For Zitkalá-Šá, directed by Raven Chacon, performance documentation at Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, November 17, 2019. Photo: Rachel Topham Photography Ltd.

Performance: For Zitkála-Šá, directed by Raven Chacon

Sunday, November 17, 2pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre
149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

As part of the 2019 School for the Contemporary Arts' Audain Visual Artist in Residence, artist Raven Chacon will work with SFU students on the production and presentation of scores. For Zitkála-Šá features performances from Chacon's score series of the same name, as well as performances of scores produced through student workshops.

The notion of the score, while familiar in music, also has a history that spans the arts. A contemporary score can "take the form of video, objects, graphic notation, museological objects, and written instructions."[1] How can other disciplines learn from music's way of encoding tempo, pitch, dynamics and performative strategies? Producing a score allows artists a way to share their artistic ideas in notational form. It can encourage new ways of thinking about artistic methods and objects.

In Chacon's practice as a musician and visual artist, he uses experimental forms of notation in the creation of graphic scores. The score series For Zitkaála-Šá (2019 – ) links the Yankton Dakota Sioux writer, musician and activist to contemporary female Indigenous composers. The visual scores are accompanied by performance instructions, creating conditions for musical and performative interpretation. Chacon stipulates that the scores be performed first by the people they have been written for and, later, by other women. In this way, what the scores signify is first shaped by those people whose lives they index, foregrounding the agency of these women in interpreting their biographies. As part of this event, some scores from this series will be re-performed by SFU students, alongside scores that students produced through workshops led by Chacon.

Raven Chacon is a composer, performer and installation artist from Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation based in Alburquerque, NM and Toronto, ON.

[1] From the description of the exhibition Soundings, curated by Candice Hopkins and Dylan Robinson at Agnes Etherington Gallery, in 2019, which included Chacon's work in a series of commissioned scores and sounds for decolonization by Indigenous artists.


Documentation by Han Pham