A Radical Cut In The Texture Of Reality

June 21, 2024

An excerpt from Individualism Was A Mistake (But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone)


The excerpt from Curieux manuel de dramaturgie pour le théâtre, la danse et autres matières à changement, from my text Individualism Was A Mistake (But We’ll Miss It When It’s Gone), that I read at the launch:

“With every collaboration I’ve ever been a part of, the overarching goal was to make something that would be performed in front of an audience. Collaboration was never an end in and of itself. For me, the idea of art has always been connected to the idea of an audience. I’m attracted to the possibility of making something and keeping it secret, but I’m attracted to it mainly because it undermines most of my key conceptions regarding art. For me, art is when you make something and attempt to show it to a large number of people over time. When you do so, you put your name on the line. You invite judgement. People can say you’re a good or a bad artist. (Or a good or bad collaborator? But since they weren’t present during the process how could they actually know.) As the prospect of an audience grows closer, this sense of an impending judgement always creeps into the process of the collaboration and often begins to dominate.

As we know, this business of the “artists name” is deeply connected to capitalism. An artist puts their name on a work so that they are able to profit from it. It is significantly more difficult to profit from a highly collaborative work. And the more artists involved in the work, the more difficult it is for each individual artist to profit from it. However, what I have found most depressing over the years is how difficult it is for a collaborative group to collectively profit from their collaborative work. Art institutions almost always gravitate toward presenting art as something made by a single name, no matter how many people worked on it. And despite all my longing for collaboration, I cannot deny the incredible charge I get from seeing my own singular name printed on a giant poster or on the cover of a book. For me, every time this happens, I feel a little bit like my ego is on cocaine (followed by the slight hangover of guilt for having such a big ego in the first place.) I worry this feeling is a large part of what has undermined my ability to make collaboration a more satisfying and effective part of my artistic life. Even though so much of my life has been dedicated to artistic collaboration, the cocaine-ego feeling of pushing my singular name too often wins out. I realize that many (or most) artists don’t even question this aspect of the state of things. Never question their name on the poster. Never question why their name is a priori the most important one when others worked on the project alongside them. I have questioned all of this a great deal but with what results? Nonetheless, I simply can’t live with the fact that so often the underlying meaning of art is that people accomplish things alone, that the artist makes the work and has a final say in its authorship. Since no one does anything alone. Everything is part of an interrelated web.


What is an artistically productive compromise? What does it look and feel like? I still don’t really know. But I do know that I absolutely don’t want it to be about sanding down your personality or your desires to suit the needs of the group. I am hoping for strong individual personalities that together search for, and hopefully often discover, a multitude of different ways to effectively work together. And find equally useful ways to manage the many conflicts that arise along the way. I don’t need to be less of myself in order to connect with your point of view. A compromise is not that I have to completely give something up, but rather that I come to see the value, in the moment, of doing something differently.”


[As well, as some of you might already know, Individualism Was a Mistake is also the title of a performance PME-ART made in 2008.]


June 5, 2024


Le jeudi 20 juin, joignez-vous à nous pour célébrer la parution des deux plus récentes œuvres de Jacob Wren, RICHES ET PAUVRES et LA JOIE CRIMINELLE DES PIRATES, traduits de l’anglais (Canada) par Christophe Bernard.

Plus d'informations ici: https://www.facebook.com/events/7405869036189772

Nous en profiterons pour souligner la sortie en poche de nos titres du printemps dans la collection Écho : MILLE SECRETS MILLE DANGERS d’Alain Farah, TESTAMENT et DRAMA QUEENS de Vickie Gendreau, JARDIN RADIO de Charlotte Biron, ORNITHOLOGIE de M.K. Blais, et MARCHE À VOIX BASSE de Nelly Desmarais.

Des rafraîchissements seront servis. Au plaisir de vous revoir et de trinquer avec vous!

Portrait de Jacob Wren : Justine Latour © Le Quartanier


The original English versions of these books are Rich and Poor and If our wealth is criminal then let’s live with the criminal joy of pirates.

A review in Le Devoir. A review in La Presse. And Jacob Wren's books at Le Quartanier.

Thank you to the translator Christophe Bernard and to everyone else at Le Quartanier.


May 29, 2024

Survival Technologies opens May 30th!!!

