TEMPTATIONS: DISTANT WHISPERS
In May 2018, Hector Canonge lost his New York City studio-home due to a fire that swept through his building. Despite his loss, the artist decided to continue with his artistic commitments and deliver his two-months project aptly denominated “TEMPTATIONS.” In an interview for a French publication in Morocco, Canonge declared: “. . .theft and fire have stripped me of my material possessions, but I haven’t lost my will to continue and rebuild again. I am fortunate to have friends that give me support, and a community that believes in my work. I started from zero many times, I am not afraid of doing it again. . .” On that note, the artist began with the creation of a new body of work in places where he had never visited before.
TEMPTATIONS is a project that consisted of a series of performances, talks, and workshops centered on the politics of the migrant body, personal loss, the potential for human adaptability, and the ever changing nature of personal beliefs. In Casablanca, Morocco, the artist presented the first iteration of the performance under the name “TEMPTATIONS: Distant Whispers.” As part of the project, he also worked with inner-city youth from a grassroots organization, and conducted workshops at the cultural center Centre Les Etoiles de Sidi Mouman. The artist later traveled to Egypt, Cyprus, Turkey, and Greece to continue the development of TEMPTATIONS exploring other immediate concerns: longing, inadaptability, resentment, and hope.
“TEMPTATIONS: Distant Whispers” treats notions of personal displacement, loss, and adaptation. The performance was presented in the black box theater of the cultural center. The three-part no-intermissions work integrates visual elements, texts, movement, and endurance in the “generative” style that I have developed over the years, and that characterizes my Performance Art oeuvre.
I enter the space clad in a dark Moroccan tunic and wearing a head turban that also covers my eyes. Slowly, I begin to unwrap the turban. As I do so, red rose petals begin to fall on the floor. I finish taking off the turban and begin to take off the black tunic. As I pull it off, a white tunic is revealed. I bring a bucket to the center of the space and sit in it. I begin to rise. The lower part of my white tunic starts to reveal red stains. I come out of the bucket and begin to walk around the space. I finish when my tunic can no longer leave red stains on the floor.