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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

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“One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes.”           -Volt, Futurist Manifesto Of Women’s Fashion (1920)

Gallery 1313 is excited to have Paula John’s Celluloid Dress on display in the Windowbox for September 2015.

Celluloid Dress plays with the relationship between two technologies that creator Paula John uses in her art practice – sewing and 16mm celluloid filmmaking. Inspired in part by Volt’s “Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion,” this wearable dress is made from over 250 feet of exposed 16mm film from one of John’s own films and nylon mesh. LEDs stitched into the skirt illuminate individual frames and project the images onto nearby surfaces for a truly stunning effect.

This amazing piece will be on exhibit in the Windowbox for September, during the period when the city’s attention turns to film with the Toronto International Film Festival. Celluloid Dress will provide viewers with an entirely different twist on what film can be, and stimulate their imaginations to consider other uses and convergences for familiar technologies.

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

Paula will be giving an Artist’s Talk at the reception on Sunday, September 13th from 3-5 p.m. This will be an excellent opportunity to meet a unique artist and view one of the results of her creative vision.

-Lisa Anita Wegner, Windowbox co-curator for Gallery 1313

Artist Statement

Celluloid Dress is a performance-based installation that combines the mediums of sewing and 16mm filmmaking to explore the numerous similarities between the two technologies. I was inspired by the early twentieth century Avant-garde art movement Futurism, and in particular the 1920 Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion by Vincenzo Fani (Volt). In it he declares,

Women’s fashion has always been more or less Futurist. Fashion: the female equivalent of Futurism. Speed, novelty, courage of creation… Fashion is an art, like architecture and music…Women’s fashion can never be extravagant enough… The reign of silk in the history of female fashion must come to an end, just as the reign of marble is now finished in architectural constructions. One hundred new revolutionary materials riot in the piazza, demanding to be admitted into the making of womanly clothes. We fling open wide the doors of the fashion ateliers to paper, cardboard, glass, tinfoil, aluminum, ceramic, rubber, fish skin, burlap, oakum, hemp, gas, growing plants, and living animals.[1]

The Futurists valued speed, dynamism and new technologies, and were interested in transforming all sensory aspects of life. This extended to art, literature, music, food, architecture, and even fashion. In the spirit of the Futurists I developed a project in which I could combine two technologies that I use in my art practice: sewing and filmmaking. I merged the two technologies by first sewing a dress out of film. The handmade dress was sewn entirely out of 16mm celluloid film and nylon mesh, using approximately 250 feet of one of my films. I stitched LEDs into the skirt, which illuminate individual frames and project the images onto nearby surfaces. I then physically linked the two technologies in a performance, using a film loop to connect the sewing machine and the projector.

There are a number of similarities between sewing and 16mm film making, the most explicit being that Singer, the leading manufacturer of sewing machines, also made 16mm projectors. There are also parallels between the machines themselves. Both a sewing machine and a projector are threaded; both machines have a spool and a take up; both machines make similar sounds; tension is important; and the presser foot and the film gate serve essentially the same purpose on their respective machines. Even the movements of the machines reflect each other with the spinning of the reels and of the balance wheel. The process of editing a film is also similar to sewing, where shots are stitched together. The type of 16mm filmmaking that I personally engage in shares strong similarities with the act of sewing. Both processes take place within my home at the kitchen table. Both sewing and analog filmmaking are highly tactile and laborious practices where the physicality of the medium is emphasized.

For the performance aspect of the piece I project a copy of that same film through a 16mm projector on a continuous loop. The film loops through the projector and physically moves throughout the space through the use of pulleys attached to the ceiling. Approximately fifteen feet in front of the projector sits a sewing machine, which has been modified to add a film gate, allowing the film to pass through it on its loop. During the performance, I sit at the machine while wearing the film dress and sew the film as the projector drives it forward. The film is projected on both the sewing machine and my body, and as I sew, holes are punctured in the celluloid abstracting the image. Eventually through this process as more and more holes are punctured in the film the filmstrip is completely destroyed and breaks apart.

