Browsing articles in "performance"
May 6, 2000

A Needle in a Hay Stack (2000)

• Installation : Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, NB, 2000
• Performances : Sackville, NB, Scoudouc, NB, Charlottown, PEI, 2000


A Needle in a Hay Stack is based on the following two premises:

1. In French to say to have hay in the boots means to have a lot of money. The word boots (bottes) also refers to a stack as in haystack

2. To look for a needle in a haystack is to look for something impossible to find.

My intention is to use the search for the needle to represent a search for money, as a search for few minutes of reprieve in the endless task of making a living. Of course, that is the way the game is designed, some people have to work much longer hours just get by. I want to question the degree of ease or difficulty to find that something. (The needle and the hay serve as references for money or wealth). I also want to question the value of that something, its degree of reality and its degree of truth. I have been working on individual and collaborative projects based on the Economy for the last 10 years. What attracted me to that theme was how much it was grounded in the reality, of everyday life, in its fantasies and in its tragedies. The Economy is the thing that interconnects us all. Economy is a mirror of the world and like birds, many of us are fooled by the reflection. Many of us are asking who is the most beautiful. In this case the needle is found inside the stack etched on a mirror, allowing people to see themselves in the Economy. Money is never a problem but always a solution and so on.

As a performance artist I see a lot of similarity between the theme of Economy and my personal performance art practice. Both are embedded in the real world and deal with pragmatism and imagination. It is my desire to be involved in projects that share this idea of being in the world. In the Needle in the Hay Stack, I give myself the stage name: Dannylonglegs, which is a blend of the Daddy Long Leg spider; my first name; and the spider/web type of project that this is. I decided to dress as a new mutant of our age: half businessman, half scarecrow. The front of my three-piece suit is the businessman and the back being is the scarecrow. My task is to ask people if they have seen the Needle. An encounter would go like this:

Dannylonglegs: Hello, my name is dannylonglegs.
Passerby: Hello dannylonglegs.
Dannylonglegs:I am looking for a needle.
Passerby: A needle?
Dannylonglegs: Yes, a needle in a hay stack.
Passerby: Oh, I understand.
Dannylonglegs: It has one eye, one leg and it is hiding. If you see it, I could use your help.

I went to the Scarecrow Festival in Harrisville, NB; to the Confederation Center in Charlottetown, PEI; to hayfields in Scoudouc and in downtown Moncton, NB. The costume gave me the freedom to be different and to ask questions. It allowed me to approach people and to interact with them without being mistaken for an aggressor. After all everybody knows the legendary friendliness of the half business man, half scarecrow character. At the limit of entertainment, this type of performance resembles the TRUNK© experience: Ask questions, Get answer and Enjoy the ride. I have seen the good sense of humor and if the needle is sometime hard to find, it is surely the ability to laugh and to hope that it has to be found one day, which makes most of us endure a little bit more a little bit longer.

PS. I suffer from hay fever. Actually I suffer from conceptual hay fewer, hay do not seems to be involve in my attacks, what I fear is rag weed. But nobody says rag weed fever. My allergies are considered severe and I subscribe to Reactine, Claratine, Allegra D and Etc to stop the river of mucus running from my head. It starts in mid-august and lasts until the first big frost. To play in hayfields dress with costume made of hay is, if not a victory over my allergies, some kind of personal victory.

Jun 1, 1999

Le Tapis Rouge (1999)

• Symposium d’art actuel, Moncton, NB

Il s’agit d’une performance à propos du protocole et des conventions. Le roi (Dugas porte sur sa tête une énorme couronne en fer galvanisé qu’il attache sur sa tête) se promène entre ses deux châteaux : à l’ouest le Château à Pape et à l’est le Château Moncton. L’un est un restaurant l’autre un hôtel situé à 500 mètres. Le performeur porte des bottes aux semelles velcro et un page (Clément Dugas) déroule à un tapis rouge à ses pieds. La promenade sur le sentier est maladroite et ridicule, le tapis colle à ses chaussures.

Cette action sur le dérisoire sera répétée pendant le Symposium. Détournement de sens, mise en abîme d’un univers chevaleresque qui a perdu des plumes et qui pourtant maintient ses symboles désuets.

Between the restaurant Château à Pape and the new hotel Château Moncton, the King strolls along, in a ridiculous gait and attire. The performance includes a page (Clément Dugas) unrolling a red carpet, and acts as a comment on protocol and conventions, on a chivalrous past which has  lost some of its lustre but whose symbols endure

Lieu : sur le sentier riverain entre le restaurant Château à Pape et l’Hôtel Château Moncton
Dates : les 11, 18 et 21 août 1999
Heure : 17 h


La musique du coeur
David Lonergan au Symposium d’art actuel
L’Acadie Nouvelle, 16 août 1999

La même journée, Daniel Dugas présentait sa performance Le tapis rouge aux touristes attendant la montée du mascaret. Le Roi Dugas a arpenté douloureusement son chemin de gloire, sur deux courts rouleaux de tapis rouge que déroulait tour à tour le page et sans doute dauphin, Clément Dugas, devant Sa Majesté. Mais à l’image de la Petitcodiac, le Rayaume est manifestement en ruines; l’habit royal était plus que sobre, la couronne un vulgaire chapeau que seul sauvait sa grande dimension, et les deux trop courts morceaux de tapis rouge collaient aux chaussures du Roi, l’empêchant de cheminer avec toute la dignité. De son rang : bien au contraire, Sa Majesté s’empêtrait, tombait, s’emberlificotait, incapable de maintenir dans sa démarche son glorieux passé. Performance d’une simplicité percutante, mais qui’il faut savoir décoder.




