Tableau Vivant: Eaton’s Catalogue 1976 is a performance piece that references the Bible of Canadian consumerism, the Eaton's catalogue. Those of us who grew up in North America in the 1960s and 70s lacked art and history as universal references. The cultural artifact that shaped our values most tangibly was the department store catalogue, a wish book of what we could have and who we could be once we got it. Gender was clearly defined, race was singular, and class was middle. In this performance we use the tableau form to enact a page from the Eaton’s catalogue, the most-read book of our Canadian youth. We have paired women’s formals (a look we have had difficulty successfully fitting into) with bathroom plumbing to invoke the endless bounty, cleanliness and hope that the catalogue implied. Three women stand in vacant stillness, water streaming from the spouts at their breasts.
Duration: The 15 minute performance is repeated twice an hour
First performed: March 1998, Hallwalls Centre for Contemporary Art, Buffalo, New York
Video 1:23 min.
For more information about Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, see shawnadempseyandlorrimillan.net. For distribution information, contact email@example.com.