Bio

Paula John is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar based in Toronto. She has been exhibiting her work (including photography, film, textiles, installation, and performance) since 2003. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photography, and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Documentary Media from Ryerson University, and a Master of Arts degree in Communication and Culture from York University. Some of the themes explored in her work include, gender, sexuality, feminism, and performance. Paula is currently working towards a Ph.D. in Theatre and Performance Studies at York University.

[1] Volt, . “Futurist Manifesto of Women’s Fashion.” Trans. Array Futurism: An Anthology. . 1st ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009. 253-54. Print.



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February 23 2015 Fritz Snitz for the haus of dada

Canadian Filmmaker Performance Artist, Lisa Anita Wegner was curiously missing from the opening party of Phil Anderson’s Sex Show V at Gallery 1313 on Queen Street West.

Still from Eva Gets a Better Job (2008)

Still from Eva Gets a Better Job (2008)

This group art show includes Eva Gets a Better Job (2008) a short film of Wegner’s. The opening on January 19th was a booming success and it was a shame the artist wasn’t there.

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Curator Fritz Snitz announced was forced to perform  (mī′grān′) at haus of dada in Toronto and was unable to make the Gallery1313 event.   (mī′grān′) performance poster

The Following day Ms. Wegner performed as Thin(k) Blank Human “Tech Scout for The Fall and Rise if The Queen of Jupiter” at Walker Court at The Art Gallery of Ontario. Afterward she teleported to The Artist Project. Photos by Angela Chao.

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The Artist Project with Adrienne Dagg

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Coming soon: Thin(k) Blank Human BadAss.
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Lisa Anita Wegner is a filmmaker, producer, curator and performer who is accustomed to working in small local art galleries and screening venues in Toronto Canada.  Working with established curator Patrick MacCauley, Wegner got a taste of working large-scale when she was the 26 foot tall Queen of the Parade in front of an enormous audience for Scotiabank’s 2013 Nuit Blanche.

 

 

This led to several seasons working with performance in multi media environments, exploring soundscapes as well as video. In 2014 Wegner played a lead role in a scripted film, her first in six years, acting as the Caucasian Agent in Will Kwan’s http://www.reelasian.com/festival-events/if-all-you-have-is-a-hammer-everything-looks-like-a-nail/ commissioned by Reel Asian International Film Festival. She brought her team back to create  a Ten Foot Queen of the Parade the Partners in Art Annual Fundraiser, which Wegner says felt like her coming out party, meeting the Toronto Art World.

 

“I can’t stop performing. It was a thrill to be back on a traditional film set for Will Kwan just as much as it is to don by Thin(k) Blank Human outfit and perform my deepest soul searching in my studio. I always knew I loved it but now that it’s a daily practise I truly can not stop.”

 

Wegner is known for mentoring several artists and filmmakers per season at her studio Haus of Dada, so it makes sense that she would enjoy the benefits of mentorship herself. In a recent meeting with her Anonymous Mentor Artist, Wegner was told to think bigger and focus on the Male Rockstar Swagger that she developed after STARDUST: Life on Jupiter? at The Black Cat in 2014.

And then came the magic words to Wegner’s ears,

“Follow that swagger and dream a breakout show. I can see a collaboration. There might be an opportunity soon, and I’d work with to bring it to life.”

Wegner and her team are currently preparing to lift the curtain and to prepare the world to meet Thin(k) Blank Human Faceless RockStar. Lisa Anita Wegner wants to make her mentor proud.

-Fritz Snitz for Haus of Dada *The Fictitious History of the Haus of Dada* 2015

Another project from the Haus : Lisa Anita Wegner collaborating with a five year old artist on TARGET:

