Four performances to check out at Halifax's Art in Fest

For the third time, Halifax's OBEY Convention music festival is hosting a parallel series of art events in the Art in Fest series.

The works aims to foster a growing community

Beck Gilmer-Osborne's Prerequisites (Art in Fest)

For the third time, Halifax's OBEY Convention music festival is hosting a parallel series of art events in the Art in Fest series. This year, the series focuses on performance work as a complement to the musical side.

Hannah Guinan, director of Halifax's Khyber Centre for the Arts and one of the curators of the festival, says "There is an esoteric quality to a lot of the work showcased in Art In Fest as well as OBEY, yet both are inclusive and fostering to a growing community."

Here's a few highlights:

Anni Araujo Spadafora: Felt in the belly, known to be real

Thursday May 26, The Khyber, 10pm-2am, performed hourly on the quarter hour

Toronto-based artist Anni Araujo Spadafora (who also performs with her band New Fries at the festival) delves right into the esoteric, attempting to create a "collective hallucination" with her sound performance piece.

The frequency of 19Hz is known as the "edge of hearing", which is below the 20Hz threshhold of audible sound; instead 19Hz sounds are, for most people, simply felt in the body.

"Many people have mistaken ghost sightings or interactions with the paranormal from 19Hz sound consumption. So there's kind of a strange bodily experience with that sound frequency that I'm really curious about," Spadafora says.

Anni Araujo Spadafora's Felt in the belly, known to be real (Art in Fest)

Curiosity about the paranormal runs in the family: her grandfather was a medium, although, Spadafora says, "the scientific understanding of this frequency...would almost disprove his work."

Using an oscillator and vocal gestures, Spadafora's performance will be a controlled experiment into what transpires when a group is subjected to the sound. "I'm curious about what the consumption of sound in that very specific frequency would feel like. It's nicknamed the 'sound of fear.' Some filmmakers have included this frequency in horror films as a layer to kind of increase the feeling of fear and anxiety. It's this almost manipulative tool."

Beck Gilmer-Osborne: Prerequisites

Friday May 27, The Khyber, 6-8PM

Video and performance artist Beck Gilmer-Osborne is a NSCAD grad currently based in Toronto. Their work looks at gender and trans identities. "Prerequisites" is a performance piece exhibited as a looping video, looking at the medical industry and with the problematic idea of "passing" for trans people, especially for non-binary trans people.

"Successful passing is often seen as the end goal in the process of transitioning. As a non-binary trans person, the term does apply to me, since I do not identify with being a man or a woman. I do not see myself as moving from female towards male," they say, citing their privilege and ease in seeking hormone treatment through the medical system.

In the performance, Gilmer-Osborne inhales helium from a balloon to reclaim their former voice, counteracting the effects of taking testosterone, letting it eventually drop back to the lower register.

OBABY Workshop: Gonzago & Friends

Saturday May 28, The Khyber, 12-2PM

The music side of the festival is really focusing on the all-ages component this year, with free admission to unlicensed shows for anyone under 19, but Art in Fest isn't being outdone: it's providing art and music events for the toddler set with OBABY, a workshop where contemporary artists will lead babies and kids in activities like pudding painting, prop arrangment, drumming and a "video component" based on a public access television children's dance show from Chicago called Chic-A-Go-Go.

David Clark's The Smile Without the Cat: A Lecture about Aesthetics (Art in Fest)

David Clark, The Smile Without the Cat: A Lecture about Aesthetics

Satuday May 28, Art Bar, 5-6PM

Halifax media artist David Clark works with narrative performative and web-based work. "The Smile Without the Cat" is a choreographed performative lecture framed around the concept of smiles, taking Alice in Wonderland's Cheshire Cat as the starting point.

"What I'm interested in is storytelling that consists of small little narrative stories and then how we kind of slip from story to story to story using ideas and strange connections between things," Clark says.

"By talking about smiles, we can also talk about art," Clark says. "We respond to [smiles] sort of innately, but they can also be kind of contrived, so we use them artificially. And for me, that's kind of the way that you make art – you know it's fake but it's expressing something very innate."

Art In Fest. May 26-28/ The Khyber Centre for the Arts, 1880 Hollis St., and Art Bar, 1873 Granville St., Halifax. artinfest.org

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