Andrew Forster's practice is crossdisciplinary, coming from a background in visual arts.
It includes video, installation, and performance for visual art and dance venues
and performance and text interventions for public space. Older work includes: a production
of Samuel Beckett's THAT TIME (with artist Michael Fernandes); CINÉMA, a multi-night outdoor performance work
in the Place de la Paix, Montreal for an audience seated indoors (at the Societé des Arts Technologique, SAT); EN MASSE,
a performance for 75 people (collaboration with choreographer Suzanne Miller at Tangente); OSIP, a performance
based on work by poet Osip Mandelstam (developed in residency at Overtigo, Montreal). DUET was a choreographic video
presented as an installation in which the gestures of a teenaged Palestinian suicide bomber disarming himself at an Israeli military checkpoint
are reenacted as a duet by two performers. More recently, GESTE is a
video installation in which two dancers perform a choreographic duet without moving (2017). A recent public text work is
PARAGUAYAN SEA. This building wrapped in language is a collaboration with Montreal poet Erín Moure evoking Brazilian writer Wilson Bueno.
(Concordia University, 2017-8). Current projects include the video THE MACHINE STOPS (2019-20), set in Chandigarh, India,
with text by E.M. Forster and using Le Corbusier's Capitol Complex as decor for a speculative fiction which explores the aesthetic
space of modernist architecture and the relationship between the designed world and nature.
AF lives in Montreal. His critical writing about performance, design and visual art has been published in journals and magazines – current writing focuses on art as a performative antidote to the designed world including writing on artists Vito Acconci, Theaster Gates and Hito Steyerl. Andrew runs a modest storefront/vitrine gallery in Montreal called l'Endroit indiqué.
The Machine Stops episodes
Academia.edu (some writing)
PDF document of current work (fr/eng)
I am interested in art practice as an antidote to the 'designed world' – how art objects and performance can act in parallel to how things are normally arranged in public or institutional space. Art's politics is that it draws up space differently. I am interested in how the body holds movement when it is not moving. I am interested in how objects hold and resonate meaning when they are in our company (and not). I am interested in how language can lead across boundaries. I am interested in a relationship between the designed (or artificial) world and 'nature' as a provocative fiction. In my solo practice and colaborative works, performance, performance-video and object-oriented work all relate to these interests. Recent work that feeds these interests includes GESTE a video installation in which two dancers perform a choreographic duet without moving. This piece investigates the location of movement and gesture and the construction of the idea of space that we live in. A follow up piece has a video gamer, again motionlessly engaged in movement in a vitual space. In these works the body is dislocated from a spatial and temporal 'real', yet still is inhabited by that space and gesture through physical micro movements. So how does virtual space (either in the imagination or as digital representation) become a space of performance or action? New work includes the multi-episodic online version of the installation piece THE MACHINE STOPS and an installation called RIVER/TREE that uses a kind of theatrical decor as an apparatus to house sung stories of passing across boundaries (of all kinds).
Anja Bock "I Don't Wanna be in Your Fuckin' Movie: Negotiating the Cinematic Eye..." PREFIX PHOTO, May 2006 [on DUET and CINEMA]
"The audience shuffles into a makeshift black-box theatre. The seats face toward one of the floor-to-ceiling windows that constitute the walls of this street-level venue. I take my seat three-quarters of the way up, on the aisle – my preferred spot in a movie house. The house lights dim, and with them our reflections in the window. The music begins, and the window is blurred by a curtain of running water. Nothing can be seen on or through this cinema's 'screen' but the flow of water and the refracted light coming from the street outside. The bent colours of florescent signs and street lamps merge into each other to make a shimmering tapestry of light. The effect is mesmerizing. The continuous stream solicits a memory of primordial waters, hypnotizing the audience into some sort of netherworld. We hear the footsteps of Orpheus in his manic search through Hades for his beloved Eurydice. "Orpheus!" she yells, cracking her voice. "Eurydice!" The show has begun.
"As the water runs dry, the curtain lifts to reveal the Parc de la paix – a grassy city block of the type common to many urban centres, with a few trees and a cluster of benches. Located at the intersection of St. Laurent and René-Lévesque boulevards, this park is used by a mix of office workers, street people, clubbers, drug dealers and sex workers. Two teenagers move a "No Parking" sign ahead by a metre to allow for their car; a man in a pick-up truck pulls up to the curb to negotiate a trick; a couple argues and splits off to different ends of the park before coming back to centre stage to argue some more; drug money changes hands. At the same time, two women walk slowly around the park, deeply immersed in conversation; a man sweeps the park at random; another man shuffles picket signs that state "oui" and "non" as though waiting for a demonstration..." link to full text
Lili Marin on the performance / dance piece Ossip Tangente, Montréal, 2008 [LE DEVOIR].
"Une femme qui refait sans cesse les mêmes mouvements autour de la chaise par terre, s'y collant comme si elle s'asseyait dessus, mais à l'horizontale. Puis, un homme qui déplace les chaises, lentement, méthodiquement... D'abord dubitatif, le public se laisse tranquillement captiver par Ossip, cherchant à comprendre ce qui est survenu dans cette cuisine, avec 'la bonne odeur du kérosène', un 'couteau affûté' et de la ficelle. Parce qu'on a clairement le sentiment qu'on arrive après. Quoi? On ne le sait pas trop, mais on sent un mélange de tension et de sérénité qui s'est installé." https://www.ledevoir.com/culture/danse/214028/danse-de-la-difficulte-de-s-asseoir
Christina Vega-Westhoff & George Life on Erín Moure's Praguayan Sea (the book) and Andrew's urban text-installation of the same title (2017, Montreal) in THE BIND, April 2020
"What happens when you turn a polylingual novel outward and make it speak to readers on the street?" asked Andrew Forster at a discussion and book launch for Paraguayan Sea at Concordia University in Montreal. This event was part of an outdoor exhibition by Forster in collaboration with Erín Moure that presents text from the book on yellow bands stretched across a campus building that faces downtown. Later, at least one person in the audience said that was why they were there, having passed by and seen one language in particular, Guaraní. Early in the discussion, Forster mentions and questions approaches to the text. In answer, I wrote: ritual space of the book; longitudinal stretch of language; or you can burrow into the language; you can stay in one place and go through the membrane into the imagination" https://www.thebind.net/blog/moure-bueno-paraguayansea