Photo by: Brittany Snellen

Today, May 16th, in the heart of Downtown Edmonton, dc3 Art Projects is buzzing with excitement as the participants from the intensive Zero Gravity Performance Art Workshop prepare their performances to kick off the start of the Zero Gravity International Performance Art Festival. The performances will be starting at 2:00pm and continuing throughout the day until 10:00pm tonight, allowing people to come and go throughout the day as they please. There will be performances both inside the gallery and at specified outdoor venues for people and passersby to visit; visitors can find a map of the area and location of the artists in the entrance of the gallery.

The last week has been intense, physically and mentally exhausting, but loaded with new methods and exercises that have pushed each individual participant to explore all of the facets of their practice. All week they have been mentored by renowned artists Beau Coleman, Dagmar I. Glausnitzer-Smith, Francesco Kiais, PASHIAS, and Alexandra Zierle. Not only have the workshop instructors encouraged the participants to push the boundaries of their own art, but a fundamental part of the workshop has been facilitating a collaborative atmosphere in which the participants have worked together, challenged each other, and collectively laboured to grow in their work.

Throughout the workshop the participants have been exploring the parameters of performance art through their bodies and conceptual practice. “If performance art were a recipe,” asked PASHIAS on Sunday, “what would be the ingredients?” Their recipes included a surprising combination of expected components and completely unexpected ones that many had not considered a part of performance art. My takeaway was that performance art works very similarly to osmosis; the barrier between artist and concept, artist and audience, concept and space is highly permeable. It is very much a build-your-own buffet, and seasoned by each participant to taste.

A collaborative group effort enabled the workshop participants to negotiate their space, time and bodies in a shared temporal and physical space. Guests are in for a big treat having the opportunity to share in the very fresh and raw expressions of these artists, who will be channeling six days worth of practice, learning and labour into their performances today.

Written by Brittany Snellen.

Brittany Snellen has a master’s degree in art history from the University of Alberta. She’s spent the last five years facilitating collaborative exhibition projects between art historians and artists. In her spare time you can find her photographing births and writing about art.