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MONOMY THS

a performance art exquisite corpse

The year-long MONOMYTHS project was presented in three parts from February 2016 to February 2017. Presented by FADO Performance Art Centre, MONOMYTHS invited a diverse collection of artists, activists and scholars to radically reimagine the story of The Hero’s Journey through a variety of performance forms, methods, and frameworks. Joseph Campbell’s influential book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (1949) prescribes a common pattern to all of the world’s mythic narratives. According to his fundamental structure, the archetypal hero is challenged to embark on a monumental quest. Over the course of his journey, trials and obstacles must be overcome until a victory is won and the hero returns home with new knowledge about himself and the world. Campbell’s concept of the monomyth (‘one myth’) is a recognizable motif in both ancient mythology and contemporary culture, including film, theatre, music, literature, sports, and advertising.

While each performance, presentation, workshop, action, discussion and lecture in MONOMYTHS was offered as a singular and independent vision, when stitched together through the audience’s collective presence, the stages formed an exquisite corpse of a larger experimental narrative. This newly-created feminist assemblage of non-linear un-narratives proposes a cultural, political and social revisioning of the world–opposite and antithetical to Campbell’s version. Our MONOMYTHS understanding of collective, collaborative and multiplicitous journeys seeks to dispel the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his inner and outer demons; instead, we put forth a consideration of interdependence, connectivity and community. We offer our deep gratitude to the artists, collaborators, partners, volunteers and audiences for taking this journey with us. We would especially like to thank FADO photographer Henry Chan. Shannon Cochrane & Jess Dobkin CURATORS

PART 1 / SEPARATION February 3–7, 2016

PART 2 / INITIATION May 2016 - January 2017

PART 3 / COMING HOME February 13–19, 2017

Stage 1: Ordinary World / Call to Adventure Stage 2: Refusal of the Call Stage 3: Meeting of the Mentor Stage 4: Crossing the Threshold Stage 5: Belly of the Whale

Stage 6: Stage 7: Stage 8: Stage 9:

Stage 10: Stage 11: Stage 12: Stage 13: Stage 14:

Tests, Allies, Enemies Ordeals Atonement with the Father /State Apotheosis /Journey to the Inmost Cave

The Road Back Refusal of the Return Mistress of Two Worlds Freedom to Live The Return Home

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STAGE 1

STAGE 2

Ursula Johnson (1) is a performance and installation artist of Mi’kmaw First Nation ancestry. She graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and has participated in over thirty group shows and five solo exhibitions. Her performances are often placebased and employ co-operative didactic intervention.

Collaborators since 1989, Shawna Dempsey (5) and Lorri Millan’s (4) humourous, feminist and provocative works have placed them among Canada’s best-known performance artists. They were catapulted into the international spotlight in their 20s with the performance and film We’re Talking Vulva and since then, their live work and videos have been exhibited in diverse venues including women's centres in Sri Lanka and MoMA in New York City.

Cheryl L’Hirondelle (2) is an Alberta-born, Métis / Cree, interdisciplinary artist and singer/songwriter. Since the early 80s, L’Hirondelle has performed and exhibited widely in Canada and abroad, in a variety of disciplines, including music, performance art, theatre, performance poetry, storytelling, installation and new media. Her practice investigates a Cree worldview (nêhiyawin) in contemporary time-space. Maria Hupfield (3)is an waabaziikwe waabizhishi odoodem from Canada and a member of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. She currently lives and works in New York City. Her work has traveled across Canada in the exhibition Beat Nation: Aboriginal Art and Hip Hop and she has shown at the Museum of Arts and Design, The Power Plant, and 7a*11d International Performance Art Festival.

STAGE 3 FAG Feminist Art Gallery is a response, a process, a site, a protest, an outcry, an exhibition, a performance, an economy, a conceptual framework, a place and an opportunity. We host we fund we advocate we support we claim. FAG Feminist Art Gallery is the geographical footprint of the home of Allyson Mitchell (12) and Deirdre Logue (13) in Toronto. Tamyka Bullen (9) is a POC Deaf feminist who is a social conscious artist and a social activist. She was involved in different organizations to educate about women’s issues/Deaf issues/Deaf LGBT issues for many years. Currently she is launching a body care business that sells soap, lip blam, body creams, etc. to honour the Mother Earth.

