The Present Tense was built out of Sandrine Schaefer and Philip Fryer‘s long time collaboration. Because of this, we have always held collaborative duos close to our hearts. Next month, LONG-TERM, a live art event curated by Sandrine Schaefer and Adriana Disman that features the work of various artist duos who investigate extended duration, will come to Toronto’s Hub 14. In honor of this upcoming event and our sustained love of artists who choose to make work together, The Present Tense has revisited the archives to bring you a few videos from artist duos we have exhibited through the years. To begin, we are sharing excerpts from Sandrine and Phil’s 17 year “Cicada Project.” Then we revisit the Contaminate Festival to share Mari Novotny-Jones & Kristina Lenzi and Coach TV. We also bring you JV‘s “Trapped” at the Seconds Festival, The Royal Najo Family at PT3 and Tomoko Kakeda and Joanne Stein at PT5. Enjoy!
Sandrine Schaefer & Philip Fryer “Cicada Project” 2006-2023
Helsinki-based performance artist and organizer, Willem Wilhelmus shared his work with Boston in 2008 at the Contaminate 3 Festival.
photo by Trevor Powers
The beginning of the performance was light-hearted, Wilhelmus asking the audience to gather closetogether. He asked the audience to let him borrow the coins that they had in their pockets. The space filled with the sound of laughter and coins rattling as they exchanged hands and fell into Wilhelmus’ fedora. Once he finished passing his hat, the mood changed. He began placing the coins on top of his bald head. It was impressive how the coins adhered themselves to his skin. He laid down and began covering his face. He cut open his shirt and continued placing coins onto his chest. Once all of the coins had been distributed, he wrote “Please take your money” on a piece of paper that was taped beside his body. The audience hesitated for a moment before obeying this silent request to repay his loan. The audience looked like vultures, scavenging pieces of Wilhelmus’ still body.
Stillness is a concept that is explored through many practices. It is used in meditation, yoga,and Butoh. Stillness is captured through photographs, paintings, and animals use it as a defense mechanism. Stillness is universal concept and a communicative tool. The Present Tense is fascinated with how Stillness can be used in experiential art practices. This lead us to our recent call to artists working with Stillness. After reviewing The Present Tense archive, we found that Stillness was a common thread throughout The Contaminate 3 Festival we curated with TEST in 2008. To start off The Stillness Series, we will be sharing work from this festival over the next month.
“Knitted Walls” 2008
photo by Trevor Powers
Genviéve Sideleau creates installations, objects, and performances that address the body as a container/vessel. Often employing labor-intensive actions, she investigates the varied relationships between the body and objects. She is fascinated by anthropomorphism, obsessive behaviors, and the natural meditation that occurs through the process of domesctic work, daily routine, and repetitive actions.
For Contaminate 3, Sideleau sat inside of a hanging white box formed by panels of knitted lace. This structure was juxtaposed by a small screen showing a video her hands knitting the walls that the form was made of. She remained still inside of the sculpture,her feet occasionally swaying as they hung below the knitted walls. This was a gentle reward for the curious.
The choice to remain suspended in stillness, gave an equality to the knitted walls and her body. The walls moved as frequently as she did, catching small rushes of air as the audience walked around them. For several hours, Sideleau suspended time, offering the audience a pause.
Mimicking the “Gifting” ritual of Pink River Dolphins, Sandrine and Phil passed a pile of stones from one side of the space to another via their mouths. They were both covered in white cloth that unraveled as we moved across the space. When each rock was deposited on the opposite side of the space, it’s sound was amplified. This action continued until each rock was successfully transported.
Summer in New England is slowly disappearing and The Present Tense wants to soak up the sun while we can! We will be taking a vacation from posting until September 1st. In honor of our recent Call for work for our Bicycle series, we are leaving you Joseph Ravens’ “Is my Liver Showing?” created for ROUGH TRADE in 2007/2008. The Present Tense collaborated with Joseph on organizing ROUGH TRADE, an exchange between Boston and Chicago based artists.
It was a pleasure to witness this quirky piece back then, and exciting to recently see Joseph recreate it in another platform! Enjoy!
Joseph Ravens aims to project energy and images with abundant focus. Through various hybrids of art, dance, and theatre, he devises highly stylized situations in which images and actions coalesce to produce decidedly poetic, often conceptual, narratives. Ravens has traveled the globe to show his work in a variety of festivals and art venues. He has collaborated many other artists and has been the recipient of several awards ad residencies. As if this wasn’t enough, Joseph is the Founder and Art Director of DEFIBRILLATOR Performance Art Gallery in Chicago. The Present Tense is proud to have had the opportunity to work with such a valiant and dynamic artist!
Above is a few photos taken of the visual timeline at our exhibition “Thus Far”. We will be screening a selection of videos this Friday night, and will be having a performance event on the 23rd, come out and see the art!