TIME-BASED ART FESTIVAL ENERGIZES THE CITY
It's that time again. One of the most consistently good arts events in Portland, the Time-Based Art Festival, begins its 15th iteration on Thursday, Sept. 7.
It lasts 10 days and will bring to Portland such things as Moroccan contemporary dance, participatory rope bondage, prop-heavy satire, and sutured punk rock.
These times already are crazy, with ratings-led politics, selective amnesia, feelings over facts, and massive availability of all types of culture so long as you're prepared to access it on a screen. Some of these works are premieres, most are a year or two old. TBA artists have been mulling over the same craziness as we have, only it's their job to turn it into enduring art, not throwaway commentary.
Roya Amirsoleymani, PICA's community engagement manager, says artists often say they find Portland's audiences the most participatory of any they come across. Portlanders, apparently, are in "Pick me! Pick me!" mode, and the artists like that.
The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art puts on the festival, which takes place at various venues, including PICA's building at 15 N.E. Hancock St. Complete information can be found at www.pica.org/programs/tba-festival/tba17.
Here are some of the Portland Tribune's picks:
"Untitled," by Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Once he was the front man of Psychic TV, a band he disbanded any time they got near commercial success. Kids, his band Throbbing Gristle (1975-1981) were pioneers of industrial music. Then he moved to America, changed his gender, and now works on shows that embody the twin spirits of themself and their partner Jacqueline Mary Breyer, who died in 2007. Chaos magic? Shut your face, Pepe! GPO was doing it decades ago. If this is hard to follow, think of it as all-ages punk rock.
8:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 7, PICA at Hancock (free)
"They, Themself and Schmerm," by Becca Blackwell
Talking of preferred pronouns, Becca Blackwell has some fun with the language in this transitional tale. The blurb puts it best: "Becca engages in loving confrontation with the audience, asking what it truly means to be authentic in these meat carcasses." Try putting schmerm in your email sig.
8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept. 8 and 9, 6:30 p.m. Sunday-Monday, Sept. 10 and 11, Artists Repertory Theater, 1515 S.W. Morrison St.
"Notes of a Native Song," by The Negro Problem
The Negro Problem consists of guitarist Stew and collaborator Heidi Rodewald, in this case exploring the work of James Baldwin. This piece originally was commissioned by Harlem Stage in New York City. Baldwin's writings about being black and being gay in the 1960s resonate today, while his reason and good sense do not. Stew and Rodewalk also wrote the Tony Award-winning musical "Passing Strange."
8:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Sept 8 and 9, Lincoln Hall, 1620 S.W. Park Ave.
"Corbeaux," by Bouchra Ouizguen
Corbeaux is French crows. This dance is about how they gather. Ouizguen is a contemporary dancer from Morocco who is bringing eight traditional Moroccan dancers and hiring 30 local Portlanders to complete her simulation of a flock of birds.
5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 9, PICA at Hancock; 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10, Peninsula Park, 700 N. Rosa Parks Way
"Super Tantrum," by cvllejerx
Pronounced "kai-herricks," cvllejerx is an inclusive, de-gendered word for "street people" in Spanish. They say they strive to subvert heteronormative capitalist patriarchy through upcycling. You might say they are here to pop up at any time and have fun with the audience. They appear at various times and places but Wednesday the 13th is their big night.
10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13, PICA at Hancock
You wait all year for a gender-bending audience participation show and then three come along at once ...
"Bunny," by Luke George and Daniel Kok
George is from Melbourne, Australia, Kok was at Goldsmith's art school in London, so expect a little irreverence in this show about knots. (Making a bowline usually involves chasing a bunny down a hole.) George is a trained dancer, so the moves should look better than the tying. They use macramé, sailors' knots, Chinese knots and rope bondage to talk about "collectivity." Beware: Audience participation bondage can go wrong.
8:30 p.m. Sept. 14, 15 and 16, 4:30 p.m. Sept. 17, Brunish Hall, 1111 S.W. Broadway
"ZeroZero," by Sarah AbuAbdallah
She's Saudi, but she's RISD, too. Sarah AbuAbdallah has the Pacific Northwest College of Art Mediatheque all to herself to make multimedia art about the confines and freedoms of contemporary life in Saudi Arabia. Warning: cat content. "ZeroZero" is the name of a cat the artist dreamed of chasing. She uses the cat's story as an entry point to speak of loss, dreams and belonging.
2 p.m. Sept. 15, PNCA Mediatheque, 511 N.W. Broadway
"Retribution," by Tanya Tagaq
Tagaq was here two years ago and made an awesome noise. She combines Inuit throat singing with other vocal stylings as she fronts a capable rock band. "Retribution" is about all the horrors of Arctic life — mineral extraction, racism, sexism, etc. If you're not blasting "Uja" in your BMW you're not doing it right. Unmissable.
8:30 p.m. Sept 15 and 16, Lincoln Hall
Other features of TBA 17 include …
• The Works, a late-night after party with its own entertainment laid on, is always a place where artists and audience can mingle. It's every night at PICA at Hancock, and open to all ages (admission $10).
• The Institute used to be simple artists talks held in the afternoon, but this section has grown under the purview of Amirsoleymani, the PICA community engagement manager, to include guest scholars and curators in dialog with artists.
• Info: TBA 17 prices range from free to $25 for most shows. An Enthusiast pass for six major shows plus the Works and the Institute costs $150. An Immersion pass for everything costs $250. Again, for complete info, www.see pica.org//programs/tba-festival/tba17.