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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

Category Archives: art therapy

on a two week holiday break from full time trauma therapy, i had a profound experience today when i was meditating in the tub. i talked in an earlier posting about meeting ziggy stardust in my meditations (read the post here) and being compelled to do a live transformation at the black cat gallery in toronto in july 2014 called STARDUST: Life on Jupiter (see official site here).

since christmas i had come through a time of feeling super exhausted and my cognition has been dropping out mixed with bouts of very hard sleeping and inspired art making. even when i could barely move, i was compelled to draw with pencils. and then shoot and edit video in my lap:

so today i decided to meditate and consider what if this comfort, confidence and compunction inside my creativity would have come out as a child? and i got a clear vision of myself in public school getting my ziggy on and while this picture is not me, it totally could pass (like the fake puppy pictures of my rescue dogs).

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i did dress up and start young creative ventures: but i stuck to playing girls. orphans, pioneers and magic nannies were my childhood specialties. and now i feel free to play anything, human or otherwise, on or off the space time continuum. and i’m having way more fun.

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if i would have found my ziggy then, my current experience would be remarkably different. and just by imagining it, i feel everything opening up. i think i will add being a childhood ziggy stardust: rockstar alien to my fictitious history, and I’d cut a mullet without hesitation. that is when i finally give birth to my artist self in “The Fictitious History of The Haus of Dada” here is a taste of that multi year project. i’m just at the beginning of it.

happy 2015 everyone!

lisa anita wegner

 

 

 

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Call for Submissions: GALLERY1313 (http://g1313.org)

Lisa Anita Wegner, who has always loved unexpected sizing, is looking for extremely small art of any medium for TINY: a group exhibit which will on display for a month entirely in the Windowbox at 1313 Queen Street West. Please submit a jpeg with dimensions or the existing or proposed pieces.

Call for Performance Artists HAUS OF DADA: (www.mightybraveproductions.com)

Looking for a tall (6’2”+) slim male performer to perform with Thin Blank Human. Send us a picture, your height and performing experience.
http://lisaismightybrave.com/2014/10/31/performance-artists-perceived-gender-affects-audience-reaction/

Please contact Matthew or Patrick at hausofdadatoronto@gmail.com with TINY or THIN BLANK HUMAN as the subject line.

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This is What it Feels Like: Mixed Media sculpture by Anonymous (A)

When I was brought on to Gallery 1313 to co-curate the Windowbox I was keen to bring work that is created through non-traditional means. November 2014 I am proud to show “This is What it Feels Like” by Anonymous, a woman I met in 2011 in The Women’s College Hospital Trauma Therapy Department.  She told me how therapeutic making art is for her and she is happy to have been given art making as outlet in the SPEAKArt Program.

It resounded with me when A talked about feeling inhuman, like three unstable delicate floating balls, unable to ground herself without the help and approval of other people. She feels like she’s been put together like a delicate patchwork and despite trying to cover this with normalcy, her hiding was transparent. She feels her body is a flying machine too unyielding for her to steer. Her little useless limbs hanging there, taunting her. She needs so much support just to exist it’s like she can’t stand up without support. She feels that her loins, belly and heart are blown open for everyone to see into her. I could visualize this as she was talking. I encouraged her to create the piece for herself and asked her if she would feel comfortable showing her work in The Windowbox to help start a conversation and perhaps inspire with other abused women through making and appreciating art.

 
 
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Made with tissue paper, wood, wire and found objects this piece is disturbingly beautiful and delicate self-portrait of a soul in distress.
My artist finds it hard to leave the safety of her home and wishes to remain anonymous. I fee privileged to be able to translate this piece for her. I used found objects from other projects and took the materials to her home. Through a simple papier mache sculpture A manages to evoke a feeling of a lost woman and her unhinged journey. While she is delicate, floating and blown open there is hope: a butterfly has landed on her and her third eye is open. She struggles with society, trying to fit into clothing that is far too small. And this lady is wrapped in a bridal veil, which hides her hunched back because she feels a  societal and family pressure to marry and the noose-like rope around her neck was the final touch.
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She considers herself a shut-in and blushed deep when I called her an artist. A is empowered for having made the leap to have created something from her imagination and feels it  is helping her making peace. She will be there in spirit at the Opening.
 Lisa Anita Wegner

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Since Nuit Blanche on October 4th 2014, artist Lisa Anita Wegner has been performing as Thin Blank Human with her face and body completely covered in a white spandex suit. She talks about the surprising experiences of her audience interactions these last weeks as she talks to Fritz Snitz.

