On Tuesday June 24th – July 11th, I’m opening a fortune shop at Site G that will be open to the public by appointment, 3 days a week (Tuesday, Thursday 3pm – 7pm and Saturday 11am – 2pm). There will be more details to follow on how to book your reservations -so stay tuned. I will be offering fortune readings in exchange for your 'monster' stories, which I will be audio recording and integrating into a new performance piece called loch which is the ‘sister’ work to Mörkö, a performance using 30 conversations with Vancouver residents on the topic of ‘monster’ as its soundtrack while I constructed a intricate city through objects found in my childhood closet called the 'chop choo room'.
I started doing research on fortune shops and somehow came across this image from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. Alice finds herself mysteriously in the ‘Wool and Water’ shop after following the White Queen who suddenly transforms into a Sheep. The space and time of the curiosity shop plays tricks on Alice’s perceptions. Though the store is packed with knick-knacks from ceiling to floor, she finds that upon close examination the shelves seem empty and barren while everywhere other part of the shelf is full.
The Sheep says, ‘You may look in front of you, and on both sides, if you like, but you can’t look all round you – unless you’ve got eyes on the back of your head.’
Last Sunday I took a butoh workshop with renowned butoh master, Yoshito Ohno, and he reminded us about how we often focus solely on the front and forget about the back. He says the back should exist with as much presence as the front; as if it had a pair of eyes beaming.
I have been thinking a lot about the front and back of things; perception and what wills us to change. I realize in my art practice I spend a lot of time within the ‘back’ of an artwork. In other words, I spend a lot of time in the back ‘in-process’ which may include what Annette Kuhn calls ‘memory work’, interviews, recordings, building trust, creating space, and in this new work offering a space for fortune. What does it mean to offer the service of ‘fortune’ to give directions on the fronts and backs of one’s lives?
I’ve been ‘reading’ fortunes for nearly 19 years and have mostly been practicing this in private. Very recently it has been integrated into my practice and I've been questioning its role as a 'performance' but also a 'service'. The service here is the act of ‘reading’ - to co-imagine ‘something’ we can’t see. Believe it or not – it’s a time where two strangers can imagine a possibility that can be tipped to a place of ‘reality’ or ‘fiction’ with purely luck and chance. Hope you enjoy your readings and bring your monsters with you please.