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IOKMO_bookcoverThis publication gathers together traces from the first iteration of this exhibition, which took place in Houston in the spring of 2016. It is intended to offer a bridge between that exhibition, and the one at Optica in the spring of 2017.

Cette publication réunit des traces de la première itération de l’exposition, qui s’est tenue à Houston (É-U) au printemps 2016. La publication se veut un pont entre cette première itération et celle qui a lieu à Optica au printemps 2017.

For hard copies, please contact nicoleburisch(at)gmail(dot)com.
PDF copy available to download here.

Invited contribution for Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture (Taylor and Francis) special issue on “Crafting Community” edited by Kirsty Robertson and Lisa Vinebaum.

Abstract
Traditional craft practice has long emphasized features of function and materiality, with the useful and skillfully produced object at the center of the way craft is read and understood. However, a number of recent exhibitions and artworks have included not just objects, but also craft set in motion through participatory projects or performances. Correspondingly, the crafted object has undergone a shift in its once-central role, serving instead as a record of an event or process, a prop or tool, and in some cases disappearing altogether. Through a consideration of select projects and curatorial strategies from Common Threads at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery in Calgary, AB (2008), and Gestures of Resistance at the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland, OR (2010), this article argues that it is necessary to consider how the histories and theories of performance art are intersecting with contemporary craft practices, with a particular focus on the role of documentation and ephemeral traces.

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Instant Coffee, Bass Benches. Common Threads, curated by Lee Plested at the Illingworth Kerr Gallery, Calgary, AB. November 22, 2007 to January 5, 2008. Photo courtesy of Illingworth Kerr Gallery.

Nadège Grebmeier Forget, Ursula Johnson, Autumn Knight,
Michelle Lacombe, and Mikhel Proulx

Wednesday March 30 – Saturday April 24, 2016
She Works Flexible: Flex Space 2608 Dunlavy St, Houston, TX 77006
Opening Reception: Saturday April 2nd, 7-9pm

I’ve Only Known My Own is a group exhibition of new performance works that explore how the materiality of the body is translated or communicated through measurements, process, technology, and documentation. This exhibition looks at how the matter of the body might become a tool or force that generates or expresses its own (il/logical) systems, and thinks through how this material embodiment might function as a form of resistance. Rather than presenting a fixed set of works, the exhibition will evolve over the course of its three-week run, with objects, props, and works being set in motion during the presentation of each of the 4 performances. Inhabiting the quasi-domestic architecture of the gallery, the artists will work within the rooms of She Works Flexible’s Flex Space, gradually interacting with the space and leaving traces behind.

Nadège Grebmeier Forget‘s (Montreal, QC) ongoing series One on one’s for so-called fans involves private performances that are then translated through oral accounts and performative re-tellings, highlighting the role of documentation and technology in mediating access to her performing body. Ursula Johnson (Dartmouth, NS) will present a new work that continues her investigations into the ways that indigenous cultural practices such as basket-weaving or leather tanning are now transmitted from body to body, and place to place. Autumn Knight‘s (Houston, TX) new performance Documents will compile a reading of the documentation that serves to legitimize (American) citizenship, while holding space for the embodied specificities of race, class, and gender to contest whether these documents accurately reflect the bodies they are meant to represent. Michelle Lacombe (Montreal, QC) will present excerpts from her project Of All the Watery Bodies, I Only Know My Own, where she used a monthly measurement of the volume of blood in her body to determine the placement of a tattooed water line around her calves. Mikhel Proulx (Montreal, QC), a scholar who has written about the ways in which queer bodies are (re)presented in online spaces and through self-imaging practices such as web-camming and selfies, will be on site to research a text that will be published following the close of the exhibition.

SCHEDULE OF PERFORMANCES
Ursula Johnson – Saturday April 2nd, starting at 2pm
Michelle Lacombe – Thursday April 7, sunset (approx. 7:45pm) – 9pm
Autumn Knight – Friday April 8th, 8pm-9pm
Nadège Grebmeier Forget – Saturday April 9th, 3:30pm

I’ve Only Known My Own was presented by the Core Residency Program, Glassell School of Art in partnership with Dan Fergus, Brasil Café, and She Works Flexible. Nadège Grebmeier Forget’s project has also received support through Diagonale’s La Soupée event, and Michelle Lacombe would like to thank Centre Sagamie for supporting the production of her images. Sincere thanks to all those who have offered advice and support along the way: Anthea Black, Andy Campbell, Rachel Cook, Joshua Cordova, Lily Cox-Richard, Danielle Dean, Dean Daderko, Taraneh Fazeli, Peter Gershon, Joe Havel, Collin Hedrick, Kerry Inman, Mary Leclère, Val Mayes, Lynne McCabe, Michael Murland, and Olya Zarapina.

