(art)work(sport)work(sex)work aims to map how ideologies, socially accepted norms and legislations govern the conditions of work and participation within the fields of contemporary art, multi-sports events and sex trade. In an effort to triangulate these fields and situate them within the urban space of Toronto, a series of bus rides will take place each Saturday throughout the duration of the exhibition.
YES! Association/Föreningen JA!
In dialogue with Emy Fem
Bus rides hosted by Sophy Chan, Michèle Pearson Clarke, Amanda De Lisio, Emy Fem, Savoy "Kapow!" Howe, Maria Hupfield, Elene Lam together with Butterfly – Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network, Frances Mahon and Megan Ross, Leslie McCue and Lindy Kinoshameg, Hazel Meyer and Cait McKinney, Malin Arnell and Åsa Elzén from YES! Association/Föreningen JA!
CURATED BY JULIA PAOLI
Within the context of this season’s wider examination of contemporary collaborations, The Power Plant presents a commissioned project by YES! Association/Föreningen JA!, an art collective, an artwork, an association, an art worker, an institution, a group of people working to overthrow the ruling system of heteronormative, patriarchal, racist and capitalist power structures. YES! Association/Föreningen JA! puts into practice a structural redistribution of access to financial resources, space and time within the contemporary art sphere through engaging in strategies related to rights discourse and inclusion, radical difference and utopia.
(art)work(sport)work(sex)work aims to map how ideologies, socially accepted norms and legislations govern the conditions of work and participation within the fields of contemporary art, multi-sports events and sex trade, by specifically addressing The Power Plant, the Pan Am and Parapan American Games, hosted in Toronto this summer, and Canada’s new sex trade law Bill C-36. In so doing, YES! Association/Föreningen JA!’s project prompts a series of questions: How are these fields connected and entangled with one another? How are the divisions amongst them demarcated? What governing bodies are given the power to define these demarcations? Who is able to work within each field? What are the regulations that condition ones behaviour and why are these regulations within each field markedly different from one another?
In an effort to triangulate these fields and situate them within the urban space of Toronto, YES! Association/Föreningen JA! has allocated a portion of its exhibition budget towards a series of bus rides that will take place each Saturday throughout the duration of the exhibition. People and groups based in Ontario who work within the fields of visual art, sports culture and sex trade have been invited to host each week’s ride.
The bus rides provide an intimate space, a collective mode of transport, bringing participants together while moving through the infrastructure of the city and offer time and space for collective responsibility, sustained engagement and trust. Before embarking on the ride, participants meet within the exhibition space where YES! Association/Föreningen JA! has constructed a liminal space, a bus terminal of sorts, that houses material and objects in relation to the invited hosts’ engagements and work. The space itself is ever-evolving, as documentation from the previous week’s ride is continuously added.
Through both the scope and framework of (art)work(sport)work(sex)work, YES! Association/Föreningen JA! presents a project that carries both the risks and the possibilities in positioning the institution as a site that can be regularly taken up, challenged and reconstituted by those who create, inhabit, critique, and disassemble it.
Every Saturday 2–3:30PM
beginning 20 June through 5 September 2015
Meet in YES! Association/Föreningen JA!’s exhibition space
The Power Plant
The bus is wheelchair accessible. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please call 416.973.4949 or email email@example.com to reserve a spot. Visit www.thepowerplant.org for regular updates on each week's host and ride.
Please Note: Caregivers are expected to accompany children and youth under 16 years of age.
BUS RIDE SCHEDULE
Saturday, 20 June, 2–3:30PM
Malin Arnell and Åsa Elzén from YES! Association/Föreningen JA!
Those were the days, when we were all at sea
Our ride brings us to a place in the city that is not one or the other, not this or that. It is an in-between place, an accidental place that was not meant to be. It is full of trash and full of hope. We will move in triangular formations and step on each other’s feet. We will not tease out nor articulate the specificities. We will botanize the times when there was no way of telling each other apart. When we were whatever we were up to at the moment.
YES! Association/Föreningen JA! is a separatist association for art workers whose practices and activities are informed by feminism with an intersectional perspective.
Saturday, 27 June, 2–3:30PM
Sex Working Places – A Bus Ride to a Special Connection
Join a special mystery ride to a silenced but magical topic full of taboo and stigma. Are your pictures of sex workers and their clients real? Explore the professional consensus of sexual services and build bridges in and outside the bus. Be guided by a lesbian sex worker at Toronto’s prideday.
