The many guises of performance-based art, from one-off public interventions to documentary gallery installations to real-time Internet culture jamming, make it an expansive if elusive artistic medium. There is, however, a general rule for viewers and possible participants alike: expect the unexpected. The fourth annual Mountain Standard Time festival brings these varied strategies together for a three-week “performative” art blitz on offer in public spaces and at art venues across southern Alberta. Following is a quick scan of the many not-to-be-missed MST4 happenings.
MST4 is divided into five main components complemented by a series of lectures, panel discussions and workshops. The Media Arts Siteology Series takes a timely measure of the shifting impact of physical, demographic and social change on urban environments in the shadow of Alberta’s economic boom. This includes Lethbridge artist Kelly Andres’s roving, pedal-powered Urban Habitat Laboratory, Vancouver artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle’s nomadic information tent êkâya-pâhkaci (don’t freeze up), Brooklyn art duo Stephanie Rothenberg and Suzanne Thorpe’s subliminal tinfoil-hat broadcasting, Hamilton artist Liss Platt’s bicycle-driven film projection, Montreal artist Stephan Schulz’s interactive, 8-foot plank “body extension” and British artist Duncan Speakman’s exploratory walk and urban sound remix sounds from above the ground.
The Alter-Egos, Doppelgangers, and Split Personalities Series features Saskatoon artist Cindy Baker as a professional mascot version of herself, the “final stand” of Saskatoon artist Adrian Stimson’s Buffalo Boy and random acts of kindness by Montreal artist Morgan Sea’s everyday superhero Citizen Justice. The Event Architecture Series draws on arts administrative experience for interventions on institutional structures by Montreal-Toronto art duo Jessica MacCormack and Hazel Meyer, Halifax artist and Eyelevel Gallery director Eryn Foster, Toronto’s the Movement Movement and Sackville artist and Struts Gallery director John Murchie.
MST4’s Performance Series delivers spectacles of provocation and parody with works by Croatian artist Nina Horvat, Toronto artist Istvan Kantor and Calgary artist Angela Silver as well as a musical trip through art history by Lethbridge folk-art rock band the Cedar Tavern Singers.
Back in the galleries, MST4 exhibitions by Toronto artist Camille Turner, Stimson, the Cedar Tavern Singers and prolific correspondence artist David Zack round out the picture.