JULIAN HIGUEREY NUNEZ AND HENRY ADAM SVEC: NUIT BLANCHE SURVEY AND CRITICAL RACE Courthouse Square, 10 Court. See listing.
Julian Higuerey Nuñez and Henry Adam Svec are engaged in a long-standing battle about the nature of performance art.
As fellow residents at the Banff Centre, their argument started in a cafeteria. Svec says Nuñez claimed that performance art as it is currently understood is dead. Svec responded that all activity is performative.
"All those desserts you're eating? I'd call that a performance," he recalls telling Nuñez.
Actually, both men are performance artists. Svec thinks performance art is rooted in time, which is in turn deeply rooted in human experience. Nuñez believes thinking of "performance" as separate from the space of the environment is absurd, since human activity is best described as a continuous plane of actions, reactions and forces.
"The best way to put it is that I'm a Heideggerian and he's a Deleuzian," quips Svec.
Their upcoming endurance performance piece sounds more like a reality TV challenge. Think Iron Chef meets The Amazing Race. The two artists have vowed to critique every single event at Nuit Blanche.
Equipped with mobile devices, transport (Svec is relying on running shoes and Nuñez on a bike) and their critical training, they hope to cover Nuit Blanche as it has never been covered before.
Given that there are over 150 officially listed events, it's a daunting proposition. Their own station at 10 Court will constitute the finish line. Nuit Blanchers can follow their progress on a monitor there throughout the night.
Meanwhile, like boxers before the big night, they continue to ratchet up the tension. This includes rival trash- talking Twitter accounts. The temporal Svec is set up at twitter.com/performingtime, while the spatial Nuñez is at twitter.com/performingspace. Nuñez recently tweeted "@performingtime stop saying everything is #durationalperformance. Your wishful thinking ain't going to win no race."
Svec jabbed back with, "I remember when @performingspace first claimed he wasn't performing. What a joke." The main event can be followed at #racingforeverything.
Meanwhile, Nuit Blanche officials say it can't be done. "They told us it was impossible," says Svec. So what we have are two intrepid artists making an impossible attempt at art criticism as durational performance (non-performance) in order to win a grudge match about the nature of performance art. Bring it on.