Shortlist LIVE! #1

Ed. Heidi Backström

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Four essays on four Live Art Artists.

Shortlist LIVE! publication provides comprehensive texts on the careers and practices of this year's ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art.

Cuqui JerezDana MichelKeijaun Thomas and Mammalian Diving Reflex were asked to suggest authors to write about their careers and practices. Each writer responded “yes” to the writing invitation. As a result, we are now able to read four very different essays on four very different artists:

Experimental poet and curator Quim Pujol writes an accurate portrayal of Cuqui Jerez, who he sees as a reality hacker, space-time mistress and perceptual sorceress. Researcher and essayist James Oscar plays with the potential of an essay format and offers the reader a text that feels like if it was a sprawling conversation with various references, his own experiences and encounters and by doing this, Oscar provides a powerful insight into the unique nature of Dana Michel's art. Broderick Chow's text on the Mammalian Diving Reflex and its artistic director Darren O'Donnell is also a personal text - the seemingly light structure of the essay makes it accessible also to a reader without the knowledge of art theories, even though Chow is an academic. The essay follows the path of Mammalian Diving Reflex’s art: easy and fun but wise and for all. Another example on arts and activism is Keijuan Thomas, who the writer and art theorist Joshua Chambers-Letson captures powerfully in his essay.

These four essays are not only an overview of the nominees of one art prizes in 2019 but also a broader description of artists and the meaning of art. Through their work, four different candidates remind us that art is not always nice, beautiful, or easy to comprehend. At the same time, the essays demonstrate the life-changing power of art and individual artists, both in relation to the individual and to the communities. Shortlisted artists are portrayed as remarkable, with remarkable being defined many times as a word throughout the pages of this publication.

Shortlist LIVE! is also a statement for art essayism. Despite its layout or viewing point, the essay is a great way to approach art; it is a text type that is present; it gently reminds us of the subjectivity of viewing art, the mobility of art making, and the active power of art in society.

In addition to these four essays, Shortlist LIVE! publication includes an interview with last year's ANTI International Prize for Live Art artist Sonya Lindfors and a column by Riikka Stewen, secretary of the jury in 2014-2018.

This is the first issue of an annual series of publications that are part of the Shortlist LIVE! – the new entity of events around the ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art. The magazine is published in co-operation by ANTI - Contemporary Art Festival and Live Art Development Agency (LADA). This issue has been edited by Heidi Backström and designed by Tomi Leppänen.