The Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's annual Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) came to a close Saturday night, with '90s-inspired dance party. A few remaining performances landed Sunday, and with that, those of us covering the fest for the Mercury have our lives back. When we met before the festival started, TBA Artistic Director Angela Mattox said this year's lineup would be heavy on inquiries into identity. That turned out to be true, but there was also an unexpected undercurrent of whimsy. Here's what we saw during Portland's biggest performance art fest:
- Briana Cerezo
- Michelle Ellsworth
Katie Pelletier witnessed Michelle Ellsworth's immersive Preparation for the Obsolescence of the Y Chromosome. An inquiry into what might be missed once men are extinct, it was "part corporate R&D presentation, part dance, part comedy, part cultural anthropology project and evolutionary biology lecture." Elsewhere, she watched two performances from Radhouane El Meddeb: one that found the artist serving couscous to his audience, and in another, exploring the limitations of rigid gender roles through putting several dancers through the wringer.
In Night Tripper, Noah Dunham was kidnapped by a trio of Norwegian artists and taken to the forest for a witchy ritual. It was not as terrifying as that sounds (there's your whimsy).
- Courtesy PICA/Martin Argyroglo
- Philippe Quesne’s La Mélancolie des Dragons
Meanwhile, Thomas Ross made Philippe Quesne’s La Mélancolie des Dragons sound so delightful I'm just going to leave this quote from his review over here: "The metalheads introduce themselves to the woman, Isabel, there to fix the car... They’re a touring amusement park, and their park is based on a number of things they’re interested in: art, music, nature, children’s books, bubbles. (Exemplary line: 'Isabel! Bubble machine!')"
Also of note: B-boys deconstructing gender in Amy O'Neal's Opposing Forces. The triumphant return of Ten Tiny Dances. Dynasty Handbag's unapologetically tacky, Jerri Blank-adjacent talk-show sendup, Good Morning Evening Feelings. Tyondai Braxton's restless synths. The undercurrent of fear in Keyon Gaskin's Its Not a Thing might be your own. The purposeful confusion of Dana Michel's Yellow Towel.
- Briana Cerezo
- Opposing Forces
Did you stay home this time around? Don't worry! TBA's visual art component, Pictures of the Moon with Teeth, is still up and open to the public at 2500 NE Sandy. The show "tackles the 'spirit'," writes Jenna Lechner in her review. "The work... shares a common thread of a monochrome color palette, and the concrete industrial venue asserts its smooth, even gray over much of the it." You have until October 11 to go see it.