What to Do During M:ST Biennial's Closing Weekend

Options include joining in a performance, writing a love letter to a building, taking a float and more.

Eshan Rafi and Beau Molnar will perform the multi-media work how to make an image on Saturday, October 6.

Photograph provided by M:ST.


Mountain Standard Time Performative Art Festival (M:ST) is one of the wildest art celebrations to happen in Alberta. Every two years, performance artists from across disciplines use video, audio, installation, and exhibition to transform traditional and non-conventional venues into electrified arts experiences. If that’s a lot of information to dissect, you can also just think of it as anything goes. We’ve poured over the festival’s listings to offer suggestions on what you can’t miss before M:ST ends on Sunday. All events are free to attend — browse the full listings here.


Thursday, October 4 

Celebrate a Calgary arts veteran and learn about a hidden city

If you’ve never seen art at Calgary’s historic #1 Legion, you’re truly missing out. The kitschy, carpeted interior takes you back to another era while serving as a disorienting backdrop for contemporary, adventurous work. The first portion of the evening is a soft launch for Rita McKeough: Works beginning at 6 p.m. This eponymous retrospective publication chronicles McKeough’s prolific work from the late ‘70s on. McKeough will speak in conversation with editor Diana Sherlock, and contributor Jeanne Randolph will do a reading. Additionally, four contemporary artists will perform works. 



Stick around afterwards to learn about one of the world’s undersung mysteries. Artists Jadda Tsui and Mat Lindenberg will give a talk about and virtual tour of a Mediterranean village nearly lost to time but uncovered in 2013 by archeologists. This portion of the evening kicks off at 9 p.m.
Royal Canadian Legion #1, 116 7 Ave. S.E., mstfestival.org



Friday, October 5

Take in sound art at Stride and Studio Bell

Friday night is for your ears. Three sound art performances await at Stride Gallery and Studio Bell. Sound art isn’t exactly music per se, but in these instances it will be performed in a relatively comparative format to a concert. First up is Herd at Stride Gallery, where 2018 Sobey Award-nominee Jeneen Frei Njootli uses caribou antlers, power tools, voice and body to produce sounds that transform her history into a new form of sound. Frei Njootli’s performance begins at 7 p.m.
Stride Gallery, 1006 Macleod Tr. S.E., mstfestival.org



Next, take the short three-block walk to Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre. Its Performance Hall will host two different performances by five artists. First, Not Peaceable and Quiet takes inspiration from an 1800s piece of California state legislature that used classifications of sound to label Mexican-Americans as societal problems. In response, this sound piece will interrogate when sound becomes noise and what qualities make it so. Furthermore, it will challenge how that classification is used as a tool of oppression. Catch it at 8:30 p.m.

Then at 9:30 p.m., Suzanne Kite and Nathan Young’s performance Something is coming urges the listener not just to hear transmitted audio, but to hear the actual processing of sound itself. When we hear music, we are hearing information inside sound, not the process by which the sound itself is made. If it sounds confusing, you’ll have an easier time getting the picture by witnessing the pair’s live, analog manipulations for yourself. 
Studio Bell, Home of the National Music, 850 4 St. S.E., mstfestival.org 



Saturday, October 6

Enjoy a performance hub and dinner at Theatre Junction Grand

The sprawling Grand building has numerous areas for performance to explore with afternoon to late night programming available to check out. 

Starting at 3 p.m. in the Studio, you can join artist Emma-Kate Guimond in her work possible performance. Previously staged in Montreal and Sarajevo, this game-meets-play transforms its audience into participants. Costumes will be provided.

Next, Ryan Danny Owen will stage Love Me Like There’s No Tomorrow inside the main space Flanagan Theatre at 5 p.m.. Owen will lip sync to audio only he can hear in a multi-layered memorial.

You’ve likely worked up an appetite at this point. Thankfully, the M:ST crew are hosting a dinner of Indian food from Clay Oven at 6:30 p.m. Sit down with artists and organizers to eat and discuss questions raised during your time at the festival.

Once you’re nourished, head back into the Flanagan at 8 p.m. to see a work by Eshan Rafi that incorporates archival family video with performance and guest artists. how to make an image unravels how identities are constructed and manipulated by when they become images.

Closing out the evening performances will be Adriana Disman’s Questions without answers must be asked very slowly* at 10 p.m. It comes with the most opaque project description of the lot, so you’ll have to see for yourself what’s in store. Immediately following, the performance space becomes a party with music and dancing expected.
Theatre Junction Grand, 608 1 St. S.W., mstfestival.org


Sunday, October 7

Relax with a float and write a love letter to a building

Have you been curious to try out float tanks? Noon on Sunday might be the perfect time to do it. Artist Jin-me-Yoon invites you to try a sensory deprivation experience at FloatLife Marda Loop before engaging in a guided discussion. The idea is that the confines of identity break down when the senses are deprived and a more natural state of interaction can be reached. This event also takes place on Friday.
FloatLife Marda Loop, 345, 3425 22 St. S.W., mstfestival.org

If you could speak directly with a building, what would you say? That’s the question behind Joanne Bristol’s writing for building, where attendees are encouraged to write something to a historic building in Calgary. On Sunday, this will be the St. Louis Hotel in the East Village at noon. Suggestions for format include love letters, political manifestos or direct questions. Get your creative writing juices flowing with this event.
St. Louis Hotel, 430 8 Ave. S.E., mstfestival.org

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