PerFarmance Project, in collaboration with the University of Warwick Food Global Research Priority, concluded on June 12th. For more information, please visit the project blog at...
In the spring of 2013, PerFarmance Project implemented an artist residency in the agriculturally rich County Tipperary in Ireland. Our residency used two modes of production to collaboratively generate an exchange between farmers and performers discussing food concerns from both rural and urban perspectives.
After much success across the Atlantic, PerFarmance Project will be conducting an artist residency in Lac qui Parle County, Minnesota. This time around, we are partnering with the Lac qui Parle County Historical Society and Museum.
Through the artist residency in rural Minnesota there will be an exchange between rural and urban artists and the community.
- Throughout the month of June, PerFarmance Project members will be traveling to various townships in the county to conduct conversations with local farmers. Artist-researchers and residents discuss local histories in the community and impacts of global trends on rural life. The interviews will become part of the Lac qui Parle County Historical Society’s archives as well as serve as the material for an original performance.
- On the evening of June 25th, PerFarmance Project and the Lac qui Parle County Historical Society and Museum will be hosting an Open Invitation Town Meeting to discuss the residency and opportunities for involvement.
- The residency itself will take place July 26th to August 1st. Artists and interested community members will be leading workshops, such as: -movement-based workshops -story telling workshops -explaining farm machinery tools -documenting farm practices
- Through the cumulative ideas sparked in the workshops, the community interviews, ethnographic documentation and reflection around the community dinners, the artists and community will produce a culminating performance piece to be presented at the Lac qui Parle County Historical Society and Museum.
-PerFarmance Project has been awarded an arts project grant from the Madison Community Foundation, as well as donated space and advertising. Now, we need the your support to help us reach our goal. Your support will cover the costs of food for the workshop participants, project supplies, and travel between cities.
The project finds sustenance in the sharing and receiving of ideas around food health and security. As a greenhouse nurtures growth of breathing and organic fibers through focused energy and heat, this residency seeks to capture, activate and invigorate the farm to table, rural to urban, local and global debate with a thorough and genuine approach. In this space, visiting artists and local community share energies and expand participant knowledge bases through collaborative processes. Ultimately, through this performance exchange, both farmers and artists are able to workshop the concept of community, which is positively transferred to the larger movement for sustainable living. It is through the farm that the city gains sustenance.
Please consider backing us on Kickstarter (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1664607498/a-perfarmance-project-2015-lac-qui-parle-county) or following us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/PerFarmanceProject)
The first two weekends of While Rats Eat Pie at Studio Porte Bleue have been an incredible experience. For the time being, I will share what the critics are saying about this unique piece of immersive dinner theatre happening in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighborhood.
The Main Montreal: The Most Bizarre You'll Ever Attend
Montreal Gazette: Dinner Theatre Served by a Shell-Shocked War Correspondent in Saint-Henri
Montreal Rampage: Dining With Journalistic Drama: Review of While Rats Eat Pie
Bloody Underrated: While Rats Eat Pie @ Studio Porte Bleue
Due to demand, we've added two additional performances on November 1st and 2nd. Get your tickets now at Brown Paper Tickets.
Take a moment to read Colin Lalonde's (Artistic DIrector) thoughts on the experience of creating the immersive dinner performance, While Rats Eat Pie.
Reflections on the Creation Process of While Rats Eat Pie
While Rats Eat Pie opens Thursday October 9th and runs until October 26th at Studio Porte Bleue in Montreal's Saint-Henri neighborhood. Tickets can be purchased at Brown Paper Tickets.
"When it comes to food there is no mind-body separation. You eat your ideas. As one of my countercultural sources from 1969 put it, food is “digestible ideology”.”
