Participatory Dissent (Day 1)

Oct 18, 2007

Installation, Performance


Gallery / second storey foyer, Western Front & Mount Pleasant, Vancouver


1:00 – 5:00 p.m.


Western Front presented an auxiliary program in partnership with LIVE Biennale tilted Participatory Dissent: Debates in Performance.

The first day of the program featured performances by Kevin Hamilton, Roddy Hunter, iKatum, The National Bitter Melon Council, and Sal Randolph. These performances were also repeated the next day. 

Kevin Hamilton conducted a series of conversation-based walking tours that had a physical and online component. The piece intervened at the social level to study and expose the epistemological conditions that made possible the perception of shared space or time, using participatory web-mediated communication between diverse public spaces. Hamilton was invited by iKatun. 

Mutual Outsideness was a performance and installation by Roddy Hunter. In the gallery, the artist was seated between two tables with the entirety of his face bandaged in gauze. A two-channel slideshow was projected behind him with photos taken by the artist and his wife every hour without consultation between Vancouver and York, England, their city of residence. While the side-by-side images looped, the artist shifted attention ever so slightly to himself by slowly keeling over onto the floor in a distressed manner before raising himself back onto the seat, as if he was also rewound on a loop. On the two nearby tables, mounds of white powder were placed at the centre of maps of Vancouver and York. Hunter was invited by Vassya Vassileva.

Artists Hiroko Kikuchi and Andi Sutton of the National Bitter Melon Council (NBMC) canvassed around Vancouver to invite strangers to take the “NBMC Meyers-Bitter Survey,” a performance documentation strategy that determined the bitterness level of each survey site and prompted community members to share a bitter story. NBMC was invited by Natalie Loveless. 

Free Money was a performance in an ongoing series by Sal Randolph that invited the public to make an appointment to meet her at a neighbourhood cafe wherein she offered each person cash and choice. The participant was given a sum of money—no questions asked—but also a notebook and postage paid envelope. The artist requested that participants log in the notebook how the money was spent, whether on themselves or given away, and if inclined, to mail her the logbook once completed. Randolph was invited by iKatun. 

Free Fear from the U.S.A. (If You Take It) was a performance by iKatun. Through their “Institute for Infinitely Small Things,” they invited the public to accompany them on expeditions to distribute 150 copies of their new satirical publication, The New American Dictionary: Fear/Security Edition into bookstores, public libraries, schools, and museum shops. Each expedition became a micro-forum for conversation about war, US foreign policy, and increased personal security regulations and surveillance. The distribution of the book sought to provoke micro confrontations; for example, if someone tried to purchase or checkout the book, the computers wouldn’t know what to do with it, or perhaps others would simply take the book, running the risk of getting caught for “stealing.” iKatun was invited by Natalie Loveless.

Curated by Natalie Loveless. 

Video documentation available upon request.

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Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.