The Natural Frequency of the Universe
19 Productions, 13 World Premieres, 3 Exhibits, and 3 Associate Artists
All things in nature vibrate; and this universal vibration is the harmonic force that has set in motion MAI’s 23rd season, which will take place at its multidisciplinary venue throughout 2021-2022. This vibration even has a name, a numerical value: 432. And a symbol: Hz. 432 Hz. You can feel this tremor everywhere, all the time. It is the natural frequency of the universe.
There’s no hiding from it: in a way, this season came together all by itself, each piece falling into place with the kind of disarming accuracy that could only result from the hidden order in chaos.
|Consider the multiplicity of disciplines, the versatile, protean nature of the artists and protagonists involved: this season seems to thrive on its own disorder. Not only that, but it constantly challenges itself by questioning, again and again, the relationship of the individual to the other, whether that relationship be physical, intimate, collective, societal – or even historical, temporal, mnemonic, nostalgic. This season blurs all recognized points of reference, all limits, and the perimeters of these disparate spheres disintegrate. It also talks a lot about the body. And about a humanity seeking within itself and in the traces it leaves some secret knowledge, something resembling an answer.|
Some might say the pandemic, in a sense, programmed this season. And why not? MAI did indeed submit to the laws of the universe. To this infinitesimal tremor. To this faint but ceaseless pulse. A hymn in the form of a letting-go.
And it vibrates. Because there is a frequency at which we all vibrate together. An organic chaos that pulsates at 432 Hz – and has done since the beginning. Of everything.
|| Hz | Hz | Hz ||
Curated by Farah Atoui and Viviane Saglier, Making Revolution: Collective Histories, Desired Futures (November 11th to December 11th, 2021) examines the myriad histories of insurrection in the Middle East and North Africa through the emotional and non-linear temporalities of their revolutions. Retracing their political and poetic steps, Marwa Arsanios, Basel Abbas & Ruanne Abou-Rahme, Ali Cherri, Mohammad Shawky Hassan, Ali Kays, Raed & Rania Rafei, Jayce Salloum, Sanaz Sohrabi and Mosireen use the medium of the moving image to explore the corporeality that shapes such uprisings.
Immersive and constantly evolving, les liens (February 3rd to 26th, 2022) is a unique installation that offers a queer and kaleidoscopic vision of personal relationships. Exploring the notion of intimacy by juxtaposing the discomfort of proximity with the porous nature of the border separating two bodies, Thierry Huard exposes the invisible threads of which human relationships are woven, using a variety of techniques. An exploration of the self and of the individual’s relationship to the other, probing the boundaries of the relationship between two people.
Fascinated by the traces we leave of ourselves, Nayla Dabaji is driven by an interest in migration, temporality and the way in which mobility and lack of information can destabilize our daily lives and alter our perception of the world. With Documentaire en dérive (March 17th to April 16th, 2022), she examines the creative process behind her video piece Boomerang. A work that can be interpreted on a number of levels and which takes as its point of departure the idea of being out of sync, through which the visual artist explores the ambiguous and polymorphous nature of memory.
|GALLERY & THEATRE|
|It has been said that Packaging/Wrapping by Christo and Jeanne-Claude is a premonition of the void at the heart of our existence. Maria Kefirova is not so sure: perhaps in the midst of it all there is something, like a sound. backs boxes towels (September 15th to 18th, 2021) draws from the desire to create spaces through physicality and make sound visible. Thus skin rubs against screen, boxes fill with sound, bodies become towels.|
|If individualism saturates the present, and even safeguards it, what will the future be made of? Manolis Antoniou and his Boulouki Theatre broach this topic in THE FUTURE IS ANOTHER COUNTRY (September 28th to October 9th, 2021) with the help of… a potato. With its rich history, this root vegetable becomes the centre of a kind of festive, kaleidoscopic dinner party inspired by the concept and practice of ‘philoxenia’: the love of strangers. An event that channels community spirit, conviviality and the shedding of inhibition – while at the same time holding up a mirror to the polis of Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal. |
The unique political stance of Joe Jack et John provides visual artist, poet, dancer and actor Edon Descollines with the perfect foundation for Le magasin ferme (October 20th to 23rd, 2021), a short piece that brings together performance art, installation, spoken word, dance, video art and visual imagery. Permeated by the melancholy and sadness of everyday life, the sense of nostalgia at its heart draws us in, to a time before the dominance of the internet, when a shop was a theatre of meetings, of possibilities and shared experiences.
FakeKnot create inclusive works of performance art which seek to forge an understanding of the complexity of identity and culture through costume, sound, technology and the body. In whip (November 3rd to 6th, 2021), the performers wear harnesses and hooded robes five feet in length. Made of leather, these accessories express the duality of a material that is at once flexible and tough, and allows for the exploration of consent through various types of physical contact between bodies – all while the protagonists are blindfolded.
Moving through a rich and moving tableau that evokes the nuance and complexity of being human, the audience encounters six living creations dedicated to inclusion and diversity. With Trajectoires (November 24th to 27th, 2021), a performance installation involving eight collaborators, Élian Mata (Productions EM) captures the complexity and profundity of the human psyche through a series of enigmatic tales whose plurality harmonizes into a singular voice.
