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Almanac 2016: (Montréal, Canada)

Almanac 2016: (Montréal, Canada)

In 2011, embarked on a quest to confront their relationship with the generation that vanished with the AIDS crisis and the societal amnesia surrounding this loss. While touring performances in North and South America a parallel presented itself to the artists; individuals and cultures threatened by a systemic suppression of memory and the ever present ghosts of the “disappeared”. The result of their exploration is Tightrope (English language title), a theatrical song-cycle for the forgotten. Backed by a virtual choir of singers and musicians, summon the shadows, apparitions and voices of the disappeared; an invitation for us all to participate in a communal act of remembering. As cabaret performers, Montreal-based elevate drag performance to the level of a sacred art form. For Tightrope, they gather a chorus of local drag queens and gender-queer performers to play the roles of sublime high-camp mourners. In a performance format that includes live and pre-recorded music, texts and actions, this queer chorus interacts with projections to create a stunning visual spectacle. Within the cosmology of the performance, these queens function as profane shamans, witnesses and guides through our communal memorial. Tightrope and subsequent iterations Cuerda Floja (Mexico City, Havana), Corda Bamba (São Paolo), and Corde Raide (Montréal) were created in collaboration with performance artist and musician Alexis OʼHara, whose poetic sound works and installations have been presented internationally.

Production History:
12th Havana Biennial (Cuba), Laboratorio Arte Alameda (Mexico City), Encuentro SESC/ARTprod (Sao Paulo), Triennale Québécoise, Musée d’art contemporain (Montréal), Buddies in Bad Times Theatre (Toronto)


Artistic Statement:
Since 2002,, has pursued a collaborative practice that traverses disciplinary boundaries and political frontiers. Comprised of artists Stephen Lawson and Aaron Pollard (notoriously known in some circles as alter egos Gigi L’Amour and Pipi Douleur), along with an ever growing roster of co-conspirators, they are active locally, nationally and internationally. Their beginnings as an art duo emerged from Montreal’s wildly eclectic cabaret scene. Subsequently, they have toured their interdisciplinary works and taught multidisciplinary creation across the country, to museums, galleries, theatres, artist-run centres, universities and festivals. Their ongoing collaborations with colleagues abroad at various intersections of performance and politics have brought them into a dialogue with spectators throughout North and South America and in Europe. As an artistic duo Lawson and Pollard share authorship on all projects and work from a tradition of creative expression that cuts across artistic disciplines. Their practice – which they plan, write, construct, embody and perform – results in artworks whose forms are determined by their core ideas and central passions and which incorporate unique approaches to video projection, costume, music, sound, spectator participation and the dynamic use of space. strives to consolidate and expand on a practice that has turned from a politicized -though relatively hermetic- repertoire of performances and installations to the development of permeable art works that demand from them a deeper social engagement through collaboration.






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This post is part of a series of profiles on performance and performance makers from this year’s book, Contemporary Performance Almanac 2016, an overview of contemporary performance presented during the 2014/2015 season available for touring now. If you would like to be apart of next year’s book, Contemporary Performance Almanac 2017, you can join the project here. 


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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.

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