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Earning her PhD from the Social Justice and Education department at OISE/UT, Eliza Chandler (10) is the former Artistic Director at Tangled Art + Disability, an organization in Toronto dedicated to the cultivation of disability arts. In addition to being a practicing artist, she is President of the Canadian Disability Studies Association and Co-Director of the disability arts community group Project Creative Users. Johnson Ngo (6) is a Toronto-based artist who works in performance and sculpture. Ngo's research explores connections and disjunctions between his gaysian identity and Western queer culture. His work has been shown at Art Gallery of Windsor, Nuit Blanche, Spark Contemporary Art Space, Blackwood Gallery, and others. Zanette Singh (8) is a Toronto-based sculpture and drawing artist. Her work, often humorously, explores the intricate interiors of the psyche, from existential death anxiety to the most absurd and sacred dream worlds, and locates this within the queer racialized body. She is a Creative Director at CUE, an awardwinning arts initiative dedicated to providing highaccess arts funding and support to new generation artists living and working on the margins.

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Ariel Smith (11) is an urban nēhiyaw iskwew (plains Cree woman), a self-taught filmmaker, video artist, writer and cultural worker. She has shown at festivals and galleries internationally including: Images Festival, MIX Experimental Film Festival, Urban Shaman, MAI, Gallery Sans Nom, Santa Fe Indian Market, Solid Screens and Cold Creation Gallery. Dainty Smith (7) is a Toronto-based actor, burlesque performer, writer, producer and speaker. Her performances often tell deeply vulnerable stories regarding race, religion, sexuality and challenging social boundaries. Her stage performances have been presented at Mayworks Festival, Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and Daniels Spectrum Theatre, among others.

ARTISTS


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STAGE 4 Armando Minjarez (14) is a Mexican visual artist and social justice activist. He immigrated to the USA as a teenager and got involved in the DREAM Act national campaign in 2004, becoming the first undocumented student at Garden City Community College to enroll through the In-State tuition legislation passed in Kansas. He holds a BFA from Kansas State University.

STAGE 5 American artist Jefferson Pinder (17) works in video, installation and performance. His work explores the tangle of representations and misrepresentations, visual tropes, and myths–often referencing historical events and invoking cultural symbolism. His work portrays the black body both frenetically and through drudgery in order to convey relevant cultural experiences. Danièle Dennis’ (18) experiences as an AfricanCanadian woman inform her practice and prompt her investigation of racial, cultural and identity issues primarily through performance, material exploration and installation. She actively attempts new ways to disrupt and dismantle social norms and constructs, employing repetition and process-based experimentation.

Dennis holds an Honours BA from the University of Toronto Scarborough. Jasmyn Fyffe (16) is a Toronto-based dancer and choreographer. She has produced shows both independently and in collaboration with other choreographers in Montreal, New York, and Toronto. She is the recipient of a Frankie Award for outstanding choreography/choreographer for Pulse which was presented at the Wave Rising Series, PULSE Dance Conference, Montreal Fringe Festival and Next Stage Theatre Festival. Chy Ryan Spain (19) is a multi-disciplinary artist, performer, activist, organizer, writer and educator originally from Philadelphia. He regularly performs with Toronto’s premiere women of colour burlesque troupe, Les Femmes Fatales. In 2013, Spain was nominated for a Dora Mavor Moore award along with his fellow ensemble members for their work in Of a Monstrous Child: A Gaga Musical (EcceHomo). Ravyn/Jelani Ade-Lam Wngz (15) is a graduate of the School of Toronto Dance Theatre and Ballet Creole Professional Training Program. She is a co-founder of ILL NANA/DiverseCity Dance Company–a queer multiracial dance company that provides accessible

affirming dance education to the LGBTTIQQ2S community. They are also the creator of (OVA) Outrageous Victorious Africans Collective.

ARTISTS

STAGE 6 Dr. Michelle M. Wright (20) is Professor of African American Studies & Comparative Literary Studies at Northwestern University. She is the author of two books, Becoming Black: Creating Identity in the African Diaspora (Duke University Press, 2004) and Physics of Blackness: Beyond the Middle Passage Epistemology (University of Minnesota Press, 2015).

STAGE 8 STAGE 7 Embracing unpredictability, messiness and failure, Mary Coble (21) is an American visual and performance artist based in Sweden. Her work aims to manifest problems of bodily, societal and symbolic navigation particularly focusing on issues of injustice and normative boundaries. Coble’s work has been presented in Canada, Denmark, Sweden and the USA.

Syrus Marcus Ware (22) is a visual artist, activist, curator and educator and the inaugural Daniels Spectrum Artist-in-Residence. Syrus’ work explores social justice frameworks and black activist culture. His work has been shown widely including at the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Art Gallery of York University and The Gladstone Hotel. Syrus is part of Blackness Yes! and co-produces Blockorama at Pride and other events throughout the year.

