Massive in scale and retrospective by nature, What Remains: On the Sacred, the Lost, and the Forgotten Relics of Live Art is the first exhibition of Defibrillator Gallery’s 10th anniversary year. Curated by Netherlands-based ieke Trinks, this visual art exhibition and performance art series features a cohort of artists from around the world who responded to an open call to reanimate Defibrillator’s collection of objects from performances that took place over the past nine years.
FRI 28 FEB | 6-10PM | Performance Program + Finissage
Christian Bujold [Canada] | starts at 3PM
Erin Evans Delaney + Maria Luisa [Chicago]
Heinrich Obst [Belgium b. Washington D.C.] | proxy* CR Cooper
Kirsten Heshusius [Netherlands]
Lola Blake +Ezra Hawkins [Chicago]
Marina Resende Santos [Chicago b. Brazil] | assisted by Cecilia Resende Santos
proxy* | when the featured artist isn’t able to be present, a local artist will produce the work.
CHAPTER 4: CONSUME | Consume is not meant to be a literal description of each work presented but, rather, an indicator of the end to come that will perhaps lead to a final resolution or a place where nothing original will remain. Throughout this month in What Remains we have already experienced the disappearance of performance relics [or transmutable actions that lead to the vanishing of an object] whether through burning, destroying, eating, or by simple re-use. In 1993 Peggy Phelan wrote in her infamous book ‘Unmarked’ that performance itself is an act of disappearance – because nothing is saved, only spent. Performance in this sense resists the art market’s economical demand to become a collectable object. In What Remains we ask what actually remains after a performance is over. Does the consumption of things [as well as time and experience] lead to an end of what used to be? Or does it make a place for something new to begin? The relic pencil sharpener leaves us with shavings; the burning of a relic leaves us with ashes…but we are also left with these things in our memories.
BIOGRAPHIES + PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS
**Artists are not aware of the context of the original performance in which the relic was used.
A_Marcel [Boston b. Latvia] is a speculative conceptual artist. Their practice is transdisciplinary and draws from the vernacular of graphic design, critical and queer theory, playwriting, music videos, karaoke and performance art. A_Marcel’s work is a play of text and image, a pitting of the hyperreal and surreal, and a disorienting glitche of fact and fiction. Their work investigates migration, surveillance, borders and ritual, gender and labor. A_Marcel is a copy of a copy of a copy without an original.
PROJECT: On the Clock** | Carried out in Chapter 2, video footage from the 12 minute outdoor migratory dinner held on February 12th, 12:12 near Trump tower will be screened at Nightingale Cinema. In this guerilla performance, A_Marcel reanimated the relic [a clock]. With food to go, on the go, guests gathered for an improvisatory dinner of hotdogs. It was an orienting score for when one is a migrant, a displaced citizen of one’s own world, a refugee from one’s own home, from one’s own body. The dinner was meant to be the feed we need. The dinner, the supper, should not be our last, but the first of many; a dinner, a movement that brings us all together. Forever more. In love. In connection. In an everlasting hope and strength.
Christian Bujold [Canada] works as a performance artist, teacher and curator. Based in Montreal (CAN), he has presented his work locally (Québec city-Montreal) and in multiples international festivals as well, like Carbonarium in Kiev (Ukraine), TIME in Den Haag (Netherlands), Performance Crossing in Prague (Czech Republic), M:ST8 in Calgary (Canada), CIPAF (Cyprus), Visualeyez in Edmonton (Canada), 7a*11d in Toronto (Canada), Exist-ence 5 in Brisbane (Australia), Viva! Art Action in Montreal (Canada) among other occasions in Spain, Greece, United-States and Finland. He is former president of the board of DARE, an artist run center in Montreal, that supports and produces new art practices in public spaces. Furthermore, he is an administrator on the board of Viva! Art Action performance festival where he also acted as a curator for the last three editions. He obtained his master’s degree in visual and media art in 2011.
PROJECT: What/remains/what/precedes/what | Bujold is in love with all these objects in the collection activated by prior artists, but to him what remains will be lost forever. Because what remains is what precedes memory is what remains for Bujold. Bujold responds to Marilyn Arsem’s relic’s a chair and table used in her performance still. waiting performed in Rapid Pulse 2015, and used in Peter Baren’s installation STILL WAITING NO REQUIEM from placed in chapter 2.
