, others arriving for the first time. A wonderful result of this tour is the web of connections we are building around the province. We are learning who the artists are, what the art communities and facilities are, and sharing our knowledge.

               The end result of building book structures and brooming language. LRDornan

                                                          Mathieu Léger, St. Andrews

                                                            Mathieu Léger, Saint John