Steven Calvert (pre-Intermission):

In July of 1999, I arrived - with an array of out-of-town friends in tow - at Vancouver's Western Front to attend a Zero-Degree-Monstrosity...

… our troupe was greeted at the door by a video monitor displaying a looping two minute clip of I.M.T.V. news anchor - otherwise known to me as artist Natalie Purschwitz - describing an unnervingly tense and potentially dangerous situation going on inside. We were to sign waiver forms at the gate, promising proprietary submission of copies made from all recording devices [nonetheless strongly encouraged] to the documentation team at I.M. Inside, attendees would be confronted by cameras and expected to perform in any and all ways unlike themselves. Anyone uncomfortable with the invasive terms of the cameras' presence was required to wear a prominent bright orange 'fragile' sticker, paradoxically attracting and averting the attention of camera bearing agitators.

I had been schoolmates with many of the progenitors of this 'come as you aren't' happening, but had not been warned of what to expect. Inside the hall at Western Front, these trans-media maniacs had constructed a wall to wall child's dream fortress, assembled entirely from seemingly innumerable chesterfields. Couches of all styles filled the room, stacked atop each other and on end in every conceivable orientation. Perambulating the narrow labyrinthine corridors between structures were a population of the generation's most provocative art-stars, all bedecked in



bizarre caricature outfits, speaking in strange dialects, shifting roles and characters as though in time with the wildly experimental music. Everywhere in the dimly lit bunker blinked tiny red LEDs - the record lights on dozens of hand-held video cameras: memory of this event would require dozens of separate points of view.

Throughout the evening all manner of strange and uncharacteristic debauchery ensued. Beneath the cushions were hidden all manner of creepy and strange props: root vegetables, barbie dolls, harlequin masks, sex toys, foodstuffs, fly swatters, bowls full to the brim with unmarked pills… all an inventive anybody could need to concoct and multiply a personality. Legendary performance artist and Western Front host Eric Metcalfe circulated the room giving revellers a used couch salesman routine, whimsically laying hard-sell pitches on party patrons. Scarcely identifiable in their eerie alter-egos, IM members themselves popped in and out of the scene, changing costumes and characters at a dizzying rate throughout the evening, in a dazzling conflation of suburban white trash, american tourist chic-schtick, and artfully bohemian schizo-paranoia. Others convincingly sustained the virulently infectious sense of play as inquisitive forest animals, insatiable erotomaniacs, domineering personality coaches, and relentless physiology researchers.

My overwhelming impression - as someone completely unprepared for such a spectacle - was that amidst all this gleeful annihilation of fixed identity, facilitated by so much playful rapport, everyone in the room that evening had personally exchanged some variety of weirdness or another with every other person in the room. By massively mulitplying the point of view [ubiquitous video documentation] and intensifying the instability of the subject [perform as you aren't], inter.mission had brilliantly summoned the otherwise metaphorically 'rhizomatic' aspect of cultural politics into concrete social instantiation, and transmuted the concept of intersubjectivity into a very palpably phenomenal collective experience.


Jason Mogus (Vancouver Resident and President, Communicopia.Net) Writes :

... this group, which provides a forum for emerging Vancouver artists to show their work. Inter:mission also provides a form of artist in residence program, supporting out of town artists with their work in Vancouver.

Over the years I have enjoyed very much the artistic projects of Mark and his group, which have included hosted special events in their studio, outdoor performance art pieces, and indoor musical and visual art shows. In particular I appreciate what seems to be the primary goal of the group -- building community and bringing awareness to emerging issues affecting our culture and our world.

I find that this special mission resonates through all of their pieces, and they have touched me deeply over the years, and as such I consider myself a strong supporter of their work. My experience is that much of inter:mission’s work is "just beyond the horizon" enough to be challenging to fund through traditional sources, and I respect Mark very much for his support of this work. For me this makes the work all the more relevant and pertinent to facilitate deeper understanding of the current state of affairs in our city and our world.