Time Based Art Festival

Local artist Claudia Meza

Founded in 1995 by Kristy Edmunds, PICA (Portland Institute for Contemporary Art) is the seat of Portland’s avant-garde. Very Portland and very queer, the arts org started its two week long Time Based Art Festival 10 years ago based on world-renowned culture happenings such as those in Edinburgh and Adelaide.

Since then it has grown into a prestigious festival in its own right and a local cultural cornerstone with work that is urgent, culturally and politically timely, and evokes response and participation.

A synthesis of international talent with a uniquely Portland flavor, first-time TBA curator Angela Mattox wanted this year’s projects to be even more interdisciplinary than usual. “[This year’s work] often moves between theatre, video, movement, and music in a single piece. It is a reflection of current artist practices and of our own desire to have audiences move fluidly between these experiences,” Mattox says.

She values the casualness that Portland brings to the art world making it accessible to our wide and weird citizens. ”We all end up sharing beers at the end of the night,” she says, “The lack of divisions between artist and curator and audience, that audiences can meet a performer in the beer garden and ask them a question [makes TBA a very Portland event.]” Sometimes intensely personal, often epically political, these artists work closely with LGBT themes. Here are some of the highlights.

Big Art Group – A New York-based experimental performance ensemble founded by Caden Manson and Jemma Nelson in 1999, Portland – The People is part of a larger series of live interviews with residents of various cities grouped into a “chorus” and projected to a huge size onto the sides of buildings. It starts with the question of democracy and frames it with the tragic Greek tale of Orestia. What Portlanders will do with this prompt is anybody’s guess.

Washington High School
SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 550
$15 Members
$20 General
All Ages
Thurs . Sept 6 . 8:30-10 pm (60-90 minutes)
Fri . Sept 7 . 8:30-10 pm (60-90 minutes)
Sat . Sept 8 . 8:30-10 pm (60-90 minutes)

Miguel Gutierrez – Whip-smart New York choreographer Miguel Gutierrez begins his performance Heavens What Have I Done, conversing directly with the audience. The rambling comedic monologue leads gives you an intimate look into his process, his experience, his life, before erupting in a flurry of intricately crafted movements set to music sung by renowned soprano Cecilia Bartoli.

Washington High School
SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 550
$15 Members
$20 General
All Ages
Fri . Sept 7 . 6:30-7:30 pm
Sat . Sept 8 . 6:30-7:30 pm
Sun . Sept 9 . 6:30-7:30 pm

Keith Hennessy – Hennessy’s Turbulence (a dance about the economy) makes its world premier at this year’s TBA. This hybrid of contemporary dance, improvised happening is a was instigated by Keith Hennessy who was then joined by a core team of (mostly) queer artists from San Francisco, Paris, Cork, Berlin and three guest artists from Portland.

“The primary vehicle of sex and sexuality is the body,” Hennessy says, “That’s true for dance also. When we set out to make a dance about the economy using queer and improvisation as political tactics, we immediately confronted the values, injustices, betrayals, exchanges, and gifts in our most basic human relations. Intersections and frictions between gender, race and class hierarchies became key ways for collaborative study of the financial system’s abstract and intentionally obscure workings. So a dance about the economy is all about sex and secrets, genders and relations, touch and weight, kiss and slap.”

Imago Theatre
17 SE 8th Ave.
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 299
$20 Members
$25 General
All Ages
Tues . Sept 11 . 8:30-9:45 pm
Wed . Sept 12 . 8:30-9:45 pm
Thurs . Sept 13 . 8:30-9:45 pm
Fri . Sept 14 . 8:30-9:45 pm

Zvonimir Doborvic & Perforations – International curator Zvonimir Dobrovic, founder of Perforacije and Queer Zagreb Festivals in Croatia and Co-Director with André von Ah of Queer New York International, has selected an evening of site-specific performance art from some of Croatia’s and Serbia’s most inventive artists. As Flavorpill culture guide has said, “…apparently, a hotbed of activity was fermenting behind the shreds of the Iron Curtain.”

But in regards to New York and Portland performances Doborvic says, “Producing the Queer New York festival this June was quite a challenge – mainly because to break that stereotypical (iconic) notion of queer takes a lot of work. To have journalists seriously wonder whether a piece of work can be queer if the artist is not LGBT was beyond belief to me – and just proved the point how much work there is to be done to really break the mold of what can even be seen as queer…” And as for sexuality in Perforations, Doborvic has some advice for the more staid dance community, “Sexuality is a strong drive in creating and I love when I see an artist who is daring to explore their own phantasies. When I see a very clean and sterile piece of work (technically perfected, made to be simply beautiful and not much more), and too often it is the case in US dance, my advice to the artist is to get laid more. It works for some. And if it doesn’t – it is still a great advice.”

Washington High School
SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 550
$15 Members
$20 General
All Ages
Mon . Sept 10 . 8:30-10:30 pm (Pass holder reservations required.)
Tues . Sept 11 . 8:30-10:30 pm (Pass holder reservations required.)

