CAFKA.14

It Should Always Be This Way

19. SWINTAK (Toronto), The Gallows

Kitchener City Hall, Victoria Park, Waterloo Region Courthouse, Waterloo Civic Square, Kitchener Market Square.
 
THE GALLOWS is a performance involving a roaming bed on which the artist will take her usual afternoon nap. This performance will take place in a number of public spaces throughout Kitchener including floating in the middle of Victoria Park Pond or at parked at Kitchener City Hall civic square. 
 
Photo: Robert McNair
 
Swintak 17.55.46 3.jpg
Photo: Gordon Hatt
 

 
On June 20, SWINTAK and Don Miller (Shelburne, ON) performed JUNK MAIL CHOIR CAR as part of the 2014 Steel Rails organized by The Cord. 
 
The artists describe the performance installation on the Waterloo Central Railway car as follows:
 
The Junk Mail Choir Car is a holy place to purge oneself of the constant flow of junk mail. Every hour on the hour, there will be a junk mail sermon led by Swintak and Don Miller that takes  place in the Junk Mail Choir Car, a makeshift church of sorts. Each illuminating sermon will be followed by a guided hymn, led from the altar and followed by visitors using the choir books provided at every pew. Inside the Junk Mail Choir Car people with be able to rejoice in the truly un-rejoicable, bask in the cascade of colours, and see the true light behind our daily deliverances.
 
The rail car will be transformed into a junk mail church of sorts; at one end there will be an altar made of cardboard and various flyers, serving as the location for us to deliver/lead sermons. The windows will be transformed into junk mail stained glass, creating an ambient atmosphere as the sun sets through the windows. Each bench will be adorned like a church pew, containing a choir book that people can read hymns from.
 
In between performances the installation will grow and people will be able to contribute  (i.e. collage party). We will improvise as needed to serve the audience; if people are gung-ho, we will make it complex and participatory, if they are reserved we will work them up until they are ready to frenzy. We have tried a few preliminary experiments with various groups and people seem eager to interact with junk mail, as they are familiar with it and in a way they hate it. A schedule of performances will be posted in the car so that people can migrate towards the car for performance times, and relax and participate in collaging in between sermons.

 
 
Artist bios:
Don Miller is an idea-based visual artist, intuitive carpenter and poet who lives near Shelburne, Ontario. Miller works in a number of media including performance, video, installation, experimental architecture, snow sculpture and written word. His projects include an ongoing series of sensory deprivation and/or sensory enhancement snow caves, a large one of a kind “frankenhouse” constructed from numerous century old barns, spoken word performances at various venues, and creating what he terms “a strategy for living.” Don received a BFA in 2002 from NSCAD University.
 
SWINTAK is an artist working in variety of media including sculpture, installation, performance and drawing. Approaching the world as her studio, her large-scale commission-based practice has included building the most banal rollercoaster ever made in a corporate office building, moving almost an entire cottage by hand without the aid of machinery, building a full-size ship through collective improvisation, running an election party campaign for the Irish underworld, transforming a city-issued dumpster into a fully-operational luxury boutique hotel, attempting to give a shed consciousness and producing a series of impossible project proposals. SWINTAK graduated from NSCAD University in 2003, and was awarded the prestigious Canada Council International Residency at Cite Internationale Des Arts in Paris, 2011. 
 
Don Miller and SWINTAK have been collaborating since 2009. They are the founders of Don Blanche, an experimental off-the-grid artist residency in rural Ontario. This year, both artists are a part of the CAFKA.14 biennial, taking place May 31 through June 29.