By Nathaniel Brodie
Bruce Burris, an artist that works in supporting artists with disabilities, also facilitates and supports artists through the organization ELandF Projects. Burris mischievously claims the initials hold no meaning as an acronym. In the instance of this organization the goal is an intimate, performance-based collective that explores a variety of themes, most notably conceptions of public and private space.
Thus it is fitting that, on Thursday, June 5, Burris is conducting a free and open-to-the-public “re-animation” performance of past ELandF projects in front of The Corvallis Arts Center and in nearby Central Park.
According to Burris, few people typically see ELandF performances; thus re-animations are a way to re-stage a number of performances at one time. The event will also take the form of what Burris calls “a fundraiser of sorts” for a larger event to be held in August: a 24-hour multi-artist repurposing of a space.
The five past performances that will be “re-created” are: “In the Language of Flowers,” “SOME POEMS FOR SOME FERNS,” “Catch and Release,” “Albany Coal Train (5 Breaths in Succession),” “The Corvallis Tree Being Reading.” Many of the performances call attention to or promote awareness of regional issues. Many of these issues are environmental, though Burris claims that environmental advocacy is not a “steadfast philosophy,” and that “a good facilitator allows for many different possibilities, encourages those possibilities to occur, without letting your personal interests get in the way.” Still environmental issues are rich subjects to explore through the arts, and a few of the performances to be “re-created” are decidedly environmental, even political.
Take the performance/ritual “Catch and Release – A Public Filtering Ritual,” in which water from Ohio’s Big Sandy River, one of the most heavily polluted waterways in the country, due mostly to the various forms of aggressive coal mining and under-regulated industrial practices found along its banks, was released into the Willamette River in a “union/merger representing the whisper of a kind of absolution.”
Or take the project for which the Call for Artists read: “Help Wanted: Person to draw 5 breaths in succession near proposed coal train route, Albany Oregon.”
Much of ELandF’s work is more spontaneous and celebratory. For example, their recent sponsoring of a “Series of Four Very Public Readings” conducted by the San Francisco poet Kurt Lipschutz. Over the course of a day in Corvallis, Lipschutz read his own poetry in the Greyhound Bus Depot, a taxi cab van ride, on a city bus (route C1), and in his Towne House Motor Inn motel room.
Surveying these past projects, it is not surprising to hear Burris describe the upcoming “re-creations” as “intended to delight, inspire, and obscure.” Commendably, because most ELandF projects “fall outside the realm of most traditionally funded projects,” Burris insists on “paying something, even miniscule amounts, to our artists. We’re trying to provide a foundation for the artist to do something that’s pretty darn interesting, that they won’t have to commit their life to, and so that they’ll have a little bit of beer money in the end. Or supply money. Or whatever.”
Of course, one of the best ways to support the artists is to participate. “Re Animations #2: reviving/revisiting the performance art of ELandF projects” will take place on Thursday June 5, from 5:30 to 7:00pm, in front of The Corvallis Arts Center and in nearby Central Park.