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Joanne Bristol (Curator)
Brenda Cleniuk (Curator)
Lynn Acoose (Curator)
January 16 – 19, 2002



A performance mini-festival presented by Neutral Ground, Soil Digital Media Suite, the Department of Visual Arts University of Regina and Sakewewak First Nations Artists’ Collective. The mini-fest is a short festival of performance works that will maximize opportunities for audiences to get to see Performance artists and meet all the presenters in Regina. This mini fest will emphasize the dynamics of team work, psychoanalytic theory, and the politics of place/displacement. The first in a series of performance mini-festivals, Teamwork features four pairs of performance artists. Highlights of the festival will include performances by all the teams, artist talks, and a website launch and reception.

Neutral Ground will be sponsoring two teams of artists: Paul Couillard and Ed Johnson of Toronto, Sarah McGaughey and Jessie Dishaw of Regina and a new team curated by Sakewewak First Nations Artists’ Collective, also in Regina.


Thursday, January 10th

8:00 am, Downtown Core Area: Sarah & Jessie performance action

Saturday, January 12th

9:00 pm, Downtown Core Area: Sarah & Jessie performance action

Wednesday, January 16th

4:00 pm, Core Area: Sarah & Jessie performance action

12:00 – 1:00 pm, Rm. 050 Riddell Centre, University of Regina

Artist Talk by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

Sponsored by the Department of Visual Art and Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Regina

Thursday, January 17th

8:00 – 9:30 pm, Shumiatcher Theatre, University of Regina

Amazones Americaines: The Lesbian Love Story of the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Calamity!, Peril, A New New World Performance (t.b.a.)

Performance by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan

Friday, January 18th

8:00 pm, Neutral Ground

Duorama #25 – 30

Performance by Paul Couillard & Ed Johnson

Have You Seen?

Internet performance by Sarah McGaughey & Jessie Dishaw

“Teamwork” reception at the gallery

Saturday, January 19th

2:00 – 3:00pm, Neutral Ground

Artist Talk by Paul Couillard & Ed Johnson

8:00 pm, Sakewewak First Nations Artists’ Collective

(#9, 1651 11th Ave)

Lateral Threats Performed by Elwood Jimmy & Elvina Piapot


Program Text

The Teamwork mini-festival of performance approaches performance art in the context of everyday life and actions. While it does not set out in Utopian fashion to collapse the boundaries between art and life, it is about supporting an artful intermission into the routine of everyday life and behaviours. Teamwork strives, in collaborative fashion, to make what is interesting about daily life, visible. In some sense, the program was brought along by the events of September 11 and the grotesque spectacle of the WTC. It is a small, soft attempt to bring communities and disciplines together for some other than a material interest and without concern for appropriation of ideas between colleagues and organizations. It is about expanding real life into networked infrastructures and questioning the boundaries between public and private. There is some thematic emphasis on the social and political effects of poverty (disenchantment / disenfranchisement) on individuals and in a global context where the outcomes of poverty – hunger and misery – can be viewed as the one human constant, and sole enemy.

The project was also developed to compare, contrast and compliment the aggressive format of performance spectacle that Neutral Ground had previously undertook, most notably with Guillermo Gomez Pena (1997) and Lorena Wolffer (2000.) Teamwork includes new media & performance, storytelling, performance installation, pranks, fake identity construction and camp. It is a projection of a new social integration between artists and their societies also in contradistinction to the way that a football game privatizes glory, happiness and success. In this new project, the performance actions dodge the gaze and reformat identity. It is performance art undertaking another transformation as a result of its newfound status and institutional recognition / use as entertainment, yet still unsatisfied with the size of its audience, demanding more attention, more rejuvenation, more radical grit.

The 8 performance actions throughout the week, at more or less undisclosed locations throughout the City and in the gallery space at Neutral Ground, are process-based actions that fulfill a pragmatic / pseudo pragmatic and utilitarian end to extrude what is sublime or ridiculous about the time and place of their occurrence. Teamwork reveals the role played by interpersonal relations and conflict in the summary of human affairs. It is a miniature display that asks what is worth revising, acknowledging and protecting in our highly constructed and often problematic lifestyles. It is an abridged version of the litany of complaints we abide by our common sense habituation to gore. Although Teamwork is not reclaiming the epic or the great historical themes and allegories, we are supporting acts of courage and evidence of virtue in the these abstract and symbolic gestures of our time.

Brenda Cleniuk

Even before the love and work liaisons of artists Gilbert and George, possibilities of performative collaboration have inspired artists to come together. Though collaboration is grounded in relationship and exchange, what it often achieves is discursive: not only for the artists, but also in expanding the realm of what is performatively possible.In contrast to the traditional Western image of the artist as a romantic, isolated figure, collaboration is a transformative model for creating art and experiencing life, as much as it is a working process. As artists Marina Abramovic and Ulay said, We couldnt do what we do if we werent together. Teamwork is a festival of collaborative performance art works from across Canada.Though the artist teams – in Teamwork present a diversity of content, form, process, and space, they all have an investment in exploring how everyday acts or actions might meaningfully shift the boundaries of art and life. In Teamwork, creative collaboration has boiled over into the art scene like one hot and productive mama of a paradigm shift!

Joanne Bristol

Artist Profiles

Sarah McGaughey & Jessie Dishaw

Sarah and I have been friends since 1997 and until I moved to England in the fall of 2000 I don’t think we had spent more than a month apart. I left to study in York for a semester and I missed her terribly, but upon my return to Canada Sarah was on her way to England to seek adventure. We had been apart for almost a year by the time she returned from England. However, the reunion was bitter sweet as I had not been able to find work in Canada as an artist and had signed a one year contract to teach English in South Korea. We were able to spend only a few short weeks in each others company before I had to jump my plane and leave her again.