Emilia White [Ann Arbor] is an interdisciplinary writer, performer and video artist. Her work integrates humor and audience participation to explore topics of motherhood, loss, childhood memory and body image. Emilia approaches her work from a handmade, theatrical aesthetic. Puppets, masks, red blobs and hand-sewn fish have all been featured in past projects. Emilia currently teaches time-based media as a Lecturer at the University of Michigan Stamps School of Art & Design. She holds a BFA in Theater & Original Works and an MFA in Studio Art. Her work has been presented at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD), Contemporary Art Institute Detroit (CAID). Carrie Morris Arts Productions (CMAP), Popps Packing Detroit, Dumbo Arts Festival Brooklyn, The Chicago Women’s Funny Festival, Galeri Nasional Jakarta Indonesia, Gallery Salihara Jakarta, Lembaga Indonesia Perancis Yogyakarta (LIP), Taman Budaya Yogyakarta, Jatiwangi Art Factory, Syang Gallery Magelang, Dream Community Taiwan, University of Michigan Museum of Modern Art (UMMA), and Tent Gallery Edinburgh.
PROJECT: Internal Escapade** | A video animation about human bodies and their eventual demise. This video is made In response to the kayak relic.
Erin Evans Delaney + Maria Luisa [Chicago] Erin Delaney is a Chicago based artist and curator working in performance, ceramics, and music. As an interdisciplinary artist, their work investigates productive collaboration between artist and audience as well as artist and object. Delaney uses performance as a tool for alliance building, creating platforms for empathy and awareness in line with social and political concerns.
PROJECT: PROVIDER |Delaney and Luisa explore the work of collective care outside of patriarchal influence. Their piece is a response to Linda Mary Montano’s relics, a silver bowl with ashes, used in 2018 in her performance Dad Art, An Interactive Performance About Life And Death And Love.
Frans van Lent [Netherlands]’s work is concept-driven and minimal in approach. Through performative and sculptural methods, his practice focuses on human behaviour in the public realm and observing, processing and redefining the ordinary ways in which this is visible. He uses various methods, specifically chosen for each occasion: performance; photography, film and sound, descriptive texts.
PROJECT: A Chair as Any Other** |The video recording of van Lent’s attempt to find the best possible foster home for this relic, a red folding chair, to have it function again as the mundane object it was meant to be. In Chapter 3, Van Lent specifically looked for a place where, away from any artistic context, the makes and the colour of the chair are honestly appreciated, or are not of any importance to the user, and a place where it can unnoticeably blend into a group of comparable chairs and pieces of furniture. The video for this piece is made in collaboration with Bernard Roddy.
Heinrich Obst [Belgium b. Washington D.C.] was born in a litter of 4 Pseudonyms in the late 1980’s. His function was representing the reconstituted European Theatre of Operations in Brussels, but soon became embroiled in the performance scene, which at the time was still trying to free itself from the restraints of the gallery environment or experimental improv theatre. (some confusion exists whether it was he or fellow pseudo DM Mangelware that stood at the inception of the Royal Navel Observatory, as part of ETO or not) After some forays into the wilderness, Heinrich rediscovered painting as well as unnoticed art, and has been involved in curating archives of various and unconventional sorts, something he has become quite engaged in, both for his own amusement, as well as professionally.
PROJECT: Pencil Push (er)** | Unsure of how many pencils we have sharpened into nothing in our lifetime, it seems only right to consider the shavings left behind is what remains. Investigation into the transformation of graphite into ideas, concepts, instructions, annotations, doodles and relevant numbers… as well as the resulting chips of exotic woods from around the world. Obst will invite audience members to bring pencils to his performance. The relic a hand cranked pencil sharpener (with no case around it) will be reanimated in the performance. Audience members are asked to bring their own pencil to have them sharpened.
