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Alexandra Bischoff

February 21, 2018

Alexandra Bischoff’s practice responds to obscure intimacies, often focusing through the amorphous lens of femme sexuality. While she works in many mediums – performance, installation, video, embroidery, and text – she considers all of these labours to be performative in nature. Her performances turn everyday, passive actions into awkward yet sensual interactions, and implement humour and absurdity in order to discuss challenging issues. Most recently, she was awarded an RBC Development Grant for her work L'origine, Plucked as part of the Illingworth Kerr Gallery performance festival IKG LIVE 2. Her installation Rereading Room: the Vancouver Women's Bookstore (1973-1996) and the installation's parallel performance The Readers are on view at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery in the exhibition Beginning with the Seventies: GLUT until April 8.

1. 1970s intersectional literature

I’ve been reading a lot of 1970s literature lately, sifting through the weathered pages of my early editions and keeping my eyes peeled for the seeds of intersectional feminisms. Here are a few recommendations…

Oreo by Fran Ross is one of my all-time favourite books; the titular protagonist, a half-Black, half-Jewish adolescent girl, is as intelligent as she is physically strong. Ross’s dissections of various systems of oppression are nimble with satire.

Although I approached it with skepticism (how rigorous could a 1970s text on sex work really be?), Kate Millett’s The Prostitution Papers was surprisingly forward thinking. Not only did Millett call for decriminalization, she also placed emphasis on listening to sex workers themselves when considering sex worker politics.

2. Balloons

I went wild about balloons two weeks ago and inflated 800 for a party. While we inflated, my partner, friend, and I realized the evening would be both whimsical and mildly stressful, as the latex ovoids kept popping indiscriminately. Yes, it was like a Martin Creed artwork, only better, with beer. Initially shy, people eventually sat down to be neck-deep in balloons. There are still a couple dozen survivors floating around in my apartment.

3. Miharu Koshi

An opera-trained singer, Miharu Koshi spryly traverses electro-jazz-pop. Her many albums produced by Haruomi Hosono reflect her incredible range. There is always an appropriate Koshi album for every situation. Investigate her discography and discover that she has recorded in seven different languages (often in French). On her website, Koshi declares that she likes “the cloudy moon from her window, the tiny hands of the squirrel when burying nuts […and…] the sound of a tiny quick kiss.” She dislikes “small quarrels,” among other things.

4. Nathan for You

Nathan Fielder is a total asshole and comic genius. His television series Nathan for You makes me speculate often that he’s actually a performance artist in disguise. I’d bet that he and Bridget Moser would make a good couple (can anyone make this happen?). He’s a Canadian living in Los Angeles, mocking business owners with fake/real business advice. If you look closely, you might spot a Mountie bobblehead on his desk in office scenes.

5. Darning socks

I love to mend things – socks especially. The practice is rhythmic and feels more meaningful than it probably should. When I told my friend Anna that I was going home to darn some socks, she said it was the first time she’d heard the term. It’s a fairly antiquated practice, I suppose. Here’s a definition…
Darn: verb (used with object) to mend, as torn clothing, with rows of stitches, sometimes bycrossing and interweaving rows to span a gap.



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