Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nationalism and Sports: the only way to love exhibtion

Vivarium Gallery | Emilio Rojas | April 16- May 2

Emilio Rojas
Nationalism and Sports; The only way to love.
In collaboration with Patrick Blaeser.

What builds nationalism in sports? Why did thousands of people wear flags and paint their faces with Canadian maple leafs? Why does nationalism constructed through an identity of competitive sports excludes diversity? Is there any legacy left behind after these moments of vibrant Canadian "identity" fueled by a hockey game, and gold medals?

Nationalism and sport are repeatedly entangled, as sports provide a framework for symbolic competition between nations; one of the primary forms of banal nationalism.
Contrary to the fundamental ethos of sports this type of nationalist antagonism is charged with deep hatred, violence triggered by competition, and passionate behaviors that allow interactions outside of the norms of conduct. Traditionally the Olympic Games are the highest stage fornationalist competition, being reflected in their history of political conflicts going back to their re-establishment at the end of the 1800's. Consider a matter of national pride, sport events like the final hockey game (Canada vs. the U.S.), allow homoerotic interactions between supporting members of the same team, and homophobic remarks against the adversaries that otherwisewould be consider unacceptable.

Nationalism and Sports; The only way to love, a multilayered video installation by Emilio Rojas critiques the construct of the stereotypical Canadian male, translated into white, heterosexual, and hypermasculine. The video portrays the contradictions that these buoyant instances of nationalism offered, and the branding of nationalism present during the Olympics. Capturing an unrepeatable moment in Canadian history where two of the most homophobic spheres; nationalism and sports, ironically come together through homoerotic imagery and the fragmentation of the boundaries of Canadian politeness. Going far beyond a simple documentation of a performance the piece invites the viewer to reflect upon the futility of banal nationalism in this post-Olympic moment.

Vivarium Gallery.
2130 Yew Street, Vancouver, B.C.

Projected from dusk to 11pm.

Closing party TBA.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reserved Sitting for the Olympics.

Performed by Emilio rojas
February the 22nd to 24th
" After finding a designer's broken chair on grandville island, and seeing the crowds waiting for public transportation or fighting for a place to sit on the bus , I decided to bring my own chair and have a reserved seat in any situation" said Emilio Rojas. The artist carried this chair around Vancouver during the second week of the Winter Olympics and used it to sit in the skytrain, buses, bus stops, touristic events, lines where people were waiting ( hotdogs, vancouver art gallery,bars, sport events entrance, etc). The chair was also broken which prevented the Emilio from showing any chivalry to an old lady or pregnant mother. "Coming from Mexico, Im used to give my sit to any women, older person, child, or even someone who looks tired, as a sign of chivalry and respect. Yet, the chair is broken and its a hazard, in a way it prevented me from having any guilt while sitting in any of these spaces when most of the people were standing." People that surrounded Emilio Rojas, usually laugh, commented on the action, or took pictures with the artist. Unfortunately the documentation was lost, yet the performance remains in the mind of the viewers and the only evidences are a few photographs taken on a cellphone ,and the broken chair itself.

Monday, March 1, 2010

re-directing traffic

Performance by Heidi Nagtegaal

The performer redirected traffic on the Hastings and Hawks, on Sunday February 21, 2010. Using a set of 4 crotched flagging tape Pylons, which looked exactly as real pylons, and a Flaggers Uniform. She Re-directed Traffic until the police arrived and her friendliness and positive attitude caught them off guard. She was asked to stop, and the police left the scene.

Nationalism and Sports. The only way to love

Nationalism and sports. the only way to love.

What builds nationalism in sports? Why are thousands of people wearing flags and painting their faces with the Canadian Mapple leafs? When does nationalism constructed through an identity of competitive sports during the Olympics, exclusively builts homogeneity excluding diversity? This diversity is erased by creating the construct of an stereotypical Canadian male, which can be translated into white, heterosexual, and hipermasculine. Yet this is only a formula that proclaims itself true in moments of competition and chaos. Examples of this can be seen in war conflicts, or hockey. What interests me the most is how this branding of nationalism creates exclusion of any type of heterogeneity, which translates in a way to homophobia, and is strongly supported by corporate branding. It is known that an openly gay athlete runs the risk of loosing their corporate sponsors. This can be observe in the two of the most homophobic spheres; sports and the military. An example of this is how Extra West (Canadian Queer Newspaper), unsuccessfully tried to find an openly gay athlete competing in any of the Olympic teams to give an interview for an article. Nationalism and sports. The only way to love. juxtaposes these two concepts being critical of the lack of queer representation in both. Performed during the beginning of the final hockey game of the Olympics, between the United States and Canada, in the height of patriotism in sports. The performance challenged the construct of nationalism, and played between the boundaries of representation. The performers interacted with the public, (mostly canadian fans), their disguise and personification of passionate hockey fans was so effective that they were stopped for photographs by tourists and interviews by VANOC media.

performed by artist duo:
Emilio Rojas & Patrick Blaeser.
Sunday the 28th, Robson Square.