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The Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeat Society (LIDS) was founded in 2006 as a closely-knit affiliation of then-unemployed cultural workers, not working, but still bustin’ ass within Alberta artist-run culture. Their activities made visible and politicized women’s roles in the arts economy through tactical laziness, crafty collaboration, over-performance, and wild hilarity. They announced their intentions to DO LESS in a series of works produced between 2012 and 2014, and to completely withdraw from art-making at the Calgary Biennial 2015. After a decade of non-activity, they officially called in quits in 2016. LIDS was Anthea BlackNicole Burisch, and Wednesday Lupypciw.

An archive of projects can be found on the LIDS site.

Never Enough / Jamais Assez: on documentation, proximity, and Nadège Grebmeier Forget’s SUITE  from the series One on one’s for so-called fans
A text responding to a performance by Nadège Grebmeier Forget, published in the 2015 Core Program catalog

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“In describing the challenges of writing about performances “in absentia,” Amelia Jones has argued that, “the problems raised by my absence… are largely logistical rather than ethical or hermeneutic. That is, while the experience of viewing a photograph and reading a text is clearly different from that of sitting in a small room watching an artist perform, neither has a privileged relationship to the historical ‘truth’ of the performance.”[1] Building upon this claim, I am interested in thinking through what it means to work with/within the logistical problems of absence. This text uses multiple and multiplying forms of documentation to negotiate my distance from the performance, less with the goal of providing a conclusive account of the event, but in a way that might hold a space for all the conflicting, affective, awkward, messy, unofficial, intimate, embodied, compromised, personal, and subjective versions of the performance.”

Download the full PDF here.

[1] Amelia Jones, “‘Presence’ in absentia: Experiencing Performance as Documentation,” Art Journal 56, no. 4, (Winter, 1997): 1

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The New Politics of the Handmade: Craft, Art and Design
is a forthcoming publication on contemporary craft politics edited by Anthea Black and Nicole Burisch.

The New Politics of the Handmade examines the role of contemporary art, craft and design as part of a dramatically shifting global economy. Current interest in virtually every aspect of the handmade appears in Do-It-Yourself, Craftivism, sustainable living, decolonial practices and aesthetics, and a new focus on labour and materiality in visual art and museums. The handmade has become inseparable from capitalist modes of production and consumption, and this change demands new understandings of objects, aesthetics and labour. New writing and artists projects by international scholars and practitioners look at the politics of scarcity, hoarding and sustainability, craftivism and ‘ethical’ consumption, urban space and new technologies, race, cultural heritage and sovereignty. The authors offer a radical rethink of the politics and economics of the handmade, and claim craft as a dynamic critical field for thinking through the most immediate issues of our time.

About the editors:

Anthea Black is an artist and cultural worker based in San Francisco and Toronto, Canada. Her writing has been published by Bordercrossings, No More Potlucks, Carleton University Art Gallery, and FUSE magazine where she was a contributing editor from 2008-2014. She has exhibited in Canada, the US, Norway and The Netherlands, and curated No Place: Queer Geographies on Screen and PLEASURE CRAFT. In 2012, she was the Viola Frey visiting scholar at California College of the Arts, where she is now an Assistant Professor in Printmedia and Graduate Fine Arts.

Nicole Burisch is a critic and curator based in Ottawa, Canada. Her writing has been published in Textile: The Journal of Cloth and Culture, Cahiers métiers d’art-Craft Journal, No More Potlucks, and dpi: Feminist Journal of Art and Digital Culture. She has worked with organizations such as Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art, Artexte, and Centre des arts actuels Skol and was a 2014-2016 Core Fellow Critic-in-Residence with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

Writings by Black and Burisch are included in The Craft Reader (BERG) and Extra/ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art (Duke University Press), Making Otherwise (Carleton University Art Gallery) and together they have lectured on craft, curating, and politics in Canada, the USA, and the UK.

Acknowledgements:
Black and Burisch wish to acknowledge the support of Canada Council for the Arts, Grants to Independent Critics and Curators, Ontario Arts Council Craft Projects – Connections, and The Center for Craft Creativity and Design.

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The Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeat Society’s limited edition DO LESS WITH LESS / DO MORE WITH MORE cross stitch pattern poster was first printed at the Alberta Printmakers’ Society in June 2012. The slogan was inspired by a discussion held during Artivistic’s Promiscuous Infrastructures project at Centre des arts actuels Skol in Montréal, Québec about how artists and non-profit arts organizations negotiate the constant pressure to do more with less. Reissued for FUSE Magazine‘s last issue, LIDS proposes that we resist the capitalist logic of constant acceleration, productivity, and austerity budgets by reasserting a realistic level of production within our means. Use LIDS’ handy pull out pattern to stitch a banner for your own office and hang in the orientation of your choice!

A version of the poster was also printed in PHONEBOOK 4, directory of independent art spaces, programs, and projects in the United States, in 2015; and it has been included in exhibitions Beginning with the Seventies: Glut, at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, BC in 2018 and Creative Cloth: Aesthetics and Apparel at Museum London, London, ON  in 2019.

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Ladies Invitational Deadbeat Society, DO LESS WITH LESS / DO MORE WITH MORE, FUSE Magazine 31-1 WINTER 2013-14 PATTERN PULLOUT.

Photo credits: Olya Zarapina