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Issues of identity are at the centre of IDea, Fado’s newest new multi-year international performance art series. . Chris Barker writes that cultural politics are about "the power to name; the power to represent common sense; the power to create 'official versions'; and the power to represent the legitimate social world." These powers speak to identity in a territorial, institutionalized framework, but performance practices offer the possibility of turning their presumed weaknesses -- contingency, ephemerality and aterritoriality -- into strengths, by offering a potentially decolonized, non-institutional forum.

The concept of identity has been at the forefront of art discourse since the 1980s. Performance artists have been particularly concerned with how our various identities are constructed, how they mark us and how they influence self-understanding. At the same time, artists have also used performance tactics to problematize and transform their identities. In recent years, the debate has shifted to examine identity issues in subtler, less didactic ways, using the territory of identity as a ground for complex and often ambivalent readings of subjectivity, hybridity and representation. IDea draws from this growing body of work.

The series considers a broad range of identity labels, including gender, skin colour, ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, physical appearance, familial role, economic status, political affiliation and profession, to name a few of the more obvious possibilities. In blunt terms, the series will circulate around an underlying set of interrelated questions. How do we accept or resist these multiple identities? Which do we choose to embrace, and why? What identity labels are misleading, unhelpful or irrelevant, and in what ways? How do these labels intersect with one another? How do they determine the nature and quality of our lives? How do they contribute to a sense of belonging or alienation?

While these questions inform the series, they are only a contextualizing lens, not a prescription for how individual projects should or will be structured. IDea is not about representation, or the politics of difference, which is to say that the intention is not to assemble a collection that presents one of each kind. We are not encouraging strident political statements (though there is certainly room for them), but rather, featuring works that reveal something about how the creators understand and situate themselves. Along the way, we also hope to track how artists use performance tactics to circumvent prescribed attitudes and behaviours around identity.

IDea seeks to consider a range of bodily identities -- physical, social, political, emotional, and spiritual. To provide further context for the series, we will commission critical texts that respond to each of the performances. These texts will come from an interdisciplinary variety of thinkers in the realms of philosophy, religion, politics and science.

Paul Couillard
Toronto, 2005



Current Programming:

Cheryl L'Hirondelle

Co-presented with imagineNATIVE Film + Media Art Festival

Thursday October 16, 2008
Toronto Free Gallery
1277 Bloor Street West, Toronto

Prior to the evening performance, the gallery will be open for viewing and visiting from 12-6pm on Thursday October 16

An Evening with Cheryl L’Hirondelle

Presented by OCAD Faculty of Art

Wednesday October 15, 6:30pm
Ontario College of Art & Design
Auditorium, 100 McCaul Street, Toronto



Cellu(h)er Resistance: The Body with/out Organs?

February 27 - March 2, 2008

XPACE Cultural Centre
53 Ossington Avenue, Toronto

Opening Performance: Wednesday February 27, 8pm
Open daily from 12-6pm, performance-as-installation
Closing Performance: Sunday March 2, 12-6pm
(Final performance action at 6pm, with reception to follow)

Co-presented with XPACE Cultural Centre
Curated by Paul Couillard

essay by John Oughton
response from Leena Raudvee


On the Table

Saturday March 22, 2008


Lower Ossington Theatre
100A Ossington Avenue, Toronto



Symbol in the Snow

(...and other works)

March 28-29, 2008

Gallery TPW
56 Ossington Avenue, Toronto



May 2008





about Will Kwan

March 1 - 31, 2006
Toronto, Ontario

Anthem Performances
Toronto, Ontario

Co-sponsored by Trinity Square Video

photo: Marcella Rafaniello




Everyday life words in progress

about Elvira Santamaria
images from Everyday life words in progress

March 16 - 24, 2007

March 16: 6 am – midnight
March 17: 6 am – 10 pm
March 18: 6 am – 8 pm
March 19: 6 am – 6 pm
March 20: 7 am – 5 pm
March 21: 9 am – 5 pm
March 22: 11 am – 5 pm
March 23: 1 pm – 5 pm
March 24: 3 pm – 5 pm

Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Projects
1080 Queen St. W.
Toronto, Canada

(featuring soundtrack by Jason deCouto)

essay by Rinaldo Walcott
about David Khang
images from Phalogcentrix

March 17, 2007, 8 pm
Music Gallery/St George-the-Martyr Anglican Church
(197 John St.)
Toronto, Canada

Co-sponsored by Vtape and the Images Festival


In Search of Friedrich Nichtmargen/From Uncreative Travel Book XXIII [Surface Area 510,100,934 km2 196.950.168 miles2 ]

artist's proposition
essay by Bojana Videkanic
about Vassya Vassileva

October 19 - 28, 2006

October 19, 8 pm: Performance
XPACE (303 Augusta Ave.)
Toronto, Canada

October 20 - 28, 5 pm: Performance
October 25 - 27, 11 am - 6 pm; October 28 12 - 6 pm: Installation
Toronto Free Gallery (660 Queen St. E.)
Toronto, Canada

Presented in conjunction with the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
Co-sponsored by the Toronto Free Gallery

photo: Ivan Roussev



ndn wars are alive, and ... well?

about Aiyyana Maracle

October 22, 2006, 6 - 9 pm
Trinity Bellwoods Park (in the ravine)
Toronto, Canada

Presented in conjunction with the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art

With masks by Aiyyana Maracle; video by Aiyyana Maracle and La Mathilde

photo: Merle Addison



Somewhere Between Wakefield and Wichita

artist's proposition
essay by Adam Rogers
about Glyn Davies-Marshall

October 24 - 26, 2006

Part 1: Palamino
October 24, 6 - 10 pm

Part 2: Number 33
October 25, 4 - 10 pm

Part 3: The Wichita Line Man Is Still on the Line
October 26, 6 - 10 pm

Toronto Free Gallery (660 Queen St. E.)
Toronto, Canada

  • Presented in conjunction with the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art
    Co-sponsored by the Toronto Free Gallery

  • True Cowboy (Stafford, 2004)

    Photo: Jamie Parker



    Melting Point: An Amusement

    artist statement
    essay by Johanna Householder
    about Warren Arcan
    images from Melting Point: An Amusement

    January 24, 9 pm, 2006
    The Drake (1150 Queen St. W.), Toronto

    Co-presented with the Drake Hotel
    Presented as part of the Drake's Notes from the Underground series
    cover charge: $5

    Arcan in Superchannel (performance, grunt Gallery, Vancouver, 2004)
    photo: Merle Addison




  • artist statement
  • about Louise Liliefeldt

    October 8, 2005
    a special midnight performance
    (doors open at 11:30 pm; no one will be admitted after midnight!)

    331 Bartlett Ave., Studio #201 (north of Dupont, east of Dufferin)
    Toronto, Canada

  • The artist acknowledges the support of the Canada Council Inter-Arts Office in making this project possible.
  • +


    Fashion Plate

  • artist statement
  • essay by Allyson Mitchell
  • about Cindy Baker
  • images from Fashion Plate

    July 22 - August 4, 2005
    11 am - 7 pm daily: one-on-one interactions with audience members
    July 27, 6 pm: Artist Talk with Cindy Baker in the Drake Lounge
    August 4, 6 pm: “Clothing launch” and reception in the Drake Lounge
    The Drake (1150 Queen St. W.), Toronto

    Co-presented with the Drake Hotel

  • +


    The Sun is Crooked in the Sky;
    My Father is Thrown over my Shoulders


  • essay by Irene Loughlin
  • about Naufus Ramrize-FIgueroa
  • images from The Sun is Crooked In the Sky...

    June 29, 7pm - July 3, 10 pm 2005
    Implant (58 Wade Ave. Unit 12), Toronto

  • +



    is supported by the

    Canada Council,

    Department of Canadian Heritage,

    Ontario Arts Council,

    and City of Toronto through the
    Toronto Arts Council.



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