In the weeks leading up to Lisa’s third and last Nuit Blanche installation TRIANGLE: Ascension into Another Golden Age, Lisa discovered bending light with mirror film, a practise she calls Light Painting. Her mind was blown open so wide from this discovery she never recovered. In the days leading up to the event Lisa was not able to decide on an outfit for Mama Dada/ Space Guide. Several days before Nuit Blanche it all came together when Lisa found a white spandex morph suit and she never looked back.The Thin Blank Human came to life.10484925_10154646615130521_7406620484583067895_o
Q: On the eve of your Performance/ Projection/ Sculpture installation TRIANGLE: Ascension into Another Golden Age you were interviewed by local news and walked once to The Black Cat as The Think Blank Human, with only a headset and GoPro camera her your head. Tell us about that.
 A: My outfit really wasn’t coming together, and when I saw the morph suit I felt like I’d found it and I decided to put my original Space Guide outfit on a mannequin and be The Space Guide’s Soul. This also felt right for the light painting that I was excited to do. I decided I was the spirit of Mama Dada who travels through space and time. In the suit I felt comfortable and free, the only thing is I really can’t see. I had an interview with local news and I wore just the suit, the headphones and a GO Pro on my head. 
 
I noticed during that quick interview that people stepped and leaned away from me when I approached and talked to them. And stared ay me with with open mouths. Someone on Dundas Street said “that’s a dude” as I passed. I walked once to The Black Cat from Haus of Dada and got similar reactions. The wind was cold on my body and I had an impulse to put a dress over the white morph suit for my own warmth and comfort. Without testing it in advance I put a Mama Dada dress over my suit and went back out. 
 
I spent the  rest of the night in a performing in a white morph suit and a dress and more obviously a woman I got friendly reactions and TRIANGLE: Ascension into Another Golden Age was a a wild success. That night Thin Blank Human was born.
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Q: And then you performed a Strip Tease called Nothing To See Here. 
 A: Yes later in October I performed Nothing To See Here at The Canadian Alternative Arts Collective (of which I am proud to be a new member) and here is where the gender issue started to become interesting. That night I didn’t speak. I gestured to the writing on the back of my Flight Suit and then would do various strip tease dances out of the suit. 
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At first an older man said ‘You are spectacular, can I ask if you are a man or a woman?” I answered “I am a woman” and he said “really?” and stared at me longer. I said “yes my name is Lisa” and he seemed not to believe me. During this packed event I stripped out of the flight suit many times. A second man came over and said to me “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to punch you in the face.” I was surprised  and responded playfully but didn’t stop. Third guy said “I don’t want to see a man strip. Stop it it’s fucking disturbing.” I said out loud “I am a woman.”  I overheard another man say “that is not a woman, no woman would dance like that.” I also heard “no woman would wear that.”
 
Interesting. First of all who cares? These guys care. I was immediately reminded of friend and artist Steven Joseph, who was my MUSE for TRIANGLE, he is a male who is given a hard time on a regular basis by males who get angry with him for looking like a beautiful woman.  Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 10.36.04 AM
 
These small examples led me to believe that I want to further experiment with gender and the morph suit. So my female body shape and female voice do not trump the idea that I’m a man.  – October 27 2014.

Fritz Snitz is arranging for Lisa to perform NOTHING TO SEE HERE in New York City in 2015 following a series of performances in downtown Toronto. Tonight for Halloween Haus of Dada presents a Screening/ Performance/ Installation FREE SURGERY on All Hallows Eve where Lisa will be performing as The Faceless Dr. Wegner. 