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During the makeup test for my upcoming performance/ live art making/ projection show STARDUST: Life on Jupiter? makeup artist Wanda MacRae and I created a universe we both wanted to play in.  We talked about the elements that we had in place and with that created a very simple performance based around the haircut, makeup and styling which transforms me into David Bowie’s character Ziggy Stardust in 3.5 hours, covered by entertainment reporter Katie Uhlmann, three go pro cameras and two art video interns that are “Stardust Technicians”.
Soundtrack by Wanda MacRae based on our mutual love of Bowie, Gaga, Boy George and a few other inspirations. My projected Stardust Video Studies will loop on the back wall of the gallery for the entire event.
I enter the gallery at 7pm with my wet hair in a towel, wearing a white lab coat. While my hair is pre dyed under the towel and my eyebrows are pre waxed and drawn on, I look essentially like myself. Wanda, the makeup artist is the “STARDUST Surgeon” as she is responsible for my transformation of my head. Wanda and I met performing with Erotic Nightmare a Rocky Horror Picture Show cast (I was Brad she was Janet) so we inserting a Rocky Horror feel. Our all female surgical crew will be dressed fashionably yet medically and have Wanda’s implements on silver trays. Both STARDUST Technicians are art video interns, they will have matching Canon Cameras and their second job is to record the event as creatively as they see fit. They will have the Stardust Lightning bolt on their faces.
I will sit in a hairdressers chair in the window of the Black Cat Gallery and absorb the feeling of the transformation while Wanda works. Once my hair is cut and styled I will put on one blue contact lens and partially dress under the lab coat, for the makeup portion.
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To build toward the ending, the white face powder will be brought out on a mirror by one STARDUST Technician while the second technician brings be a carton of whole milk. During the time Bowie was Stardust he imbibed only cocaine and whole milk. My white powder is face powder but that doesn’t mean we can’t cut it with a credit card. And I will be handed the whole milk, a treat for me once I’m STARDUST complete. I’m hoping Maha Richi, a stylist I’ve known since high school who is dressing me will be able to be there to put jacket/  the final touches on me for the cameras.
The STARDUST Technicians will countdown and pop glitter canons to signify the transformation is complete. I will mingle for the rest of the evening enjoying my milk after my Stardust Surgery.
Off all the wonderful work I have had the privilege of doing in recent years, this is what I’m most excited for. To see how it feels and how the world treats me when I have an orange mullet and no eyebrows.
The rest of the week I’ll be pulling my art practise from The Haus of Dada into The Black Cat gallery 2-6pm. Also by appointment in the evenings. I invite to come watch, play, interact, co- create or just look through the window while I play, shoot, edit, score and project as I work.
Wanda and I doing makeup test.

Wanda and I doing makeup test.

Closing party I’ll be Ten Foot Tall Queen of Stardust, with glorious rainbow gown by Vanessa Lee Wishart and video legs by Forever Epic Films.

Sneak peek at Vanessa Lee Wishart’s glorious rainbow gown for closing party

Thanks everyone who has helped me bring this to life.
Cheers and as always thanks to David Bowie himself, the quintessential artist mentor.
xo Lisa Anita Wegner

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To embrace the high angle and tall shape of The Window Box I found myself looking up into the empty Gallery 1313 Window Box space while contemplating what I wanted to fill it with. While I was contemplating someone took a picture of me. I have been fascinated by the fact that so many Smart Phone users now choose to interact with the world through the lens of their phones, constantly taking photos and video of everything that they experience and interact with. Even more fascinating is their desire, at events such as concerts, to take pictures of themselves with the action in the background, with this seemingly as important a part of the event as witnessing it firsthand. As an installation and performance artist, I have been struck by how a good 80% of the audience opt to look at my work through their phones.

 

The installation #windowboxselfie that will be in Gallery 1313’s Window Box during July of 2014, is designed to play on this compulsion, creating an invitation to its viewers to create a self-portrait while they take a picture of an art installation. The round mirror angled toward the viewer shows their face while jewel-tone film gels create a halo around their face. Mirror film with RoscoFlex S lighting gel creates a surreal reflective surface, giving the viewer a playful saint-like self-portrait created from their own reflection, in a celebration of the self made possible through new technology.

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The title #windowboxselfie is printed in on the glass front of the Window Box so that it will be captured in each photo taken; and this will result in the Window Box exhibition space itself proliferating in self-portraits posted on social media.

 

Through the artist’s and Gallery 1313’s online social media, there will also be opportunities for viewers to see the best of submitted selfies, and vote for those they like best in various categories, continuing the interactive nature of the installation.