White Pillows "sleepover"

VIVO2010;Safe Assembly presents WHITE PILLOWS SLEEPOVER

February 27th, 8 P.M. to Sunday 28th, 9 am.

by donation

VIVO Media Arts Centre

1965 Main Street,

VIVO2010:Safe Assembly, closes its programming with a celebration organized by the White Pillows collective. Come join us for an night of performance, games, interactions and dialogue. The collective will present documentation, ephemera, and stories of their performances during the Olympics. Naufus Ramirez-Figueroa will be performing a special piece for the evening. Heidi Nagtegaal will be cooking pancakes in the morning.

Ikbal Singh, will be silk-screening the logo of the collective, Albrecht Durer’s Sechs Kissen (6 Pillows), made in 1493. Please bring a t-shirt, paper, cloth or surface that you want the design to be silk-screened on.

Covering Up, a project by Lois Klassen and Pierre-André Sonolet will also be presenting documentation. The project involved participants to impose the personal by using household linen and bedding on a rapidly changing urban landscape producing momentary gestures of resistance.

Bring your pillows, sleeping bags, and comfortable clothes for pillow fights. Be ready to let go of any stress that the last two weeks of chaos have caused upon yourself, enjoy, and acknowledge the legacy of VIVO2010;Safe Assembly in our community.

White Pillows "Sleepover" VIVO2010:Safe Assembly

It was a night of performances, presentations, videos, installations, fun, interaction, and dialogue. The sleepover didn't end up happening, but the intention was there. These are some of the photos of the night which went until 1 am. I want to thank VIVO staff; Amy Kazymerchyk, Alex Muir, Dinka Pignon, and Crista Dahl, and all our volunteers for their support and enthusiasm. There was silk-screening and pillows. Thank you for attending the event and engaging.

Performance by Manolo Lugo

presentation of performance by Heidi Nagtegaal

Performance by Alexandra Phillips

Performance by Patrick Cruz

Friday, February 26, 2010

"Our Time to Shine"

Performance Art Criticizes VANOC Trademarking of Common Words

Saturday, February 27, 12 noon, Granville Island Public Market

This Saturday Alexandra Phillips will enact "Our Time to Shine" a
live performance critical of VANOC's trademarking of common words.
Standing beneath a transparent umbrella emblazoned with
the words "FREE SPEECH ZONE," the artist will utter the long
list of ordinary words such as "winter" and "games" that
the Vancouver Organizing Committee has trademarked for its own use.

The performance challenges VANOC's
special exemption from the trademark laws that overrides Canadian's
constitutional rights to freedom of speech.

Multi-disciplinary artist Alexandra Phillips is an Associate
Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Acknowledging the land.

This performance happened on Granville Island on February the 12th. While the Olympic torch relay was passing through Emily Carr, Emilio Rojas and Patrick Blaeser, placed black vynils on the street where the torch relay was about to pass, and on Emily Carr facilities, particularly on the entrance spaces. The words were taken from the negative vinyl spaces of Cathy Busby's piece of the Safe Facade, located on the windows of VIVO Media Arts Centre. They were rearrange to form phrases like: Indigenous rights, residential school survivor, Olympic Sea, men of Eaglerigdge Bluffs, Expand for the Olympics, Indigenous island, etc. Some of the vynils were removed by Emily Carr security a few moments after they were up. This is an excerpt after the torch just passed and the people walking behind it continue stepping on the words, Indigenous Rights. The piece acknowledged unseated Coast Salish territory juxtaposing it with a celebratory Olympic action.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Salute to the Game

Performance by Chun Hua Catherine Dong
photo credits: Phoebe Jin

Friday, February 19, 2010

Thank you for coming. Please spend money.

Performed by Ikbal Singh and Francisco Fernando Granados.
Random Streets of Vancouver.
The signs are both on the front and back of the performers, who walked around the city, departing from the Vancouver Central Public Library. The performers received lots of giggles and "you're welcome"s from the public. In a moment where the city is a spectacle crowded with tourists this piece politely taps into the consumerist economy of the Olympics.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This week's events.

14 – 21 Emilio RojasOf Hunger, Homelessness and Spectacle
Vivarium Gallery 2130 Yew street.

17, 8pm – 11pm Heidi Nagtegaal, "Hello, my name is Heidi Nagtegaal and I want you to think about the Olympics."
Candahar Bar

19, Chun Hua Catherine Dongsalute to the event
Mainstreet Science World, W. Georgia Street, Vancouver art gallery, Waterfront, Gastown,etc

19. Thank you for coming. Please spend money. Random streets of Vancouver.

20, Chun Hua Catherine Dong Go Canada Go
Mainstreet Science World, W. Georgia Street, Vancouver art gallery, Waterfront, Gastown etc.

21, 1pm – 4pm Heidi Nagtegaal, Redirecting Traffic
WhereHastings and Hawks

7pm-8pm - Emilio Rojas- Presentation "Of Hunger, Homelessness and Spectacle"
VIVO2010;Safe Assembly-Evening News. 1965 Main Street.

