when there is a place for people to come together
using little else but themselves
and their bodies
what are the possibilities?
it is yet to be seen, and felt, and witnessed
the people … like minded
in that they are open to the possible
the place … generously provided
by aboriginal artist run centre, Urban Shaman
courtesy of director and curator
no one wants rigidity or censorship
no one has expectations
everyone wants growth
and the unpredictable
A new idea
There is something new going on. Something somewhat undefined.
The idea started between two veteran performance artists in Winnipeg, Praba Pilar and Lyndsay Ladobruk. They approached Daina Warren, director and curator at Urban Shaman to discuss the possibility of using the gallery space to workshop some experimentation in performance art.
An agreement was reached. The space could be used on two Monday evenings per month. On the first Monday they would workshop. On the second Monday they would open Urban Shaman to the public. Folks could participate or observe. Drinks would be available as a fundraiser for the gallery. People would be of course welcome to make donations to Urban Shaman.
A handful of us answered the first call on a Monday night in March. We sat in a circle discussing what we thought we were doing. Brainstorming a name for the group. Figuring our what we were or what we weren’t.
Our first workshop night was Monday, April 6. The turnout was modest but sincere. We were invited to bring with us three props of our own choosing.
For this session, Praba Pilar was our ringleader. She modeled our workshop based on the methodology of the trans-disciplinary arts organization, La Pocha Nostra. As ringleader she moderated the group, ensuring everyone felt comfortable and safe.
We began by moving in the space, familiarizing ourselves with the sense of it. We stood in partners, silently gazing into each other’s eyes, acknowledging the other’s humanity.
One person played the role of the sculptor, the other – the sculptee.
The sculptees closed their eyes. The sculptors, used their senses to experience their artistic medium, the body of the sculptee. Respectfully, the sculptors were instructed to observe the sculptee’s body, to smell, to listen and to sense the physicality and weight of the body.
This exercise was grounded in the senses and in the present moment. The value of our work became evident in this simple exercise. In this safe environment, we crossed boundaries – social, gendered, cultural.
After each of these preliminary exercises, we took the time to share our experiences as sculptees to the sculptors. As sculptees, we learned to trust the care and judgement of the sculptors.
The next step involved moving our partner to another level. In other words, helping the sculptee to the ground. A seemingly simple task required a great deal of trust for both partners. Again we were sure to share our experiences with each other.
Finally, using their sculptee, each partner created a tableau.
Not only did the sculptee move through the space at the will of the sculptor, the sculptee was required to allow the sculptor to use the various props brought to the session.
As a whole group, while Praba Pilar continued to ringlead and participate, our tableaus became a flux of changing compositions. As the evening progressed, we became more discerning perhaps with our group sculptural project.
Live Art Lab
Our present name is Live Art Lab. We have decided to forego the term, performance art, one loaded with it’s own history.
What we practiced the first workshop night was about being present for each other. Feeling our humanity. Experiencing each other through our senses.
This coming Monday we invite the public to share our experience, as performers or as witnesses.
The Live Art Jam will be held on Mon. Apr. 13 at Urban Shaman, 290 McDermot Ave. Performers will meet at 6 pm. Live Art Jam will open to the public at 7:30 pm. Proceeds from cash bar go to Urban Shaman.