Gob Squad – This 1994 founded street performance art group aims to recreate Andy Warhol’s iconic 1965 hipster film, Kitchen. But how do you know you’re being authentic, and not a poser, when you weren’t there? As Edie Sedgwick, one of the film’s original stars, said, “I live my part too—only I can’t figure out what my part is in this movie.”

Portland State University (PSU): Lincoln Performance Hall
1620 SW Park
Portland OR 97201, Map
Capacity: 476
$25 Members
$30 General
All Ages
Thurs . Sept 13 . 8:30-10:30 pm
Fri . Sept 14 . 8:30-10:30 pm
Sat . Sept 15 . 8:30-10:30 pm

TBA Late Night: Queer Artists

Venus X – Future legendary DJ Venus X has been bringing together the diverse crowds of nerdy dancers, art school kids, uptown gays, black drag kings, skate punks, music snobs, immigrants and more to her New York City GHE20G0TH1K party since 2009. Credited with reinvigorating the city’s underground nightlife by the New York Times Venus says, “I’m going to play Al Jazeera in the club, and you’re going to like it. And it’s going to be cool, but not weird cool. It’s going to be like Kanye West and Jay-Z cool.” Washington High School

SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 550
Free Admission
All Ages
Thurs . Sept 6 . 10:30-12 am

CHRISTEENE ­– “Drag terrorist” CHRISTEENE keeps the man behind the performer (Paul Soileau) far in the background, succumbing to a sexually infused sewer of live rap and RnB. The gender dysphoric goth metal CHRISTEENE challenges traditional society as purposefully crosses the boundaries of charm, grace, and even good taste.

Washington High School
SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 550
$5 Members
$7 General
All Ages
Fri . Sept 7 . 10:30-12 am

Alexis Blair Penny – With a voice like an angel Alexis Blair Penny guides the viewer through a “live television broadcast” that features drag, monologues and a full backup band. What would be good as just a singer/songwriter act is taken to the next level with the performative juxtapositions of self-deprecating, fourth-wall-shattering Alex and lightning-wielding, world-weary, diva-goddess Alexis.

Washington High School
SE Stark, Between 12th and 14th
Portland OR 97214, Map
Capacity: 550
$5 Members
$7 General
All Ages

Thurs . Sept 13 . 10:30-12 am

Local spotlight - Claudia Meza

Sonic City PDX

Claudia Meza is an auteur. Overachieving and busier than anyone else holding down multiple jobs can even imagine, she is a collaborator only in the sense that she directs others involved in her vision. This hasn’t changed since she began recording music on tape recorders and cutting up rented videotapes she re-spliced them from her childhood home in El Monica, California. “[Those tapes] are probably still out there,” she says, “I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to do that.” She also went to an arts magnet high school for theater before continuing in Music Composition at Evergreen State College. She was a multimedia artist from the very beginning.

And yet, her idols, such as John Cage, as well as the laid back town around her, are all about the collective. An openly gay artist, Meza doesn’t consider sexuality hugely relevant to her work but she is quick to remind you, both purposefully and subconsciously, that she is an unapologetic Chicana who creates art as that speaks to the audience, creates a conversation of substance. Anything else, she says, “…is masturbation.”

Meza got involved with Pica’s Time Based Art Festival in 2009 when they asked her band, the quickly up-and-coming Explode into Colors, who had just won Willamette Week’s Best New Band, to play their late night venue The Works. But that wasn’t enough for her. Instead she wanted to curate the whole night, bringing together the varied talents of her band members, animated short stories she wrote in high school and sowed the seeds of what would become another big sound project in conjunction with Pica and Holocene called New Musics. This project featured a wordless opera and focused of sound above “music” in a way that paid homage to her Cagian idolatry.

For this year’s TBA Meza takes her love of sound to various corners of the city with Sonic City PDX. She asked over 30 local musicians to identify a place where they enjoy the ambient noise, anything from a gently rumbling freeway to Meza’s own favorite, an outdoor drumcore practice space under the Morrison Bridge next to the train tracks, and created a tour incorporating these locales. Using QR codes and online maps on your smartphone you can access the audio tour that encourages you to put down the device you just picked up and enjoy the acoustics of Portland. You can discuss if this conjunction even makes sense when the ten-day installation takes one day to have a formal performance featuring contributing musicians. Daniel Menche, Luke Wyland (AU), Matt Carlson (Golden Retriever), Mary Sutton, Eric Mast (E*Rock), Holland Andrews (Like a Villain), Thomas Thorson (Interiors X), and Meza Saturday September 15th from 4-6pm.

Various Locations
Capacity: N/A
Free Admission
All Ages
Thurs . Sept 6 . – Sun . Sept 16 . (QR Code Tour)
Sat . Sept 15 . 4-6 pm (Live Concert)
http://soniccitypdx.tumblr.com/

TBA takes place Sept 6 – 16. More info at PICA.org

Alley Hector

About Alley Hector

Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.

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  1. [...] TBA – Don’t forget to catch the last weekend of Pica’s Time Based Art Festival including a live performance of featured local queer artist and musician Claudia Meza Saturday afternoon. [...]

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