Art without borders

York University will host an extraordinary meeting of the minds when cutting-edge American interdisciplinary artist Mikel Rouse and leading Canadian thinker and writer John Ralston Saul come together on March 27 for a spirited conversation about art, inspiration and communication.

The public encounter between these two talents is presented by Luminato, Toronto’s Festival of Arts and Creativity, and the Fine Arts Cultural Studies Program in the Faculty of Fine Arts. The event will take place at 12:30pm on York’s Keele campus. Audiences are invited to participate live in person or through an interactive Web simulcast.

Right: Mikel Rouse

Rouse, a New York-based musician, director, performer and recording artist, has been hailed by The New York Times as "a composer many believe to be the best of his generation."  His works constitute an epic quest through the changing spiritual landscape of modern American life. His credits include seven films, 25 records and a trilogy of boundary-breaking multimedia operas –Failing Kansas, Dennis Cleveland and The End of Cinematics – that will be premiered at this year’s Luminato Festival.

Saul, an award-winning Toronto-based essayist and novelist and Companion of the Order of Canada, is one of this country’s best-known public intellectuals. His writings deal with key political and social issues in our present era of globalization: guerrilla insurgencies, the drug and arms trades, the tension between the West and its former colonies.

Left: John Ralston Saul

Rouse cites Saul’s international bestseller, Voltaire’s Bastards:The Dictatorship of Reason in the West as a source of inspiration for his multimedia talk show opera Dennis Cleveland.

Touching on media and communications theory from pre-eminent thinkers such Harold Innis and Marshall McLuhan, Rouse and Saul’s dialogue will explore the use of technology and interactivity in art. Video clips from Rouse’s works will complement the discussion.

The live conversation between Mikel Rouse and John Ralston Saul will be held in the Fine Arts Cultural Studies Project Centre, 103 Accolade West Building on Thursday, March 27 from 12:30 to 1:30pm. Admission is free and everyone is welcome. Be sure to arrive early, as seating is limited.

If you can’t attend in person, you’re invited to participate online. The event will be streamed live on the Luminato Web site starting at 12:30pm. Remote viewers have the opportunity to submit questions and comments via a live chat option on the Luminato simulcast. 

"Mikel Rouse and John Ralston Saul in Conversation" takes place in the run-up to the second annual Luminato Festival set for June 6-15. Luminato will present Rouse’s epic opera trilogy for the first time ever in repertory. The multi-media musical trilogy includes The End of Cinematics, a video collage live on stage featuring sharp lyrics, heartbreakingly beautiful music and exceptional performances. In high contrast are Rouse’s solo show Failing Kansas, a multimedia opera directly inspired by Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and his talk show opera, Dennis Cleveland, a stunning fusion of pop, rock and innovative rhythmic structures that transforms a sordid TV formula into pure poetry.

Luminato is an annual multidisciplinary celebration of theatre, dance, classical and contemporary music, film, literature, visual arts, design and more. The 2008 Luminato festival will light up the city’s stages, streets and public spaces with a wide range of events, both free and ticketed, featuring local, national and international talent.

For information on Luminato events, including dates, locations and program details, visit the Luminato Web site.