Aszure Barton: “You’re confronted with yourself”

Choreographer Aszure Barton has been here for a few months with her company, Aszure Barton and Artists, creating a new work in contemporary dance called Awáa. Working with seven dancers, she was able to tap in to a wide range of creative support during the residency – for staging, lighting, and an elaborate setup for underwater video and photography that led to a spectacular series of scrim projections in the show.  

Awáa premiered at the Canada Dance Festival in Ottawa on June 8, before coming back to Banff for a second performance in the Eric Harvie Theatre. Aszure is also here as the Koerner Foundation Distinguished Guest Artist, to work with dancers in our Professional Dance program, who will perform a new, original work in July, as part of the Banff Summer Arts Festival.

Video by David Copithorne, with additional footage by Tobin Del Cuore and music by Lev Zhurbin and Curtis Macdonald.

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Weekly podcast #2: Dave Douglas, Aszure Barton, Ab & Ig, more…

Improvisation is problem solving in the moment.

In this episode, we’ll explore themes of improvisation and collaboration.

We find out more about the problem solving tool that the KaosPilots developed here, and we learn that overcoming challenges is more about questions than about answers. We also hear from Dutch improvising composers, Ab Baars and Ig Henneman who stretch the communicative boundaries of jazz. Curtis Macdonald discovers new musical possibilities through working with dance and we delve deep into the Banff International Workshop in Jazz and Creative Music.


The Banff Centre Weekly Podcast brings you stories of the diverse projects that artists from around the world are working on, here in Banff.

Subscribe to the weekly podcast on iTunes here.

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Where to find Yoko Ono’s Smile…

The Banff Centre library’s Artists’ Book collection was started in the early 1980s when the then-Director of the Walter Phillips Gallery, Lorne Falk was planning the exhibition Berliner Aufzeichnungen (Berlin Notes). The exhibition featured 30 artist’s books that were later donated to the Paul D. Fleck Library and Archives. Around the same time, former library director Bob Foley was making connections with a number of artists’ books distributors such as Art Metropole (Toronto) and later Printed Matter (New York).

That, along with donations and special acquisitions, has grown the collection to over 4,000 Canadian and international works and counting. It’s an exciting resource for all the artists that visit The Banff Centre and is one of the more impressive collections of artist published works in Canada.

When talking about the collection at the library I often get asked, “What exactly is an artist’s book?” A simple definition would be “an artwork in a book format.” But much of what we call artists’ books at The Banff Centre Library are not actually in book form, in fact the library’s collection has t-shirts, hand-made and mass-produced boxes, hand-made papers, postcards, CDs, we’ve even recently ordered a Cheetohs lapel pin.

In fact, no one in the artists’ book community can really agree on a succinct and accurate definition. The best response I can think of is “come to the library and see!”

Just a few of the books and objects in the collection (all photos by Kim Williams):


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Tweeting with Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood was recently here at The Banff Centre and out of sheer admiration we couldn’t help but see what she was tweeting about…

 Graphics by Shiori Saito, interactive designer work study.

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Banff Summer Arts Festival Report: Weekend One

I’ve had a really busy weekend. It started with a storytelling presentation by Elder Tom Crane Bear on Thursday afternoon for National Aboriginal Day (featuring delicious varieties of bannock and tea), and ended with a rainy, yet spirited performance by Dan Mangan and Sam Roberts Band at the Parks Canada admin grounds. In between, I went to Ajax and Little Iliad, a multimedia theatre show that had the audience donning headphones, masks, and our best stage faces, because for half the show the performers were watching us.

If I had to choose, I’d say the highlight of my weekend was the Ajax and Little Iliad performance. I know, you’re thinking “of course she’d choose the theatre show, she’s a drama nerd” (I really am, in case you didn’t know that), but the show appealed to more than the theatre-loving side of me.

The team, Evan Webber and Frank Cox O’Connell, transformed ancient stories and made them new and relevant. Simulating a Skype conversation by using a projected image of one character onto a small Plasticine shape ,while the other stood in the room talking to the projected figure, the first show — Little Iliad — was intimate, modern, and intriguing.

The second show, Ajax oozed political currency and commentary on issues of war and conflict. We sat on the stage, and the actors played their parts as “audience” in the seats of the Eric Harvie Theatre. By turning the audience into the actors, and the actors into the audience, it made us question the role we played in the in the show, and in the greater topic of war it discussed.

Like I said, the show appealed to more than theatre-loving side of me; it was truly a piece of novel art, and I can’t help but love it for that.

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The Sam Roberts rain dance

It was a wet day down at the Parks Canada administration grounds here in Banff for last weekend’s Performance in the Park, but as you can see from these photos, that didn’t stop the crowd of about 3,000 fans from showing up. This was the first official weekend of the 2012 Banff Summer Arts Festival. It’s all set to go – we just need some sun! All photos here by David Copithorne.

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