Department of Fine Arts
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/Working through the Body/With the Body/
During a five-day performance workshop, and public presentation format (in collaboration with Montreal artist Claudia Bernal and La Centrale Gallery) performance artist Bojana Videkanic and her performance art students from the University of Waterloo’s Fine Arts Department - Jana Omar Elkhatib, Olivia Carvalho, Yasmeen Nematt Alla, Racquel Rowe, Joanne Sparkes, Sarah Moreau, Becca Wijshijer and Kieran Klockars - addressed the many ways in which the body makes meaning, especially in the terrain of contemporary aesthetics and politics.
Visibility is a trap it summons surveillance and the law; it provokes voyeurism, fetishism, the colonialist/imperial appetite for possession. Yet it retains a certain political appeal.” (Peggy Phelan, Unmarked, 6).
Body is powerful and vulnerable at the same time; it carries, cares, pushes, guards, gives, it is tired, frails, it is surveilled, codified, restricted, tortured, often visible, but increasingly specific bodies are invisible, a body is political, it fights back, it sustains and makes. As a tool, a medium, a site of meaning, a site of power and fight the body is important. That is why performance art has of late become popular. As an art form, it is able to address the above-mentioned states, ideas, and meanings precisely because it so poignantly expresses them through proximity and contact between various bodies (performers, audiences, witnesses etc.) It makes the body visible, yet it also makes those observing and witnessing visible. It reveals as much as it hides.
Coming from a variety of backgrounds and experiences the performers brought to the surface the kinds of questions we need to ask today: Who is visible and why, why do we have to bring back attention to materiality and the body, and why and how can body become political. Through an intimate workshop program the students and practitioners of performance interrogated the meanings of the body in its relationship to feminism, race, care, resistance, politics, solidarity and togetherness. During the public portion of the project, Claudia Bernal, Bojana Videkanic and the students presented their work at La Central where the public was able to witness their work.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.