7 Easy Pieces by VERB WOMAN

June 26, 2010

VERB WOMAN has created a series of short videos like 7 Days of the Week Underwear from her childhood AND as response to Marina Abramovic’s SEVEN EASY PIECES initiative into the nature of history and memory of performance art.


VERB WOMAN: a kaleidescopic history

May 22, 2010

PRESENT/RESPONSE performance art series curated by Paul Couillard for Lambton Art Gallery SARNIA, Ont,  May 2010

3 hours gave time to experience durational-performance-high and to play. Rocking between PERFORMANCE/THEATRE;    DANCE-THEATRE & sculpture/installation;  entering shadow/simulacra; the gap:  THE BARDO.

I am always fighting (but enamoured) with narrative. Yet a deconstructed “plot” emerged over 3 hours in the 5 rooms of the gallery with Becky Burroughs and Ed Johnson. We even found characters or channels, as I prefer to call them.

I used  my mother’s ALZEHEIMER VERBS in a play-spot full of  2nd-childhood wonder, fun, fear. Becky channeled the care-giving angel one is lucky to meet in institutions and working with disabled/challenged; angels able to enter others’ worlds of fantasy, autism and total otherness..  Ed channeled the visiting caregiver (the fly-thru, damage-control, responsible, loving but exasperated relative/friend/partner) learning to juggle his own real world with the surreal world of  the in-mate ….

Lambton Gallery’s 5 rooms  suggested museum/archive,  hospital/nursing home/insane asylum, school/prison, treasure hunt/game board, brain mapping, and epic fairy tales/comics – Hansel & Gretel, or Xena the Warrior Princess.

THE HALLWAY was a portal — like Alice in Wonderland’s down-the-rabbit-hole and Ancient Egypt’s Hall of Ma’at entrance to the weighing of the heart —  but with a wheelchair! A place for wheelchair races and getting on our hands and knees to play CARD CONVERSATION — a disjointed loop of conversational complaints, comforts, assurances, fears … “I am so cold. It’s not far. This cup is so heavy. Let me put your sweater on. Someone stole my purse.”

MUSEUM of OBJECTS (my performance history thru frequent flyer use of flour, salt, ironing, bowls of water, wine, roses, etc…)

MEMORY:  Becky dips her hands in basin of water and looks at them in wonder — mirroring my saying in performance and real life —  “I have my grandmother’s hands!”.

MEMORY: Ed and I doing verb RECOGNIZING in our 3-way circle of art-aktions from 30+ years of performances. My performative-response to some of the questions Marina Abramovic is/has been asking since Seven Easy Pieces and her time at MOMA; as well as since Tagny and I performed the “essence” of our shared and forgetting performance history in our video-simulcast “GESTURAL ALGORHYTHM — Performology: A Re-Mix”.

MUSEUM of GESTURES was a place of tea/comfort we are always trying to provide for someone we care for.

I taped up a vertical BED in blue/yellow tape .  I’m always trying to get people to get into bed with me in my performances and video. Voila. My tribe.  In bed. With me.  Bed as a place of succor/rest. After a few minutes of breathing/cuddling/fake-sleeping, I would FALL out bed saying, “Becky, I fell.”  Becky would help me up off of that HARD concrete floor (very hard on my hips!!!) and  into the wheelchair and announce it was time for a movie.

MUSEUM OF VIDEO was darkened “cinema” from previous night’s artists’ talks where I showed M. DRAGU’s MUSEUM (11 min. of my history).  It silently looped (reflecting our looped-conversations) constantly throughout the 3 hours.

Becky and I would look at the “movie” and try to JUMP into the image to participate in aktions: walking, drumming, catching the dead gum wad scraped off the legislative buildings, kissing big close-ups of pursed lips, etc…  while laughing/playing like children. 

Each clip was a minute or less; each time a clip faded to black, I would ask Becky if it was over and time to go. She would assure me, no, there is more. And that we should stay. Because this movie is “all about you”.

Really? I would ask again and again after each blackout. I love movies about me! But like Gloria (ready for de Mille’s close up), the movie has to be played again and again and again because yesterday she remembered but today she forgot. Again and again and again ….


VERB WOMAN: unravelling (romance and the anthemic)

February 17, 2010

Day Two 2010 Winter Olympics found VERB WOMAN plus 4 other artists at Sparticus Bookstore on Hastings Street in Vancouver’s Downtown East Side for NOT SENT LETTERS AND GUESTS produced by Jeremy Todd.

VERB WOMAN employed 2 decks of cards

(one of song clips/one of hand gestures by Edith Piaf collected from UTube documentaries)

Verb Woman executed a chance operation in front of a video projection of Day 3 from her VIVO residency in October 2009.

VERB WOMAN: a dance of forgetting

November 14, 2009

(Performance Final Summation at VIVO for LIVE Biennale Friday Oct 23, 2009 ; 6 -7 pm with special guest Paul Couillard)

a dance of forgetting

Verbs from everyday gestures, Alzheimer patients & performance art

were combined with video and choreography-by-chance dance

mepaul8 mepaul3
employing aktion-cards

to explore our shared disintegration of memory, technology, history




… like sand slipping through an open handmepaul5


curated by Velveeta Krisp
homage to Margaret Dragu’s mother, Ellen Dragu (1923-2009) who died of Alzheimer’s-related causes

(photos by Emilio Rojas)

Une autre p’tit pause: process day 3 at VIVO

October 28, 2009

Day3: Verb was BIKING.  Shorter experiment as we had final summation at 6:00 pm.  Dropped camera as low as it could go to get more of the bike wheels in the shot. Biking camera left to camera right created a vaudeville feel (flat, illusion, music hall). An image escaping from a French film. Biking diagonally (slicing thru that beloved depth-of-field) was more exciting, dynamic and 3-dimensional but also a bit dangerous.  I had to almost crash into the walls to get me and the bike out of frame! Amusing for assembled audience to have real life bicyclist whiz past their shoulders while watching video image of same bicyclist appear to bike through video closeup of female torso holding gerunds in many languages.

