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CS Stage to Present HUMAN MEASURE from Cassils in October

CS Platform programming is designed to introduce audiences to some of the world’s most vanguard artists who are pushing at the boundaries of the artform.

CS Stage to Present HUMAN MEASURE from Cassils in October

Canadian Stage will bring back CS Platform program this year with HUMAN MEASURE, from internationally acclaimed visual and performance artist Cassils, on stage at the Berkeley Street Theatre October 27 - 29. CS Platform programming is designed to introduce audiences to some of the world's most vanguard artists who are pushing at the boundaries of the artform.

"CS Platform is a crucial way for Canadian Stage to contribute to the performance ecology of our city by showcasing some of the most important and adventurous artists of today, and Cassils is a definitive way to re-launch the program," says Canadian Stage Artistic Director Brendan Healy. "The material for all Cassils' work is their own body, which they expose to great extremes of physical exertion and danger. There is a powerful exploration of gender and violence in the work and a critical awareness that trans visibility can also become an opportunity for surveillance and risk."

HUMAN MEASURE, Cassils's debut in contemporary dance, had its World Premiere at Manchester's HOME arts center late last year as part of a major retrospective of the artist's work. The work is made in collaboration with renowned US choreographer Jasmine Albuquerque, composer Kadet Kuhne, lighting designer Christopher Kuhl and a team of five trans and nonbinary performers.

Against an unprecedented backdrop of US-based anti-trans legislation HUMAN MEASURE asks: how do we manifest empowerment, sensuality, and self-actualization in a society that actively tries to erase us? Insisting upon plurality and avoiding legibility, HUMAN MEASURE straddles dance and the history of photography. Purposefully designed to be difficult to see, the work is staged in the low levels of red light found in photographic darkrooms. The viewer's physiology is hijacked as live 'after images' are seared into the audience's retina by a massive flashing light box, culminating in the active development of one of the world's largest cyanotypes, on stage in real-time.

With movement rooted in kinesiology, martial arts, sports science, and personal safety protocols, Cassils reinterprets Yves Klein's Anthropometries paintings. As opposed to the models in Klein's work who acted as passive "human paintbrushes," the performers in HUMAN MEASURE wield the double-edged sword of representation in a collective process of empowered labor.

Cassils (they/them), originally from Montréal and now residing in New York/Los Angeles, is one of the most compelling artists working today. Their work has been shown around the world, including in current exhibits at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Nikolaj Kunstal in Copenhagen, and the Montalvo Arts Center in California. Cassils has risen to global recognition using their own body as the material and protagonist of their performances. Working in live performance, sculpture, photography, sound design and film, Cassils contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle, and power.

BEYOND THE STAGE

The work of HUMAN MEASURE also extends beyond the stage. With support from the National Creation Fund, Cassils is providing artist workshops for their company and Toronto-based trans and non-binary artists led by Toronto based Kai Cheng Thom, MSc. Thom is a somatically trained coach, consultant, and conflict resolution practitioner working at the intersection of mind, body, and collective soul. Creating community and solidarity across international borders Kai will curate transformational experiences designed to embolden and strengthen its participants.

Additionally, to ensure the work serves the community it is made for, Cassils and Canadian Stage have arranged for a number of complimentary tickets to be given to SKETCH, a community arts enterprise engaging queer young people who live houseless or on the margins and navigate poverty. Following the closing night performance, a talkback with Cassils' company and True Lives Consulting will highlight the work of Uplift Kitchen, a food security initiative created to serve Black, Indigenous, and other racialized communities in Toronto and surrounding areas. If HUMAN MEASURE is about problematizing trans visibility Cassils aims to highlight local initiatives aimed at real world actions within the community that better the lives of trans people.

For those interested in seeing more of Cassils' work in Toronto, their work Advertisement: Homage to Benglisis currently on display at the Art Gallery of Ontario (to September 25th) as part of the exhibition Blurred Boundaries: Queer Visions in Canadian Art. The work was recently acquired by the AGO, being the first work by the artist to enter a public art collection in Canada.

Tickets for HUMAN MEASURE range from $29-$89. Single tickets are now available at canadianstage.com. This production runs from October 27 to October 29, 2022, with performances at 8:00pm.

ABOUT CASSILS

CASSILS is a transgender artist who makes their own body the material and protagonist of their performances. Cassils's art contemplates the history(s) of LGBTQI+ violence, representation, struggle, survival, and empowerment. For Cassils, performance is a form of social sculpture: Drawing from the idea that bodies are formed in relation to forces of power and social expectations, Cassils work investigates historical contexts to examine the present moment.

Cassils has had recent solo exhibitions at HOME Manchester, Station Museum of Contemporary Art, Perth Institute for Contemporary Arts, Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, NYC; Institute for Contemporary Art, AU; Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts; School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; Bemis Center, Omaha; MU Eindhoven, Netherlands.

They are the recipient of a 2020 Fleck Residency from the Banff Center for the Arts, a Princeton Lewis Artist Fellowship finalist (2020), a Villa Bellagio Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship (2019), a United States Artist Fellowship (2018), a Guggenheim Fellowship and a COLA Grant (2017) and a Creative Capital Award (2015). They have received the inaugural ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art, California Community Foundation Grant, MOTHA (Museum of Transgender Hirstory) award, and numerous Visual Artist Fellowships from the Canada Council of the Arts. Their work has been featured in New York Times, Boston Globe, Artforum, Hyperallergic, Wired, The Guardian, TDR, Performance Research, Art Journal and was the subject of the monograph Cassils published by MU Eindhoven 92015) and their new catalog Solutions, is published by the Station Museum of Contemporary Art, TX (2020). Cassils's work was recently acquired by the Victoria Albert Museum, London, Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and the Leslie Lohman Museum.

ABOUT CANADIAN STAGE

Canadian Stage is one of the country's leading contemporary performing arts organizations. A collision of disciplines and cultures, Canadian Stage reflects the dynamism and complexity of Canada and is a vital artistic force locally, nationally, and internationally. In its over thirty-year history, Canadian Stage has employed thousands of artists and developed and produced hundreds of new productions. Many of the plays developed by Canadian Stage have been awarded and nominated for Canada's most prestigious literary and performing arts honours, including Governor General's, Chalmers, and Dora Mavor Moore Awards. Throughout the theatre season, nearly 100,000 patrons attend performances and workshops in its three Toronto venues.



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