The art scene can be kind of an odd world to step into. God loves the artsy folk for doing what they do and understanding what makes art worth looking at. Though not immune to being moved by a gorgeously painted canvas or sculpture that speaks of faith, tradition, and experience, I find that modern contemporary art has a way of going over my head.
However, it was the duty of this writer to leave judgment at home and to step into the world of FUSE, a unique event held three Fridays of each year in which the Vancouver Art Gallery opens its doors in host to some very cool music, art installations, and performance that you might not see at a typical gallery. With work by featured Canadian contemporary artist Ian Wallace as a backdrop, guests wandered the gallery, schmoozing, boozing, and taking in the many mediums on hand.
Performing on the main floor every hour on the hour was modern dance troupe MACHiNENOiSY. My partner and I caught one of their performances and it was kind of strange and beautifully rendered. A woman and man, Delia Brett and Daelik respectively, dressed in red and white pushed, pulled, and undulated around on mats, performing an almost yogic sex argument where one would pull the other into their space, writhe around them, lift them up, scream and yelp a bunch and then separate back into circling each other. I’m sure there were many there who “got it” and appreciated every second. Though intrigued by the stories and dialogues told through bodily movement and dance, it still passed me by. Like I said, easily lost in the many mansions of artistic expression.
What wasn’t lost on me was a performance by Vancouver experimental band In Medias Res, playing their movement of music titled “After the moon comes the sun and again the moon: experimental music for electric guitar, bass, and drums.” Set against a backdrop of projected moving images and video overseen by video artist Sammy Chein and featuring works by contributing artists Khan Lee, Mark Soo, Andy Dixon, Nicole Ondre, and Derya Akay, the band built it’s slow burn ferocious sounds into the images, encasing them in even deeper meaning. When the evolving lotus flower-like painting wasn’t mesmerizing enough, the musical drones and loops that band members Andrew Lee, Ryan Flowers, and Ash Poon, along with guests Lindsey Hampton, and Shaunn Watt, projected with force and precision that had me by the collar. Or when the plane taxiing on a runway neared take off as the music built to a climax, I was transfixed.
This is what I came for and it was during their set that it registered how cool this event is, despite my misgivings about hard to swallow art pieces or dance expression that made my eyes cross. We are fortunate to live in a city that facilitates this artistic freedom. In one building were many well-dressed people from all walks of life, each with their own idea of what is profound and each appreciating it in a different way. Under one roof was art, music, and dance, all of which had a unique message to bring. I’m not entirely certain how I downloaded that message, but one thing is certain: I will most definitely be back.