Vantage Points

Essays and Interviews

in TURBA
Author:
İpek Çankaya Researcher and University Educator, Turkey

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Sarah Conn Director, Producer, and Curator, Canada

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Lital Dotan Performance Artist and Curator, USA

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Eyal Perry Artist, Educator, and Collector, USA

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Clayton Kennedy Baritone, Canada

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Gundega Laivina Interdisciplinary Curator, Latvia

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Rodrigo Sigal Mexican Composer and Cultural Manager, Mexico

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Ricardo Rozental Broadcaster, Music Commentator, and Educator, Mexico

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Experiencing Bird's-Eye View: From Physical to Online Events in an Age of Pandemic

Lewis Mumford's Art and Technics signaled, in 1961, certain challenges that contemporary life brings: “Yes: the burden of renewal lies upon us and so it behooves us to understand the forces making for renewal within our persons and within our culture, and to summon forth the plans and ideals that will impel us to purposeful action.” The necessities that arise in the course of one's life can also be opportunities that force a change of paradigm, as well as calls to embrace new plans that can meet these challenges. Mumford continues: “If we awaken to our actual state, in full possession of our senses, instead of remaining drugged, sleepy, cravenly passive as we now are, we shall reshape our life to a new pattern, aided by all the resources that art and technics now place in our hands” (2000: 162).

The Curation of Endings

Slowly, we pulled apart the contract. Acknowledging all that had been done, all that would never be done, we called it quits. Ignoring cancellation clauses and creative deliverables written long before anyone had even heard of COVID-19, we decided that what had been done was enough. It felt strange to help a show end, like an unspoken agreement had been contravened. Until that point, I'd only experienced shows ending by fizzling out, whether due to unsuccessful funding applications, a lack of presenter uptake, or collaborators getting more lucrative gigs. I'd seen shows end through a million cuts of scarcity, but this time the show ended by choice: the artists decided it was time to move on.

Seeing Your Breath on My Window: About Performance Art and Intimacy during the Pandemic

Eyal Perry (EP): I have been your witness and the silent presence in your performances for more than twenty years now, yet when I witnessed and documented Your Breath on My Window, during the pandemic, something felt different. Standing distant, next to only one or two as your audience, watching you from outside, with a glass window separating us for the first time ever during a performance, made me wonder what were you fighting for as a performer. What was that urgent need you had to go through so much, just to perform in front of so few? What perspective on performance during the pandemic led you to create this series in particular?

“Weathering the Storm”

In 2018, baritone Clayton Kennedy and flutist Alexa Raine-Wright conceived “Weathering the Storm,” a concert of Baroque song and instrumental music reflecting the spirit of a series of photographs that he had taken of darkening clouds. Back in 2018, it was supposed to be a “simple, humble concert,” in which Kennedy would both sing as a soloist with Raine-Wright's ensemble, Infusion Baroque, and be featured as a photographer via projections of his cloud photos. The original program included Baroque works by Rameau, Telemann, Prowo, and de Boismortier. A contemporary work by Sebastian Hutchings, “In a House Besieged,” complemented the concept.

Attention as a Form of Ethics

Traditionally, the beginning of January is when the most recent and courageous performing art works are celebrated in New York, a time when several major festivals take place across the city. Even as I write this text, they are announcing full or partial cancellations, one after another. The city is undergoing yet another wave of coronavirus, with daily cases nationally currently approaching one million. The beginning of 2022 felt different from the year before, when curators and venues actively engaged in carving out new spaces, both real and virtual, for COVID-safe productions and presentations. Now, in the second year of the pandemic, everyone seems exhausted and has instead chosen cancellations when standard forms of presentation become impossible. Has all that mind-blowing experimentation with practices, spaces, and distances been just a temporary substitute for the “festival as usual”?

Meta-Curation of New Music and Sonic Arts At Cmmas: Persistence Is Not Abundant in Latin America … and Hey! Here We Are!

Ricardo Rozental (RR): What made you start the Centro Mexicano para la Música y las Artes (CMMAS) in 2006? What motivates you today?

Rodrigo Sigal (RS): I was a student of composition of Mario Lavista in Mexico, then moved to London to pursue my doctorate with Javier Alvarez. From Mario I learned that composing is solving one problem per piece. The audience needs to understand what that problem is, how relevant it is, and how it was solved creatively. I noticed how much I loved solving problems around music but also outside of music, in cultural management. That prompted me to return to Mexico into an environment other than teaching. I wanted to create a work environment in which I would feel comfortable. Not just to gain access to equipment but also to interact with others, be able to listen to what I chose to and do all this outside of Mexico City.

Contributor Notes

İpek Çankaya (MA, Arts Management; PhD, Media Studies) is a comparative cultural researcher and university educator in arts management and cultural theories, whose primary academic focus is on issues in the public sphere, art practice, and curatorship. She is founding director of halka sanat projesi (2011) in Istanbul and Art Halicarnassus (2019) in Bodrum, developing visual narratives and conceptual frameworks for contemporary art exhibitions, facilitates debates, and writes poetry.

Sarah Conn is a director, producer, and curator based in Ottawa. She is Artistic Associate of the National Arts Centre's National Creation Fund and Creative Director of Trophy, an Ottawa-based art collective. She is a recent graduate of Wesleyan University's Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance, receiving her MA in performance curation.

Lital Dotan is a performance artist and curator based in New York. Her works are exhibited internationally in venues such as the Israel Museum, the National Museum in Krakow, the Queens Museum, and the Kitchen in New York. She has written several stage plays and is the subject of two monographs. She is the cofounder of the Glasshouse in New York.

Eyal Perry is an artist, educator, and collector of historical cultural artifacts. He teaches photography, phototherapy, and socially engaged art. He is a cofounder and the archivist of the Glasshouse in New York.

Clayton Kennedy, the Canadian baritone, studied classical voice performance at Vanier College and obtained his artist's diploma from Concordia University. He has been a featured concert and oratorio soloist with many Canadian ensembles and in a great diversity of styles drawn particularly to early music.

Gundega Laiviņa is a freelance interdisciplinary curator from Latvia and former artistic and managing director of the New Theatre Institute of Latvia and Homo Novus Festival. She is currently based in New York, where she studies urban placemaking and management at the Pratt Institute's Graduate Centre for Planning and the Environment.

Rodrigo Sigal is a Mexican composer and cultural manager. With a PhD in composition from London City University, he is a full-time professor at Enes, UNAM. He directs the Mexican Centre for Music and Sonic Arts, edits the Sonic Ideas journal, and runs the Visiones Sonoras Festival.

Ricardo Rozental is a broadcaster, music commentator and educator, concert programs annotator, and animator of pre-concert talks at the Teatro Mayor in Colombia. Since 2020, he has been part of the podcast production team Carreta Recetas, for which he is editor and sound designer.

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TURBA

The Journal for Global Practices in Live Arts Curation

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