Welcome to Rhubarb

Our 2021 Rhubarb Festival took place during a global pandemic. To capture the spirit of the festival, we made a performative publication with over 20 submissions.

In the before times, the festival takes place over two-weeks with events from Wednesday to Saturday. And, like the book, no two nights of Rhubarb are alike.

In the absence of getting together, we wanted to honour each of the eight nights of performance with visual artists reactions to the publication. We sent books by the post, and recipients engaged, performed, cut up, or captured the spirit of the festival in different ways for their unique ‘artist responses’.

Below is what happened.

Opening Night

Tonight’s performance is approximately 2:30:14. No entry or re-entry permitted by any audience.

Starting the festival with a Facebook livestream. A singular figure places the festival publication on a plinth in our empty chamber space. Accompanied by the occasional pre-recorded cough, and stark lighting. Facebook called it, “Very minimalist”.

Does anyone smell a Dora Award?

Audience as Banner | Banner as Audience

Finally! An audience! Night two saw the installation of a bold + colourful illustration by Erick M. Ramos (@ErickMRamos) depicting what we are missing out on.

Part of the festival’s initiation is waiting in line during a notorious Ontario polar vortex. Due to COVID-19, our audience curled up at home with a book instead of lining up for night two of the festival.

A luxurious bath

Alison Postma (@Rumalow) was inspired by the visual of a luxurious bath. From “Like a River” by Marshall Vielle (AKA Granny Chic Supermodel of the World Mavis VonTrese) – Alison collected materials and put together a still life for her artist response. This concludes the third night of the festival.

Late Night

Walter Scott (known for his comic series Wendy) is a visual artist based in Toronto. He invited the Saturday night crowd to binge the festival in one piece. Or savour it piece by piece. It’s in your hands, er– mouth…

“Cut this page out of the book”

Week Two started with a submission by Dylan Glynn (@DylanGlynn.mov) who found inspiration in Aria Evans’ a consent-based choreographic score for two bodies.

“Taking the instruction to, ‘cut this page out of the book’ a little further I created a collage depicting embracing lovers. The piece is intentionally abstracted and deconstruct so the viewer can connect the limbs together to form as many combinations of poses and embraces in their mind as they so please. This mirrors the nature of the source material which likewise provides co-ordinates for the reader to connect and reconnect in their imagination creating their own sexual choreography.” – Dylan

*screams in dog*

Photographer Kenneth Koo‘s couldn’t resist a dog post. His artist response is the best reading buddy around: his dog Ari.

Kenneth is a Canadian artist, artisan, and auto-entrepreneur living and working in France. He was featured at last year’s Rhubarb Festival in “Untitled Bathroom Installation”, a text-based bathroom intervention. Audiences were invited to share jokes between the bathroom stall doors or lining up for the loo.

From Page To Stage

Submission from Nova-Scotia based set designer Rachel Forbes – a truly magical pop-up experience in the Rhubarb book. The pagination lights up with lights, glitters spectacularly, and is just big enough for our imagination.

“Cake, cake, cake, cake” – Rihanna

The Closing Night Cake! Cutting into the last piece of the performative publication. Marking the final day of the festival with a cake by Daango Cake Lab – local cake wizards in Kensington Market.

That concludes the eight artist responses for the eight nights of the festival. ~ Thanks for coming!