The Spectacle and/in the Society: How does art provoke action?
Our University of the Streets Café public conversations are much like any you’d have with friends or family around a dinner table, except with more people, more points of view, and slightly more structure. Conversations are hosted by a volunteer moderator who is there to welcome everyone and keep things on track. To get things started, there’s a guest, or sometimes two, who get the ball rolling by sharing their ideas, experiences and questions. After that, it's all up to the participants.
Artistic intent implies a hope or a goal for the process of creation. While there are many possible intentions, these are clearly organized in hierarchies that can contradict one another. How does art that wants to create livelihood relate to art that is trying to change the world? This public conversation will consider if a culture of engaged spontaneous creation can transcend the stages and galleries where we are used to seeing art. Do artworks, and by extension artists, have a responsibility to be politicized?
Ricardo Lamour is a graduate in social work from l’Université de Montréal et wears many hats, including that of performing artist. He is a writer and composer and performs under the moniker Emrical, and produced Quebec’s first unplugged rap album. In 2016, he produced his second music album and played the role of judge in the play Fredy produced at Théatre La Licorne after which he left the production. Ricardo Lamour is also the founder of Bout du Monde, an organization that aims to promote the social engagement of its members aged 10 to 14 and the improvement of public spaces.
Born in India, Rahul Varma is a playwright and artistic director of Teesri Duniya Theatre which he co-founded in 1981. In 1998, with Kapil Bawa, he co-founded the theatre quarterly alt.theatre: cultural diversity and the stage where many of his articles have appeared. He writes both in Hindi and English, a language he acquired as an adult. Some of his recent plays are Land Where the Trees Talk, No Man’s Land, Trading Injuries (radio drama), Counter Offence, Bhopal, Truth and Treason and State of Denial. His plays have been translated into French, Italian, Hindi and Punjabi. He is honored to have worked with India’s pre-eminent artist Late Dr. Habib Tanvir. He is a recipient of Special Juror’s Award from the Quebec Drama Federation, award for promoting interculturalism by Montreal English Critic’s Circle, and the South Asian Theatre Festival Award 2012.
Michelle Lacombe (Montreal) has developed a uniquely conceptual body-based practice since obtaining her BFA from Concordia University in 2006. Recipient of the 2015 Bourse Plein Sud, her work has been shown in Canada and abroad in the context of performance events, exhibitions, and colloquiums. Her artistic practice is paralleled by a commitment to supporting undisciplined forms of art making. She is currently the director of VIVA! Art Action.
Moderator: Abby Lippman is a longtime feminist activist with special interests in women's health and women's health policies. Now a professor emerita, she has one foot still based in academia (specifically at McGill and Concordia Universities) and the other, the foot she favors, remains firmly planted in social justice and reproductive activism with diverse community groups in Montreal and beyond its borders.
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