Emy Fem is a femme-identified Berlin based sex working performer, activist and workshop facilitator with a transitioning body. She works on different levels on the topics of body and sexuality. She creates and renews her own kinky choreography and body as an ongoing process.
Saturday, 4 July, 2–3:30PM
Saving Grace or Saving Face?: Examining Revitalization and the Districts Which Used to Be
This bus ride seeks to facilitate a space in which participants can think critically about the real legacy of the Pan Am Athletes Village. By juxtaposing the nearly-completed Regent Park revitalization project to the newly revitalized West Don Lands or Canary District, the bus ride host seeks to challenge normative definitions and widely understood outcomes of "revitalization" and instead narrate how the processes of revitalization can have negative implications on marginalized populations.
Sophy Chan is a PhD student in Health Promotion at Queen’s University. Her research interest involve examining the intersection between sport mega-events, low-income and homeless populations, public policy, and displacement.
Saturday, 11 July, 2–3:30PM
Savoy "Kapow!" Howe
Participants will hear the story of women's boxing in Canada on the way to the first all-female boxing club in Canada, the Toronto Newsgirls. They will then do a walk-through of the boxing gym and witness women in action in and out of the boxing ring.
Savoy Howe is the owner and head coach of Toronto Newsgirls and has been boxing for 23 years since fighting the second ever sanctioned bout for women in Toronto in 1993. She is a 1995 Provincial Silver medalist, a 2010 Provincial Gold medalist and scored a Silver at the 2010 Nationals.
Saturday, 18 July, 2–3:30PM
Michèle Pearson Clarke
Every West Indian Roti Shop in Toronto
No conversation about Toronto is complete without a mention of diversity. Indeed, it is consistently positioned as our greatest strength. But what does it mean to live in a city where more than half of the population’s lived experience includes ongoing alienation, isolation and homesickness? In exploring the complex relationship between identity, emotional displacement and place, Every West Indian Roti Shop in Toronto interrupts the idealized Toronto migration story and considers an emotional geography of homesickness as experienced by Trinidadian queers living in Toronto.
Michèle Pearson Clarke is a Trinidad-born visual artist working predominantly in photography, film and video. Using archival, performative and process-oriented strategies, her work explores queer and diasporic longing and loss.
Saturday, 25 July, 2–3:30PM
Artist Field Trip
For this bus ride, Brooklyn based Canadian artist Maria Hupfield will lead a ride to three downtown Toronto public art space stops, each leading to specific performances centered on the strength of artistic spirit and production. Participants will receive a map handout charting the route prior to boarding the bus; in between destinations readings and snacks will be present.
Working primarily in sculpture and performance, Maria Hupfield references contemporary culture in transition to create unanticipated shared experiences and observations. She is Anishinaabe First Nations and a member of Wasauksing First Nation, Ontario. She received the 2013 Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting and Sculpture Grant and showed at The Power Plant Toronto in 2012 with Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture.
Saturday, 1 August, 2–3:30PM
Amanda De Lisio
in collaboration with Dr. Caroline Fusco and Day Milman, University of Toronto
The #ChangeRoomProject is a multi-venue, student-authored exhibition, displayed across University of Toronto campuses, which uses the qualitative research of Dr. Caroline Fusco to illustrate the contested terrain of the locker room and sport, more broadly.
Amanda De Lisio will lead the bus ride/tour through the exhibition. She is a PhD candidate at the University of Toronto, writing on the impact of mega-event hosting on local, informal economies such as sex work. Her dissertation is based on data collected in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Saturday, 8 August, 2–3:30PM
Hazel Meyer and Cait McKinney
In the Equipment Room
Hazel Meyer is an artist and Cait McKinney is an academic. Their work together explores the relationship between sports, material culture, sexuality, and the archive. In the Equipment Room situates their year-long research project on tools and equipment in the context of Muscle Panic: Gym/Class, Hazel’s residency at Scrap Metal, a gallery in Toronto’s west-end. Riders will visit the installation and take part in a hybrid reading group / talk / tour / equipment-enactment.
Hazel and Cait’s other collaborations include the publication Muscle Panic Handbook (2014) and Tape Condition: degraded, an exhibition on VHS, porn, and digital media for the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives (2016).
