M Dragu’s Musuem

Artist’s Statement, Featured Artist, Your Kontinent Film, Video & New Media Festival 2912, Cinevolution Media Arts, Richmond Cultural Building, Richmond, BC

After a recent collaboration with artist Francisco-Fernando Granados, I wrote him and said:

“You express my thoughts so well, like an echo from my heart.”

He replied:

“Barthes talks of ‘the joy of understanding and of being understood’ and this is what I feel when we make work and we converse.”

This kind of intimacy is what art and art-making is all about.

I am glad I abandoned myself to the collective gaze of Ying Wang and her amazing Grrrrrrrrl Gang who work for Cinevolution to produce the Your Kontinent Festival. Theirs is a Pan-Asian Gaze fromTaiwan to Hong Kong to Ankara to Brussels to Richmond. I learned so much about art and life by seeing my work reflected through their curatorial vision. It was revealing to see which of my works resonates with them: which work speaks to their lives as well as mine.

It was interesting to situate where we all were during key world events like 9/11, Tiananmen Square; as well as personal markers like when we first picked up a camera. I value our many art conversations in my kitchen: me and Cinevolution and then later the formal interviews we conducted with artists Tsuneko Kokubo, Eileen Kage and Lorna Boschman whom we interviewed on video about topics that arose from our explorations, research, conversations and tea parties…

As a working class artist, woman, mother, feminist, daughter of immigrants, former Burlesque Entertainer, former Teamster and general Hell-Raiser, I am grateful to be seen, heard and understood by the amazing WIMMIN of Cinevolution aka Your Kontinent . I am so grateful that these wimmin see me, hear me, understand me and want to share my work with you.

To be seen. To be heard. To be understood. Every artist and every citizen craves these things — more so if they live and make art in the margins.

M. Dragu’s Museum –the performance July 21st, 2012 — is my response to this art/curation/archive process with Ying Wang and co-workers. I plunder from my personal history/memory (ie. Actions/objects from 40+  years of performance history) and memories of others’ performances (ie. Actions/objects seen/known thru our shared performance art history(ies).

M. Dragu’s Museum is also my response to a long history of artists’ critiques of the museum/ gallery/academic history with a nod to the Guerilla Girls, Marcel Duchamp, On Kawara, Randy and Berenicci, General Idea and bpNichol.

Guerilla Girls gender & race representation in the art world

Dada Manifesto Shock the bourgeoisie

On Kaward – Date paintings

Randy and Berenicci – ruins, alphabets

General Idea – AIDS LOVE

bpNichol – The Alphabet Game

The Museum of Found Objects – Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten (accessed July 4, 2012 Facebook)

4. If a museum is generally understood as an “institution that houses and cares for [curates] a collection of artefacts and other objects of scientific, artstic, or historical importance and makes them available for public viewing…” [“Museum” –Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Accessed July 15, 2011], The Museum of Found Objectschallenges assumptions about what constitutes the artistic or historical artefact and how their importance is defined or canonised by the historiographic, anthropological or scientific underpinnings of the museum. It reflects on history formalistically and insofar that the institution of the museum is itself a construct of a history that requires critical attention.

The text is: Endnotes: Annotations to the Museum of Found Objects which was published in Sameer Farooq & Mirjam Linschooten’s Toronto publication written by Haema Sivanesan curator and current Executive Director at Centre A (Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art), and past Executive Director at SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre).