Eyelevel Gallery’s Over the Hill Performance Series
24 to 27 September 2014, at the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada.
Eyelevel Gallery presents the Over the Hill Performance Series, next in a history of offsite performance projects. While Wilderness Acts (2007) and the Eyelevel Public Performance Series (2011) examined wilderness as a site for performance, this series takes as its site the tamed and guarded centre of the city’s downtown, the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site of Canada. Known to many locals only as an expanse to traverse, with its mystery, anticipatory disuse, historical narratives, and touristic audience, the Halifax Citadel is as much the performer in this series as the site. Working with ideas of accidental audience, appropriation of public space, history, and mythology, three artists take over the hill to deconstruct the distinct historical and social conditions of one of Halifax’ most enigmatic historic sites.
William Robinson’s Liberation Snare investigates the Halifax Citadel’s military past and mythology as a WWI internment facility for prisoners of war. A 1918 letter by Leon Trotsky to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, detailing his experience during internment in Nova Scotia, is translated into a Morse code based score, referencing the telegraphic communication Trotsky alleges he was denied. The resulting Aesopian, rhythm-based music becomes a code for resistance, performed on snare drums over the four days of the series. The performance aims to use music as a mode to discover and release the intangible narratives of WWI foreign prisoners, otherwise hidden within the Citadel’s militarized history.
In the guise of a tourist donning hiking shoes, khaki, and a bright orange hat, Becky Welter-Nolan asks visitors and locals at and around the Citadel for suggestions of what to see, and how to find it. With only these directions, she attempts to locate the suggested sites using neon orange flagging to illustrate her path and missteps. Site Search is a performance in finding the space between curiosity and trepidation.
NEVER PLAYED highlights the anticipation of action embedded in the construction and architecture of Halifax’s Citadel—a fortress that was intricately designed for strategic defenses and battle, created but never attacked. Borrowing the techniques of a field maintenance worker, Kyle Alden Martens performs the marking of temporary chalk lines, appropriated from various sports, to create the appearance of a site of activity but where the actions of the area are ambiguous. This site sits like an arena that has never seen the events it was intended for—architecture that waits.
The Halifax Citadel is among the nation’s most significant historic sites. Operated by Parks Canada, it has been carefully restored to its Victorian-era glory. For more information about the Halifax Citadel visit http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/ns/halifax/natcul.aspx
Daytime entrance fees to the site apply. Free admission on Thursday 27 September from 5 to 7pm.
A limited number of entrances are available to Eyelevel members, and we are offering pro-rated 2014 memberships. Please contact the office to join and reserve your entrance.
Eyelevel Gallery is a nonprofit artist-run centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia, dedicated to the presentation and promotion of contemporary visual art. In its 40th year, Eyelevel Gallery has undertaken a nomadic model, programming exhibitions and projects in various contexts around and outside of Halifax.
Financial support from Canada Council for the Arts and Arts Nova Scotia is gratefully acknowledged.