Victoria Stanton / The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred

November 9, 2016
Sub-project of:
May 24, 2016

As part of the yearlong project, The Sanctimonious Sect of Nothing Is Sacred, Victoria Stanton is inviting artists, researchers, thinkers, and practitioners of various disciplines – both within and outside of the arts – to present their reflections in an informal series of discussions around the question of Doing Nothing. The format is wide open so each presenter will determine how it is they wish to approach the topic, and engage the audience.
"Although I see (once again) how paradoxical it is to be making myself busy in the planning & carrying out of these events, it feels like this is nonetheless exactly the right time; an opportunity to collectively contemplate Nothing while the project is still happening (or not happening, as it were)."  Victoria Stanton


The first in the series is Toronto-based performance artist lo bil with a new work entitled NOTHING, non-progress of work a

lo bil  (Toronto)
November 9, 2016 at 7pm
Les Ateliers Jean Brillant
661, Rose-de-lima, Saint-Henri (métro Lionel Groulx)

lo writes: “I enter this time and space discarding any preconceived ideas of what this performance is.  I will navigate my actions by acting on impulse and questioning: What is this? Is this nothing? Why is this nothing? How can I encourage the presence of nothing? Why is nothing relevant right now? I will say what comes to mind. Within the hour, I invite you to notice whether any understanding of what nothing looks or feels like emerges.”

Of her process, she continues: “I study and think and write and move until it is time to perform. Then I practice letting go of what I imagined, in favour of experiencing what I could not have imagined.

This performance is occurring in order to research nothing.  I realize there are two conflicting meanings here:  (1) To research the concept of nothing.   Nothing as a topic;  and (2) To enter into a contentless research.  A research without reference.

In the duration of the performance, I’m trying to get to the place in my brain wherein I don’t know what I’m doing or why but an energy is moving through my body with clarity. Being in front of an audience speeds up time, so this energy from nothing might surface more readily.

Do I just wait for nothing to surface?  Or can I make nothingness occur somehow? I can listen for changes in the body and try to discern to what degree this state is close to nothing.

I speak transparently and move randomly, but I’m making choices about what to say and how to move. I’m navigating my way to the zone of not knowing, to make choices that I do not understand. Sometimes I give in to an action and realize I know why I did that, it’s something. So I let that go and try again to confuse myself.

Is the content of nothing performative? Will finding my nothingness connect me with all the other versions of nothingness out there?”

lo creates performative experiments to correlate research into process, pleasure, vulnerability, risk, memory, agency, labour, an aesthetics of the sensory, and the impact of a social location on identity. lo finds images through physical improvisations, spoken loops, and material interactions. Her work is raw, transparent, sometimes amusing and often involves a feedback loop with the audience.

lo has created work for: 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art, 25 Hours for 25 Years for DCAC, Month of Performance Art-Berlin, ITINERANT Performance Art Festival NYC, Duration and Dialogue (as part of the collective No Object), Words and [ ] a durational conference by School of Making Thinking, and Summerworks Performance Festival 2016 where she won the FADO Performance Art Centre Live Art Award. Upcoming performances include ASSEMBLÉE at Studio 303 for WIVES Collective (Montreal), Panoply Lab (NYC) and Flowchart (Toronto).

Past Projects

September 14, 2016
September 2, 2016