TBA is back with a few in-person events – here are our picks – Fall Arts Guide 2021: Art is political
vanessa in German THE BLUE MARKET
courtesy of TBA
Everyone remembers their first Time-Based Art Festival (TBA). I know I do. It has punctuated important moments in my life over the past decade that I have lived in the Pacific Northwest. As the fall equinox draws closer to the calendar, my anticipation begins to set in. For me, TBA often not only marks the start of late summer distinctly, but also the start of an intensive experience lasting over a week seeing some of the most challenging, fun and challenging performances in the world. current contemporary art.
The TBA, unlike most festivals – or, let’s be honest, most art-focused events – has always felt pleasantly accessible. It brings together an amalgamation of contemporary performance artists, activists, musicians, dancers and creators in our own city. Something that Portlanders can certainly be proud of. Not only is the TBA held at one of the city’s premier art institutions, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA), the event also brings some energy to the city in its diverse exhibit of progressive performance work that draw from the same artistic landscape variety of the Pacific Northwest. The vast insight into contemporary art that is TBA has taken place every year since 2003. Even in 2020, the festival has persevered, streaming many potential in-person performances online for three weeks. Building on last year’s adaptive approach by going primarily virtual, TBA: 21 will host events both online and in person. Also similar to last year, the focus is on artists and activists in and around the Pacific Northwest. This year, and as in previous years, PICA emphasizes showcasing and working with BIPOC artists within the local community as well as nationally and internationally.
TBA typically runs for ten days – this year it’s just over two weeks – in September and activates many venues across the city, from parks and theaters to galleries and public spaces. There will be more opportunities for in-person performances with COVID-19 precautions in place. All participants will be required to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Most of these performances will take place in PICA’s still new northeast home, but some performances will take members of the public out and around town, sometimes the locations will not be released until several hours before the event. . Sadly, this year’s TBA won’t feature the often characteristic late-breaking performance and decompression nightlife we’ve come to know and love over the years, but hopefully next year will be a great one. another story. Anyway, I can’t wait to jump on some streams and finally see some live performances in the weeks to come! Like, in years past, I would expect TBA to bring the city a much needed surge of energy that propels Portland just before fall. If you haven’t yet, and especially if you’re a newcomer, this year is a great time to find out. Between the flexibility of the Pay What You Can Pass and online streaming, there is a lot available. Even when there is no representation, there are so many lectures and panels that keep the momentum of the festival going from day to night.
Here is a look at some of the in-person events that I am passionate about; a later piece will focus on digital events. Tickets for these events are available by purchasing a Pay What You Can Festival Pass.
GOOD MOURNING: RITUALS OF DISPLACEMENT, by Mia Imani, curator Wa Na Wari
After being indoors for almost two years, reading this performance will take the audience to three different places throughout its duration is very empowering. Organized with Wa Na Wari, a black art and belonging center in Seattle, Mia Imani, an interdisciplinary artivist (art + activist) and artistic writer, based in Berlin, Germany, will perform GOOD MOURNING: RITUALS OF DISPLACEMENT Sunday September 19 at noon. This Imani afternoon performance combines rituals, reverie and intentional visualization with ethnography, geography and psychoanalysis in a way that centers the action of marginalized communities and invites them to heal. Imani’s work is described as “using dreams as a portal to manifest alternate past (s), present (s) and future (s)” – exploring new ways of being potential. The venue will be unveiled before the performance date and mobility devices will be accessible to members of the public.
Artist Emily Johnson has produced several pieces as part of this year’s TBA. scott lynch
THE BLUE MARKET, organized by Wa Na Wari
Also presented in collaboration with Wa Na Wari is the film by vanessa german THE BLUE MARKET, to Friday September 17 at 5 p.m. German is known in her hometown of Pittsburgh for bringing people together and the Blue Walk, an event of heartbreak, joy, love, power and healing. Based in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh, German is a self-taught citizen artist who works through sculpture, performance, community rituals, and immersive installation. This performance will take festival-goers outdoors through historically black neighborhoods. Framing artistic creation as an act of restorative justice, German’s work “confronts and begins to dismantle the emotional and spiritual weight imposed by the multigenerational oppression of African-American communities.” Prior to the “Blue March” in what is so fondly described as a “short period of pre-ritual together”, participants will meet at the field near the Legacy Emanuel Medical Center on N. Williams Ave. and learn two songs that are about listening and giving permission to voice and body, forming the basis of the ritual of THE BLUE MARKET.
INVITATION TO BE FUTURE, Emily Johnson, Raven Chacon, Holly Mititquq Nordlum and Drew Michael
Emily Johnson returns to TBA in Invitation to be a future being, which consists of both an installation that will be on view throughout the festival and a performance that will take place on three different evenings throughout the opening weekend.September 16, 17 and 18 at 7 p.m. at the PICA. Johnson is well known for his important and influential dance-based works and for the way they share experiences of movement, place, history and collective action as part of the continuity of Indigenous cultural practices. The performance intends to activate Johnson’s installation, with collaborating artists; composer Raven Chacon, visual artist and tattoo artist Holly Mititquq Nordlum and artist and mask maker Drew Michael. Together, they will explore the “power of creation to build a visual, auditory and ancestral landscape of indigenous power”. I can’t think of a better time than now to explore, investigate, and reshape the way we relate to ourselves, both as “humans and more than human cohabitants of our world”. The installation works are on display at the PICA from September 17 to October 3, 2021, the opening hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
GET ON THE MOVE: INTERVENTION, jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham. Co-presented with On the Boards (artist-run center for the contemporary scene in Seattle) and REDCAT (CALARTS ‘Downtown Center for Contemporary Arts)
Let me move you is a series of choreographed works by jumatatu m. poe (Philadelphia and Durham) and Jermone Donte Beacham (North Carolina and Dallas) which emanated from their ten-year research into the performance of J-Sette, a type of performance that “was born among the drill crews and the lines of majorettes of historically black universities in the South ”. The series, which originally premiered in three Philadelphia neighborhoods in June 2016, consists of an installation and four live performances that will bring together a group of black dancers on the sidewalks and back alleys of historic neighborhoods or predominantly black while drawing inspiration from J-Sette’s appeal. -and-response structure. The venue and routes of the performance will only be announced to members of the public a few hours in advance, further “freeing the performers to stir the boundaries of ownership and belonging while grappling with historical imaginations and the limits inherent in the places of representation “. Performances will take place Friday October 1, 2021 at 6 p.m. & Saturday October 2, 2021 at 6 p.m. in the Eliot, Boise and Humboldt neighborhoods of the city.
Additional performances that will take place at PICA to note local artists are APOGEE by Emily Jones & Hannah Krafcik and AT THE END OF THE EMPIRE by rise x fall (rubén garcía marrufo, jaleesa johnston, maximiliano). APOGEE brings together sound, text and other movement-based elements that the two artists have collected and arranged throughout the pandemic. This performance has content and photosensitivity warning for live and virtual performances. September 30 at 7 p.m., October 1 at 7 p.m., October 2 at 7 p.m.AT THE END OF THE EMPIRE by rise x fall will have its world premiere at this year’s TBA – which exists as a live performance, large-scale three-channel video installation, and collectible video art tortas. September 23, 2021 at 7 p.m., September 24 at 7 p.m., September 25 at 7 p.m.
Ashley Gifford is a writer, photographer and tech professional based in Portland, Oregon. She is the founder / editor of Art & About—Art blog part, publication part, resource part — documentation of art in the Pacific Northwest since 2014. She has written for Art Practical, FYI Journal and Oregon Arts Watch, and other publications.