Toronto's First Takeout Snowbank
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Toronto’s First Takeout Snowbank

If you attended Nuit Blanche last fall and noticed pairs of police officers dancing the tango in the streets, apparently swept away by music pouring out of cars parked nearby, then you’re already familiar with the charming and often funny work of Toronto artist Diane Borsato. It’s conceptual art, but you don’t need a degree in art theory to appreciate it. In 2003’s “Warm Things to Chew On for the Dead,” she placed “warm, succulent things from bakeries, rotisseries, and restaurants” on very old graves in a cemetery in Nice, France. In 2002, recovering from surgery and feeling blue, she fit herself into a garbage bag, nestled into a curbside pile of garbage, and had herself photographed.
Borsato’s planning a new work for a big group at the end of this month, and you can be part of it! Here’s the call for participants:

A work for a large group of dancers*, and one trumpet.
*”Dancers” are broadly defined as anyone who has ever danced in any circumstance, even alone once at home. Absolutely no serious dance skills required.
In the fluxus tradition of conceptual art instructions, and the possibility that non-virtuosic movements can be dance — we will be acting out a task that consists of everyday movements, in the service of a task that is heroic and absurd.
A large group of dancers (approximately 50) will be meeting downtown on a snowy day in the winter, to pack up a giant snowbank in large sealed buckets. Shovels and buckets will be provided. Then, we will all move the snowbank — by subway of course — to the Art Gallery of York University.
The SNOW MOVING DAY will be Sunday, January 28, 1 p.m. Dancers will meet at a subway station to be announced.
The entire journey will be accompanied by periodic outbursts of experimental trumpet music, composed and performed live by Emelie Le Bel.

The lack of actual snowbanks in Toronto this winter may add an extra layer of absurdity to the event, but Borsato says the show will go on regardless: “If there is no real snow in sight, we will be moving a snowbank from a hockey arena… whatever it takes!” E-mail [email protected] for more information, or to sign up.
Photos of Borsato’s Nuit Blanche performance, “How to Respond in an Emergency,” by Tatiana Andropova.