Margaret Dragu / Justine A. Chambers / Kage, NEW NORMAL: an embodied novel, chapter 4, the bed is a portal, 2020, video, 9:37min. Courtesy the artists.

Margaret Dragu / Justine A. Chambers / Kage: NEW NORMAL: an embodied novel, Chapter 4, the bed is a portal 

Presented as part of The Pandemic is a Portal

An old woman and a young woman are in separate apartments. Although they are montaged together, their bodies could easily be one floor, one city or an ocean apart. The women repeatedly try to use their beds as portals, as places of potential rupture or as transformative platforms. Both women want to go someplace else. Perhaps they long to be someone else. Each woman enacts the same choreographic directives, which they understand to be a map or kind of application form to enter the imagined portals. In poetic and direct ways, NEW NORMAL: an embodied novel, chapter 4, the bed is a portal takes up the thinking of Arundhati Roy, as well as Mohsin Hamid’s Exit West (2017).

A version of NEW NORMAL: an embodied novel, chapter 4, the bed is a portal with verbal description is below:

Description by Cheryl Green.

In their work together, Margaret Dragu, Justine A. Chambers and Kage explore social architectures and the politics of urban mobility through gesture, choreography, text, chanting, video, music, and sound scores.

Margaret Dragu works in video, installation, digital and analogue publication, and performance. Spanning relational, durational, interventionist, and community-based practices, she has shown in Canada, the US and Europe. Dragu is celebrating her 49th year as a working artist. Her favourite art-making material is still the body despite, or because of, her bionic status as a grateful owner of two recent hip replacements. She was the recipient of the Governor General’s Award for Visual and Media Arts in 2012, Éminence Grise (2012) for 7a*11d, and the first artist in FADO's publication series Canadian Performance Art Legends (2000).

Justine A. Chambers is a dance artist living and working on the unceded Coast Salish territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh, Səl̓ílwətaɬ Nations. Her movement-based practice considers how choreography can be an empathic practice rooted in collaborative creation, close observation and the body as a cumulative embodied archive. Privileging what is felt over what is seen, she works with dances that are already there — the social choreographies present in the everyday. She is Max Tyler-Hite’s mother.

Kage has spent decades playing Taiko and collaborating with artists interested in pushing the boundaries of convention. With this pandemic comes concern and stress around the well-being of family and loved ones, and limited drumming outlets, prompting new ideas around collaboration. She is steeped in, thriving and surviving the present.  

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