FASTWÜRMS, #witch_raku_skull_fire, 2019
A site-specific performance; August 22

FASTWÜRMS artwork is characterized by a self-described “determined DIY sensibility, Witch Nation identity politics, and a keen allegiance towards working class, queer alliance, and artist collaborations”. They are influential mainstays within Canadian art. Their interdisciplinary practice takes on many forms including video, installation, performance and public art. Interweaving punk aesthetics with ancient symbol-ology their immersive installations act as stages for performance and audience interaction. They embrace the lexicon of popular culture witchcraft as a tool to look at issues of identity politics and social interaction.

For STAGES, FASTWÜRMS have choreographed a performance #witch_raku_skull_fire located in an old warehouse, bordering railway tracks and nestled on the industrial edge of downtown Winnipeg before the residential neighbourhood of Point Douglas. The site’s liminal position as close to the centre and on the cusp of residential land has an unclaimed, albeit contained, feral quality that is studied by the artist duo. They will use what was once a domesticated site occupied by several small working-class houses, turned brothels, before being subsumed by the commercial production site and warehouse of the neighbouring JR Watkins Company. The Company demolished the houses, cultivating a yard for its employees that has now long remained in various states of care as the building and site moved from various ownerships through the 20th and now 21st century. In imagining this land shifting back into an uncultivated, unindustrialized and decolonized space, FASTWÜRMS will host a durational performance from noon until midnight on August 22nd, creating a ‘camp’ spectacle with “C.A.T. cops”, a steaming caldron and the live theatrical firing of ceramic skulls. Their ritualization of the process of firing ceramics consecrates labour, by ‘ghosting’ the presence of absence and conjuring the politics of the colony and plantation.

Formed in 1979 by multidisciplinary artists Kim Kozzi and Dai Skuse, FASTWÜRMS is known for their diverse immersive practice that explores identity, humour, magic and social exchange. Their practice takes the form of public commissions, installation, video, performance, and drawing. Together they teach studio art at the University of Guelph, Ontario. Their work has been shown extensively in North America and Internationally at venues including the Power Plant (Toronto), Contemporary Art Gallery (Vancouver), Ontario Art Gallery (Toronto), CIAC (Montréal), Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff), SEQUENCES Festival (Reykjavik, Iceland), Seoul Museum of Art (Seoul, Korea) Leokonig Projekte (New York) and the 2006 São Paulo Biennial, Brazil. FASTWÜRMS is represented by Paul Petro Contemporary Art, Toronto.

Location: In the garden of 90 Annabella Street, Winnipeg
Performance Date: August 22, 2019 from 12pm to 12 am
Additional information: Wheelchair accessible; portage washroom on site; food will be served and drinks maybe purchased.

Images by Karen Asher

Image caption: Documentation from #witch_raku_skull_fire  A site specific performance by FASTWÜRMS.