FINAL SUMMATION — VERB WOMAN:  a dance of forgetting



“… an interesting way of investigating the mystery of who am I,  who are you, and why do we    persist in thinking we are Someone? The work was beautiful structurally and visually.  So clean and empty that all those gestures and states could  arise in that neutral space. And Margaret and Paul were amazing, as two and as one. I loved the switching back and forth, so much the way we switch roles with our  mothers from being the one who is cared for to the one who gives care… mom-practice [and your years of doing the] … art-practice… It’s all just life practice isn’t it? LIVE and in colour even when it’s black and white there’s always that flesh tone.”

Check here soon for more thoughts/images of A DANCE OF FORGETTING 6:00 – 7:00 pm with Paul Couillard at VIVO October 23d, 2009 for LIVE Biennale Vancouver, BC; Canada

P’tit Pause: process day 1 day 2 at VIVO

October 23, 2009

Day 1: Verb was MENDING. I wore white shirt for maximum video projection reflection. Flowing and lyrical movement progression. Me dancing; me dancing with me dancing; me dancing with 2 of me dancing; me dancing with 3 of me dancing, and so on. Reminiscent of Isadora Duncan/Victorian Muse Choruses. The image deteriorated from white/blue into yellow and the experiment was all about MOVEMENT but also about  FLATTENING. MENDING — more compatible with video.

Day 2: Verb was POINTING (homage to Alan Kaprow). I wore red shirt. Day 2 Pointing

More about stillness and sculpture; graphic use of the canvas.

Able to create more depth of field and with movement cross depth of field.

Red shirt made video sequences deteriorate into grey/black shadows in part of frame.

Somehow we could re-generate more light and colour in parts of foreground with new layers. Operatic.  (photo: Emilio Rojas)

Re-iterating camera right diagonals made image reminiscent of Mao’s Red Army Ballets with red flags and rifles. Experiment was all about SCALE PLAY and SCULPTURE. POINTING –more compatible with still photography.

A Dance of Forgetting

October 15, 2009

VIVO and LIVE Biennale present wrap

VERB WOMAN: a dance of forgetting

(3 Nights of Process-based Work)

Verbs from everyday gestures, Alzheimer patients, and performance art
are combined with video and dance
to explore our shared disintegration of memory, technology, history
… like sand slipping through an open hand…

Wed Oct 21, Thurs Oct 22, Fri Oct 23
4 – 7 PM
with a Final Summation Fri Oct 23
6 -7 pm with special guest Paul Couillard


1965 Main Street,
Vancouver, BC V5T 3C1

curated by Velveeta Krisp
homage to Margaret Dragu’s mother, Ellen Dragu (1923-2009)

Mending Aktion #2 — Gachet Gallery

September 18, 2009

10:30 am VERB WOMAN Bicycles, Busses and Skytrains to GACHET GALLERY in Vancouver’s DTES

biking off

noon  VERB WOMAN Greeted by High Tea Spread


noon – 5:00 pm MENDING (Hems, Sleeves, Replacing Lost Buttons)

LLara bSharonbutton1M2



GIVING Health & Fitness Advice — TALKING — LISTENING



MENDING and other verbs are being collected, remembered, performed, videotaped, projected on walls
then re-performed, re-videotaped, re-projected on walls
and then re-re-performed, re-re-re-videotaped, re-re-projected … etc….
similar to creation of geographical strata (i.e. coal)
by pressures of time, weight, history.

VERB WOMAN is creating an essay about creation/disintegration.

We are always Forgetting. Disintegrating.
Our shared and contested histories
personal,  community, official (?) history of country or art practices.
As I  develop VERB WOMAN
I realize this work is drawn from and dedicated to my mother
who recently died from Alzheimer’s.
(above photo: Dancing with Mom, by G.Klein)

MENDING: Aktion #2

September 12, 2009


September 17th   from noon – 5:00 pm — Bring your fallen hem, your torn sleeve, or your broken heart…

stitches88 East Cordova;  Vancouver, BC   604-687-2468

MENDING: Aktion #1 Centre A Gallery

August 2, 2009

sewing Frugality without creativity is deprivationAmy Dacyczyn makiko

Glass, china, and reputation are easily cracked, and never well   mended …  Benjamin Franklin

Sometimes when we are generous in small, barely detectable ways

it can change someone else’s life foreverMargaret Cho

orchestra sewing

Tears at times have all the weight of speech Ovid

If you want to know what God thinks of money,  just look at the people he gave it to …   Dorothy  Parker

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakesMahatma Gandhi


Eighty percent of success is showing upWoody Allen braRandy A woman is like a tea bag — you never know how strong she is

until she gets in hot waterEleanor Roosevelt


PHOTOS: by The Line