Eat the Street- Curatorial Statement
December 01, 2011
By Norman Armour
Executive Director, PuSh Festival
Darren O’Donnell’s visit to Vancouver this January will mark the third time PuSh has presented the work of Mammalian Diving Reflex. Presenting an artist multiple times over a festival life is nothing particularly out of the ordinary; in some cases, a festival can become a true champion for an artist, commissioning work, hosting residencies, connecting the work with other presenters for subsequent tours domestically and abroad. At the same time, the meaning of these types of relationships runs both ways; in some cases an artist and their work can become a signature, signpost and/or a standout feature that defines the character of a festival—its identity, curatorial bent and reputation with festival colleagues elsewhere.
Darren O’Donnell’s work speaks to many of the values that the PuSh Festival stands for and acts upon: innovative artistic practices, genre-busting work, community engaged interests, and a discerning curiosity for the everyday, for the world at large. His notion of “social acupuncture” alone has made Darren a trendsetter and one of the most sought after Canadian contemporary performing artists. Google his breakout project Haircuts by Children and you’ll get a sense of just how far and wide his body of work has reached.
Vancouver’s culinary scene needs no boosting here. For Eat the Street, we have chosen a sampling of restaurants that define Vancouver’s downtown food culture. Mostly are relatively new, though we have also included a couple of age-old stalwarts. Every one of the eating establishments is an enthusiastic participant; and with both Mammalian Diving Reflex and PuSh, enthusiasm counts for a great deal. In fact, a “celebratory” attitude is a prerequisite with Darren’s work. For those of you who experienced at PuSh The Children’s Choice Awards (2009) or the Haircuts by Children (2008), you’ll know what I mean.
Eat the Street celebrates food and youth. It puts the agency of kids at the centre of what is surely one of our most social and human activities. Thirty kids from Surrey’s Bridgeview Elementary School will be enrolled in the project: a roving jury, ten kids at a time, will be escorted by Darren and local coordinator Donna Soares. In the coming weeks, we’ll be providing details on the restaurants involved, along with the dates and times when the “Jury from Surrey” will be sitting down for a meal. Consider joining them one night. It’ll be fun.
In the meantime, save the date: Saturday, February 4 at 2pm, Roundhouse Arts and Recreation for the official awards ceremony (a free event). It will be a raucous, delightful smile-on-your-face event. Be there, or be square!