PuSh Blog

Welcome to PuSh 2020 from Joyce Rosario

November 27, 2019

Portrait of Joyce Rosario

Sometimes it’s all just too much, you know?

When I feel I’ve lost my way in the world, art lights the path: flickering like a distant star in the dark or like all the streetlamps blinking on as dusk falls—or sometimes exploding like a flash bulb.

The stultifying competition for our attention constricts the human capacity for wonder. Where our capacity for distraction outweighs that capacity for wonder, our ability to contemplate and attune to nuance, make space for difference, find joy, is restricted.

Art works can bring us together to wonder in an act of exercising our civic imagination. Our ability to practice and enact what we experience together reminds us of our vast capacity for agency.

Subversion—a simple act of mischief or larger demand for liberation—is an active ingredient of innovation and communication, as well as means to crack open that capacity for wonder. Subversion is a distinct through-line in PuSh’s 2020 program.

Old Stock: A Refugee Love Story and FRONTERA are works created in the wake of the last election cycle. With (most of) Canada being an exception to a global shift toward the far right, these works reflect why we still must be wary of acts of divisiveness. Works that enact unity, like The Democratic Set and The Fever, experiment with models for a better way to live and, in the case of Monday Nights, the way we can play together.

Vulnerability drives our ability to build trust and, ultimately, source beauty and truth. Gardens Speak and Cuckoo show the world as a tender place reeling from trauma—yet search for humane, productive ways to confront darkness. Society yearns for so much healing and in What You Won’t Do For Love, David Suzuki and Tara Cullis posit that love is the answer.

Jacob Wren’s seemingly simple proposition “being yourself in a performance situation,” is most profound in a world where increasingly everything is a performance. Wren offers fun and sly means of togetherness in the three PME-ART works at this year’s edition.

Revelation and adventure in works of memoir take us on journeys of local heroic women: through music and maternal love in Veda Hille’s Little Volcano; reverse exile and magic realism in Carmen Aguirre’s Anywhere But Here; and ancestral memory and ritual in Quelemia Sparrow’s Skyborn: A Land Reclamation Odyssey.

Unifying acts of subversion, innovative adventures and tender spaces for healing: PuSh 2020 offers artful tonic for when our world seems just too much.


Photo by Sarah Race Photography