Alegría Gobeil, “Sacrificial Performance on Sacrificial Art” (2019). [with a photo of Victoria Stanton’s performance, Sharpshooter
(top five hits: 3.33 RPH version), 2014]
Photo: Melwan Ghislain
Without a tinge of an oxymoron, we are celebrating the assignment of Alegría Gobeil as Folie/Culture’s new artist-in-residence. As Paul Kawczak’s residence comes to an end, we are carrying out this program for a second year.
The program highlights the polyphony of the expression “under house arrest”, on which is based the term “artist-in-residence”, and how it is used in custodial, legal, social, and artistic settings. Today, the experience of house arrest has become so commonplace that it seems almost absurd to assign an artist-in-residence in order to support them for a year. This second edition is not an opportunity to do what is already incumbent upon many of us, but rather an opportunity to support the artist for their research on our theme Walk on Eggshells! We will be taking a look at this artist for a year, during which they will be invited to search, create or lose oneself as part of our biennial theme.
As Artist-in-Residence, Alegría Gobeil will focus on how psychiatrizable practices and postures executed within an artist statement’s framework make it possible to escape the repressive power of state structures and psychiatric sanctions, while at the same time questioning the distancing that such practices and postures can create with psychiatrized people
In order to do so, they will examine the discourses created by and about self-violent performance art (cutting, burning, biting, etc.), its presentation modes, its institutionalization, as well as the relationship between these practices and psychiatry through speeches and performative writings.
Alegría Gobeil uses historical or fictitious postures considered unproductive, harmful, unliveable. They articulate their approach based on the myth of the sovereignty of actions and on the critique of the activation of individual liberties, which appear to be automatically emancipatory and subversive in character.
In a performative, textual and installative practice that aims at inaction, they constantly return to works, actions and experiences that are psychopathologized and psychiatricized while paying particular attention to the acts that constitute a gendered identity.Re-storying, retranscription, memorization and speculative speech are tools Alegría extensively employs when performing. Adapting their discourse and sources to the context in which they are used, they attempt to play on the language codes of institutional validation that are in place in the environments where work takes place.
They are based in Tio’tia:ke/montréal, where they are currently working to institutionalize themselves as a researcher by completing a Master’s Degree in Visual and Media Arts at UQAM and to de-individualize themselves through cross-contamination by participating in artistic and political collective projects. For the time being, the title of their master’s thesis is “Pratique de l’auto-violence : élaboration de protocoles performatifs sur la rentabilité sociale, artistique et universitaire des gestes psychiatrisables”.
Alegría Gobeil has performed work in many venues of the so-called province of Québec (Centre Skol, OFFTA, Fonderie Darling, RIPA, CDEX, Festival d’art performatif de Trois-Rivières, Atelier Silex, Folie/Culture, Le Lieu, LEGS…) and in several apartments, alleys, university premises, performance evenings organized by emerging artists and other alternative spaces to the institutional mode of transmission of artistic work.