The Winnipeg Tarot Co. and its hope and enlightenment specialists offered free tarot card readings throughout Winnipeg during the fall of 2010. Well-known artists from a variety of disciplines staffed the portable fortune-telling tent: Shawna Dempsey (performance artist), Sandee Moore (performance artist), Ian Ross (playwright), Ross McMillan (actor), John K. Samson (musician and writer), Caroline Gray (puppeteer and playwright), Rodrigo Munoz (musician), Maggie Nagel (actor), Christine Fellows (musician) and Charles LeBlanc (writer and actor). Readings were available in Spanish, French, Japanese and English. The crew of art-intuitives travelled from senior homes to shopping malls, the airport to the hockey arena, for five weeks, tapping into Winnipeg's powerful psychic emanations. The tool of their trade was a completely redesigned tarot card deck featuring well-known sites and icons of Winnipeg, developed by Dempsey and Millan, illustrated by Bonnie Marin and designed by Mike Carroll.
The performance began at Portage Place Mall on Saturday September 25, 2010. Even before the tent was set up, a two-hour line-up formed, including an octogenarian World War II war bride and her Canadian-born husband, teenagers still awake form partying the night before, a Latin American health care worker on her way to work, a businessman in a suit and tie, a heavily tattooed biker, and an architecture student. At this and at all other venues, audience/participants came from all walks of life to unburden themselves and ask questions regarding the direction and meaning of their lives. The intimacy between the artists and the participants at those moments was profound. Although the artists prefaced each session with the words, “I cannot read the future”, people brought their hopes and fears, and they were listened to.
Payment for the fortune-telling service was only accepted in stories about Winnipeg. Citizens could also go to the website and have an electronic card reading and type in their Winnipeg tales. Over the course of the project almost 1000 stories were collected and later deposited in the Winnipeg Archives. Some are featured as “stories of the day” on winnipegtarotco.ca. This Cultural Capitals project, commissioned by the Winnipeg Arts Council, created a meaningful intersection between artists and citizens to talk about our shared futures.
“Please understand that the Winnipeg Tarot Co. cannot fix relationships, detect illness or build better roads. But, as trained Winnipeg Tarot Card Specialists, we can promise you a different perspective….”
Duration: 5 weeks
Performed: September and October 2010, throughout Winnipeg, Manitoba, in coffee shops, parks, libraries, cafés, etc.
Video: 2:11 min.
For more information about Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, see shawnadempseyandlorrimillan.net. For distribution information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.