Participants

Abstracts and Biographies

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Branch A: May 5th  3:00 – 4:30pm

Sandra Chamberlain-Snider

Theatre History, UVic

Re-Enacting the Future: Boca del Lupo’s Expedition

Vancouver theatre company, Boca del Lupo, enters its twentieth year with a collaborative production that explores both the “utopic” and “dystopic” imaginings of life. As a collaborative creation between Boca del Lupo and Irish theatre company, The Performance Corporation, Expedition involves artists, scientists, and activists performing 150 years into a future where climate change and politics have shifted, erased, and produced borders. The performers explore how these changes have created their speculative present (circa 2167) as they look back and critique our present world. This paper considers how Expedition, through four iterations, speculates on the future of our world and the future of theatre and performance.

Sandra Chamberlain-Snider is a PhD Candidate at the University of Victoria in Theatre History. Her research considers the role of pre-professional theatre training on the lives of Canadian adolescents. Her research is a natural intersection between her volunteer roles in arts education for children and youth, and Vancouver’s independent theatre community

Krystle Coughlin

School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU

Indigenous Futurism and Art practices in Canada

This presentation will explore the concepts of Indigenous futurity, transnational identities, and performance.  Indigenous futurity is a term that describes imagined possibilities relating to Indigenous identities and culture.  Indigenous futurisms disrupt concepts inherent in art, such as the “Vanishing Indian” (Emily Carr on Totem Poles), some concepts which are rooted in Canadian colonial practices such as Indian Status, displacement from land, and disenfranchisement. Historic, traditional, authentic – these words are often used to describe Indigeneity, while simultaneously erasing any future possibilities. With changing technologies and art forms, Indigenous artists and activists are able to better tell our stories and propose/imagine an Indigenous future. Through creating new voices, and imagined futures, we create new concepts of belonging, and identification.

I am a Selkirk First Nations visual artist, and MFA candidate at SFU’s School of Contemporary Arts.  My artistic practice examines identity politics, Indigenous feminism, social issues, and representation within a visual media practice. I have obtained my BA in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice from UBC’s Social Justice Institute in 2013, and a BFA in visual arts from UBC in 2016. 

Sandra Lockwood

Graduate Liberal Studies, SFU

An Audience with Lightning

Our future lies in embracing our interconnectedness with all aspects of our planet. As such, we seek to give agency to natural phenomena and recognize “natural performances.” 

Each night, from May to September an audience of six is escorted to a remote cabin set in a high altitude New Mexican desert, an area renowned for electrical storms. The audience awaits an otherworldly performance by lightning strikes, conjured down by 400 highly polished steel poles. My recent visit to Walter De Maria’s performance/installation The Lightning Field informs this presentation. What are the rewards and challenges of making and performing art in liminal, isolated landscapes and even “collaborating” with unpredictable and potentially dangerous natural phenomena?  What is the role of future and imagined technologies in achieving such collaborations?

Sandra Lockwood is a PhD Candidate in the Graduate Liberal Studies Department, Simon Fraser University, currently gearing up to take her comprehensive exams.  She is fascinated with the extreme and isolated places on our planet and how we humans interact–even make art–with life-affirming and life-taking natural phenomena.

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Branch B: May 5th 4:30 – 4:50pm

Minah Lee

Comparative Media Arts, Simon Fraser University

Displaced Demonstration: 10 million Personal Ways to Resist Militarism and Racism for Enemy-Free Future

Me lit a candle and sat alone with an orange dot glowing in the dark on the last day of 2016. Me thought of 10 million candle lights alive in 광화문(Gwanghwamun) square occupied by civilians demonstrating against Korean government’s corruption and claiming their hopes in the future. What has sparked their collective imagination and action for change? Globalization blew me far away from my home country, and me often stumble on my immigration status in a land that has its own history and the presence of colonialism. Yet, have we, in our daily lives, ever come across borders from which we can imagine the futures of the people whose lives are devastated by the wars, conflicts, and militarization waged by many of our governments? Displaced Demonstration is a world citizen’s attempt to create a space where participants can witness Otherness imbued with marked identities and memories. By sharing the open space, we may catch a glimpse of the future born of non-deceptive hospitality and beyond surface diversity

Minah is a world citizen who was born and raised in South Korea. She is one of the Unlanded on this land. Nevertheless, she is a proud member of the eco-army called ESL poetrees planted in the soil of the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, and Səlílwətaɬ Nations.

