24
Feb
09

IdeaAssassins Project # 3-64 theory/theatre: an introduction

theory / theatre: an introduction OR networkofnonevents


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Art is not about stories.

Art is about dying.

And how we get there.

Act now or die.

Manifesto 2.0 – PERFORMIX

1. Theatre is not better than TV/the internet. It would be if the live existed.

2. We need to break free of binaries and hierarchies. And outdated definitions of performance.

3. PERFORMIX is how the social is reinvigorated. Our reality—the hyperreal— can become a radical, transformative space/place/subject/temporality. Via performix.

4. Art is not about stories.

5. Art is about dying. And how we get there.

6. Act now or die.

On February 23, 2009, IdeaAssassins installed a 60-poster provocation campaign in the Fine Arts Building at The University of Alberta. FAB is home to the departments of Drama, Visual Arts/Design, and Music. Although the posters were focused to interrogate the students and faculty in the Drama department, the poster project aimed to question the institutional, academic, artistic, and personal biases of all the “Fine Arts” at the university.

The project lasted two days- ending with a “Ideas Intervention” performance which included the take-down of the posters. Each poster shared two elements: the title- theory/theory: an introduction, and a link to the project’s manifesto (which begins this post). The content of the posters varied greatly and included general statements and questions about art practice, theory quotes, direct pulls from the Drama website regarding their programs, and state-of-the-world opinions (Obama’s election, robots, theatre versus film etc.).

For a closer look at each poster, click the link under “pages” on the right.

Poster Installation – Day One (23 February 2009)

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Poster Installation – Day Two – Documentation of Interventions (24 February 2009)

On the second day of the project we documented the anonymous interventions made to the posters. Responses included the take-down of posters and general responses written directly on the posters. One poster was ripped in half and written on. Responses continued in one-on-one conversations. They included the desire to have the posters removed, confusion regarding the creation of and the meaning behind the project, and support for the project. These photos document the interventions.

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Poster Installation – Idea Intervention (Poster Take-down)

The poster project was removed from the walls of the Fine Arts Building via a staged intervention/performance on Day Two. The Graduate Seminar on Provocation was removed from their class, handed a card with YES on one side, and NO on the other. Flyers with the project’s manifesto were also distributed. The Provocation students moved from one part of the project to another, answering questions about the content of the posters. These short discussions began with YES/NO questions, and, when  necessary, follow-up questions were posed. Each time a poster was removed, it was handed off to one of the provocation students. They were responsible for transporting the posters to their final destination. The intervention culminated with the staged photos below. Each participant was asked to pick the poster which they had the strongest response to. They then formed a line in front of the empty display cases on the second floor and had their photo taken. They were left there. They only stayed a few moments.

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Please note one of the participants demanded that his photo not be posted on our site.  That is the reason for the slight alteration to the photos:

(February 27, 2009)

Re: Jeff Page’s comment-
“You do not have my permission to post my image on your website. Please remove it immediately.”

Please note the photos referenced have been altered. We have chosen to respect the commenter’s wishes, even though the photo belongs to IdeaAssassins, and, his consent was marked by his willingness to have his photo taken during the performance. The participant was not photographed unknowingly, and, like other parts of the intervention, could have chosen not to participate.

Thanks for visiting the site.
Cortney and Kim


On the day following the removal of the project, two (seemingly) separate mimics/responses were posted in the Fine Arts Building.

Response #1: A poster printed from a computer was placed in many of the same places as our posters had been.

Response #2: As part of the advertising campaign for an upcoming dance, hand written posters were placed in several locations around the drama department.

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3 Responses to “IdeaAssassins Project # 3-64 theory/theatre: an introduction”


  1. 1 ideaassassins
    February 28, 2009 at 1:26 am

    Re: Jeff Page’s comment-
    “You do not have my permission to post my image on your website. Please remove it immediately.”

    Please note the photos referenced have been altered. We have chosen to respect the commenter’s wishes, even though the photo belongs to IdeaAssassins, and, his consent was marked by his willingness to have his photo taken during the performance. The participant was not photographed unknowingly, and, like other parts of the intervention, could have chosen not to participate.

    Thanks for visiting the site.
    Cortney and Kim

  2. 2 Jeff Page
    February 28, 2009 at 1:38 am

    True, I was aware I was being photographed. I was not, however, informed that the photograph was going to be posted onto the internet. Had I been informed, I would not have participated.

  3. 3 Jeff Page
    February 28, 2009 at 4:48 pm

    As a student in the provocation seminar that formed the audience for the performance of this project, I offer a few observations and questions. Most importantly, the project provoked me. I admit that my response came from more than the performance alone. Rather, it was partially based on my two year relationship with the ideas and strategies consistently put forth by the project’s creators. I, therefore, did not view the posters as simply general statements. I viewed them as a public display of the creators’ bitterness towards the practices of the University of Alberta’s drama faculty, and as a criticism of the terminal degree status of the Master of Fine Arts. As an adjunct faculty member and MFA candidate, I was provoked by the strategy.

    In terms of the performance, I have a question. If, according to your manifesto, you are demanding that we move beyond binaries, why would you offer the audience only opposing answer choices, “Yes” and “No”? And why would you tease the professor when he frequently chose to answer outside of the binary with the spoken answer of “Maybe” or “Sometimes?”

    My final observation concerns the creators’ concept of hierarchy. During the performance, the creators were clearly in charge. When I refused to take a Yes or No card, Kim McLeod twice attempted to force it into my hand with the command, “You have to!” The creators led the questioning, chose which posters to discuss, and, more tellingly, chose which posters to avoid. In fact, had I not intervened in the questioning, the creators would have avoided a grouping of three posters that featured quotes taken directly from the drama department website and graduate studies brochures. When they did address the poster series, they asked a yes or no question (“Do you agree with this statement?”) about two of the posters, and avoided the third: “The MFA is a terminal degree, considered THE senior degree in the field of theatrical practice, and used as the hiring standard in North American colleges and universities” (the emphasis was added by creators on the poster, and did not appear on the brochure).

    At the end of the performance, we were told to hold the poster which had most provoked us. To draw attention to the above mentioned poster had been avoided during the performance, I chose to display it. The creators then took our picture, without any indication that the photograph would be posted online. When I was informed that my image had been used on this blogsite, I requested that it be removed.


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