This Saturday night (and Sunday morning), Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan present Wild Ride in Zone B of Toronto's Nuit Blanche. They are known for creating funny and feminist performances, films, videos, artists’ books and public art projects. They have also created costume- and text-based pieces such as We’re Talking Vulva, Consideration Liberation Army, and Lesbian National Parks and Services, and installations such as Scentbar and Grocery Store. They have exhibited nationally and internationally in venues ranging from the Istanbul Biennial to the Royal Ontario Museum, and from the Sydney Gay/Lesbian Mardi Gras to New York's Museum of Modern Art. Dempsey and Millan have also curated projects, programs and exhibitions for Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Centre, Herland Feminist Film and Video Festival, YYZ Artists' Outlet, Gallery 1C03 and The Winnipeg Art Gallery. Winnipeg is their chosen home.
The quest for equality is still rocking us after all these years. It never gets tired, never gets stale. Because we’re still not equal. (Nuff said.)
It is amazing how little discourse is devoted to friendship, the most essential, most sustaining relationships in our lives. We have collaborated for twenty years now. People are often curious about how and why we work together. There is an implication that it is a bit weird, even co-dependent. Wouldn’t we rather work alone? Let our unique, individual voices shine? Try creatively partnering with someone else for a while? Truth is, no. We are each entirely present in the work. And although we could work with others, what we like best of all is working with each other: building on all that trust, all that shared vocabulary, all that history of experience and critical/formal investigation. Most of all, we are friends. We challenge each other, make each other laugh, cry with each other, and, because we are artists, make things out of nothing together. It is less lonely with a friend. And that is huge.
3. Herzog & Kinski
We’re double dating them… in our minds. Now that was a crazy collaboration. Nothing to aspire to, but Werner Herzog and Klaus Kinski made some amazing (flawed and fabulous) films. If we can ever create something as perfect as Kinski tossing small monkeys off a raft as the camera lazily circles (final shot of Aguirre, Wrath of God), we’ll be able to go to our graves in peace.
4. Independent Curation
It is hard and it doesn’t pay worth shit, but there are brave, idea-driven independent curators out there who are putting up the shows we love. They fight institutional models, inadequate funding, and their own demons (ever so much more present when you have to make something outside of a structure) to really push the envelope of what contemporary art in Canada is and can be. It is a thankless task. So from us: thank you!
A.K.A. Murder City! It beats out Winnipeg every time in the race for killings-per-capita. But just by a hair’s breadth. So those of us here in the Peg have also-ran envy. Plus “the City of Champions” has way better Chinese food, cuter girls, and our favourite Winnipeg homeboy, Gilles Hébert, newly appointed as the Executive Director of the Art Gallery of Alberta.
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