There were a number of outstanding artists at Elektra. Chatting with Thomas and Emmanuel from [The User] was one of my big highlights. I’ve been shouting into their Silophone project since my first trip to MTL in 2011. [The User] released a book during the festival that highlights their work from the past few decades. In a brief chat, Emmanuel told me that the major catalyst for the book was to satiate their need for more discourse. Coming from a world of endless discourse (at the expense of many other things), Elektra opened my eyes to a lack of communication between cultural scholarship and cultural practitioners.
One might assume that such discourse is happening before, during, and perhaps most importantly, immediately after performances, but I have my doubts. When was the last time you felt the freedom to walk out of a performance as a form of protest? When was the last time you felt the freedom to not clap at the end of a performance? When was the last time you told an artist how you really felt? Why are performance spaces so polite? What does a standing ovation actually mean?
I’ve seen plenty of amazing things on YouTube, but never have I stood up and started clapping at the end of a great video.