In this participatory performance art workshop, participants delve into experiences, ideas, and questions about the lifespan and spirit life of archival materials. Objects perform in past, present, and future, inhabiting all dimensions and directions, with new resonance and meaning available in every possible context.

Participants will bring three items that they consider to be part of their personal or community archive and through sensory, embodied, and energetic encounters, we will collaboratively explore connections and intersections of live performance, documentation, and archival practice. Prompts and discussions will have us consider: How can archival materials be used in the creation of new work? How might we understand performance documentation as an artistic practice and as a potential tool with which to write archives differently?

All artists, archivists, activists, finders, keepers, scholars, collectors, witches, and mystics are welcome.

How to prepare: please bring three items that are meaningful to you or your community for exploration within this workshop.

This program is the second of three in a series of artist-led workshops informed by C Magazine’s Experiments in Criticism Facilitator’s Guide, which was developed in 2019 in consultation with experts in critical art pedagogy. These workshops pose critical questions for contemplation and discussion and propose approaches to alternative archival practices that are rooted in community rather than established by an institution.

This program is co-created and co-presented with C Magazine. Please contact with any accessibility requests.

Image Credit: Jess Dobkin, Conjuring the Archive, April 22, 2022. Program held at 72 Perth Ave as part of Toronto Biennial of Art 2022. Co-created and co-presented with C Magazine. Photography: Kesang Nanglu.

In Person

72 Perth Avenue
72 Perth Ave
Toronto ON
M6R 2C2

April 22


Jess Dobkin has been a working artist, curator, community activist, mentor, and teacher for more than 25 years, having created and produced intimate solo theatre performances, large-scale public happenings, socially engaged interventions, performance art workshops, and talks. Her practice extends across black boxes and white cubes, art fairs and subway stations, international festivals and single bathroom stalls. She has operated an artist-run newsstand in a vacant subway station kiosk, a soup kitchen for artists, a breast milk tasting bar, and a performance festival hub for kids. Her film and video works are distributed by Vtape and traces of her performance work are held in performance art archives internationally.