Saturday, 15 August, 2–3:30PM
Unfortunately, this bus ride has been cancelled.
Saturday, 22 August, 2–3:30PM
Elene Lam together with Butterfly – Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network
Road to Migrant Sex Workers Justice
Migrant sex workers are always recognized as the victims of trafficking. However, anti-trafficking initiatives often involve raids, rescue, arrest, detention and deportation which increase the vulnerability of migrant sex workers. The Road to Migrant Sex Workers Justice will help the participants understand the harm of anti-trafficking initiatives, the oppression that migrant sex workers face and how we can build up solidarity to promote migrant sex workers’ justice.
Elene Lam (LLM, LLB, MSW, BSW) has advocated for sex workers, migrants, labour and gender justice for more than 15 years. She is the founder of Butterfly and co-founder of Migrant Sex Workers Project. She has developed more than 50 community support projects for migrants, sex workers and women who have experienced sexual violence in Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, China, Lao, Vietnam, Japan, Singapore, Australia, and Canada.
Saturday, 29 August, 2–3:30PM
Leslie McCue and Lindy Kinoshameg
Join Leslie McCue and Lindy Kinoshameg as they share traditional Indigenous dances including: women’s traditional, prairie chicken, jingle and the round dance. Breaking stereotypes and raising cultural awareness, the duo shares their personal experience of embodying traditional knowledge in the concrete city.
Leslie McCue (Mississauga, white porcupine clan) is from Curve Lake First Nation and Lindy Kinoshameg (Odawa, pike clan) is from Wikwemikong Unceded First Nation. They have been collaborating, performing and working together for over 10 years in various art forms and are dedicated advocates for Indigenous rights.
Saturday, 5 September, 2–3:30PM
Frances Mahon and Megan Ross
Sex Work Time Machine
Travel back in time to visit the locations of some of Toronto’s historic “bawdy houses” and learn how they dealt with the criminal and regulatory regimes in place in order to ply their trade. Hosted by Meg Ross and Frances Mahon, this tour will provide insight into how the laws governing sex work - and sex workers themselves - shaped the geography and history of Toronto.
Frances is a criminal defence and civil rights lawyer, dedicated to the decriminalization of sex work and the advancement of sex workers’ rights within the broader labour movement. Megan is a lawyer and doctorate student at the University of Toronto, researching transnational sex trafficking legislation. As a board member of Maggie’s, she is an advocate for sex workers and the decriminalization of sex work.
Sex Work Connections
A sex working performative workshop with Emy Fem
Wednesday, 24 June, 7–8:30PM
The Power Plant
Space is limited and advance registration is required. Please call 416.973.4949 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a spot.
Realize, reflect and explore your boundaries and get bounded by the topic of sex work. Enjoy the touch. Take your time and get connected with the magic of ropes, bodies and words. Discover your borders and how to communicate them. Are your preconceived notions of sex work real? Break the stigma of sex work in and outside your head and your body during a special interactive performance.
Body. Work. Consensus. Sex. Sex works.
Emy Fem is a Berlin based femme-identified sex working performer, activist and workshop facilitator with a transitioning body. She works on different levels on the topics of body and sexuality. She creates and renews her own kinky choreography and body as an ongoing process.
YES! Association/Föreningen JA! thanks all the bus ride hosts and extra special thanks to Michèle Pearson Clarke, Pearl Love Lee, Cait McKinney, and Hazel Meyer for support and feedback. A special thanks also to Juniper Fleming for contributing artwork in relation to Emy Fem’s participation.
YES! Association/Föreningen JA!’s recent projects and exhibitions include participation in The Beginning is Always Today –Contemporary Feminist Art in Scandinavia, Västerås Konstmuseum, Sweden (2014) and SKMU Sörlandets Kunstmuseum, Kristiansand, Norway (2013); Zyklische Gesellschaftsreise, Berlin S-Bahn Ring, within the NGBK project WIP SPIELEN, Berlin (2013); 100 Years – Art Festival Bergen, organized by Bergen Art College, Gallery 3,14 and Knispu, Bergen, Norway (2013); SMOKING AREA, in the group exhibition Anti-Establishment, Center for Curatorial Studies Galleries, Bard College, New York (2012); and Lee H. Jones in dialogue with YES! Association/Föreningen JA! within the project BODY OF WORK, IASPIS, Stockholm (2012).