Back to the Garden

2006 / Urban Shaman and aceart inc., Winnipeg, MB

Three vehicles. Three copies of the orchestrated version of singer Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock”. Eight volunteers dressed in white, two cellists (Jonathan Bauch and Blair Burns) dressed in black. 150 red roses attached with paper tags. Two long poles strung with netting laid flat in an empty parking lot border by one wall. The performer wears a black dress.

Performer arrives, holding roses onto which individual audience members have written the first name of a woman who is close to them. The headlights of two vehicles light the wall. Four male volunteers get out of the vehicles and work with the performer to attach the roses to the net. Chairs and music stands are set in place. Cellists begin to play “Woodstock” as two volunteers raise the poles strung with roses in the headlights in front of the wall. Performer paces the parking lot. Removes the black dress. The nude performer begins to strike numerous poses mimicking images from art and death. Performer dresses. Cellists finish. Volunteers strike the set. Drivers start their engines and depart with “Woodstock” playing on the vehicle stereos.

Video credit: Darryl Nepinak