In October 1998, the
Western Front will present the Re-Investing the Diva
festival. This festival will feature 5 days of
performances with over thirty local, national, and
international artists. These artists will be featured in
performance art, spoken-word events, a web site, cabaret,
library/salon and video screenings taking place from
October 14-18, 1998.
The festival is curated by
independent curator Lori Weidenhammer, in collaboration
with Western Front curators Eric Metcalfe, (performance
art); and Peter Courtemanche, (media); with special gala
evenings curated by Marusya Bociurkiw (spoken word), and
Paul Lang (video).
The Diva Research Team
Local media artist Maureen Bradley is working
with a team of six Vancouver artists including Carol
Sawyer, Marlene Madison Plimley, Sheila James, Alvin Erasga Tolentino,
and Lori Weidenhammer to create a commissioned diva video which will
be premiered at the festival.
Maureen and the Diva Research Team are artists
in residence from April 1997-October 1998. They are collaborating
on the development of a performative experimental video. The artists
have been meeting regularly to discuss issues around the Diva, the
Devo, and the Prima Donna. The performers are also developing solo
performances to show at the Re-Inventing the Diva Festival.
Feature Presentation by Sylvie
Re-Inventing the Diva will include visiting
writer and curator Sylvie Gilbert from Montréal, who will be
presenting a paper on the "miracles" that female performance
artists perform. She writes:
"Carnavalesque and religious events have
through time provided moments for esthe diva to perform. Early medieval
saints have performed amazing accomplishments.... Performing miracles
and suffering were attitudes that allowed fervent religious women
among other things, to escape the tyranny of family life and the nameless
existence reserved for them."
is an artist from the UK who will perform in the the festival. Newman
"My intentional interface with the festival
'Re-Inventing the Diva' will be to further my position as 'anti-diva'
which I see as a constant repositioning and re-invention of the use
of the female body in performance work. I will be working with notions
of invisibility through the presentation of a series of solo performances
which either hi-light a specific activity or take place in darkness
in an attempt to transgress the edges of the body and minimize the
space between the performer's body and the audience." (Hayley
Lori Blondeau is
a first nations artist living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. For the
festival, Lori is expanding on an idea she developed with Bradlee
Larocque in the COSMOSQUAW. In this work she employs idealized images
of women in popular culture and inserts herself into the picture.
Lori will be performing a version of COSMOSQUAW, within an installation
that includes five light-boxes, made in collaboration with Bradlee
The Western Front Exhibitions
will present the installation My Boy, My Horse, My Dog by Swiss video
artist Pipilotti Rist. This work developed out of her work in progress
Shooting Divas which she presented at Saint Gervais in Geneva and
which was exhibited at the Istanbul Biennial in 1997.
"The female representation of one's own physicality
is a presentation of dissolution, of opacity, of vagueness of ambivalence
of mere virtuality."