BRING A PENCIL Heinrich Obst invites audience members to bring pencils to his performance ‘Pencil Push(er)’ on FRI 28 FEB at 6PM. Obst is reanimating a hand cranked pencil sharpener (with no case around it) In performance, Obst will ask you to sharpen your pencil and share a story or association about that pencil or any pencil or pencil sharpener. The pencil may be altered or destroyed in performance. Simply bring a pencil to the performance.
Kirsten Heshusius [Netherlands] is primarily formed and trained in the development and implementation of visual performances through her experience with important Dutch companies. The art form that she practice came to be called ‘visual site-specific theater’ and has its roots in the happenings in the sixties and seventies. Heshusius describes her work as visual poetry evoking universal ideas about the world and life as such. She uses her knowledge and experience to make site-specific performances. In her work, Heshusius goes in on the transformation of material in relation to the body to create strong yet minimal visual metaphors. Because the body functions as a mirror, Heshusius elicits, through these transformations, memory of emotions. Despite these identifiable elements, within the process, there exists a subconscious layer, an imaginary, metaphysical or poetic given. A large part of any new work is, therefore, intuitive.
PROJECT: Deep time |Heshusius came to Chicago two weeks before her performance to research relics in the archive and have her work developed based on this experience. Having a working residency at SITE/Less, where she brought in several of the relics, Heshusius final choice is to work with the blue pigment relic from Marcel Sparmann’s performance From the unspoken between feet and head – in conversation with, and Jelili Atiku’s leaves used in his performance Earth With Trees and Water I Am (Alaaragbo VIII) from the same Rapid Pulse edition.
Lola Blake + Ezra Hawkins [Chicago] Lola Blake is a bioartist engaging with sustainability through performance, sculpture, installation, video, and new media. Lola is currently studying for a BFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is working as an apprentice with DFBRL8R Gallery. They are interested in reevaluating science and culture in western epistemology through considerations of our relationship with microbiology. They have been posing such questions through their ongoing series The Posdiatom, where their relationship with a certain microalgae is investigated. Their work has been shown in San Francisco and Chicago through gallery exhibitions and commissioned works for private clients. Ezra Hawkins is a transgender performance and bio-artist based out of Chicago. His performance background is in Butoh and explores the mind-body relationship in which identity is created and kept while his BioArt focuses on edible plant cultivation, sustainable food practices, and plant growth patterns in relation to physical embodiment. Ezra is currently an apprentice with DFBRL8R Gallery.
PROJECT: ASMR LICHEN KITCHEN (no talking) |In the repurposing of Jason Lim’s materials, Lola and Ezra are creating a durational bioart piece involving the growth of lichen throughout the whole What Remains project. . The culmination of the piece will take place on the performance ending night of What Remains which will include the harvesting of these lichen samples and preparing said samples into an edible dish. The consumption of the living organisms they have spent months nurturing is to reevaluate western science in the discourse of sustainable food. The piece highlights the relationships between body and environment, food and medicine, experimental and unconventional food growth practices, and the future of postnatural life.
Marina Resende Santos [Chicago] is an artist, writer and researcher interested in the poetics and politics of materiality, the urban environment, and intermedial translations. Recent works include spatial projects and urban interventions, videos, and a multimedia image-making practice involving projection. Marina graduated in comparative literature from the University of Chicago, with an emphasis on cultural history at the intersection of literary and visual cultures. She has joined residencies at the Grandhotel Cosmopolis (Augsburg, Germany) and the International School of Fine Arts in Salzburg. Her writing and visual works have been featured on Grand Magazin (Augsburg/Berlin), Mouse (online), Festung Hohensalzburg (2017), Co-Prosperity Sphere (Chicago, 2019) and Moving_Image_00:06 (Chicago, 2019). She is currently working on a workshop and publication with Programa Flotar (Mexico City). Marina’s interviews have appeared on Sixty Inches from Center, Hyperallergic, THE SEEN, and Lumpen.
PROJECT: No-hand on no-strings** |Responding to the relic, an elastic band with two bells, Resende Santos’ performance explores the density of gesture as both formal demonstration and translation of intimate aspects of the human condition. A dancer performs a repeated, sounding movement. Movement is impressed through the edge with an unseen change. This movement research explores the paradox of the trace as sensible absence. This performance is a collaboration with choreographer Elizabeth Lindberg.