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Branch C: May 6th  9:00 – 10:00am

Jason Margolis

Comparative Media Arts, SFU

Virtual Possession: The Ownership of Transmedia Space in Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More

Transmedia offers opportunities to free audiences from their passive role as viewers, especially when creators enable active participation in virtual space. Punchdrunk’s immersive theatrical experience Sleep No More not only encourages agency within its physical presentation, but also through its transmedia elements, such as websites and social media. This heightened sense of agency results in a dynamic creative exchange between creators and fans, although it also risks inciting audience insurrection or disengagement. My exploration of the aesthetic, cultural, social and economic structures involved in virtual space seeks to discover new terminology for the roles of participants. By examining Sleep No More’s audience through the filters of Louis Marin’s utopic narrator-visitors, Jacques Ranciére’s emancipated spectators, Pierre Lévy’s digital knowledge communities and Henry Jenkins’ participatory culture, I aim to find out who controls interaction in transmediated virtual space and how that affects live performance.

Jason Margolis is producer for Simon Fraser University’s Creative Studio, a graduate student in the university’s Comparative Media Arts program, and a new dad. He has created a whole lot of television, a number of films and documentaries, and a smattering of music.

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Branch D: May 6th 10:00 – 11:00am

Matthew Ariaratnam

School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU

Musicking and Musebots: Can Artificial Intelligence Take Part in the Event of Musicking?

Music, according to Christopher Small, is an event that generates relationships between people. Small calls this event musicking: “[Musicking] is to take part, in any capacity, in a musical performance, whether by performing, by listening, by rehearsing or practicing, by providing material for performance (what is called composing), or by dancing” (Small 9). Today, artificial intelligence is often used to generate and create music. Can a software, for example, Musebots that are developed by the Metacreation Lab at Simon Fraser University, partake in the act of musicking? Does software generate relationships? What does listening mean for computer software and does it differ from human listening? The role of Musebots and artificial intelligence in music creation, problematizes the traditional role of the composer, the musician, and the listener, today, and in the future. In my presentation, I will explore what the creative presence of artificial intelligence in music means for the future of the composer, musician, and listener. Matt will be hosting a Musebots “chill” lounge in room 4945 during the colloquium.

Matthew Ariaratnam is a composer, improviser, and guitarist. His music and research focuses on listening, field recording, electroacoustic music, and musicking. He is currently at Simon Fraser University, in the Master of Fine Arts Program, where he works as a teaching assistant and studies with Arne Eigenfeldt and Jin-me Yoon.

Dave Biddle

School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU

Hopefully the Sun will last: a history of fear

Keith Ansell Pearson states that “modernity is haunted by the threat of the eternal return of the same and captivated by the promise of the arrival of the new, the unique and the singular, an experience of time that is ecstatic, explosive, and aeonic”. Examining the modern dilemma described here by Pearson, I am interested in the parasitic nature of modernity and the defensive strategy of its host, history. History, from whom modernity extracts its nutrients to sustain itself, has employed the defensive strategy of incorporation; a strategy found throughout ecology where two entities slip in and out of the host / parasite role in a disorienting dance of becoming something other. Parasitism as a performative strategy allows for artists to enter into this dance.

David Biddle is a Vancouver based artist and MFA candidate at Simon Fraser University. With as many as thirty one years of lived experience, David Biddle scores lower than average on the AllCanadian Wealth Test of 2015. According to this study the average thirty one year old Canadian male has a net worth of roughly $48,000.00, which exceeds the estimated net worth of David Biddle by over $48,000.00.

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Branch E: May 6th 11:10 – 12:10

Linnea Gwiadza

School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU

Mapping Collaboration

The future of performance, and art making is undoubtably being influenced by the presence of the internet. Mapping Collaboration (mapcollab.com) is a website and resource for artists, teachers and scholars who are interested in the development, creation and presentation of multidisciplinary works with a focus on collaboration. Created by Rob Kitsos and a community of teachers, artists and students as contributors, Mapping Collaboration, not only presents a valuable resource but an example of the type of online spaces that can influence the direction of performance and the ways in which techniques for its creation can be shared.

