York prof’s performance piece headed to Toronto SummerWorks Performance Festival

A new incarnation of a highly successful art object and interactive performance piece created by York University theatre Professor Erika Batdorf will be featured in Toronto’s SummerWorks Performance Festival Aug. 4 to 9.

BurnishBurnish, an interactive performance installation, first earned praise during its premiere in May 2015 as a collateral event at the 56th International Venice Biennale art exhibition and later that month at Toronto’s Theatre Centre.

The performance is inspired by elements of fire, flooding and the desire to cleanse the heart with Batdorf situated in a mini-pavilion where individual audience members are invited to experience – and influence – an intimate performance. Other audience members will be able to view the performance through eye pieces in the walls of the mini-pavilion.

Erika Batdorf
Erika Batdorf

Audience members invited inside will choose elements for her performance, which integrates music, digital technology, poetic text, art objects and singing. Batdorf will be attached to physiological and emotive sensors that affect the sound and lighting.

The interactive installation performance piece was created by Batdorf along with computational arts Professor Mark-David Hosale and Australian artist Suzanne Bartos. It also involves several York theatre students.

“The work is being built on campus as we speak, and will be featured in Toronto’s SummerWorks Festival in early August,” said Hosale, who also said the team will execute run-throughs and work out technical details on campus this week.

Production, he said, has involved a custom tent of his own design with fabrication of the fabric cover by York lecturer Sylvia Defend. According to Hosale, Defend also had several York theatre students involved with the build

The installation will run from Aug. 4 to 9, with performances beginning Aug. 5. For more information about the piece, visit summerworks.ca/2016/artists/burnish.