- Warren Belasco
I came across this quote last year when I was working on A PerFarmance Project in Cloneen, Ireland and it has again surfaced with the recent collaborations on the immersive dinner performance, While Rats Eat Pie. Belasco’s assertion that there’s no “mind-body separation” when it comes to what we eat is quite appropriate for our own use of a historically informed narrative that is told during the course of a dinner party. Each aspect of the piece, from the opening toast to dessert, is filled with multiple layers of meaning and historical significance. The mind and body both come to understand cutlery, stovetops, and glassware in new and evocative ways.
For myself, figuring out the copious amounts of challenges and questions the very act of cooking presents has been one of many joys experienced while working on this project with Colin Lalonde and Studio Porte Bleue. Infusing the day-to-day routine of cooking with stories of tragedy and joy has required us to physically choreograph the performance, which has forced me to reexamine and push myself in the realms of physical theatre. To be quite honest, physical theatre is an area that I have navigated with a great amount of awkwardness throughout my career as a tall and lanky performer. This is where Colin’s approach to movement based work has been influential, allowing me to acquire methods for bodily explorations of the text, space, and food preparation.
While physically realizing the text that we have devised, Colin and I have given careful consideration to the food preparation, with nearly every object in the kitchen/dining space being given a showcase moment during the course of the action. Each seemingly everyday item is shifted and infused with an idea, allowing for the spectator’s thoughts and questions to resurface well beyond the end of the performance. Opening a tin can of meat might trigger a question about humanitarian aid. Cutting a loaf of bread may lead to a criticism of biased journalism or Western intervention. Drinking a glass of wine could leave you wondering what resources are available to war correspondents with PTSD.
Our explorations have taken us in numerous directions as we’ve planned this darkly humorous dinner party. The food has been marinating in ideologies for nearly two months now as Colin and I have been working diligently with the research, writing, and staging. We’re nearly a week away from opening and the dinner is looking amazing. We look forward to seeing you at the table!
Tickets can be purchased at http://ratseatpie.bpt.me/
Matthew Corcoran is a gem of a human being. An individual who sees and embraces the quirks and nuances of humans, and who is very of aware of the space we live in, whether that be in the concrete enclaves of the city, or the natural landscape of Minnesota, Washington, and beyond. These intrinsic parts of his character resonant in his photography. The juxtaposition of urban dwellings with nature, highlighting the human figure, and, in the process, creating images that produce an aesthetically beautiful interpretation of existence.
Matthew took a few moments to answer my questions, giving insight into his aesthetic. For more on Matthew and his work, take a moment to visit http://www.matthewandhiscamera.com/.
Tell me about your aesthetic?
My aesthetic changes a lot. I am constantly look for new ways of presenting subjects and landscapes. I work a lot with film and it leads to a lot of experimenting. But I always seem to have an overall goal of presenting an unfamiliar view of familiar scenes.
How did you arrive at your current aesthetic?
I am always trying new things. Most of it is experimentation. I like not knowing what I am going to get, which is why I still shoot a lot of film. Currently I am playing around with soaking my film. Using soaps, alchohols, etc. to manipulate the colors in my photos. Searching for ways to take a photo that makes it seem more like a memory. Unclear and dreamlike.
What do you seek to address with your photography?
I dont know if I seek to address anything specifically. I am always looking for something new and different. In this age of instagram and tumblr, its easy to consume a lot of images and its hard to find anything that you haven't seen before. I am always searching for something that will change my perspective.
What been a few of your favorite environments and images to capture?
Since I returned to Minnesota after living in Seattle, I have been trying to address the environment and culture of MN. I really miss a lot of the aesthetics of the PNW, but Minnesota offers a rich familiar environment. I am using photography to get reaquainted with my home state.
One thing that draws me to your work is the juxtaposition of rural and urban, nature woven together with the human constructed. Would this be a fair assessment and, if so, how has this changed between locales (Minneapolis and Seattle)?
That is a fair assesment. I think that a big change has been how I capture my subject. Instead of just shooting to create an environment, I have been focusing more on the subjects of the photo's and telling their story. More literary than atmospheric.
Performance practitioner and cultural researcher