More about Thin Blank Human Artist Would Rather Give Ownership of Her Work to Those Who Inspire, Than Those Who Can Pay.

More: Performance Artist Charging Art Collectors To Think About Her

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My 2013 Nuit Blanche piece Queen of the Parade curated by Patrick McCauley was a collaboration with Vanessa Lee Wishart which showed my work on an international stage and changed my life. This year is my third and last doing Nuit Blanche, at least for awhile.
TRIANGLE: Ascension into Another Golden Age is my Inner.Space send off.  It is a three location Ascension Experience: Projection/ Sound/ Wind / Performance/ Sculpture +InterGallactic GUESTS. The team has come together so elegantly and while there are always unexpected bumps in the road we are now in the home stretch. I am thrilled to bring this version of TRIANGLE to you. I have been experimenting all year with installations at Belljar Cafe, Moniker Gallery and The Film Buff. Having said that I might take a version of  TRIANGLE to ARTEL PHX next year. 

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Born from a few hard weeks of c-ptsd cognitive problems, this new improved projection light show at The Black Cat is perhaps the most amazing thing I’ve discovered in my experimenting with bending light. I have discovered a new element that takes my projections to another level.

I have an installation of gauzy curtains and netting in a womb shape that the audience enters into. With industrial fans and multiple directional projections in the gauze, when I tested it as part of a local art festival, it was extremely successful despite not being able to hear the healing sound track by Marshall Dragun. So I have a **special sound experience** for The Black Cat: Full Surround Sound brought to you by Sennheiser HDR170 and Haus of Dada.  We are still looking at some rentals for Quadrophonic Surround Sound for The Belljar Cafe, the last and most relaxing of the venues. 

Haus of Dada : The Invitation

The Black Cat: The Experience

Belljar: The Exhalation

 
Carolyn Tripp is my partner in visuals for TRIANGLE. She is the Executive Director of the Parkdale Film and Video Showcase and she will be designing the clear, clean visual environment for Belljar: The Exhale. She will also be designing and executing the TRIANGLE art that will link the locations. 
Marshall Dragun has worked with me all year on the soundtrack. The intent of the sonic accompaniment for TRIANGLE is aimed to re-establishing, in practice, similar principles of intended positive bio-celestial realignments. With the use of binaural solfeggio frequencies and isocrhonic tones, as well as sound samples captured from space, the journey is crafted with base frequencies that are believed by some to have a positive fundamental effect on the human experience and on life as we know it. The sonic journey is tied into the ascension process by moving upward through the scale of the 9 basic fundamental sacred healing tonal frequencies (174Hz, 285Hz, 396Hz, 417Hz, 528Hz, 639Hz, 741Hz, 852Hz and 963Hz). Ascension is ultimately attained by harmonizing the mind,body,soul through one experiencing the entire upward scale of these tones; thus allowing for the re-establishment of ancient celestial realignments ie. The New Golden Age.  Special musical guests are Stephane Vera (pictured) and Aris Plampe. 
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I am also very excited to be working with my TRIANGLE Technicians Wanda MacRae & Daisy Semkiw Blackburn, performers/ who will pull through the portal with me. Tarqin Richards is my intern who will be Inner.Space Videographer. 

My favourite special guest is the glorious artist Steven Joseph who will be my MUSE. I pulled him though my portal into TRIANGLE and he will thrill us with his extra terrestrial beauty and style. Come and catch a glimpse before Steven gets pulled  into another level Super Star Galaxy and we mere humans can no longer reach.

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After getting Steven onboard as guest I thought immediately of Matthew Del Degan’s LOVEBOTS as another addition to this world. I did a group show with Matthew last TIFF and have been in love with his BOTS ever since seeing them in person. I asked him for a full sized 8 foot LOVEBOT for in front of the Haus of Dada and Carolyn Tripp and I were hoping for an army of the small ones to connect the locations on Dundas. Matthew just told me his good news yesterday that since SPACE Network has done a piece on his LOVEBOTS Matthew is now in demand. So no mini LOVEBOT invasion along Dundas… he has bigger robotic fish to fry. I am hoping his project coordinator Roger can get us the original large LOVEBOT for the haus. 
 
