Photo: C. Bujold and D. Jacques

Jacob Wren / PME-ART

A User’s Guide to Authenticity is a Feeling (Work-in-Progress)

Interdisciplinary performance

December

Wednesday 6 18h00

2018 marks twenty years of PME-ART. To celebrate, co-artistic director Jacob Wren is writing a book entitled Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART, a book he describes as “a compelling hybrid of history, memoir and performance theory.” But books about performance never feel quite right, or at least never feel like enough on their own. Addressing performance requires performance. Therefore, we are also creating an accompanying work entitled A User’s Guide to Authenticity is a Feeling. It is an artist talk turned inside out, an artist talk that tells more about artistic struggles and challenges than about any worldly success. This performance will also document the reactions all of PME-ART’s past and current collaborators had to the book. What they agreed with and what they found unfair, demonstrating how our shared artistic history creates collaborative dynamics that are complex. This performance asks: why do we do it, why do we continue to believe so stubbornly in the fragile but essential act of “being yourself in a performance situation,” and how do we continue to hope against hope that our destabilizing tangle of art and politics might still, in some small way, change the world.

Concept and performance:
  • Jacob Wren
With the contribution of PME-ART’s collaborators:
  • Martin Bélanger, Caroline Dubois, Richard Ducharme, Claudia Fancello, Marie Claire Forté, Adam Kinner, Sylvie Lachance, Gaétan Nadeau, Simone Moir, Laure Ottmann, Alexandra Rockingham-Gill, etc.
Technical Direction:
  • Mathieu Chartrand

Focusing on artistic collaboration, the work of PME-ART is an ongoing process of questioning the world, of finding the courage to say things about the current predicament that are direct and complex, of interrogating the performance situation. PME-ART’s past creations include the performances Every Song I’ve Ever Written, The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information and HOSPITALITY 3: Individualism Was A Mistake; the installations Adventures can be found anywhere, même dans la mélancolie and HOSPITALITY 2: Gradually This Overview, as well as Families Are Formed Through Copulation/La famille se crée en copulant, Le Génie des autres – Unrehearsed Beauty et En français comme en anglais, it’s easy to criticize presented over the last almost twenty years in more than forty-eight cities in Quebec, Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States. Led by Jacob Wren, Sylvie Lachance and Richard Ducharme, PME-ART was nominated at the 27th Conseil des arts de Montréal’s Grand-Prix in 2012.

Jacob Wren makes literature, collaborative performances and exhibitions. His books include: Unrehearsed Beauty, Families Are Formed Through Copulation, Revenge Fantasies of the Politically Dispossessed, Polyamorous Love Song (a finalist for the 2013 Fence Modern Prize in Prose and one of The Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2014) and Rich and Poor (finalist for the 2016 Quebec Writers’ Federation Paragraphe Huge MacLennan Prize for Fiction). Much of his performance work is made as Co-artistic Director of Montreal-based interdisciplinary group PME-ART. He has collaborated with Nadia Ross (Sto Union), Lene Berg, Tori Kudo and Pieter de Buysser among many national and international collaborations. He travels internationally with alarming frequency and frequently writes about contemporary art. 

Focusing on artistic collaboration, the work of PME-ART is an ongoing process of questioning the world, of finding the courage to say things about the current predicament that are direct and complex, of interrogating the performance situation. Performing as ourselves, we create actions, conditions and speech executed with a singular intimacy and familiarity. This intimacy reduces the separation between performer and spectator, opening up a space for thinking, tension, reflection and productive confusion. Full of paradoxes and contradictions, the work is often destabilizing. Such destabilization is not only about art, but also echoes the social and personal discomfort so often encountered in daily life. We believe the acknowledging of uncomfortable realities, instead of pretending they are not there, is of fundamental importance for the development of critical approaches that are generous and unpredictable.

See PME-ART’s Artistic Statement: http://www.pme-art.ca/en/