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STAGE 9

STAGE 11

STAGE 13

Marilyn Arsem (23) has been creating live events since 1975, ranging from solo performances to large scale, site-specific works which have been presented internationally. She taught at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston for 27 years, establishing one of the most extensive programs internationally in visually-based performance art.

claude wittmann (25) was born in Switzerland and now lives in Toronto; works as a bicycle mechanic and in performance art; has performed in festivals, in selfproduced pieces, and in the public space; in butohbased solos, in intent-based durational process work, in gender identity work, in improvised voice/noise/ sound experiments, and on live FM and internet radio.

Staceyann Chin (28) is a spoken-word poet, performance artist and activist. She is of Chinese-Ja maican and Afro-Jamaican descent and uses her work to question the oppression and the limitations of identity, race, class, sexuality and belonging. Her work has been profiled in newspapers, magazines and journals, and her poems can be found in numerous publications.

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Serena Lee’s (24) work maps power, perception and belonging through polyphonic models. Serena practises, presents, facilitates, and collaborates internationally; she works in education and holds an MFA from the Piet Zwart Institute in the Netherlands and an Associate Diploma in Piano Performance from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Adam Herst (26) is a Toronto-based artist, arts manager and technology consultant. He is interested in the tension between ideas, their ownership, and their reproduction, and in exploring the proposition that ideas which are designed for dissemination will be disseminated.

STAGE 12 Nao Bustamante (27) is an internationally known artist who came of age in the San Francisco art scene between 1984–2001. Her at times precarious and radically vulnerable work encompasses performance art, video installation, visual art, filmmaking and writing. She has presented in galleries, museums, universities and underground sites all around the world.

STAGE 14 Tanya Mars (29) is a feminist performance and video artist who has been involved in the Canadian art scene since 1973. Mars’ early work focused on creating spectacular feminist imagery that placed women at the centre of the narrative. Since the mid-90s her performances have included endurance, durational and site-specific strategies. She is the recipient of a 2008 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Art.


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JANUARY SUNDAY

URSULA JOHNSON and CHERYL L'HIRONDELLE Nikamon Ochi Askiy (Ke’tapekiaq Ma’qimikew): The Land Sings MARIA HUPFIELD Post Performance / Conversation Action This 4-hour audio-based endurance performance is offered as an apology to the land for the ways in which our human impact has shifted and shaped the landscape, displacing the voices of many First Nations. Maria Hupfield hosts a conversation/action on how revitalization, collaboration and the act of refusal are used in performance art to shape current dialogue on Reconciliation in Canada.

Stage 1 : Ordinary World / Call to Adventure MONDAY

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FEBRUARY SUNDAY

SHAWNA DEMPSEY and LORRI MILLAN What is Being Refused or The Local Sky Tonight “The earth turns on its axis, orbits around the sun. It doesn’t look that way to me, but a singular perspective is always faulty. The hero’s tale is just one. The rabbit’s is another.” (Lewis Carroll) Part planetarium show, part rumination on Alice in Wonderland and the nature of rabbits and heroes, Dempsey and Millan deliver an off-kilter guide to the stars and skies.

Stage 2: Refusal of the Call MONDAY

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MARCH

Stage 3: Meeting of the Mentor

SUNDAY

FAG FEMINIST ART GALLERY Tamyka Bullen, Eliza Chandler, Deirdre Logue, Allyson Mitchell, Johnson Ngo, Zanette Singh, Ariel Smith, Dainty Smith

The Exquisite Course Instead of assuming the supremacy of the mentor’s wisdom, attention is turned to the creativity, intelligence and knowledge of the mentees. Gathering around the microphone campfire, artists and audience listen to true and imaginary tales from the next generation of real-life mentors.

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APRIL

Stage 4: Crossing the Threshold SUNDAY

ARMANDO MINJAREZ AlieNation Minjarez passively listens to a barrage of racist epitaphs collected from internet chat forums read to him by volunteer participants. Grounded in personal experience as an undocumented immigrant living in the USA, his powerful performance holds a mirror up to the denial of histories of oppression and ways that white supremacy has normalized a language of hate and hostility toward communities of color.

