Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) is pleased to welcome Oana Avasilichioaei as the Audain Visual Artist in Residence in January 2018. Avasilichioaei’s practice is concerned with textuality, polylingual poetics, the social and political forces/voices of the polis, and the intermediary spaces between word, sound and image, exploring the transgressions of these terrains through poetry, translation, performance, and sound work.
During her time in Vancouver, Avasilichioaei will do a public talk and multimedia performance, as well as visit interdisciplinary, graduate and undergraduate art classes and facilitate a workshop. In conjunction with faculty member Allyson Clay, Avasilichioaei will work with third-year visual art students towards conceptualizing and creating work for the annual student exhibition in the Audain Gallery. Conceived as a laboratory of research and making, her intervention will focus on unpacking various notions of border—border as wall, border as place, border in translation—proposing some theoretical and aesthetic reflections on its reverberations. Given current polylingual contexts, migration and displacement, wall-building and global-village thinking, various boundary disputes around the world, and the increasingly hazy distinction between private and public, this is a crucial moment to consider how one conceptualizes national, physical and personal boundaries, in order to discover whether productive crossovers are possible, as opposed to more rigid and entrenched responses. Some questions worth considering include: How do we enact borders? How do we translate them? What are the ethical implications of this translation? Is a language a border? By encouraging various translations/transpositions between text and performance, image and sound, text and image, the organic and the technological, materiality and musicality, etc., the lab will investigate the border as a potential in-between, porous space; disputed, yet also productive.
As part of her residency, Avasilichioaei will present LIMBS & THRESHOLDS, an immersive multimedia performance of poetic texts, involving layered voices and live vocal play, sampled sounds, effects pedals and electronics, a theremin, and textured projections of poems and images (created in collaboration with Jessie Altura). In a world where the political, linguistic and bodily border is a place of strife and violence, LIMBS & THRESHOLDS explores ways of rethinking the border by breaking down the boundaries between word and sound, sense and resonance, original and translation, image and reflection. Based on Avasilichioaei’s hybrid book Limbinal (Talonbooks 2015) as well as current project Eight Track, the performance presents a series of phonotopes, in-between places of sound and figure, orchestral and in flux, generative and inhabited.
Oana Avasilichioaei’s five poetry collections include feria: a poempark (2008; a poetic investigation of the fractured historicities of Vancouver’s Hastings Park), We, Beasts (2012, awarded the A. M. Klein Prize for Poetry; a textual architecture of orality, animality and the fairytale) and Limbinal (2015; a multi-genre polylingual work on notions of borders). Increasingly interstitial, her work has also gone outside the bounds of the book, encompassing various formats such as multimedia performance, sound work, photography, graphic score, and installation; recent multimedia performances include THRESHOLDS (2015) and MOUTHNOTES (2016). Also a translator of prose and poetry from French and Romanian, her most recent translation is Bertrand Laverdure’s Readopolis (2017 Governor General Literary Award for Translation). Avasilichioaei has performed her work and given talks in festivals, art spaces, universities, theatres and other venues in Canada, USA, Mexico and Europe and was the 2009 Writer in Residence at Green College, UBC and the 2010–2011 Writer in Residence at the University of Calgary. Her curatorial and collaborative work has taken numerous forms, such as founding and curating the Atwater Poetry Project (2004–2009), writing “Folding Borders: Experimenting in the Canadian Laboratory” (series of commentaries on Jacket2, 2011), and co-writing Expeditions of a Chimæra with Erín Moure (2009). Multimedia collaborations include videos such as “Mirrored” (with Jessie Altura, 2011), text for From what hand to speak (composer Adam Scime, 2015), and the libretto for Marionette (composer Anna Hostman, forthcoming). Avasilichioaei’s current book/beyond-the-book project is Eight Track, a poetic, sonic investigation of the multifold meanings of track and tracking. Based in Montreal, she frequently crosses borders.
Oana Avasilichioaei: LIMBS & THRESHOLDS
January 24, 2018 at 7:00pm
Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre
SFU at Goldcorp Centre for the Arts
149 W. Hastings, Vancouver