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A new chapter of Lisa Anita Wegner's storytelling.

Filmmaker Performance Artist www.mightybraveproductions.com

Tag Archives: trauma therapy

In Toronto Canada, an arrogant performance artist declares themself amazing while refusing to show any facial expression.

 

When we reached out to the haus of dada for comment we received the following message in German via telegraph from curator Fritz Snitz. “Thin(k) Blank Human only does private performances for close friends, artists and cherished audience members and is not interested in speaking with you peoples.” -Ritzy Fritzy

Artist Would Rather Give Ownership of Her Work to Those Who Inspire, Than Those Who Can Pay.

Performance Artist’s Perceived Gender Affects Audience Reaction 

 

 

 

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Akhilanda Collaborative is a new creative collective based in Toronto Canada. It began with a circus and film collaboration for MASHUP, a Hercinia Arts Collective Event curated by Kirsten Leila Edwards. Click the link to read the story of how “the way back home” came together and who is involved.

Read about the original collaboration for a Hercinia Art Party

Here is a teaser of “the way back home” Day of Delight performance shot and edited by Tarquin Richards.


“the way back home” at Dufferin Grove Day of Delight 2016 from Lisa Anita Wegner on Vimeo.

I felt a deep therapeutic need to continue to collaborate with this group. We truly are more than the sum of our parts. When we decided to move ahead we were stuck for an organization name. It was because we were missing someone. As well as Ashley Hurlock, Tamara Arenovich, Lisa Anita Wegner and Ray Cammaert we added Mary-Margaret Scrimger. Here she is below.

And then we were complete. We immediately started a steady stream of creative projects. Live performances, large scale art installations and films. For me this is the ideal addition to my therapeutic art practise. A group who is creatively open, nurturing and understands the emotional landscape. This is work that heals me.

portrait of mary-margaret from Lisa Anita Wegner on Vimeo.

I wanted to post some teaser images and a video study from our blue screen shoot of the other day. Projects will be announced here and on our Facebook page.
https://www.facebook.com/AkhilandaCollaborative/?fref=ts

the universe in her underpants from Lisa Anita Wegner on Vimeo.

I’ll write more soon and share more about our process. I’ll also write a little about the Goddess Akhilanda. Here are a few more images of what we are up to.

Lisa Anita Wegner
Akhilanda Collaborative
Mighty Brave Productions
haus of dada.

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Lisa Anita Wegner

Lisa Anita Wegner

Dear Gaga,

My name is Lisa and I am a filmmaker, performance artist, curator, storyteller, light bender and space/time traveller. You inspire me tremendously, and I am writing to express my appreciation for what you have sparked in my work, beginning with Queen of the Parade, my first large-scale performance/fashion/video installation and the work that put me on the map as an artist. 

Rise and Fall of The Queen of Jupiter 2016

Rise and Fall of The Queen of Jupiter 2016

 

In 2008, I had hit hard times – I lost my film production company, all my savings, my heart and my mind. I collapsed getting to the Cannes Film Festival in 2008 and spent the next two years largely unable to function. In the Trauma Therapy Department of Women’s College Hospital, I found art therapy. I started a daily art-making practice that saved my life. I had gone offline and expressing myself in art and video was my lifeline, my communication with the outside world.

I remember the exact moment the idea for Queen of the Parade was born: I was walking my dogs and listening to “Marry The Night” after I had been binging on the BBC Series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. (I am obsessed with the gloriousness of Gypsy Fashion.)

That night, hearing your lyrics, “I won’t give up on my life/I’m a soldier to my own emptiness/I’m a winner,”  affected me profoundly, and set something inside me aflame. In a flash, I pictured myself as an enormous woman in a huge dress with a video screen on the front, with your song resounding in my head. I rushed home and wrote everything down in a crazy, inspired burst. This was the first step toward the 26-foot installation that was part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche in 2013; during the event itself, I listened to “Marry The Night” on repeat with ear buds while I was twenty feet in the air.


This led to my first commission by Partners in Art, who commissioned a gallery-sized 10-foot Queen. This was a terrific experience that enabled to connect more directly with the audience, and I didn’t want the performance to ever end. 