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MAY

Stage 5: Belly of the Whale SUNDAY

JEFFERSON PINDER

with Danièle Dennis, Jasmyn Fyffe, Chy Ryan Spain, Ravyn/Jelani Ade-Lam Wngz

Thoroughbred Seated at a small table, Pinder rings a bell at regular intervals, slowly and incrementally increasing the speed of the four treadmills he controls. Four performers walk, jog, and eventually run at breakneck speed, working themselves to exhaustion. The performance “skillfully exhumes a corpse of black captivity and subjugation of black bodies in America that started four hundred years ago and brings it into the foreground into our present day experience.” (Fo Wilson, The Evidence of Things Not Seen)

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JUNE

Stage 6: Tests, Allies, Enemies SUNDAY

DR. MICHELLE M. WRIGHT Physics of Blackness: Understanding Beyond Linear Time Moving from discussions of 17th Century physics to 3rd Century Christian religions, to 21st Century African travel narratives to Black European postwar histories to Black Caribbean settlement in 18th Century Australia, Wright journeys around the globe through all spaces and times in this performance lecture to present the unexpected ways Blackness reveals and encounters itself.

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JULY

Stage 7: Ordeals SUNDAY

MARY COBLE Pulse For ten consecutive nights, Coble climbs Toronto’s iconic Cinesphere carrying a large light source, to repurpose it as a beacon of protest. As the Cinesphere lights go dark, Coble transmits a series of Morse Code protest chants to volunteer receivers on the ground who then relay the message into the city sky using their own lights. The relayed messages merge activist and nautical language to amplify a collective call for action.

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AUGUST

Stage 8: Atonement with the Father/ State

SUNDAY

SYRUS MARCUS WARE MOVEMENT: Training Sessions for Freedom Fighters Activists and allies gather and dedicate the necessary labour to create four large scale banners which are later gifted to the movement for future protest actions and mobilizations. Three quotes from revered activists are sewn onto fabric along with the phrase, “What if we don’t?”

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SEPTEMBER SUNDAY

MARILYN ARSEM Waiting for Sunrise On the longest night of the year, from 5:04 pm to 7:48 am, Arsem and audience sit in silence to think, reflect, watch, and wait for sunrise. It is a pause, an approach to the beginning of the beginning of the end, passing through the dark night of the soul together.

Stage 9: Apotheosis / Journey to the Inmost Cave

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OCTOBER SUNDAY

SERENA LEE Rise and Fall A performance and collective exercise on the desire for inevitability and how the “return” is narrated. Lee initiates a mutant reading group with the audience, where they create a model by weighing things– thoughts, images, and otherwise.

Stage 10: The Road Back MONDAY

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NOVEMBER SUNDAY

CLAUDE WITTMANN

with Adam Herst

2894: Refusal of MONOMYTHs Participants read aloud from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report to a live streaming radio station with the help of a cell phone and app. Photos were taken only during a scheduled intermission and photoshoot. The project is ongoing.

Stage 11: Refusal of the Return

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DECEMBER SUNDAY

NAO BUSTAMANTE

with Zachary Murphy

Silver & Gold Combining film, live performance and original costumes, Bustamante evokes the muse of legendary filmmaker Jack Smith and his tribute to 40s Dominican movie starlet Maria Montez in a magical and joyfully twisted exploration of race, glamour, sexuality and the silver screen.

Stage 12: Mistress of Two Worlds MONDAY

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JANUARY SUNDAY

STACEYANN CHIN Untitled Performance As an intersectional life-term activist, Chin’s powerful blend of spoken-word and poetry weaves tales of motherhood with ruminations on survival and action strategies for living in the current political situation in the USA. PHOTOS BY CONNIE TSANG

Stage 13: Freedom to Live MONDAY

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FEBRUARY SUNDAY

TANYA MARS CRONE Mars embodies the archetypal wise woman character from folklore in this 6-hour performance conjuring the materiality of nature, human, and machines. As the mythic crone figure, Mars patterns an ever-changing series of miniature dioramas pulling back the curtain on how superstition and myth intertwine.

Stage 14: The Return Home MONDAY

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A PERFORMANCE ART EXQUISITE CORPSE

MONOMY THS invited a diverse collection of artists, scholars and activists to revise Joseph Campbell’s conception of the hero’s journey through performance art, lectures, workshops and other offerings. The MONOMY THS perception of the universal journey dispels the notion of the lone patriarchal figure on a conquest to vanquish his demons–both inner and outer–in consideration of community, collectivity and collaboration. This perpetual calendar documents the year-long MONOMY THS journey. Shannon Cochrane & Jess Dobkin, Curators FADO Performance Art Centre (Fado Performance Inc.) is a non-profit artist-run centre for performance art based in Toronto, Canada. ALL PHOTOGRAPHY EXCEPT WHERE NOTED: HENRY CHAN DESIGN: LISA KISS DESIGN

performanceart.ca

MONOMYTHS Perpetual Calendar  
MONOMYTHS Perpetual Calendar  

MONOMYTHS was a year-long performance art project in which performers radically revised Joseph Campbell's conception of the hero's journey t...

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