A Choir of Demands and Desires On Repeat >
2019 > Khyber Centre for the Arts > NAT chantel, Stacey Gomez, Lux Habrich, Suman Jha, Mariah Pelley Smith, and ML Wei
2019 > Studio XX > Artist collaborators: Suzanne Fernando, Rebeca Zala, Ahreum Lee, Feliz Tupe, Laëtitia Techer, Nadia Hammouda and Soukayna
2018 > Sheridan Galleries > Artist collaborators: Faith Arkorful, Angela Sun, and Rebecca Zala
2018 > Sound Streams > Artist collaborators: Faith Arkorful, Fiona Raye Clarke, and Rebecca Zala
2018 > Gardiner Museum > Artist collaborators: Faith Arkorful, Hanan Hazime, Fiona Raye Clarke, Angela Sun, and Rebecca Zala
2017 > East End Arts > Festival of Words : Artistic collaborators: Suzanne Fernando and Rebecca Zala
A Choir of Demands and Desires on Repeat is choral performance of feminist speech acts. Performed by an ad hoc choir of local women and nonbinary BIPOC, the score recalls, reminds, and reinstates demands made by women and feminist movements across geography and history. Lending from sound poetry and endurance performance, nuanced political desires within the intersectional matrix of oppressions overflow in an orchestrated cacophony of sounds. Resounding in echoes is the exhaustive labour of repeating a history of feminists demanding social justice.
Prior to the performance, the choir gathers over a series of workshops and rehearsals where they share intimate stories of resilience, anger, and their own feminist praxis in everyday life. In these sessions, acts of allyship emerge from practices of attentive listening, building space for each other to speak, and invoking feminist kin to commemorate the work that has was done before us. The energies from these sessions inform how the score is performed.
The score consists of three movements. “Movement One: A History of Demands” is an evocation to feminist kin through an extensive survey of demands captured in the phrase “I want” uttered by women, trans, and non-binary persons of colour, made over the course of historical and contemporary feminist movements. The movement concludes with the choir responding to the frustration of repeating history. “Movement Two: Our Demands” are lists of demands composed by each member of the choir. Each list is read individually with the exception of selected words, phrases, and sentenced that are read collectively, indicating support asked for and received by the other members of the choir. “Movement Three: The Future” is a reading of the future births who will inherited the work of consistent demanding.
We’re Winning So No Comment >
2018 > Gardner Museum > Artistic collaborators: Faith Arkorful, Fiona Raye Clarke, Hanan Hazime, Angela Sun, and Rebecca Zala
2018 > Younger than Beyonce > Artistic collaborators: Fiona Raye Clarke, Hanan Hazime, and Lasasha Nesbeth
We’re Winning So No Comment is a choral performance of a reading of misogynist comments on popular social media and news websites interrupted by award speeches made by Dionne Brand, Lido Pimienta, and Beyonce. Each members of the choir also gives an acceptance speech for the prize of ‘Being a Women Every Day. As is my practice, most of the hired performers were not professionals, but "everyday" women who over a course of rehearsals collaborated with me to present the work based on the energies of their lived experiences.
Panic in the Labyrinth > 2018 > Gardner Museum
Panic in the Labyrinth was a series of performances centering on intersectional feminist poetics at the Gardner Museum. The series imagines a stage for a performative poetics to unfold, where the act of women speaking aloud and the experience of listening to women are intrinsically politicized gestures of asserting and affirming presence. The series included, A Choir of Demands and Desires On Repeat, “We’re Winning So No Comment” and Ritual Readings, a reading series of women sharing poems, prose, essays, or writing by other women who have inspired their work. I invited Whitney French and Amy Wong to curate the readers. Whitney invited Britta B and the Story Reno Collective; Amy Wong invited Rain Chan and Elisha Lim.
Recordings are available upon requests.
Essay > Letticia Cosbert > if i speak to you in anger
Images of A Choir in Demands and Desires of Repeat (Toronto) by Yuula Benivolski © Gardiner Museum 2018
Images of A Choir in Demands and Desires of Repeat (Montreal) © Studio XX
Images of A Choir in Demands and Desires of Repeat (Halifax) © Khyber Centre for the Arts