Linnea is a multidisciplinary artist focused on contemporary dance and performance. Her research investigates embodied memory, space and identity. Linnea has performed and presented work across Canada and internationally. She earned a BFA from Concordia University (Montréal QC) and is currently an MFA candidate, Research and Teaching Assistant at SFU.

Lief Hall

School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU

Un/Seen: Performing the Invisible

Lief Hall’s new lecture “Un/Seen: Performing the Invisible” explores self as a multiplicity acting at the intersections of physical and virtual being, actively shaping and being shaped by technology. The lecture draws upon techniques of embodied research to understand the self not only as a conceptualized, mediatized or abstract entity, but also as a physical and material being existing at the intersection of both conscious and unconscious worlds. Hall’s research explores notions of the unseen; the unseen data flows and algorithmic systems; the unseen gestures of digital labor; and the unseen self as a source of material and political agency.

Lief Hall is a composer, singer-songwriter, director/choreographer and creator of opera, musical theatre, video and installation. As an interdisciplinary installation and performance artist Hall’s works explore themes of nature, technology and the body as they relate to mythology, identity and popular culture. Since completing her Bachelors in Media Arts at Emily Carr University, Hall has shown her work both locally and internationally and is currently doing her MFA in Interdisciplinary Studies at Simon Fraser University.

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LUNCH – AMBLE

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Branch F: May 6th 1:30 – 2:00pm

Maj Britt Jensen

School for the Contemporary Arts, SFU

last suture pow (the Skype oracle)

This multimedia performance wants to explore past, present and future as projected images and ‘living pictures’ embodied by three dissimilar females in different places of the world (Vancouver, Berlin, and Buenos Aires). The audience may talk to them using Skype’s instant messaging, but therefore they will have to split in groups and organize themselves to decide the questions they will pose within the twenty minutes. Certain rules will define the idiomatic universe of the three, and each of them will be developing a notion specific to their contexts (for example, property). In any case, mocking on the figure of the fortune teller.

My condition as a foreigner puts language, (cultural) translation and communication at the centre of my daily life. My professional experience does not only come from creating and exhibiting in galleries, museums and alternative art spaces, teaching in institutional backgrounds, but also from collective and participatory art projects; my non-academic experience is rich and varied.

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Branch G: May 6th  2:00 – 3:00pm

Anita Hallewas

Applied Theatre/Education, UVic

“Welcome Home?”: A Community Theatre Project For, With and By the Whole Community

Applied theatre has the potential for social change, however, as Leonard Bernstein stated “art never stopped a war and never got anybody a job. That was never its function… [but] it can affect people so that they are changed”(Value of Arts and Culture).  Michael Balfour concurs that as practitioners should view applied theatre having the potential of making “little changes”(347) that might have a ripple effect. The intention of a community theatre project conducted in small-town Revelstoke, BC, was to activate these “little changes” – to open a dialogue about the (un)acceptance of a soon-to-arrive Syrian family. The performance, held at the railway museum for and by the community, uses history as a tool to reflect on the present to encourage dialogue, educate and promote social change. The final script becomes a legacy for the community – exploring past and present – looking inward to see outward. Using applied theatre as research engages the whole community from inception to fruition, is inclusive and collaborative and a vital aspect of theatre for today and the future. 

Anita trained in Drama and Education at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia graduating in 2001. She has just received her Masters in Applied Theatre at the University of Victoria with a research interest in Community and Refugee Theatre. She is an Applied Theatre Practitioner and the founding Artistic Director of Flying Arrow Productions, a professional company that works within and across her local community.

Nancy Curry

Applied Theatre/Education, UVic

“Lost in Beijing, Lost in Space: Visions of the future through the lens of autism”

Nowhere is the concept of diversity more apparent than in science fiction visions of the future, with its alien beings, androids and robots interacting with human beings and occupying an important place in their fictional society. It is curious that these alien beings often exhibit the traits of autism, a neurological disorder that is the focus of much current research intended to “fix” or “cure” the resulting behaviours, and yet are accepted and valued members of their society.