 


Something was awakened in me and this led to a whole body of work of experimenting on and off the space/ time continuum and speeding up and stretching out moments. I could finally breathe; I felt like I had come alive.


My new performing persona Think(k) Blank Human was born the following Nuit Blanche in Toronto as part of my installation TRIANGLE. I found comfort in her skin, and really came out of myself as a performer.

In 2016, I will be creating The Fall and Rise of The Queen of Jupiter, which feels like the natural progression of my work. This time, I will be kicking off my high heels and putting on Thin(k) Blank Human’s space boots, and I shall rise from a pile of fabric into a 40 foot Alien Queen. Instead of strutting, I will run and dance.

queen.jupiter.doc queen.jupiter.doc2

queen.jupiter.doc4

This performance piece will run 33 minutes and I would love permission to use extended versions of “Marry The Night,” “ARTPOP” and “Applause” as the soundtrack for the ascension. 

I am approaching Thelma Madine, the Gypsy dressmaker from the series, to design the Queen of Jupiter’s Gown, and I would love to have  permission to use those three songs.

This is my story of re-invention, and I feel like this is the first piece I’m presenting that is truly me. I’ve been searching for authenticity through artifice and I finally have landed on something. I feel extremely compelled toward this project. For women who have crashed and burned and for those of us who have gotten up, I feel it is our job to inspire others to get up and stand as tall as we can. You preach this every day, and this is one of the many reasons for my unbridled admiration.

Please let me know your thoughts me using your music for The Fall and Rise of The Queen of Jupiter in 2016.

An ocean of appreciation from my Haus to yours,
Lisa 

Mighty Brave + Haus of Dada, Toronto
bosslady@mightybraveproductions.com

p.s. Thin(k) Blank Human did many a cover of Marry the Night, she was so inspired.

 

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the first week after my full time trauma therapy ended, i did a pretty good job of mostly rest and self care. doing just the basics to get ready for my upcoming exhibits and performances.

last night i slept from 5:30 pm to 10:30am (whoa) and then today my brain could barely chug itself around making a cup of coffee.  i was confused all day and stressed because there were a few small details i had to figure out. i needed to call in a friend to help and now i am ready for the rest of the week, and i can mostly rest. my cognition can still drop out and then i feel like i can’t wrap my brain around much besides cuddling my dogs and making stuff.

i feel a little better now that i made this picture. and wrote this. making stuff is really the only way through for me.

exhausted

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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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Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 5.32.41 PM

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a migraine got me off track yesterday and unravelled my thinking by the afternoon. although i did get some sound creative work and some networking done early in the day. i am trying to get used to relaxing in to the cognitive unravelling and enjoy it. sometimes a few hours sometimes a few days- i am lost in the moment. now don’t get me wrong, i couldn’t be happier to have found the ability to live in the moment  that fully and now i have to blend that wonderful childlike space (which can be productive) with being reliable and deadline able. i realize this will be easier once i have more full time help again. having a place to work has really has helped and it will be christmas every day when I get back to my old production office life. i know how to streamline things now and i feel like my time will be so much better spent.

so this morning i felt clear, but my production to do lists were alphabet soup. i had a sense of the work i have to do. my next step is drinking water and i entered an online art contest- there is nothing like making a pixel painting to clear my mind. i entered a stock photo contest on deviantART.com. ok that is made and entered and i feel more clear.

last night after relaxing and a long walk, after not thinking about deadlines at all, i thought about my list and i had clear sense of everything i needed to do for the projects. simple avenues to get to the final product. next steps, who to talk to and what to do. alleluja. right now, not so much. but i know it’s there.

i just had an idea of how to keep the workflow going. i am going to think on it. i will meet with my PM sarah and download into her again to refresh and now i can give her financial info to keep things moving without me. and last time i did that i was very productive afterward. i think the human connection helps to ground my thinking. i have phone calls to make to schedule the last of my trauma therapy but phone calls are not the thing to move me forward right now. man. although i think i will drink another glass of water, stretch, look at my list so it can percolate and then procure some food. i’ll listen to some music and take it from there.

by the end of the day i will have accomplished some list items. i can smell it in the air and taste it my coffee.

lisa anita wegner

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