PME-ART “A User’s Guide to Authenticity Is a Feeling”

Canadian collective entangled in art and politics

Art and politics in an eternal tangle when this canadian group unpacks twenty years of creative collaborations and peculiar shows during a night of performance, theory and conversation.

2018 marks twenty years of PME-ART. To celebrate, co-artistic director Jacob Wren wrote a book entitled Authenticity is a Feeling: My Life in PME-ART, a book he describes as “a compelling hybrid of history, memoir and performance theory.”

But books about performance never feel quite right, or at least never feel like enough on their own. Addressing performance requires performance. So we created this accompanying work entitled A User’s Guide to Authenticity is a Feeling. It is an artist talk turned inside out, an artist talk that tells more about artistic struggles and challenges than about any worldly success.

This performance will also document the reactions PME-ART’s past and current collaborators had to the book. What they agreed with and what they found unfair, demonstrating how our shared artistic history creates collaborative dynamics that are complex. This performance asks: why do we do it, why do we continue to believe so stubbornly in the fragile but essential act of “being yourself in a performance situation,” and how do we continue to hope against hope that our destabilizing tangle of art and politics might still, in some small way, change the world.

PME-ART(CA) —which refers, among other things, to Pretty Much Everything—is a loosely defined interdisciplinary group whose explorations and innovations over the last 20 years have given rise to unusual performances that combine music, literature, visual art, poetry, and philosophy, based on both theoretical and practical research.

Open, setting no artistic limits, and driven by social concerns and critical reflection, the core of PME-ART is composed of two artistic directors, Jacob Wren and Sylvie Lachance, and an administrative director, Richard Ducharme. They are constantly partnering with other artists to devise new collaborative projects. Their work examines the performance situation with considerable openness to both artistic co-creators and audience.

The work of PME-ART examines the performance situation with considerable openness to both artistic co-creators and audience. PME-ART has presented in over fifty cities in North-America, Europe, and Japan. Past creations presented at Inkonst include Every Song I’ve Ever Written, The DJ Who Gave Too Much Information, and HOSPITALITY 3: Individualism Was A Mistake.

By: Jacob Wren, with the explicit or implicit contributions from PME-ART’s collaborators | Costumes: Claudia Fancello | Technical Direction and Lighting: Paul Chambers | Production and Technical Manager: Nikita Bala | Production: PME-ART (Montréal) |  Coproduction:  FTT (Düsseldorf) supported within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the German Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media, and Inkonst |  Support:  La Chapelle Scènes Contemporaines (Montréal), the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, and The Canada Council for the Arts.