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Performace Art in BCE Place

Strolling through the BCE Place on Friday, I was delighted to stumble across this:

A trio of performance artists (2 masked) who, with slow and exaggerated movements, made their way up the steps from the food court to the main level. Some passerby openly stopped and stared, others glanced over as they made their way past the performers.

Curious though I was, I would not allow myself to interrupt a performance to gather more information - fortunately for you, dear readers, I have a sharp eye, and as I made my way towards the street, I noticed a young man casually reading a paper, sitting next to a heap of coats.

Within those coats, I spotted a video camera. To my sister's chagrin (she happened to be with me that afternoon), I strolled up to said young man and managed to learn more about the performers, including their contact information. The creator of the piece was kind enough to exchange a couple emails with me, elaborating on the history and intention of her project.

Amira Routledge developed the piece out of something she performed initially at

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Burning Man. She was inspired to perform in Toronto when the walkway was taken from Spadina station - her "Moving Meditation" was, she thought, ideal for a space that people rush through so quickly. She performed there alone at first, then her friend AG joined her.

Amira and AG (along with a friend she met modeling for an art class, GT), chose to hit BCE Place next; Amira says she "found a paragraph describing the galleria as a "crystal cathedral of commerce." My culture-jamming nose perked up at that."

Apparently, shortly after I left, they were actually asked to leave - it is, after all, private property and they had not asked permission to perform. Sadly, I missed Amira's (videotaped) conversation with the galleria's special events coordinator.

Luckily, Amira is not an artist easily put off. GT recruited B and S to video the performance, which they are currently thinking of molding into a video installation piece. In the meantime, she's hoping to make her "Moving Meditation" into a weekly event.

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Why? "To shake up the mind control, to make people think differently, and most important, to gift them with an experience. A reaction." And, says Amira, "for me, it is to develop a dream into a reality." Which is something any artist can admire.

Amira's promised to keep me posted about future forays - maybe you can catch her next time.

How much do I love a city where I can stumble across performance art?


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