I truly live in two worlds. This ‘two world’ concept once posed too much ambiguity for me, as I felt torn as to whom I was. In maturity I have come to find it the source of my power, as I can easily move between these two places and not feel that I have to be one or the other, that I am an Indian in this modern society.
— James Luna
On Saturday night Liz Solo performed Take Me simultaneously in 3 parallel worlds:
• At Open Space in Victoria, B.C. Canada
• On the Demon Soul server in World of Warcraft
• At the Odyssey Performance Simulator in Second Life
Hmm… is it “at” a physical space? “On” a server? “At” a simulator? Can you perform “on” a physical space? Can you perform “at” a server?
In thinking about this Canadian artist’s 21st century performance emanating from the NW corner of North America… I couldn’t help but think about Native-American / Mexican-American artist James Luna’s 20th century oeuvre emanating from the SW corner of North America. Luna famously and extensively explored “Two Worlds,” and on Saturday Solo explored three worlds. Out of ambiguity, conflict and confusion Luna found a way to inhabit the multiplicity of his identities, to move between them and to exist fluidly at their nexus.
Whether it is with the illusion of physical instantiation, eg. “real” life as fakely mediated in a virtual space like Facebook where we take time and meticulous care to craft highly manufactured “status updates” that carry the signifiers of spontaneity and authenticity or in a more disruptive virtual environment like World of Warcraft or Second Life, we are, daily, moving deeper into virtuality and problematized identity. Morpheus, Trinity, and Neo may have fought hard to leave The Matrix, but we are working hard to get in.
And so we have sentience in the 21st century. Still biologically human, yet a little more cyborg every day. In a conversation on Stelarc’s oeuvre, Chris Adami mused that alien visitors to earth would be puzzled by why the intelligent beings on the planet (cars) all seemed to have unnecessary “squishy centers.”
Fortunately for the understandably stressed, negative energy radiating, folks of this early 21st century moment, Dr. Liz Solo performed a 3-world ritual that brought relief and tranquility.
In 2 Worlds, War Dance Technology Luna intersects traditional iconography with “high technology.” In Saturday’s performance of Take Me Solo marshaled a panoply of new technologies, ultimately to offer to her patients that Laughter, a glass of wine, and good company, are a powerful cure for contemporary alienation and frustration.
OFF LABEL Festival
The Art of the Placebo
October 26 To November 2, 2011
Open Space and other Victoria locations
OFF LABEL is a weeklong festival that brings together an international group of artists and intellectuals to explore health, spirituality and the effects of technology in a digitally mediated world. The festival comprises gallery exhibitions, performances, workshops, lectures, panel discussions and thematic excursions.
The festival is a partnership between Digital Art Weeks, Zurich, Open Space Arts Society, Victoria, Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria,Visual Arts Department, University of Victoria, The Wayward School, Victoria, among a host of other community organizations, galleries funders and sponsors.
The OFF LABEL Festival is an exploration of experimental thinking, seen through the triple lenses of art, technology and spirituality. The festival’s name is derived from a medical practice in which pharmaceuticals are prescribed for illicit use, breaking with approved standards of medication in order to engage new — if sometimes contested — possibilities for treatment. The festival takes up the term and its variations — in ways both literal and allegorical — to examine the possibilities, politics and variations of meaning in a technologically enabled, artistically motivated and ideologically-invested world.
Please visit the festival website for full event listings, schedule and participant biographies.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
Open Space, 510 Fort Street
Performance: J Liz Solo, (CAN)
As her contribution to the Off Label Festival’s The Art of the Placebo, Dr. Liz Solo offered a cure for contemporary maliase. Like those video pioneers of yore who united multiple physical world locations with multiple video feeds and projections, Solo united multiple mixed-reality spaces via video feeds & projections. At the end of this rabbit hole of technology Dr. Solo’s simple “placebo” prescription was essentially to “Eat, Drink & Be Merry.” From outward signs the prescription seemed to work.
Historically psychologists have considered the placebo both a feature to consider and a confounding factor to exclude in their research. But what of an age where culture itself has become a placebo? Or is that even new? Perhaps by its very definition, culture is a placebo.
In his book Next, The Future Just Happened, Michael Lewis quotes infamous 13-year-old stock promoter Jonathan Lebed, after he was hauled before the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission:
Nobody makes investment decisions based on reading financial filings. Whether a company is making millions or losing millions, it has no impact on the price of the stock. Whether it is analysts, brokers, advisors, Internet traders, or the companies, everybody is manipulating the market. If it wasn’t for everybody manipulating the market, there wouldn’t be a stock market at all…
Can a 13-year-old really understand placebo culture with crystal clarity?
Liz Solo’s website
Liz Solo & friends Black Bag Media Collective
Open Space, Victoria, BC
Liz Solo & Yael Gilks @ 2010 Odyssey Performance Art Festival
Liz Solo, Fau Ferdinand & Jo Ellsmere @ 2011 Odyssey Performance Art Festival
by Arahan Claveau
with a vocal performance by Liz Solo
Click any image below to enter “slide show” mode and use arrow keys to scroll through the performance documentation.