Since 2005, I have been collaborating with artist Hazel Meyer (under the pseudonym The MacMeyer P_______ Project) in various Canadian cities creating localized interventions and performances. The MacMeyer Palliative Project: loss is okay used visual catalysts such as tape graffiti, guerilla mosaics and ribbon-breaking ceremonies, in an attempt to rethink the current paradigm for dealing with day-to-day loss. The MacMeyer PRO-pree-o-SEP-tive Project: emotional anatomy is an amorphous project sympathetic to its environment employing a socio-artistic relational structure to create collaborative opportunities.
Saabumenta XII, made in collaboration with Thea Miklowski, is a satirical video responding to the often-unnoticed political and social issues surrounding the business of major art exhibitions. The two-day performance on location at documenta 12 resulted in a 13-minute video that addresses art world politics and stardom, representation of the Other, the power of cultural capital, and the often dubious tie between corporations and art institutions. Posing as powerful, esoteric curators, we attempt to lay claim to the artworks and pronounce their meanings.
As the sponsor of documenta 12, Saab attempted to marry the worlds of high art and automobile technology at their Art Lounge, which boasted internet connections, delicious coffee drinks, and a daily featured concept car as the centerpiece. The whitewashed futuristic space was decorated with factory-made airbrushed paintings that extolled the many virtues of Saab: speed, environmentalism, technology and beauty. Documenta 12 curator Roger M. Buergel was the recipient of a white Saab convertible, one of five Saabs given to the event organizers.
In the video we discuss the artistic merits of a screensaver on a computer in the Saab Art Lounge, experience the resonance of silence emanating from Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle’s short-wave radio, test out the Saab concept cars on display, and take time to meditate on two of Ai Wei Wei’s 1001 historic Chinese chairs.
Through placing equal importance on the famous artworks and the blatant marketing tactics, we draw attention to the already blurred borders between sponsorship and artworks, art market and cultural experience. We also highlight in a humorous way how art can easily be stripped of its meaning and imbued with significance that serves the purpose of the interpreter, be that a corporation, art institution, or self-anointed expert.
In this project I construct a series of internet personas on YouTube. Within the frame of current global internet communities, I aimed to highlight how identity formation, representation and the media on the internet relates to surveillance. These constructed personas interacted with each other and the YouTube community to problematize concepts of visibility/representation as legitimacy and manipulation as safety/security, while simultaneously initiating dialogue and critique of these same processes. Seven channels/personas were created, together uploading a total of 70 videos.
Touched isa site-specific installation and public performative intervention in which I dust for fingerprints in both the gallery and city, mapping the physical body in relation to touch. The combination of performative action and forensic methods are used to expose the unseen motion of human touch and its relation to the shifting political climates that enforce criminalization. The use of scientific and law enforcing materials to display public physical interactions with space destabalizes dominant ideologies of safety, surveillance, and freedom by recontextualizing touch and identity within unseen power structures.
In Hold My Hand I placed an ad in local newspapers inviting people to hold my hand in public while sitting on a park bench. I proposed to hold hands with each person for ten minutes and the participants were encouraged to negotiate all the details with me (when, where, how etc) based on our mutual needs. This undocumented ‘performance of self’ highlighted the awkwardness of social contact and physical communication while challenging notions of authentic interaction. There was no obvious spectacle for the public who would assume we were a couple or relatives. In the end, many of the participants held my hand for over a half hour (some for up to 2 hours) and the sites ranged from parks to churches to malls. The piece was documented by various oral histories instead of images.
“MacCormack does not exercise a privileged authority over the performance; it is in all respects a mutual effort. The role of the artist is thus also called into question. There is the relationship between the two performers. Two strangers engaged in an intimate act; an act which works to subvert the status of its agents and itself. It is a signifier of intimacy without also being an expression of the same sentiment. As such, it calls into question the status of meaning as an expression of an emotion. At the same time, however, there is an intimacy involved; one that unfolds between two people who should not be this intimate with each other. This is a transgression of a code of conduct and it should be received as an intrusion. But it is not. A brief relationship begins with the act – one that is at odds with the meaning of being a stranger.” Alan Reed (participant), There Is this
In this interactive performance I went to people’s homes and brushed my teeth with them on the sidewalk, leaving the toothpaste to stain the concrete. Without the usual confines of the bathroom, we gaze at each other instead of a mirror. The taboo act of spitting conflicts with the sanctified act of personal hygiene. Our speech is temporarily impaired while our mouths are full; the awkwardness isn’t alleviated by small talk.
Weeks and months later I would come back to document the stains, until they disappeared. The “stain” is an area of sidewalk that is cleaned by the toothpaste, disappearing as the spot is dirtied again over time. The ongoing accumulation of photocopies and Polaroid photographs of spit stains, taken from the multiple sites of performances, were displayed in the gallery as part of an investigation into the possibility of systematizing the documents.