A global party will get underway on Friday January 17 to celebrate Art’s Birthday . Every baby has a birth story and in this case legend has it that Art was born one million and 51 years ago when a sponge was dropped in a bucket of water. This momentous occasion was first acknowledged by Fluxus artist and poet Robert Filliou in 1963 and has since been celebrated by artists around the world ( artsbirthday.net ). “That was his idea of kind of creating an origin of art a million years ago on that day” says Tomas Jonsson of M:ST which is participating in the local event. He adds that Filliou who also had a January 17 birth date visited Calgary several times during the 1970s and believed in the importance of public participation in creative endeavours. In that spirit the public is welcome to join the party and take part in activities at Emmedia which is hosting along with M:ST the Ladies’ Invitational Deadbeats Society (LIDS) FUSE Magazine and Frosst Books ( mstfestival.org/festival ).
The three artists with shows opening at the Esker Foundation on Friday January 17 share an interest in architecture and design ( eskerfoundation.com ). Peter von Tiesenhausen’s Experience of the Precisely Sublime explores the integration of art architecture and place; Cedric Bomford’s Concrete Logic include the artist’s Prague Air Vents a series of large scale photographs that act as both studies of and investigations into the folly of civic architecture; and Tobias Zielony’s Vele is a photo- and video-based series on the legacy of Le Vele di Scampia a monumental Brutalist housing complex in northern Naples built by Franz Di Salvo in the 1970s.
A performance that will showcase contemporary choreographic works by Alberta Ballet ’s Yukichi Hattori (pictured) and Alexandrous Ballard has sold out. Up Close which focuses on new work by emerging artists is now in its third year. The show runs January 21 to 25 at the Nat Christie Centre and includes two new works Hattori’s Temple and Ballard’s The Precise Nature of the Catastrophe along with ruin/time another work by Ballard that premièred at the 2013 High Performance Rodeo.
And now to the 2014 High Performance Rodeo where three new shows join the lineup this week ( hprodeo.ca ). Former Calgarian Bruce McCulloch first gained fame on Kids in the Hall and is back in town for his one-man performance Young Drunk Punk running January 16 to 18 (see story in this issue). On January 22 members of the U.K. and German artist collective Gob Squad will head out into the streets of Calgary armed with video cameras then reunite at the No. 1 Legion for the one-night-only Super Night Shot a show based on their experiences. (If you can’t make that one wait a couple days for their other Rodeo show.) The third show opening this week is Do You Want What I have Got? A Craigslist Cantata a musical comedy featuring Veda Hille Bill Richardson and Amiel Gladstone that runs from January 22 to February 1.