To entice you even more about attending some of the performances at this year’s SummerWorks Performance Festival, I have another instalment of my 5 Questions With… series!
Learn more about SummerWorks from another of the six guest curators, Alison Wong 黃巧文, a director, producer, and performance maker born in Hong Kong and now based in Treaty 13 territory, also known as Toronto.
Here she talks about her work as curator as well as her curatorial choices for the festival’s ‘Public Works’ program.
HM: Thank you for taking some of my questions. What does being a curator at this year’s SummerWorks Performance Festival mean to you?
Alison Wong (AW): I’ve had the joy of working with SummerWorks in many contexts, so putting on the curator hat feels at once a very organic evolution as well as a fulfilling challenge to take on.
HM: Could you talk about working with SummerWorks’ Michael Caldwell as Artistic Director and Morgan Norwich as Managing Director (or any other curators/artists) in terms of planning for the upcoming festival… What was that dialogue like?
AW: Being a part of this curatorial team has been a really encouraging experience, to see the possibilities for shared leadership in organizational structures and to be motivated by peers who have differing curiosities and work in various modalities. It was exciting to imagine how the programmed works would interact with each other and what kind of journey it would take the audience (and artists) on over the Festival schedule as the planning went on. I’m quite grateful to the SummerWorks team for holding the space (and managing the not-so-simple logistics) so that we could be in this dialogue.
HM: Your Curatorial choices, TERRAFORM & The Lettuce Head Experience are part of the Public Works programming which showcases the role food plays in our daily lives and in shared spaces. What drew you to curating for this program which then led to choosing these two works?
AW: My own artistic practice is centred around the transnational, what speaks across perceived borders and differences, and I’ve always been drawn to playing with scale. Curating for the ‘Public Works’ program was an exciting avenue to look at our rituals and relationship to food day-to-day, which can be something quite intimate, and amplify it to an experience that can be shared with not just those closest to us but also our neighbours and possibly strangers within and outside our communities.
HM: How do you see TERRAFORM & The Lettuce Head Experience fitting with SummerWorks’ mission to be “a leader, collaborator and community builder at the forefront of contemporary performance”?
AW: The artists of TERRAFORM & The Lettuce Head Experience are building upon processes around audience participation and intervention in these works that I really look forward to playing out in the different spaces across the city this festival. Careful consideration and intention has been put into how and where these works meet audiences, with the hope that spontaneous discoveries and meaningful encounters can be bolstered for the artists and the public.
HM: Now that the Festival is about to start, what do you hope audiences will take away from the works you have curated?
AW: Honestly, I just hope an audience member will have a moment that resonates with them and grounds them in the present, something that feels tangible or maybe even true in a way that makes them aware of how alive they are.
For information on all festival programming, to register for events and to obtain tickets, please visit summerworks.ca.
Cover photo of Alisong Wong by Celeste Cole.