Next week marks the kick off of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time Based Arts Festival (TBA), boasting a rightfully lionized slew of performances, late ­night dance parties, engaging workshop and lecture series, and a never disappointing exhibition at the new PICA headquarters. This is a yearly event that showcases PICA’s talent for bringing the very best in contemporary art to Portland with a particular focus on the temporal aspects of performance. The organization capitalizes on the small-town feels of the Portland art community and the city’s host of unique venues to bring you TBA:16.

Taking place from September 8 – 18, the festival is densely curated, notoriously leaving participants completely consumed and in a panic to participate fully. Tickets are sold to individual performances, but PICA also offers different levels of passes if you are interested in checking out multiple events. Or, by signing up to become a member ($50 or $35 for artists/students) you can get discount rates. For patrons on a tighter budget, the exhibition and lectures at PICA headquarters are always free. Late night events at The Works are a little more pocket friendly, and volunteering is a option for Works and On Stage ticket vouchers.

To help you sort through the fully loaded guide of events, below is a sampling of what we’re particularly excited for.


Christian Rizzo/l’association fragile (September 9 and 10): d’aprè une histoire vraie is a reflection on the history of Mediterranean dancing and the “hypnotic exploration of masculine ritual,” a description that sounds close to that of the French Tunisian choreographer Radhouane El Meddeb who presented Au temps où les Arabes dansaient… at TBA:15. El Meddeb and Rizzo both engage in mapping notions of masculinity in Mediterranean dance culture, but where El Meddeb focused on the taboo and provocative with “rolling hips [and] exposed navels”, Rizzo is transfixed on the celebration of traditional notions masculinity and fraternity in folk dance ritual.

Ivo Dimchev (September 9 and 10): Songs from my shows, a Bulgarian singer has turned the concert setting into performance art with his well­ trained voice and lyrics that oscillate from the cloyingly sweet to the deeply disturbing in an operatic event. His performance at TBA will be a selection of songs from past performances and will integrate art, dance, theater, and visual art in vague but intriguing ways. TBA Director, Angela Maddox, commented that she had been trying to get Dimchev to perform for years and it only this year came together, a comment she made last TBA about the Ukrainian folk­punk band Daka Brakka, who did not disappoint. This might be a harbinger for Dimchev’s already anticipated work.

Narcissister (September 9 and 10): Narcissistic Advance is many exciting things rolled into one: a feminist punk commentator who challenges the traditional depiction of femininity and embraces the anarchy of performance art as well as punk­pop melodies, an unabashed instigator whose costume accessories include merkin and masks to further contort our perception of reality while she aggressively flings her otherwise naked body across the stage, and a humorous but jarring celebrity figure that you can’t help but watch. Get an idea of what’s to come by reviewing her America’s Got Talent 2011 audition.

Libby Werbel (September 10 and 11): Portland Museum of Modern Art: Houseguest has an ambitious agenda: creating an outdoor art exhibition that challenges modern notions of the codified art institution, as well as static display, while highlighting the gaping absence of a major contemporary or modern art museum in the growing city of Portland. The endeavour is not a new one for Libby Werbel, who operates the Portland Museum of Modern Art from the stairwell and basement of Mississippi Records. She has a penchant for blending high­end art with the D.I.Y. ethos synonymous with the Pacific Northwest and exhibiting contemporary artists that work with a folk art aesthetic. By laying claim to the name PMOMA, Werbel not only highlights the absence of a major contemporary art museum but makes it known that there are different models of museum spaces to consider, such as those that are more inclusive to outsiders, both in regards to art makers and art viewers. The open venue at Pioneer Square is a reflection of PMOMA’s dedication to this type of programming.

Keijaun Thomas (September 11­13): Distance is Not Separation works with popular themes at TBA: identity, race, and body politics. In particular, Thomas examines the black femme body through performance and installation, which defines this work as both a temporal performance event and an installation where the trace of the gesture is never absent.

A.K. Burns (September 14): A Smeary Spot is part of the TBA exhibition Makeup on Empty Space, curated by Kristan Kennedy. The work is a 4­channel video installation heavily influenced by the fields of science fiction and documentary film while examining the phenomenons of being and time. The work will be played in conjunction with performances by Jen Rosenblit and keyon gaskin, two artists known for their work with extemporized choreography.

Britt Hatzius (September 10, 11, 16­18): Blind Cinema adds another layer to Plato’s famous Allegory of the Cave and it’s relation to the illusions of cinema. Where many philosophers and cinephiles will argue that Plato’s allegory is not an apt description of modern cinema because of the participants awareness of their surroundings, Britt Hatzius brings it back by adding another layer of distortion. The work takes away the audience’s vision and forces them to see the film through another reality: that of a child who is using their unique worldview and set of vocabulary to describe in whispers what is unfolding on the screen. The film, an original piece in its own right, will be completely transformed through the child’s interpretation, language, and communication.

Ali Chahrour (September 15 and 16): Leila’s Death examines the roles of ritual and religion in bereaving the dead though a traditional Islamic Shiite ceremony. The performance is centered around the work of Leila, a professional Islamic mourner who will guide the audience through a unique cultural ceremony. Two musicians who will perform with Leila as she sings traditional Arabic songs, chants, and laments the departed with echoing cries. It will be a powerful look into the process of healing after loss and how this specific religious funeral ritual is enacted in a foreign space than traditionally intended.

Mohamed El Khatib (September 16­18): Finir en beauté is reminiscent of last year’s TBA performance by Lars Jan entitled The Institute of Memory (TIMe). In both works, the artists are reconstructing a deceased family member’s memory with the use of documents, phone messages, and the like. Where Jan’s work was heavily imbued with a Cold War era preoccupation with privacy and the secrecy of his father, El Khatib’s work is the meditation of his mother’s death. For those who attended Jan’s work at TBA: 15, it will be an opportunity to compare the different cultural and individual perspectives of these two artists on a universal human experience.

Alessandro Sciarroni (September 16 and 17): UNTITLED_I will be there when you die is the second part of a three part series by the artist who made his TBA debut last September. Sciarroni works with a collection of performers and is interested in the elapsing of time and the endurance of the human body. For TBA: 15 Sciarroni focused obsessively on the movement of folk dancing and this year he looks to juggling and the world of circus art for inspiration. His work is entrancing due to the signature repetition of movements. It both cases, it is less about the act of juggling or dancing than the abstraction of movement when done continuously and almost robotically in otherwise silence. The repetitious sounds from the movement of the performers and the movement of leaving and entering patrons create a rhythmic backdrop akin to John Cage’s 4’33.

Geumhyung Jeong (September 16 and 17): 7ways is a jarring mixture of the performer’s body, a group mannequins, and everyday appliances coming together through a choreographed set on a stark­white stage.Clips of the piece look like a CGI set, where props are being used on a bare backdrop as placeholders for a more comprehensible whole to come together later. What is beautiful about this work is that there is no such narrative to contemplate on and you leave feeling like you experienced a bizarre hallucination and a further discomfort with mannequins and appliances.

 

Comments

comments