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 Freeman Audio Visual’s great sponsorship I realized last week, was not the company but our guy Jason Tremblett. Jason changed us a fraction of the listed rental prices and would slip us additional and give us old equipment. He is on long term medical leave and the new guy assigned to us is a corporate sales person with no interest or understanding art. Jason saw the scope of the amazing work we are doing. New guy sees me as a client who has no money. Sad. He offered me a tiny discount and asked why I would want equipment that I can’t afford. I know it’s common to focus so much on money but I feel sad for Kyle- I asked twice if Jason was ok and he never answered. So I think I will say farewell to Freeman and let them get on in their corporate pursuits.
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So… I have borrowed enough projectors, screens and media players, now I think we’ll just do a simple rental of the Quadrophonic sound set up. Next week is testing everything and set-up lists. Anchors away! Space ships have anchors too.

 TRIANGLE is sponsors by Parkdale Village Arts Collective/ Gallery 1313, Partners in Art, Belljar Cafe, Forever Epic Films, Mighty Brave Productions & Haus of Dada.

Soon the website will include full project details and bios of our team: www.mightybraveproductions.com/triangle

Your until the USA drinks Canada Dry….
Lisa

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Dealing with c-PTSD for me can feel like I am a toddler: at times my cognition and problem solving drop out and I need to get help to do basic things. Like make toast, write a basic email, fill out a form, make a decision. The goal of all my trauma therapy at Women’s College Hospital is to give a toolbox of emotional and physical skills to help you come back from the edge. Basically to not drop out. That’s where the Parenting comes in. I”m now pretty good at seeing and symptoms in advance. And taking lots of time and asking for lots of help. 
 
As my close friends know, the way that I first managed to get out in the world after being too afraid to leave the house for almost two years in (2008-2010) was to feel 100% safe all the time. It was a long slow process of knowing who and what was safe emotionally and who would take the best care of me. And finding that balance I started to create boundaries shutting the rest of the world out. I left the house for medical appointments and friends would come and visit me, often one on one. I chose only those who treasure me to come into my world. As the years went by, I got better and better at choosing the folks in my work and personal circles. I am now surrounded by loving wonderful emotionally aware people who factor my well-being in.
 
So I opened up my world a bit at a time. Adding larger art projects that involved a creative team and choosing folks wisely. No talkers, no big promisers, only folks who come through on promises and finish things. I love finishers and nurturers. Kind and responsible ones. And I started meditating almost every day. From this hard daily work, daily art therapy and trauma therapy at the hospital I have a good balance.
 
I can keep this calm happy rhythm going for weeks. And then at times I am reminded of the S in PTSD. I have a stress disorder. And now that I am super organized, not rushed and not stressed I have a good base of my life’s tasks and my emotional state being under calm control.  When I do encounter routine stress especially when something is important to me, my cognition drops out to scary levels and my problem solving bottoms out to not being sure how to get back home. I have experience this drop out thousands of times since 2008 and each time it is terrifying because without reasoning and cognitive skills the world is terrifying. 
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v45Wtbk7s6I
Here is an interview with Katie Chats about my therapy art practise
 
So this Nuit Blanche, without city funding I don’t have the budget to hire a producer, like I had last year (I miss you Martin Edralin: who is doing amazing worldwide with his film HOLE). I have produced several small scale installations with the help of friends and interns and I will be fine here too. 
 
If I start to try to think my way into the tasks aggressively I can’t breathe and everything goes white. My body shoots chemicals like I’m getting ready to fight a bear. Fear in the space used to leave me spiralling for weeks and it is unimaginably awful there. And when I poke through the other end I am mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted.
 
