Saturday, September 22, 2012

    • Saturday, September 22, 2012 to Sunday, September 23, 2012
    Durational performance 7pm to midnight Curator: Laura Margita Artists: Hélène Lefebvre and Julie Fiala Critical text by: Laura Margita Hélène and Julie present themselves as simultaneously displaced and at home in Ottawa and Québec City. In this performance they ask: “How might water, as a transitional and fluid space, help us broach questions of (our) porous identity in relation to place, language and culture?” This question is compelling to us because it is universal. We are at home with ourselves and also lost; missing a part. What is it to be both water (body) and thought (mind)? Our bodies are 98% water, bonding us with the atmosphere, while we live in gravity. Does this divide create internal balance or dictate a life long struggle? Hélène and Julie choose water to guide their explorations of the struggle of displacement. Understanding the displacement of water allows us to travel safely over water surfaces, just as language and culture help us to travel safely within and without new territories. They describe the bridge as representing culture and the river, nature. The river is both vulnerable and powerful. This is why it seems so apt that they have chosen this fast flowing river, between Ontario and Québec. The Ottawa River has been dammed, and polluted by industrial requirements, yet it remains a dangerous force and a source of joy and ease in the hot days of summer. We must learn, change, and grow according to the ebb and flow of life around us or we will drown or become trapped, treading water in a stagnant pool that no longer sustains life. Hélène and Julie use the word porous or permeable to describe why water is akin to identity. Our identity is our basic index but is it mutable? They are suggesting that it is. The artists are creating a bridge between Ontario and Québec, ensuring mutability with a performance that explores tensions, contradictions and complexities inherent to cultural identity. The subtext for the performance is: “La vie est belle.” Hélène and Julie want to reassure us that life can be beautiful even as we struggle within our separate identities. Laura Margita, 2012
    Partnered with Nuit Blanche Ottawa, 2012 A video of this performance can be viewed here: