Rereading the Riot Act I. A public action I curated during my Unit/Pitt Residency. At Woodwards, intervention in front of Stan Douglas mural Abbott & Cordova, 7 August 1971. Two readings by Michael Barnholden & Penny Goldsmith (Walking Slow Helen Potrebenko) & 3 readings of the Riot Act, April 23, 2011. The second event, a Performance Art Cabaret, at The Waldorf took place the same night as the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot. A publication will appear in Autumn for this project, published by Publication Studio.
Unit/Pitt and Rereading the Riot Act II makes the London Review of Books. Move over Elvis impersonators & gardening hour, our event got no local coverage at all. Grateful to the “incomparably lively and thoughtful” LRB for embracing it.
I’ll be writing more about the Cabaret (consumed with my novel edit) on this blog and am touched by the messages I’ve received from the small population who came out and supported it. Thanks also to the performance/visual artists Leannej, Carol Sawyer, My Name Is Scot, Jeremy Isao Speier and Lori Weidenhammer for engaging with my project and for their thoughtful, robust responses. And for the writers/artists/performers/activists and the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir who participated in the first Rereading the Riot Act event on April 23, 2011 at Victory Square & Woodwards.
We are instigating a panel discussion in conjunction with SFU Humanities I hope and there will be a publication from the project published this Fall by Publication Studio.
Thanks a million to all the people who came out and participated in yesterday’s event in the DTES. We had a great turn out and a wonderful, rousing event, marking and reinscribing. I was very touched by the enthusiasm and collective nature of what took place.
Process-orientated work is fascinating because there are all these hidden layers that become apparent once the event is underway. You offer a departure point, something of a framework but where the participants and viewers take it and where it decides it wants to go is brand new and immediate.
I am still pondering what took place but essentially we remarked or reclaimed the Mayor’s route with a fictional protest based on an actual historical protest that also interfaced with another recreation of an actual protest — Stan Douglas piece at Woodwards — and then headed to Victory Square for more responses some of which interfaced with actual events and others which created new versions of it.
I have more to say about it, but one of the most fascinating aspects was also the response and interaction at street level, and the various forms of protest and inquiry towards what was taking place. Within the responses we had a diverse array of voices, times, history, language, song, objects, the yesterday, today (now) and the tomorrow.
The Solidarity Notes Labour choir were amazing, raising the hoops at Woodwards and rocking the skies at Victory Square and participating with heckles and laughter. What a vital bunch of individuals and wonderful singers they are. I hope you have the chance to sing with them or listen to them.