Survival Technologies
At Festival TransAmériques.
More information here: https://fta.ca/en/event/survival-technologies/

Produced by PME-ART

Creator, Director, Sound Design, Performer: Elena Stoodley
Co-Creator: Kamissa Ma Koïta

Visual Design: Kamissa Ma Koïta, Elena Stoodley, Bay Dam, Vladimir Cara
Set and Lighting Design: Paul Chambers
Assistant Set and Lights: Jordana Natale
Interactive Art Design: Bay Dam
Performer, Cultural Consultant: Jean Durandisse
Performer, Dance Consultant and Costume Designer: Michèle Jean-Jacques
Performer and Dance Consultant: Sophia Gaspard
Percussionist and Cultural Consultant: Karl-Henry Brézault
Artistic Consultants: Dana Michel + Karla Étienne
Artistic Facilitator, Dramaturgy Assistant: Jacob Wren
Artistic Contribution: Sonia Hughes
Producer: Sylvie Lachance
Technical Director: Vladimir Cara
Assistant Stage Manager: Nicoleta Stoodley
Production Manager: Becks Lefranc

Co-produced by Festival TransAmériques + Forum Freies Theater (Düsseldorf) + Festspillene i Nord-Norge (Harstad)
Developed with the support of National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund (Ottawa)
Presented in association with Agora de la danse + Tangente

Premiered at Festival TransAmériques, on May 30, 2024

Read a review here: https://ruinaacesa.com.br/survival-technologies/


May 22, 2024

From 2015: My Apologies


I wrote this in 2015:

"Guilt is conservative. We are all implicated in more ways than we will ever know but shouldn’t feel guilty. We should be angry, must become open to an anger that experiences possibilities everywhere, that opens towards genuinely other ways of seeing our predicament and where it might first or most crack."

From this novel I started but couldn't finish: My Apologies


May 10, 2024

Lilly Dancyger Quote


"I always tell my writing students not to try to wrap things up in a neat little bow when they’re actually complicated and unresolved. That the lack of closure can be a better ending than manufactured closure that’s not genuine. The parts of the story that don’t seem to fit together can often be where the real story is. I encourage them to look for those spots of friction and write into the complexity. That’s where the good stuff is."
- Lilly Dancyger

From this interview: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/finding-the-story-a-conversation-with-lilly-dancyger/


May 7, 2024

protest music


The fact that it's Macklemore who's bringing the protest music wasn't on my bingo card: HIND’S HALL.


April 24, 2024

many false starts


Between writing novels, I attempt to start writing new novels, many false starts. Why does one of the starts eventually take while the others don't? Not a reason but a feeling. Mostly a feeling that I don't know where it's going but I want to find out.


April 16, 2024

Miguel Gutierrez Quote


“Living longer means you witness the daily onslaught of stupid and mean that passes for reality.

Living longer means you witness the toggle between progression and backlash, over and over like a tennis game from hell.

Living longer means you meet young people who are better or worse versions of who you once were.

Living longer means you draw the logic of your perspective into a latticework of meaning that purportedly helps you see patterns, something you might call “maturity.” But more often than not it feels like you’re just decorating a cage of your own design, rendering yourself unsupple and resistant to change.

Living longer means coming to terms with whether or not this is true, every day.”

- Miguel Gutierrez, Aging Awfully


April 4, 2024

Two Robert Wyatt Quotes


Ryan Dombal: “…your career is a good example of how being an underdog isn’t necessarily something to overcome.”

Robert Wyatt: “Well, that’s about the nicest thing anybody’s said to me in years. I hope that’s the truth. It’s not even a moral question. It’s a question of pride. You have to be able to look at yourself in the mirror, and I don’t know how some people do that. God knows I’ve been so wicked and selfish in the past, but nevertheless, I do really think the things I think and support the people I support. I would encourage people to realize that you don’t have to panic if you’re not part of a mainstream or if you find yourself outside the flow. If it doesn’t suit you, don’t go along with it. Just sit it out and get your stuff done. Don’t just sit moaning or getting drunk—I spent some years doing that. But if you can just come up with something of your own, however minor it is, that’s going to be easier to live with when you’re at the end of your life.”

– Robert Wyatt

From this piece: https://pitchfork.com/features/interview/9544-robert-wyatt/


“I kind of had nervous breakdown in ‘95. I felt burnt out before my time and just collapsed. I just didn’t want to be me anymore. I was tired of it, though not suicidal. A lot of the stuff we’re talking about is me attempting to find an identity outside of the given one, whether it’s listening to Spanish music or Russian communist music or black music. They’re all ways of getting out of the prison of self, really. But at that point, I couldn’t get out. I just felt trapped. Maybe that was a decade-late delay about the accident – at last, the difficulty I was in kicked in. Alfie and I spent most of our time in a sort of fancy wooden cabin on the coast at this point, half an hour away from where we lived in Lincolnshire, and there was no electricity. We didn’t even have records. We listened to stories you could get on cassette.

I got some treatment. I actually went to the doctor and went to anxiety management classes. Alfie said, “I can’t handle this at all,” because I’d gone mad. She’d dealt with everything up to that point, but not that. I came out of that and started working on a record, which became Shleep, and that’s really what took me out of it.

I’d been making records on my own, and somebody said, “Why don’t you get some other people in? You don’t have to marry them. They can just spend a couple of days at your house and do a song with you.” And I thought, "Why not?" From that point on, my records got more crowded. [laughs] It’s helped me. I made two or three records totally solo, and I was going mad in this musical isolation. I just felt so cut off from the world.”

– Robert Wyatt

From this piece: https://pitchfork.com/features/5-10-15-20/8776-robert-wyatt/