This third edition of VIVA! Art Action, including five evenings of action art as well as several artistic interventions in the public sphere, is the fruit of the collaborative work by seven artist run-centres in the Montreal area. While some centres have pooled together to promote a calendar of dialoguing works, some others have chosen to represent a more specific curatorial vision. These different approaches provide a unique glimpse into the eclectic possibilities in live art.

As in the past, artistic programming is complimented by a series of initiatives aimed at enriching the artists’ and audiences’ experiences with discussion, reflection, and community building. These include well-loved reoccurring elements that have come to characterize VIVA!, as well as new initiatives aimed at further distinguishing the festival as a unique and progressive context for the exploration of live art practices.

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Curated Programs

The Transmission of Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A:

OBORO, joining VIVA! for the first time, proposes a discussion and a performance that, collectively, explore and question re-enactment as simultaneously live work and an archive. On October 9th, American dancer and choreographer Sara Wookey will present a segment of Yvonne Rainer’s seminal dance performance work Trio A. Prior to the performance, curator Sarah Watson will give a conference entitled Yvonne Rainer – Performance, Preservation and Pedagogy, during which she will explore Yvonne Rainer’s work, its influence on current performance practices, and the artist’s unique approach to preserving dance works for the future. The presentation will take place in english (translation available) and the discussion will be bilingual.

Yvonne Rainer is a key figure of the 1960s minimalist dance movement. Her work with Judson Dance Theater and her experimentations with movement defined a new language of physical movement that focused on the familiar gesture in performance. 

Sarah Watson is an arts educator and curator living in Montreal. She is currently a doctoral fellow and a part-time faculty member at Concordia University in Montreal.  Recent projects include Stateless Nation, a research-based exhibition and colloquium with artists / architects Alessandro Petti and Sandi Hilal in Savona, Italy in 2010, and Living Time, a pedagogical project and exhibition comprised of the selected archives of Tehching Hsieh’s One Year Performances and the filmed performances of Guido van der Werve at DHC / ART in Montreal (2009). From 1996 to 2009 Watson taught art history at the Univeristià degli Studi in Bologna and created and oversaw education and public programs for arts institutions in Europe and Canada. She currently oversees Public Programs at the McCord Museum in Montreal. Her current doctoral research examines the relationship between performance works and archival images.

Performance and Sound

CLARK has invited Mathieu Beauséjour to curate a program which bridges performance and sound through conceptual, physical and poetic means. This includes an endurance sound piece by Jon Mueller presented October 5th, as well as a one-hour sound workshop on October 6th. During the workshop, which is open to all, Jon Mueller will guide participants as they explore the process of listening, and identify how that process can benefit one’s creative output, regardless of discipline. The workshop will be in english. For more information and registration, click here. 

In Network

While DARE-DARE “exports” its mobile office and know-how to the United States and Mexico within the framework of the Satellite project, VIVA! will be featuring a retrospective of the issues that have preoccupied the artist centre for what will now be 26 years. Since it was founded, DARE-DARE has favoured multidisciplinary practices and reflected upon various context of dissemination of art in public space (an issue notably addressed by the Dis/location project, begun in 2004). This retrospective is intended to present various artists whose visions and ideas have shaped the centre throughout its history and made it what it is today.

Artists on the roster will be Marie-Suzanne Désilets and Nadège Grebmeier Forget. The work of these artists, which privileges exchange, investigation of our daily habits and infiltration of various public and private spaces, can be likened to a “meet and greet” of otherness. Within the particular context of the festival, the artists have been invited to explore various means of seduction, be they virtual or real. The artists will stage personal actions/situations that are funny, sensual or embarrassing—for the audience as well as themselves! Not unlike the webcam phenomenon, the artists will expose themselves, conscious of the power they exert over their image in choosing what they reveal or conceal. The importance of appearance—what transpires on the surface, only partially mirroring inner reality—will be represented by a video, drawing or kiss. The public, be they excluded from or invited to take part in the action, will play the unwitting role of voyeur and actor.

Manon Tourigny is an art historian, curator and author. She has an interest in video, media arts, photography and hybrid practices. She has published numerous articles in Ciné-bulles and esse arts + opinions magazines and has written short texts for various organizations (artist run-centres, exhibition centres and museums. She has been actively involved in the visual arts scene for several years, most notably through collaborations with DARE-DARE and VIVA! Art action where she sits on the board of directors. She currently works at the Centre d’art et de diffusion Clark.

AGAVF/VIVA! exchange

VIVA! is proud to partner with the « Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones » (AGAVF) to realize, for a second time, an exchange between Franco-Canadian performance artists throughout the country.  For the first part of this project, VIVA! has invited artists Stefan St-Laurent (ONT) and Amanda Dawn Christie (NB) to participate in the festival and to present performances to the Montreal community. Following the festival, a selection of Quebecois artists having taken part in VIVA!- karen elaine spencer (2011), Noémi McComber (2011), Rachel Echenberg (2006,2011), Paul Couillard (2009) and Dominique Pétrin (2009)- will travel to artist-run spaces who, as members of AGAVF, work to promote cross-cultural encounters with the work of French speaking artists throughout Canada.