The Duration & Dialogue collective came together because of the curators’ love for performance art, and their desire to make it accessible to a wider audience. Performance art, arguably, can be intimidating to the uninitiated, and we wanted to overcome this perception by creating an inviting environment for people to experience curated performance art pieces, and then offer facilitated forums for people to talk with the artists and experts in the field about their experiences.
The collective serendipitously formed after a performance art project between Meryl McMaster and Johannes Zits, produced by Dario Del Degan, and experienced by Natasha Bailey. Conversations ensued, and Natasha, Dario, and Johannes created Duration & Dialogue I. Along the way, we enlisted the expertise of Marianne Katzman, Director of the Katzman Contemporary art gallery, which is the venue we call home. To accomplish our goal of making this festival intercultural and inclusive, we have integrated streamed performances from all over the world, which was realized with the technical proficiency of Zena Bielewicz, our resident Technical Director.
Our success at mounting this festival within three months on a miniscule budget, and the overwhelming positive responses from participants and attendees of Duration & Dialogue I, demonstrated to us a need and a desire from the performance art community for festivals, such as this one, to make this art form accessible to a larger audience (both international and local), as well as crossing over audiences and artists from the fields of theatre, dance, and visual art, in addition capturing the interest of diverse arts researchers and students. With the positive momentum generated by Duration & Dialogue I, along with a generous grant from the Ontario Arts Council, the team formalized our collective and continued on with developing Duration & Dialogue II. Our team enjoys working together and we share a common vision. Our intention is to make Duration & Dialogue an annual event that reaches out to wider audiences.