 

#windowboxselfie was created by Lisa Anita Wegner, and continues the trends of her recent art practice in its use of found objects, and the theme of reflection. This installation in particular focuses on using film expendables for the majority of its construction, creating extra layers of meaning in using film supplies to create a ‘set’ that then encourages people to make their own ‘filmic’ records.

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Construction and design expertise was provided by Nikolai Berda of Longbranch Design, a company which specializes in providing design solutions for professionals in various creative fields. This is the third collaboration between Lisa Anita Wegner and Longbranch Design, with their design and fabrication skills having previously brought her installations for ScotiaBank Nuit Blanche 2013 and ARTrageous Art In Motion 2014 to life.

 

Materials for the installation have been supplied by The Haus of Dada, Lisa Anita Wegner’s film and art collective, with additional funding provided by Partners In Art.  Process video by Lisa Anita Wegner

 

We encourage taking and tagging of #WINDOWBOXSELFIE selfies. We will choose from the most interesting ones and prizes will be awarded and at the end of the month. So come to Gallery1313 at 1313 Queen Street West, take a look into the mirrors and take a picture of yourself.

 

The only thing missing is you.

 

Here is a short video of how we made it

 

 

Taking a Selfie Has More to Do With Self Worth Than You Realize: Read what Molly Fosco at Huffington Post has to say

 

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instagram @gallery1313 @lisa_anita_wegner @longbranchdesign

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A message I got from WordPress: “A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,200 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 37 trips to carry that many people. In 2013, there were 7 new posts, 9 pictures uploaded.” I felt like I blogged more than seven times last year. This Churchill quote about the Battle of Britain makes me chuckle when I think about it in terms of blogging: “Never Has So Much Been Said About So Little (and read) by So Few”. I’m going to blog more often and more thoroughly from now on. The shape of my art practise is to document my days and my experiences in pictures, moving pictures and installation art. I think for 2014 I’m going to add words to that mix more deliberately. There was an interest from Cormorant Books last year in the story of how art saved my life, but it didn’t flow yet. Perhaps a few years premature. I won’t be writing it myself, however, blogging gets the words out of me for a writer to shape down the road.

Finding a performing persona is on my mind: I never thought something like this would ever be of interest to me- I’m such an authenticity junkie. I realized the type of persona I am looking for it something brought forth from a part of me that I am comfortable with, something I am authentic within. And then blow that aspect up larger than life, into a persona to play with and have access to for use in my installations. This persona quest is working toward a specific performance in October, but now I want to find it for myself. I have dropped into my body very deeply in the last few months. And I realized that while I am very physical and thought I was in tune with my body, I never use my physicality as part of my storytelling. I started to free that part of me, and I’m looking forward what might grow out of it. I remember being a bear mascot years ago and when I was completely unrecognizable I was dancing hard and audience was responding. I want to find that freedom in a less heated less furry suit. I want to find that freedom in my own skin. Then I can really do something. Now that I’ve spent an intensive five years of truthful self investigation, and the last several months amping up the listening, I feel ready to transform this authenticity and comfort into a real story telling tool. I love performance installations and realize I will probably do these for the rest of my life.

Steps toward finding this: Research by trying on other personas that I find fascinating. Personas that helped artist come into themselves. My first live transformation in a gallery will be LAW of TRANSFORMATION: Research: Ziggy Stardust. Transformation by yours truly and hair and makeup by Wanda McRae. I am shockingly stoked to have no eyebrows and an orange mullet. Or Moulet as I will call it when it’s on my head.

My brain is so deep into my next year of art and film production- and it fulfills me and clarifies what’s important. I don’t know what I ever did when I was just making films and had no daily creative output. I could never go back. And I could never go back to not meditating either, I can’t stop listening. I have never been healthier,  happier, more certain, more calm and more sure I am doing things in life that are best for me. Two thousand and fourteen, bring it on. I am ready for you with open arms.

Blogs: Never before have so many written so much to be read by so few. Amen.

Happy New Year

LAWthe law of ziggy

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