23. Thank you for coming. Please spend money. Random streets of Vancouver.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Art's cuts call for participants

This is a call to anyone who wants to participate in a short video skit to be taped (most likely) next Sunday. The skit critiques the cuts to provincial arts funding to pay for the Olympics. Briefly the script involves a group of artists, writers, and musicians lining up to get a small slice of Olympic inukshuk being grilled on a barbeque by a guy named "Art." The grilled inukshuk runs out before everyone gets a slice.

If you're interested in performing (speaking lines are very short!) we're aiming to tape it next Sunday, February 21st, at the covered barbeque pit in Strathcona Park, at 1pm. We need 2 videographers, and people willing to dress up in various costumes such as folk musicians, poets, painters, Shakespearean actors, ballet and/or flamenco dancers, etc. We also need an Olympic "torch runner," and 2 "Grecian priestesses." The props will be provided, but we're asking participants to create their own costumes.

If you're interested in participating you can contact me, Alex (or Kelly), at 604-730-9289, by email: notafordexplorer@yahoo.ca, or through White Pillows (whitepillowscollective@gmail.com)

Thursday, February 11, 2010


“Of Hunger, Homelessness, and Spectacle.”
Performance/ Installation
February 14th to the 21th
Vivarium Gallery (Yew Street)
By Emilio Rojas

Homelessness, has become Vancouver’s number one political, social and public embarrassment during the Olympics. Two years ago homelessness count identified 2,660 people who were homeless in the Metro Vancouver region, and the numbers keep growing. Canadian homeless population is estimated between 200,000 and 300,000. The piece uses traditional forms of exhibition; a window display used in stores, and galleries to portray a façade that can be then further explored inside. The “inside” will not be a physical space (inside the gallery) but the viewer’s mind and their own inquiries. How do they relate to this issue within their own behavioral, emotional and physical parameters? How do they treat the homeless? and what do they do as part of this society to improve the quality of life of those who are not as fortunate? Being away from my home country and forced to couch surf on a number of occasions, which is also considered a type of homelessness; I feel the necessity to actively address these questions and further explore my connection with artistic activism and durational performances .

"A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." Attributed to Mahatma Gandhi

An hour long looped projection of night shots; possible locations where homeless people sleep particularly on the downtown east side. Empty pedestrian canvases that become places of refuge during the night. I would sleep during the night and interact during the day. Reading poetry behind the glass, and offering to sell “not for sale” books, dealing with homelessness issues, ironical titles, and sarcastic traveler's guides. If the viewer wants to engage I would open the book and press it into the glass, turning the pages as the reader indicates. Artist Lois Klassen,and Heidi Nagtegaal who have both produce blankets as part of their praxis will be creating a blanket for this performance made from a variety of found textiles.

During the entire duration of the piece, I would be joining the “2010 Homelessness Hunger Strike Relay”. This Relay began December 29th, 2009 in Vancouver and it has been gaining momentum ever since. Over 70 volunteers have participated in a week long fast to raise awareness about homelessness. Calling for the re-establishment of a National Housing Program based on the One Percent Solution in Canada. Each week new volunteers take on the Wooden Spoon, which stands as a symbol of resistance.

Activists, artists and community organizers are making sure that this problem is exposed by: launching housing campaigns, working with social media, agit-prop, and creating spaces for dialogue. Of Hunger, Homelessness, and Spectacle is an attempt to create a dialogue, and surface questions about a social problem that has been placed last on the agenda of the government.

This project could not be possible without the support and collaboration of:

* VIVO 2010: Safe Assembly
* Vivarium Gallery,
* Homelessness Hunger Strike Relay.
* Am Johal,Lois Klassen,Jammie Griffiths,Heidi Nagtegaal and Christopher Rodrigues

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

VIVO 2010: Safe Assembly


Since 1973, VIVO Media Arts Centre (aka Satellite Video Exchange Society, aka Video In), has provided a space for diverse dialogues, artistic experimentation and the freedom to respond. In keeping with our history, VIVO chose not to seek support through the 2010 Cultural Olympiad. As a hub for analysis, skill sharing, production, and collaboration, VIVO invites artists to consider their production in relation to the events and systems around them.

Afternoon School consists of both planned and spontaneous seminars, with examples of skill sharing, media activism, screenings from the Video Out archive with its rich history of protest in Vancouver, and discussions using critical theory and contemporary art to produce a counter-public.

The Evening News is a series of discussions and presentations that will include a forum for participants and audience members to show highlights and ephemera from what they have gathered throughout the day. These presentations will contribute to a larger conversation and archive around the cultural meaning and social impact of the Olympics.

We will be operating a radio transmitter during the last two weeks of February. Our signal will also be streaming online. Our range will be humble, and thus situated.

Social Propaganda Mixing Machine is an open call for participants to create sound or image propaganda.

We will be hosting the Vancouver (de)Tour Guide 2010 project in our front space.

Covering Up will be a street action photo/video-documentation project.

Safe Facade also beams from our front.

VIVO 2010: Safe Assembly intends to facilitate cultural expressions that arise from the community in a lineage of solidarity. If you are interested in participating please come visit us this month.

Albrecht Dürer (German, 1471-1528), Sechs Kissen (Six Pillows), 1493