David Levine, he of "Habit," at Gallery TPW tomorow
No, really, that's what this post is about. Skip down, if you like.
Anyway: Everyone knows that I'm haven't been much of a fan of Luminato visual arts program -- not in past years, at least. Even when they've gotten it right, they've still managed to get in wrong -- like last year, wedging Michael Snow's piece in a closet, for one thing, and commissing Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller to produce a superficial funhouse not up to their typically very-high standard (to be fair, that's likely on the artists more than Luminato, but the pressure and inclination to make somethign that suits the fun'n'family-friendly event poses its own set of concerns.)
Regardless, this year's different. While I have my issues with it, Philip Beesley's "Sargasso," a clever construct of inorganic life mimicry, is probably the best use of the imposing void of Brookfield Place by a public art installation since its inception (see: Contact this year, where Alain Paiment's weirdly vertiginous photos were completely neutered, pasted on the floor over top a grid of glass bricks, creasing the photograph's necessarily-smooth surface and obliterating its visual effect).
"Sargasso" is both huge and light as air, but still seems kind of minimized by the vast void under Santiago Calatrava's great steel-girdered awning. Nonetheless, after dark, as it breathes in silence, the piece has resonacnce, to be sure.
Anyway, my point. I suggested, when I first heard about it, that David Levine's Habit, a script recited for eight hours straight by actors trapped in a bungalow at OCAD, built so the audience could change their perspective at will by peering through windows and doors at their leisure, sounded better than it actually woudl be.
I was wrong. I've been to see Habit twice. I'll be back again. The agency alone, of being able to choose your own view on the narrative -- and depart from it; there's no off-stage, so anywhere there's a window, there's a view on an actor, scene or no -- is so weirdly compelling as to be almost addictive. I didn't know what to expect; I'm still not sure what I saw. But I liked it.