Labour Intensive

October 1 – 10, 2014

AGYU kicks off the Creative Campaigning: Performance as Resistance series with Los Angeles-based artist Heather Cassils. In collaboration with a diverse range of York student advocacy groups and associations, the action Labour Intensive works to further articulate their vision and needs on campus. Working towards a large performative piece, student leaders learn how to collectively identify issues and understand how art can play a central role in public awareness strategies. It strives to activate participation campus-wide on sociopolitical issues, educational concerns, and the promotion of equality.

No Pain No Gain.

We understand that activists are pushed to the limits for their cause everyday. Being an advocate is an exhausting and difficult job. Labour Intensive focuses on making that physical and emotional labour visible through a participatory performance piece highlighting the efforts that are expended in pursuit of social justice. Students will maneuver around campus, connecting the direct engagement of social action with that of corporeal action. The physical traces of the actual labour will be captured at the end of their run as they use their sweaty bodies to mark printing plates. Department of Visual Art and Art History printmaking students will subsequently transform the imprint into a poster highlighting the individual organizations’ causes. Labour Intensive illustrates that exertion is both an effort of the body and the energy of an idea, by asserting the body as both instrument and image.

Working alongside the Department of Visual Art and Art History, York Federation of Students (YFS), Creative Art Student Association (CASA), Trans, Bi, Lesbian and Gay Allies at York (TBLGAY), and the Fundamentals of Social Work, this campaign focuses action-research as a means of production through developing a process of negotiation and collaboration.

Artist Talk:
Activate TO Speaker Series

Wednesday Oct 1, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
Centre for Social Innovation, Annex
720 Bathurst Street

Workshop:
Positive Space Training

Tuesday October 7, @ 4:00 – 6:00pm
Fireside Lounge, Centre for Film & Theatre, York University
Refreshments provided
Facilitated by TBLGAY and hosted by the Creative Art Student Association, Positive Space Training is an information intensive course on how to become involved in creating a more supportive and inclusive environment for LTBTQ+ members on campus and in the broader community. The session covers topics of anti-oppression, inclusiveness, conflict management, and solidarity.

Action:
Labour Intensive

Thursday Oct 9, 3:30 – 5:00 pm
Keele Campus, York University
Campus-wide event with stations at Eleanor Winters Art Gallery (Winters College, Room 129) & Samuel J. Zacks Gallery (Stong College, Room 109)

Discussion & Presentation:
Heather Cassils & Zach Blas – Performance as Resistance
Friday October 10, 6:30 ­ – 7:30 pm
VideoFag, 187 Augusta Avenue

Creative Campaigning is curated by AGYU Assistant Curator Suzanne Carte and generously supported by the Artists and Community Collaboration Program through the Canada Council for the Arts.

AGYU: Out There running for the cause(s)

Heather Cassils is an artist who uses the physical body as sculptural mass with which to rupture societal norms. Drawing on conceptualism, feminism, body art, gay male aesthetics, and Hollywood cinema, Cassils creates a visual language that is at once emotionally striking and conceptually incisive. Bashing through binaries, Cassils performs trans not as something about crossing from one sex to another, but rather as a continual becoming, a process oriented way of being that works in a space of indeterminacy, spasm, and slipperiness. Forging a series of powerfully trained bodies for different performative and formal purposes, it is with sweat, blood, and sinew that Cassils constructs a visual critique and discourse around physical and gender ideologies and histories.

Cassils’ received an MFA in 2002 in Art and Integrated Media, from the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles and is one of the founding members of the performance group the Toxic Titties, (2000-2010). Recently Cassils was featured in Artfourm’s “Best of 2013 issue” and received a MOTHA award (Museum of Transgender Hirstory & Art) for Best Solo Show of 2013. Cassils was recognized by the Huffington Post as one of 50 Transgendered Icons as well as LGBT History Month: 30 GLBT Artists And Performers To Follow (2012). Recent exhibitions a include: a solo show at Trinity Square Video (Toronto)(2014), solo show at Ronald Feldman Fine Arts (NY) (2013), screening at the ICA (UK) (2013), performances at The National Theater Studio (UK)(2013), Rutgers University (NY) and Stanford University (CA) as part of PSI (Performance Studies International)(2013). Cassils’ work has been featured in many museums and galleries around the world, including The National Theater Studio as a part of the SPILL International Festival of Performance; J. Paul Getty Museum’s Pacific Standard Time at LACE, the One National Gay and Lesbian Archives (2012); and Ronald Feldman Fine Art in New York (2013). In an upcoming residency Cassils will be the “Thinker in Residence” at the SPILL International Performance Festival (UK)(2014).

Zach Blas is an artist and theorist whose work engages technology, queerness, and politics. Currently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo. Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; the 2014 Museum of Arts and Design Biennial, New York; the 2014 Dakar Biennial; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and The Moving Museum, Istanbul. Zach has recently published writings in The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; Women Studies Quarterly; and the anthology You are Here: Art after the Internet. His work has been written about and featured in Art Review, Frieze, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Mousse Magazine, The Atlantic, and Al Jazeera America. Zach holds a PhD from the Graduate Program in Literature at Duke University and an MFA in Design Media Arts from UCLA.

Image Credit: Ken O., Labour Intensive wordmark, 2014