Sarah is a truly special person…anyone who has ever had even the slightest contact with her would know that. She is able to make those around her feel like better people just for knowing her. She refuses to watch any kind of violence on TV or in movies because she doesn’t want to become desensitized to it…this is in sharp contrast to me since if I had my way I would only ever watch Kung Fu movies. She has this really cute elfin quality about her, which I find especially funny since she is obsessed with fairies. Her eyes are like a pixies, they have this beautiful spark in them and she has the greatest eyebrows ever…oh yeah, and she has very sexy lips, like a china doll. She is a very intelligent woman and is involved in so many activities I don’t know how she finds the time to spend with her friends, yet I have never felt put on the backburner, she is always there for me. I have the utmost respect for her and stand by her in all her life decisions. I feel very privileged to know her and to be able to call her my best friend.

The last time I saw Sarah was in the Regina airport. She and my parents came to see me off as I allowed the bug up my ass to force me into travel mode again. I walked through the metal detector and looked back at her as I moved towards my gate. I cried on the plane and I’m crying now as I write this sitting in a South Korean PC bong…if you see her could you please give her a hug for me and tell her that I love her. Have you seen Sarah?

Elvina Piapot

Dysfunctional family member and former shut-in Elvina Piapot is a skinny, flat-assed Cree from the Piapot Reserve. Raised dead centre in Reginas Hood, her biggest career accomplishment to date was a brief stint at the Banff Centre for the Arts collaborating on the website Speaking the Language of Spiders, and then nothing. The past recipient of two lousy grants, one from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation and some other one for fashion, she is generally lazy, gossipy, vain, nosy, backstabbing and known to exploit and get worse with any chance given to her. Despite a penchant for slacking off (working only six weeks in the last five years), she recently obtained a position with Skwwak Artists Collective doing stuff. In her spare time she is actively pursuing a lifelong dream of being a guest on Jenny Jones, especially if the topic is makeovers.

Elwood Avery Jimmy

Former reprobrate and sometime media artist Elwood Avery Jimmy is originally from the Thunderchild First Nation in western Saskatchewan. Ludicrously close to being kicked out of film school, he quite alarmingly obtained a BFA in film and video from the University of Regina. Since graduating he has been turned away by every arts organization in town at least once. He is now happy to report he has since crawled his way up to the bottom, securing employment as an underling in a myriad of arts organizations. His recent stint with employment, coupled with the ability to show up on time for anything has allowed ample opportunity for self-righteousness and passing judgment. Being somewhat ambitious, Elwood often dreams of fame and fortune but will only puruse it if it is allowed to go to his head. To achieve this, he has been more than willing and able to exploit his sordid past to get ahead if he senses even the smallest hint of white liberal guilt. Despite being wooed by the likes of Wal-Mart and Staples, he can currently be seen performing daily in the drama Skwwak Artists Collective in the role of Head Paper Shuffler from ten a.m. until five p.m. (some evening performances). In his spare time, he likes to spends hours in front of the mirror attempting to grow his hair out and looking stoic in preparation for a potential career in CBC period dramas.

Paul Couillard & Ed Johnson

Blue and green may never be seen Not even in the washing machine. – schoolyard chant Paul Couillard and Ed Johnson will be presenting DUORAMA #25 – 30, new works in their ongoing DUORAMA series. DUORAMA explores the notions of relationships, hovering playfully between competition and collaboration. One day filling a room with balloons, the next repeatedly painting a window with molasses, the couple create and release tension in turn. Each day a new performance is presented, bringing with it a new dynamic. Throughout the performances, the pairare clothed in uniforms reminiscent of hospital scrubs or pyjamas, Paul in green and Ed in blue. This colour scheme is repeated throughout the performances, placing the couple in a state of competition – each has his own colour, which calls to mind the team colours of elementary school sports teams – although Paul and Ed are a team, they are also competing with each other.

The first performance in the DUORAMA series took place in a storefront window. Starting at opposite ends of the window, Ed cleaned the interior window while Paul painted the exterior window with molasses. The two then reversed positions, Ed cleaning the exterior window while Paul painted the interior. While physically close to one another, the couple are separated by the pane of glass – they cannot touch, smell or really hear each other, and even vision becomes obscured by the sticky brown liquid. This brings to mind the question of whether the couple is purposely competing with each other, or whether they are both oblivious to the others intentions. While Ed is cleaning, Paul is soiling. Each partner has his own agenda. And yet, they are not in complete competition with each other – the gestures that they make echo each other, close and yet apart.

In DUORAMA 5, the couple spent an afternoon blowing up balloons in a small room. Pauls balloons were green and Eds, of course, were blue.As in DUORAMA 1, while the couple is working on a common project, there is a competitive edge to the approach. The green balloons are filled with Pauls breath and the blue balloons with Eds breath. Ultimately, will one partner have more breath in the room than the other? Will one colour dominate? The balloons become an extension of each partners body and as the room becomes filled with balloons, the neutral area becomes smaller and smaller. The piece becomes suggestive of the space surrounding a relationship – physical space and emotional space. As the balloons fill the room, the space in which the couple can move and interact with one another becomes more and more compromised as the breath takes over the majority of the space.

Much of DUORAMA seems to be about compromised interaction. In many of the performances, the couple cannot interact with each other fully – hampered by harnesses that hang them in the window, separated by a pane of glass, crowded by balloons. However, the piece seems domestic in nature – the viewer gets a sense of peeking into the couples perhaps mundane home life through which, as though we are watching them arrange their furniture or renovate their kitchen, the squabbles are evident but so is the tenderness.