PuSh Blog

Anthropologies Imaginaires: Storytelling with avant-garde vocalizations – A Curatorial Statement by David Pay

January 28, 2016

Music on Main and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival first partnered in 2009 for the long-overdue Vancouver premiere of Steve Reich’s Drumming.  Every year since then, we’ve worked hand-in-hand to bring together great musicians and great audiences with shows on Main Street: So Percussion; Terminal City Soundscape; Eve Egoyan; Ana Sokolovic’s Svadba; Vicky Chow; Gabriel Kahane + Timo Andres; Iva Bittová; and last week, the sold-out Canadian debut of Roomful of Teeth.

It’s been an amazing partnership. PuSh and Music on Main continue to energize each other onstage and off.  Now we’re neighbours at The Post at 750, our new rehearsal and office facility in downtown Vancouver, and we share ideas and stories year round.

A year ago – just after PuSh and Music on Main moved in together – I saw a quietly thrilling new piece in Halifax, a one-man show performed for an audience of performing arts professionals that brought down the house.

It was Gabriel Dharmoo’s Anthropologies Imaginaires, and I knew it would be the perfect piece for PuSh.

It’s funny, cutting-edge, thoughtful, and unlike anything you’ve seen before.  One friend who was there with me said that Gabriel’s performance was “like experiencing an emergence of a new art form” and that he’s ”an artist who takes story telling to a place we didn’t know existed.”

In Anthropologies Imaginaires, Gabriel mixes avant-garde vocalizations with a mockumentary-like film that skewers our expectations. The piece – and all its ambiguity – provokes us with questions about culture, post-colonialism, post-exoticism, cultural extinction, globalization, normalized racism, and cultural appropriation.  Plus, it’s also a whole lot of fun.

Gabriel’s been touring Anthropologies Imaginaires around the world, and picking up prizes and more commissions all the while. When he played the Amsterdam Fringe Festival, the show won “Best International Production.”

It’s a 45-minute tour-de-force that opens our minds, and I am thrilled it is coming to Vancouver.

David Pay
Artistic Director
Music on Main

Enjoy the funny, whimsical and boldly original Anthropologies Imaginaires, February 1–2, 2016 at The Fox Cabaret. Book tickets on your PuSh Pass, Youth Passport or as single tickets online.