Anakana Schofield – Author of Bina, Martin John and Malarky

Rereading the Riot Act II Performance Art Cabaret June 15, 2011 @ Waldorf Hotel

Rereading the Riot Act II Performance Art Cabaret

Parataxis thank you

Thank you to everyone who joined us last Sunday afternoon for the Parataxis event exploring Helen Potrebenko’s novel Taxi! in today’s city and interfacing the book with what was and what is. Thank you especially to the members of the public who “read shotgun” (open the book randomly and read passages) and to Helen who planned the route and talked to readers as we wandered.  We were also blessed to have the collaboration, performance and generous support of Lori W (Mme Beespeaker) who concurrently documented the event at her blog.

I had a strange crisis before embarking on the event, which has given way to new/re-imaginings and invited input (some helpful, some less so). I set out perhaps to ask a few questions, one certainly was who authors remembering? Another was: what am I prepared to do for this book?  I did not factor that one needs “permission” to revisit repeatedly.  I had not considered that a repeated revisit might invite an assumptive yawn. But then it’s always easier for people to yawn, dismiss than engage.

The actual experience of repeatedly visiting a text like Taxi! (through different interventions) is quite the contrary. Each time we engage with this book it delivers new delights, reflections and questions, not least because of its fragmentary form. Again, a reflection of the working day, the working shift, the working life and this particular city, where the tea does not sit inside the pot for long.

The 11 people who joined us last Sunday engaged with the text in such a committed, enthusiastic and detailed manner which resulted in whole new considerations, especially about the present day.

Taxi! intervention (not hailed cabs) @ Not Sent Letters

On Friday evening I, alongside my generous and esteemed collaborator Lori Weidenhammer, undertook my first experiment in what will be a series of experiments and ongoing interventions (“Transactions”) around Helen Potrebenko’s 1975 novel Taxi!

Thank you to everyone who engaged with both Lori and I. Lori was deployed as Security Guard (Insecurity) and as you’ll see from the photo documentation (again thanks to a varied bunch of snappers) I was installed in the Taxi! rank. It was an embodiment piece that sought to recontextualize the experience of reading and being read to. It also was an inquiry into the conditions by which we read and how might we read a forgotten text over an available and advertised text.

I have more to write about this intervention. I was grateful to Helen Potrebenko and her husband Earl for turning out and supporting the piece. Also a huge thank you to Charlene Vickers for hosting the event at her studio space and Jeremy Todd for creating space for it. It was a fascinating experience to have such an engagement with readers. And as usual within performance art offered surprise, learning and took me in directions I could not have conceived of.  For now I offer some photos of what took place.

(Also thank you to Jeremy Isao Speier for his precise, diligent work on the sign)

 

 

 

I have a read a couple of How to Make a Wooden Sign instructions, that were not divinely inspiring. I am curious as to how it will stand and stay upright and thinking of a brick’s assistance. Next I have to consider the proximity the sign will stand to the performance. I am looking forward to talking it all up with wunderbar Lori and am glad to be working with her again after this week’s praiseach.

We laughed so much during our collaboration Big Mamas Ridin’ High for  Chaos at Open Space.

Today is Nollaig na mBan. I filled the teapot many times and thought about the labour of women.

Taxi! makin a stand

“The city will set up 12 late-night taxi stands around Calgary’s core on the weekend to help solve one of the most nagging cab shortage periods.”

On January 14th, 2011, I too shall be setting up a late-night Taxi! stand, albeit in Vancouver, in an embodied exploration and ongoing dialogue with Helen Potrebenko’s 1975 novel Taxi!  Another collaborative moment with the wunderbar Lori Weidenhammer coming soon ….

Event…Crossings: a return

Come on out people and embrace/re-embrace/ discover/celebrate your literature

Click to enlarge for event details.

Books November

I am currently reading between four books.

Betty Lambert’s Crossings I am rereading slowly in preparation for the up and coming event at the Vancouver Public Library I am organizing. A group of us writers — Annabel Lyon, Juliane Okot Bitek, Claudia Casper, Renee Rodin and Lori Weidenhammer — are revisiting Crossings to see whether there are new readings to be had on the book. Lori, a performance artist will revisit a Lambert play)

Lambert’s Crossings is a book to be slowly digested and it is at times an immensely difficult but worthwhile digestion. The book possesses an unevenness — something that is necessary or fitting when you think about the uneven nature of the two main people it circulates around.

The other three books I am nesting with, in a remarkably different manner of reading, are three old Press Gang books:

1. Common Ground: Stories by Women

2. An Account To Settle The Story of the United Bank Workers (SORWUC).

3. Sometimes They Sang. Helen Potrebenko.

The first book I have read two or three of the stories and they made me think about space and the close confines in which the people live to each other and how people are invited into space. The second (non fiction) reads rather like an adventure (I’ve read much less successfully attempts at this in fiction!) and the third, I consider a vital novel (out of print naturally). All three contain strikes and picket lines in relation to women. I did not select them knowing this, in fact two of them I found on the side of the road. It’s curious what emerges when you open books in tandem or parallel.

CHAOS

I’m thrilled to be performing mischief with performance artist Lori Weidenhammer, this week, at Open Space in Victoria, as part of Chaos, along with four women performance artists from Belfast and Iraq.

This week I will be finding and uploading links to the artists work: Sinéad O’Donnell (Belfast) pictured, Sandra Johnston (Belfast), Pauline Cummins (Dublin), Poshya Kakl (Iraq). I will also be posting from Victoria as the performances and artist talks and events unroll.

To read more about Chaos click here

Thanks to Lori for inviting me to collaborate with her. Thanks also to Phoenix Gymnastics and Jeremy for video footage and Peter for photos.