Introduction

Garage Vivant (stalled) is a pamphlet of prompts for speculative, abandoned, impossible, aspirational or idealistic performances. As part of the planned programme for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2020, Garage Vivant was to be a sequence of tableaux vivant* performed for one night only in a roller-shutter garage on a lane adjacent to Glasgow’s Mitchell library. The motorised shutter would have risen six times, each time revealing a new static tableau. Garage Vivant was conceived as a live, performative, public event, which explored the intersection between theatre and visual arts through adopting and engaging critically with the form of the tableau vivant. Garage Vivant invited artists and audiences to engage with the spatial and temporal constraints of the tableau vivant: artworks encountered for a fleeting moment, framed within the proscenium of a garage doorway; artworks that present human bodies as inert ‘still lives’, blurring distinctions between human and other-than-human.

The project was initiated by Minty Donald, Nick Millar and Neil McGuire, who invited five artists/artist groups to join them in each creating a tableau vivant in Minty and Nick’s garage. The artists — Nic Green, Ashanti Harris, Stewart Laing, Pester and Rossi, and David Sherry – were asked to respond to the specific context of the location and to the formal proposition of the tableau vivant. But in 2021, the roller-shutter is stalled. Instead, five artists/artists groups offer a printed collection of ideas and evocations of performances that have never, and may never, take place. Taking the COVID-19 pandemic as an opportunity to pause and re-set, the artists imagine something that might have been, something different, something un-noticed… something else.

*[From Wikipedia: ‘A tableau vivant, French for “living picture”, is a static scene containing one or more actors or models. They are stationary and silent, usually in costume, carefully posed, with props and/or scenery, and may be theatrically lit. It thus combines aspects of theatre and the visual arts.’]

The rules of Garage Vivant;
—The tableau must include at least one human body
—Anything in the tableau that breathes should not move (except for breathing, of course)
—The ‘fourth wall’ of the garage door should not be broken. The audience will view each tableau from outside the garage, framed by the proscenium of the garage door
—Projected or digital images, still or moving, may be included, subject to discussion – but the main component of each tableau should not be video/film
—Sound can be included, subject to discussion, but it should not emit from any humans in the tableau
—Effects like smoke or wind machines can be included, again subject to discussion
—Written text (projected, placards, signs…) can be included, but is also subject to discussion and shouldn’t be the main component of the tableau
—Nudity is permissible but not compulsory
—A basic lighting rig will be provided

A limited run of this publication is being produced and it is available to purchase (£10) on enquiry.
Artists Biographies

Stewart Laing is a theatre director and designer based in Glasgow, Scotland. Laing is Artistic Director of the Glasgow-based company Untitled Projects.

Minty Donald is an artist, researcher and Professor of Contemporary Performance Practice at the University of Glasgow, based in Glasgow and Madrid. Minty’s practice is context-specific and has taken forms including performance, sculpture, participatory events, and writing. Her work explores human/other-than-human collaboration, with a recent focus on interrelationships between humans and water, and between humans and stone.

David Sherry is an artist who lives and works in Glasgow. Common acts of social interaction and the resulting omnipresent etiquette are central themes in Sherry’s work. In his performances, Sherry provides an insight into the cultural codes and learned behaviours revealed in conversations, radio programmes, newspaper articles or banal incidents in the street. As an artist, Sherry also applies this enquiry to the way he engages with art. Sherry’s work provides another way of thinking about the inspirational philosophy often found in this type of exchange, peering into the laws of the social mesh, repelling an accepted discourse and embracing other forms of meaning common to us all. Sherry’s performance works prompt us to question our daily rituals just at the point when they become unnoticed.

Nic Green is an award-winning performance maker based in West Dunbartonshire, Scotland. Her work is varied in style and method, with forms often ‘found’ through collaborative and relational practices with people, place and material. Green is concerned with the assimilation of form and content, discovered through collaborative process.

Pester + Rossi have been creating work collaboratively across Scotland and internationally since 2008 under the collaborative artist name Pester + Rossi. As Pester + Rossi, their practice derives from visual art and leads to creating live art, sculpture, installation and public interventions in response to people and places. Ruby Pester and Nadia Rossi, who are based in Glasgow, work together on a range of projects including previously as part of the artist collective NOWNOW and more recently as part of the artist band Fallopé + the Tubes. Pester + Rossi embrace a collective working approach, hosting public events and workshops, often working with young people to inform their practice.

Neil McGuire is a designer and teaches part-time in the Architecture Department at the University of Strathclyde. He collaborates on a range of activities from publications and print, to exhibitions and websites, to art and educational projects. Projects include the curation of an exhibition on Graphic Design and Politics (It’s Not Very Nice That), and the creation, with jeweller Marianne Anderson, of The Golden Tenement – an alternative souvenir for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Other recent projects have included Test Unit (an architecture, art and design summer school, co-programmed and run with Agile City), Livescore (a digital project bringing together young people from three diverse locations to digitally collaborate on and perform a new devised production, with Greg Sinclair and Imaginate) and Then/Now (a public art commission for Scottish Canals, undertaken with Minty Donald and Nick Millar).

Nick Millar is an artist and technical manager based in Glasgow and Madrid. His practice as an artist explores what it means to be human in a more-than-human universe. His practice responds to context, often through performance or other ephemeral modes. Nick regularly collaborates with Minty Donald.
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