PuSh Blog

Dark Matter: Explaining Time and Gravity – A Curatorial Statement by Joyce Rosario

January 24, 2015

Dark Matter, Kate McIntosh, 2015 PuSh Festival
Photo: Luc Massin

How do you explain something that we cannot see nor measure, but know exists because of its affect?

Sometimes when curating the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival, Norman and I will research the old fashioned way – recommendations. We’ll sift through lists and videos of artists and performances for a long time. Dark Matter by Kate McIntosh was one of the works listed, and at first it stood out for sharing almost the same title as a work I’m very fond of: Dark Matters by local choreographer Crystal Pite (Kidd Pivot). Admittedly, I was curious to see how a totally different artist would approach the idea of ‘dark matter’. It’s such a big scientific and philosophical question – how do you explain something that we cannot see nor measure but know exists because of its affect? This very idea is just the starting point, and where any similarity between these two works ends.

In May this year, I had the opportunity to see another show by Kate McIntosh called Worktable. It’s a participatory installation, rather than a theatre performance, and an extension of Kate’s practice working with objects across the boundaries of performance, theatre, video and installation.

The visual and object play stood out most about this production, for me. It’s full-on show-biz late-night theatre style. The host is a woman in a sparkly green dress with a mesmerizing vocal quality. Along with two assistants they take a stab at explaining time and gravity, being and not being, thought and body with what looks like a series of improvised home-science experiments.

Kate Mcintosh, Dark Matter, 2015 PuSh Festival
Photo: Luc Massin

It’s also co-written by Tim Etchells, whose work has been at the PuSh Festival several times over the years. Most recently, Etchells was our inaugural artist-in-residence project in 2014. I like how the connection is like a through-line for PuSh’s programming over successive editions of the Festival. I think that audiences already familiar with PuSh shows will see this as a ‘quintessentially PuSh’ show: it’s not easy to categorize because it doesn’t strictly conform to a specific artistic discipline.

I would be remiss in this blog post if I didn’t mention the workshop that Kate McIntosh will be teaching at this year’s Festival. Misuse/Displace: Strategies for installation and performance with Kate McIntosh will run January 31–February 1, and is open to artists wishing to broaden their practice.


Joyce Rosario
Associate Curator

Don’t miss Dark Matter at the Fei & Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, SFU’s Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, January 28–30, 2015. Book your tickets to Dark Matter on your PuSh Pass, Youth Passport or buy single tickets via Tickets Tonight online.