The first major solo work of Heather Mah, Pomegranate (December 2nd to 4th, 2021) is a fragmented portrait of a life scarred by migration – the imagined journey of her own grandmother, born in China in 1895. Moving and poetic, this performance/homage paints a picture of isolation, suffering and the search for new meaning, themes that resonate with the mass migratory movement of our time, taking the form of an intimate and introspective journey where past and present co-exist.
Crops are failing, food is scarce and humans think foxes are responsible for the destruction of the world – until, that is, the arrival of Foxfinder (January 20th to 29th, 2022). A dystopian parable about the impact of climate change, this work by British playwright Dawn King could not have found a better voice for her work than that of Imago Theatre, with its flair for daring feminist artistry. Canadian premiere.
Constantly alternating between drag show, critical discourse and experimental singing, Bijuriya (February 10th to 12th, 2022) is an homage to brownness. Showcasing the incredible talents of composer and experimental vocalist Gabriel Dharmoo, and Bijuriya, a drag queen drawing inspiration from South Asian culture, this offbeat and vulnerable performance pays witness to the artist’s inability to fully do justice to the sub-cultures they claim as their own.
A cine-concert conceived and performed by spoken word poet Hoda Adra, A comme Abaya (March 9th to 12th, 2022) brings to life over thirty notebooks written by hand during a long period of confinement. Here, writing is an experience of empowerment and self-repatriation, shared as an act of resistance.
An experience more than just a performance, Kismet: Opposing Destiny (March 30th to April 2nd, 2022) by Sashar Zarif is a river of dance and sound whose ebb and flow is collectively hypnotic, just like that of any stretch of moving water. Presented in the style of a modern day Maugham, Kismet explores the idea that identity is the result of a constant, constructive process of negotiation between the cultures, languages and experiences that we each harbour within us.
Uniting dance, text and action, Hotter Than A Pan (April 13th to 16th, 2022) seeks to develop an aesthetic of melancholy and alienation. Striving to intensify and maximize the power of the marginal body, this solo piece by Malik Nashad Sharpe (alias marykiscrycrycry) is a creative experiment with black and queer ontologies that transcends essentialist identity politics.
In a distant, fictional Vietnam, the echo of pop music on cassette tape and the sounds of modern Vietnamese rap segue back and forth. Against this backdrop, bright neon illuminates Kim-Sanh Châu as her body metamorphoses in the changing colour of the light. Eyes closed in this neon glow, she has the sensation of being back in the land of her birth, Saigon, a city like many in South Asia lit by these bright lights. Weaving together past, present and fiction, BLEU NÉON (April 28th to 30th, 2022) extrapolates a whole diaspora from the reimagining of personal experience.
The Toronto chamber pop ensemble Queer Songbook Orchestra runs the whole gamut of popular music from the last century and casts a light on LGBTQ2S+ experiences that until now have never seen the light of day. Encouraging audience participation, and with members of the queer community invited onstage to share their own thoughts and reflections, Voyage du cœur et de l’esprit (May 6th and 7th, 2022), with its unique way of reimagining well-known songs, strives to promote dialogue and create a sense of community spirit.
Built around a choreographic aesthetic conceived from a non-Eurocentric viewpoint, the work of ĀNANDAṀ Dancetheatre is characterized by its rigorous approach to the body, the gaze, and to space and time. Coming face to face with the idea that dance is ephemeral by nature, Ephemeral Artifacts: Travis Knights (May 12th to 14th, 2022) examines the processes by which it becomes tangible: in this case, the indelible links between jazz, tap dance and divine black bodies.
Winner of the Polaris Prize in 2020, Zambian-Canadian rapper and producer Backxwash (June 4th, 2022) draws on genres such as horrorcore, hip-hop and industrial metal, granting herself the freedom to be angry. Focusing on themes where faith, identity and difference intersect, her body of work is defined by a powerful poetry through which the artist embarks on a cathartic healing process, as evidenced by her most recent album, I LIE HERE BURIED WITH MY RINGS AND MY DRESSES.
|Finally, because MAI is a forward-thinking organization that vibrates at the same frequency as the communities that support it, Lara Kramer, Alexandra Landé and Angie Chang will be joining the team as associate artists for the next three years. Having played a major role in the development of MAI, these creators will be involved on a variety of different levels in the seasons to come, bringing together ideas and contributing to its future: a process culminating in individual curatorial projects in preparation for our 25th anniversary celebrations! More details to come.|
Regular | $28
Reduced | $22
Arts professionals, cultural workers, seniors (65 & over), students (valid ID required)
Junior & Groups | $16
14 years old and under, or group of ten (10) and more
Music | $22
Accompanying Person | $0
Accompanying persons for spectators with a disability
Passport 4/4 | $64
Four (4) performances of your choice for $64 instead of $112!
MAI | BOX OFFICE
MAI acknowledges that the land on which we live and work is part of the unceded territories of the Kanien’keha:ka nation.