The VAV Gallery: Encountering Self: A Performance-Centric Exhibition at the VAV Gallery



Encountering Self
- a Performance-Centric Exhibition -

The VAV is excited to welcome visitors to our next exhibition for the Fall programming of 2021

Location: 1395 René-Lévesque Blvd W, Montreal, Quebec H3G 2M5

Time: Please refer to the performances section for their showtime

Curatorial Statement (by Renata Critton):

What role does movement and creation play in processing and encountering self? How can artists interact with space and time in performances to understand their lived experience?

Focusing on five works of multidisciplinary art, Encountering Self addresses how the artists engage with time, space, and visibility as mechanisms of healing. In each work, iterations of energy are allowed room to be nurtured and transformed. The artists create material containers, exploring mediums of drawing, dancing, singing, and sound, to engage with subjectivities of race, gender, and being. Utilizing the metaphysical and literal meanings of reflection, the artists’ positions and their identities are in constant transition.

Interacting with time and space is a theme in these works that allow the artist to address what belonging and perception mean in relation to the self. They ask the viewer to observe their performances and translations of temporal bodily experience. Therefore, situating their artworks as a non-linear exploration of time, space, and resilience.

Artists and Performances

Monday, December 6th, 11am - 3pm

Artist: Connor Cook

Performance: Mirrors & Balms


Mirrors & Balms is a sound art and projection installation with facets that are playable like an instrument.


Audiovisual elements were created with an old Panasonic agDVX-100B MiniDV video camera, a Zoom H4 field recorder, or through Powerpoint, and are here combined and transformed with Max/MSP, where mappings of Connor Cook’s vocal formants inform the timbre of the synthesized voices.



This work is concerned with attempting to make something out of a strange feeling that grew louder during months of isolation but was already there, through lifetimes of inner listening. It’s a feeling, sometimes noisy and sometimes harmonious, that you may have felt as well; a prismatic sensation that exists inside, where curiosity, pain, healing and love overlap and are fed with symbols, words and meanings, before feeding back again in a loop. Mirrors & Balms attempts to externally crystallize that sensation, and in doing so improves it, though it’s unstable in the open light and air. Adding the shared stories and voices of others seems to improve its stability.



Tuesday, December 7th, 1:15pm - 1:40 pm and 2:15pm - 2:40pm

Artist: Amara Barner

Performance: Mongrel (2021)

‘Mongrel’ is an attempt to capture a journey of becoming and self-acceptance. I am an anglophone, mixed-heritage, American living in Quebec. I have no idea where my lineage traces back to in Africa. My father’s last name is a testament to the physical labor, and less than life value imposed on the African people that were forcibly taken over through the transatlantic slave trade. Barner: a person who builds barns, or worked as farm labourer, or kept house. With this name, I carry the residue of horror my ancestors survived. I am reminded of what was taken and eventually lost. I am unaware and disassociated from the cultures that once were attached to the melanin in my skin. I have never met my father's family because they were horrified by the idea of a mixed race baby. They called me a mongrel. In the states, I grew up in predominantly white communities. I rejected my brown skin, brown eyes, and tangled hair. It wasn't until I moved out of Minnesota and was surrounded by the diversity of NYC, that I began to accept my mixed heritage. Since the beginning of this journey I have faced my own bias, and begun to heal the trauma that inhabits my body. It was not until 2020, that I began to see myself as beautiful. I understand that beauty is messy. It is all encompassing of both light and darkness in aura and presence. ‘Mongrel’ is a celebration of personal evolution.



Wednesday, December 8th, 11am - 3pm

Artist: Vivianne Vincent

Performance: Blockbusters, 2021



I let myself become a machine of reproduction or translation. With blind drawing, I translate moving images, movies, into an accumulation of lines. The moving image travels through my body and my spirit before arriving to the piece of paper. I never look at the page under the pen and I let my hand interpret or reproduce what my eyes see. In my family, watching movies has always taken a big place in the daily activities. The television was always on, and we would watch movies together, it was our quality time.

Friday, December 17th

Artist: Camille Huang Xia

Performance: To be announced soon

Friday, January 7th

Artist: Keith Trevor Fernandez

Performance: To be announced soon