But if I meditate myself into the right emotional space and trick myself that I don’t HAVE to do anything, then I usually can circumvent the system. Then feeling freedom from the stress disorder I can problem solve and write emails like a champ.
So the trick is to give myself slack while the clock is ticking on a project. Perspective always helps: it’s an Art Installation, not heart surgery. And I have an amazing concept, a terrific team and wonderful support. Once I get my brain and the Mighty Brave Productions magic back, we can bring to live the best Nuit Blanche experience that the neighbourhood Dundas Roncesvalles has ever seen!
Now I’m meeting Angela Chao, a friend who also started making art because of a brain injury. Our stories are so very different but we have a lot of things in common including symptoms and experiences. We are going to meditate together and look at my notebooks when I was one year in to healing (2009). I’m now six years in.
I do think from this experience I will enlist Sue Edworthy Arts Planning again this winter to see about getting funding to get me a part time producer.
TRIANGLE: Ascension into Another Golden Age is the project I’m referring to.  www.mmightybraveproductions.com/triangle 
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I feel better after writing out the experience.
Onward and upward
Lisa

Shannon Cochrane (FADO) sent me an audition notice for Will Kwan’s film, “If All You Have is a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail”. On top of my daily video and performance practise which is part of my trauma therapy, I had been reaching out to collaborate and work on others’ projects as well. I looked up Will’s work and was really drawn so I contacted him and set up an audition and was thrilled that I got offered the role.
So far in the art world, the artist fees have been minimal and I’ve donated them back to each exhibition/production. I make art full-time to tame the effects of c-ptsd and now enjoy regular exhibits, installations and talks about my Art Therapy Practise. I live on The Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) and I get volunteers, donations and sponsors per project. Six years ago I feel extremely ill and have been in Trauma Therapy at Women’s College Hospital now for 4.5 years. I found art making as a resource in SPEAKArt with Art Therapist Eva-Marie Stern. My art keeps me functioning and it’s now come full circle back to my previous career of being an actress and film producer.
Will’s project is an ACTRA production and I wasn’t sure if I was ready to re-activate my Union membership for multiple reasons. I am starting intense full-time trauma therapy in October for eight weeks and even the union dues were too much for my budget. But by this point I had read Will script and couldn’t see myself not taking the role. I used all my trauma therapy tools to figure out that while I still need a lot of help on some fronts, performing is something that comes easily and learning the lines felt fun, not stressful. I decided to do the job and contact ACTRA President Ferne Downy for help manoeuvring this gig through the ODSP system as it is part of my body of work, I couldn’t turn it down. But I am not healthy enough to head back into the working world.
And despite doing excellently well for months, this project being ACTRA and involving money stressed me out as it could affect my health insurance payments. I was installing a multi projection set up for an event at the end someone asked my name. I didn’t know my name. I couldn’t remember my phone number. I hadn’t dropped out memory like that in years. I realize often the S in PTSD stands for stress. When something is important to me it throws my cognition and memory off in extreme ways. This time I knew to look at my business card for my name. I immediately went home and rested and made some art. I have six years of experience of what to do when basic skills drop out.
So with Ferne onboard I accept the gig and start working on my 17 pages of script. I play opposite to Michael Man, who has a page or two and otherwise I speak the entire time. My character is driving while delivering this dialogue. A three camera set up with four long takes in a 30 minutes triptych film.
I worked on my script daily. I would either read it out loud our think through the details of the script and the flow of the conversation. I looked at real-estate websites to see the vibe of the successful agents and I slept well and took care of myself. The morning of the shoot I woke at 6am to walk my dogs and I was pretty fresh. And I felt good about my prep work.
The shoot was an excellent environment, a small crew and Will was sensitive to my needs as well as everyone else’s. I felt like a different part of my brain kicked in, a confident performer brain that despite heat and driving did a reasonable job with the huge amount of dialogue. I felt great. This was my largest role to date in a film. And it is interesting that while certain stress stops me in my tracks, with daily work and therapy art, I can be a high functioning artist. And with my family and a group of friends helping me every day, I can do amazing things.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the film installation.
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