24/7 (outdoor installation)
A billboard triptych of dancers jumps out from the Vancouver landscape. Dressed in bright orange utilitarian suits, they slowly move through three flipping sides like a stilted animation. Orange Magpies Triptych features dancer-choreographers James Gnam and Vanessa Goodman as they inhabit a space usually held for commercial advertising, but with a different tagline.
The title refers to the association with thievery that magpies hold in European folklore, such as The Thieving Magpie by Gioachino Rossini (also used in A Clockwork Orange by Stanley Kubrick) or Heckle and Jeckle from The Talking Magpies animations of the 1950s. The nest of a magpie is sometimes described as a “bed of thievery.” Physical gestures such as holding one’s hands out before wrapping them away also lend metaphoric meaning, yet through the structure of an old-fashioned, slow moving GIF. Orange Magpies Triptych is an acknowledgment of the legacies of colonialism and that the locations where the dances were shot are sites that are unceded and the ancestral territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) nations. The visual transgressions of dance media, which on the surface seem so simple and pleasing, are an entry point for feminists and activists to have their say—an allowance for a complexity of politics, enabled by the moving body through time and space.
The film Orange Magpies was originally commissioned by Burrard Arts Foundation (BAF) as part of Facade Festival 2017.