The performance of identity in theatre continues to expand the definition of diversity, as evidenced by the extensive variety of voices in contemporary theatre, from queer and trans to multi-ethnic and indigenous. The time has now come to include the voices of disability and neurodiversity, to invite them to share their stories from the perspective of lived experience and to provide a space for disabled writers and performers to develop their artistry.

Theatre can provide a place for the autistic population to speak to identity, ability and community in an authentic voice. In this presentation, I will address the work of autistic writers, performers, and artists that demonstrate the importance of art to the development of a positive identity for those who live with a neurological disability.

Nancy Curry, M.M., is pursuing a PhD in applied theatre and special education, focused on drama with autistic young people. A seasoned theatre musician, Nancy has music directed theatre productions for companies in Colorado, Nebraska, and Canada, and toured as music director/pianist with outreach ensembles for San Diego Opera, Nevada Opera and Edmonton Opera.  She has served as opera coach, accompanist and sessional instructor at the Banff Centre, the University of Victoria, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, the University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Alberta. Nancy is the mother of two daughters, the older of whom was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, now called high-functioning autism, at the age of sixteen, and who is the inspiration for her mother’s research.

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Branch H: May 6th 3:15 – 4:15pm

Katrina Dunn

Theatre Studies, UBC

The Vancouver Script

The cities of the future may well look a lot like Vancouver. Using a hybrid of Theatre Studies and Economic Geography, this paper investigates the reproductions of signature Vancouver architectural and urban planning features that are materializing in various locations around the globe with increasing frequency. The ‘ism’ that attached itself to the name of the city in discourse surrounding its 1990s and early 2000s style of urban planning and associated architectural form, made an ideology out of a local manipulation of zoning laws and then used the flashy neologism that emerged to market that ideology to the world. This paper proposes that “Vancouverism” functions much like a script, creating a template of civic features which is then made animate by local producers attracted to its aesthetics and messaging. By analyzing the mobility of Vancouverism’s urban policies, I demonstrate that The Vancouver Script is a highly theatrical means of wealth generation, carefully cast and managed by transfer agents functioning much like stage directors, crafting dubious urban futures in the cities of the world.

Katrina Dunn is a scholar and stage director based in Vancouver. She is completing a PhD in Theatre Studies at UBC under the supervision of Dr. Kirsty Johnston. Her area of research looks at the spatial manifestations of performance as realized in the built and natural environments. She has published in Canadian Theatre Review (166) and Performance Research (21.2), and is the 2015 recipient of the Robert G. Lawrence Prize for an emerging scholar from CATR.

Kelsey Blair

English, SFU

Performance Futures: Sport as a Performance Practice in the 21st Century

“So Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners. And if we kick them all out you’ll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts.”
— Meryl Streep, 2017
In her acceptance speech for the Cecil B DeMille award at the 2017 Golden Globes, Meryl Streep drew many lines in the sand. One of them was an implicit distinction between sport and art. Her formulation echoes a common construction of sport, particularly in left-wing and/or artistic circles: sport and art are different and art is a better activity for the moral development of contemporary human beings. In the academy, performance studies would seem to offer an alternative to this formulation, as sport is considered one of several interrelated performance practices alongside music, dance, theatre, ritual, and play. Despite this, there is a dearth of critical work which seriously examines sport. In this paper, I turn to a future sporting event – the 2020 Summer Olympic Games – in order to examine how sport, as one of the most popular public performance genres of the early 21st century, is an essential entry point for examining performance in the historical present and near-future. Through my analysis, I will argue that sport is ontologically disjunctive at the level of the performer, making it different from other contemporary public performance genres. I argue that this difference matters for how we theorize sport and how sport contributes to our conceptualizations present and future performance genres.

Kelsey Blair is a PhD candidate in English at Simon Fraser University. Her areas of interest include performance studies, sport, affect theory, and musical theatre studies. She is also an applied theatre and film artist, the author of three middle grade fiction novels, the editor of two memoir anthologies, and a sport coach and administrator.