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Home /  Performance: “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation” / Performance: “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation”

Performance: “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation”

Thu August 17, 2017 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Part of the Community Arts Space: Art is Change


Artist Christopher Willes has invited a group of musicians, dancers, artists, and actors to develop a new performance of “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation”, an orchestral work which first premiered in 1970 by the celebrated American composer Pauline Oliveros. Organizing as an experimental orchestra that consists of musicians and non-musicians alike, the group includes notable artists such as Anne Bourne, Allison Cameron, Ame Henderson, Anni Spadafora, Brendan Jensen, Claire Harvie, Ellen Furey, Evan Webber, Germaine Liu, Ishan Davé, Paul Chambers, and Thomas Gill.​

Throughout a week at the Museum, the group will ​publicly ​rehearse and research Oliveros’s music together, as they develop a new interpretation of this historic piece of experimental music. This event will be the first showing in their process as they continue to toward a show at the Music Gallery in 2019.

Scored for any instrumentation, Oliveros wrote “To Valerie Solanas and Marilyn Monroe in Recognition of Their Desperation” after reading the radical feminist text “Scum Manifesto” by Valerie Solanas (who is also known for shooting Andy Warhol). The score is composed of three parts, each one communicated through a different colour of light, and instructions ask that each performer select five pitches with which to create very long tones throughout the performance. Insisting on “a continuous circulation of power” between listening and sounding, between the group sound and individual tones, the work considers sound’s capacity to mark the spaces between us, and suggests the possibility that new relations might yet arise through musical situations.

6:30 pm: Doors Open
7 pm: Performance

This project is supported by Public Recordings, FAM (Feminist Art Museum), The Music Gallery, and the Toronto Arts Council. Special thanks to IONE for her consultations.

Permissions from IONE, Trustee, The Pauline Oliveros Trust.

About Feminist Art Museum

The Feminist Art Museum (FAM) is conceived of by curators Xenia Benivolski and Su-Ying Lee as a national, multi-site pilot project. FAM will use brick as a metaphoric and material reference to create a space for dialogue on institution building, place, space, and land.

FAM asks: What are ways of being on the land that have been supplanted by colonialism and patriarchy? What knowledge can institutions and culture makers access if seeking to approach these projects with a socio-political consciousness? Visitors to the Gardiner Museum are invited to participate in the symbolic building and disseminating gesture by contributing and bringing in their own bricks, which will become part of the installation in the gallery. The formation of the brick pile will take form over the course of the project as it grows.

Amid the installation, the exhibition hall will also host “riot rock rattles” made in a workshop facilitated by artist Tsēma Igharas, and public rehearsals led by artist Christopher Willes of Pauline Oliveros’ “Sonic Meditations” to consider the sonic as a way to take up space.

About the Community Arts Space: Art is Change

The Gardiner Museum’s unique history and identity is rooted in the city,  but its future is increasingly shaped by those beyond the core cultural corridor. As space increasingly becomes a premium downtown, the Gardiner has collaborated with six cultural and community partners to consider how institutional outreach can be re-shaped by local artists, curators, and architects. Looking to the rapid high-rise developments happening within the Museum’s own Yorkville neighbourhood, the projects in Art is Change consider how the city’s unique and varied local histories of art and social activism can be re-mapped for the future. Learn more