Owen Moran [Milwaukee] is an artist and student from Milwaukee WI. He is interested in the storytelling potential of sculpture, video and performance.
PROJECT: shorthand** | Inspired by the relics, a pile of transparent sheets with text, Moran’s project is a reflection on the ways his family cherishes written communication and the ways he has departed from this ritual.
Patrícia Janeiro [Netherlands b. Portugal] is an artist and filmmaker based in Rotterdam and currently is a Fine Arts’ student at Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Amsterdam). Since 2013 Janeiro works on film-related projects. she assisted the Short Films team at International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in 2014, and has been an active member of Filmwerkplaats WORM, an artist-run film lab based in Rotterdam, since 2015.
PROJECT: A Triad of Paper Horns** |This is a short film where images of the relics will be animated together with sound and text. The film is inspired by the three paper horns relics.
MORE ABOUT What Remains: On the Sacred, the Lost, and the Forgotten Relics of Live Art
What Remains explores the connection between performance and object. Over the last nine years, Defibrillator director Joseph Ravens has amassed a unique archive of relics from past performances. Instigator and artist ieke Trinks conceived of a curatorial project that would speak to the challenges of keeping records of live performances beyond the dominant and didactic lens of video and photographic documentation. The project is structured around proposals from artists to re-interpret the relics in the Defibrillator object archive and provide a framework for reconceptualizing their value and meaning through new works.
What Remains features over 40 local, national, and international artists:
A_Marcel [Boston b. Latvia] | Alice Vogler [Atlanta] | Angeliki Chaido Tsoli [Greece] | Ashley Hollingshead [Minneapolis] | Bernard Roddy [Chicago] | Christian Bujold [Canada] | Christine Ferrera + Dan Hanrahan [Chicago] | Doro Seror [Germany] | Emilia White [Ann Arbor] | Erin Evans Delaney + Maria Luisa [Chicago] | Erin Peisert [Minneapolis] + Amy Whitaker [Cincinnati] | Esther Neff + Kaia Gilje [St. Louis] | Eunjin Choi [Los Angeles b. South Korea] | Frans van Lent [Netherlands] | Heinrich Obst [Belgium, b. Washington D.C.] | Jacqueline van de Geer [Canada, b. The Netherlands] | Janneke Schoene [Sweden b. Germany] | Jeremy Saya [Canada] | Jessica van Deursen [Netherlands] | John Thomure [Chicago] | Jolanda Jansen [Netherlands] | Katya Oicherman [Minneapolis, b. Russia] | Kirsten Heshusius [Netherlands] | Kristin McWharter [Chicago] | Lola Blake + Ezra Hawkins [Chicago] | Madison Juliana Alexander [Chicago] | Marina Resende Santos [Chicago b. Brazil] | Marval A Rex [Los Angeles] | Maya Nguen [Chicago b. Russia] + Noa/h Fields [Chicago] | Nick Tobier [Ann Arbor + Detroit] | Nicole Goodwin [New York] | Nina Boas [Netherlands b.France] | Nora + Mána [Chicago] | Owen Moran [Milwaukee] | Patrícia Janeiro [Netherlands b. Portugal] | Peter Baren [Netherlands] | Renan Marcondes [Germany b. Brazil] | SUNGJAE LEE [Chicago b. South Korea] | will sōderberg… [desplaines] | Zander Porter [Germany b. Los Angeles]
What Remains is divided into FOUR CHAPTERS, each with a specific theme: FIXING, MERGE, REFERENTIAL, and CONSUME. The presentation of objects will change from week to week, with new pieces added when relics are reactivated as performances or installations. The relics that aren’t yet activated will be on view downstairs in the basement on shelves waiting to be used and displayed. The overall idea for the exhibition is to keep it vivid and in a constant flux, just like the nature of performance art itself. Transformation of the space and installation of objects will be done during open gallery hours, underlining the performativity of the accumulation and exhibition of relics. There will also be space given to display the 91 submitted letter-size proposals from around the world. Gallery hours for the visual art exhibition are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 to 6pm and Sundays 12 to 4pm.