May 6, 1996

TRUNK© gallery (1996-1999)

• Eastern Edge, Gold / Rush, (TRUNK©), Contemporary Visual Festival, St-John’s, NF
• Hamilton Artist Inc.,Gold / Rush, (TRUNK©) Hamilton, ON
• Itinérant / Mobile, Moncton, Notre-Dame, Sackville, NB, 1996-1997


TRUNK© was created in October of 1996 by Daniel Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc. At that time we were just coming back into the Maritimes from living in the US and in Alberta for 7 years. We found ourselves in a time period where we had no place to show our work and instead of waiting out that long period between the application and the opening night, we made our own art centre. We drove our 1981 RCMP blue Citation around, opening the trunk for the interested and the curious. The TRUNK© contained a new art installation each month. The slogan for TRUNK© was the very apropos exhibitions near you ™. We also wanted to develop a new audience, and the experience was fascinating; many of our viewers never went inside an art gallery, but they enjoyed the space that we had created. The reaction was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. Newpapers and television stations started to talk about the TRUNK© which became a collective with the addition of Luc Charette. In just a few months, we were talking to Peter Gzowski on CBC radio, coast to coast.




Opening the TRUNK© to Release the 9 to 5
by Valerie LeBlanc

MIX magazine 25.3 Winter 1999/2000

At the hinge of the millenium, it is somewhat incredible to observe that the main cogwheels of the working world still turn from 9-5. In all of the planning sessions and working hours that have passed since humans began walking on the planet, the expression ‘flex hours’ still implies being on duty from dawn to dusk. The current status of progress is to work the standard number of required hours, with the option to start anywhere between 7:15 and 8:30, that’s a.m.

In the early decades of the post-World War 2 period, an age-old slogan from previous industrial revolutions was touted: ‘ Machines Will Set You Free.’ The birth of the across-the-board consultant era came in the 1990’s. This time, the promise of freedom to work your own hours was flaunted. Currently, with the polarization of high end and low end employment, the common schedule has blurred into an endless on-call hotline. Yet the buzz of commuter trains, buses, cars and SUV’s is still heard from 9 to 5.

That being stated, it seems that no one gets any real time off these days, unless they are out of work. Add in the stress factor of figuring out ‘what’s up next but the street,’ and that time off comes close to full mental taxation. A quick scan of current mass media advertising and entertainment reveals a neat interweaving of the things which were once discernable: the public and the private; the worktime and the downtime. In essence that old 9 to 5 has moved into the home environment, pushing to make a blur of all downtime. There is no world except the Brave New Working World.

Starting out in life, I saw the warning signs. I saw the cards stacking up and yet I jumped into an artistic career. I chose my path and dug in. For years I thought that it was a choice. Then I came to realize that the trap was set for me before I started. With tongue in cheek I write, I am an artist and there is no escaping from it after a certain point. I long ago coined the phrase ‘Art is Two Full Time Jobs. ‘ So all of that business about observing the structure of the workforce while being submerged in it, is, in essence, a pile of baloney. When I get home from work, I ‘go to work’ on whatever art projects I have on the go at the time. Artists continue to beat the same paths. The rewarding part is that as an individual, you can have control over a few choices.

As an interdisciplinary artist, I have trained, tried and continue to call up many forms of expression in the usual course of creation. Leads come to me as ideas, images or feelings. They trigger interest and stick in my mind, as I start to compile and to formulate scraps of information. Once aroused, artistic interest does not always fit conveniently into the time patterns marked out by the physical world, especially when constrained by the business of bill paying. The seeds of art making arrive during those pragmatic moments when I am locked in the 9 to 5, under stressful circumstances, during pauses, dreams, and when I submerge myself into personal ‘thinktank’ sessions. When the moment is not convenient to pursue the train of thought, I jot down a few key words, or I make some sketches to later remind me of where things were going.

When I get a chance, I pull out these scraps and start to build on them. Usually it is a long and convoluted process. Understandably, it is a solitary path. At best, at the end of a year or two of progress, I can look forward to an exhibition which will last for three weeks. If I am really lucky, I might garner Andy Wharhol’s “ten minutes of fame” during a review. A bit of publicity, and that is the best case scenario. A drop in the bucket, and then its back to the studio drawing board, and the cycle begins again. Yes, the point is that I love my life and that is why I continue to hack through this jungle with such ferocity.

And while hacking, I got on the kick of raising the visibility and honour of the working world. More specifically, I tried to offer some recognition to people ‘in general’ for their efforts to tame the overpowering ‘WORKING MACHINE'; the same beast to which the majority of human beings are enslaved. Well HA! – and good luck! One thing that has changed in the past few years is that I have learned to listen more carefully to the advice of the non-secular faction. I used to ravage through projects like an island. I worked a lot of things out of my system, so to speak. In spite of what family and friends, even professional advisors told me, I continued to believe in the value of raising the concept of the everyday. My work was marinated in the 9 to 5. Then, I came to embrace the concept which was flashing in neon around each corner: NO ONE WANTS TO BE REMINDED OF THE WORKING WORLD. It is exactly the other, the special event, that which stands out from the everyday that people want to experience.

The significance of stating this very basic revelation is that I have started to have fun giving people what they want. It is not the kind of project that I sweat over the most, and it does not take exaggerated amounts of time to produce. What is this snake oil? It is the TRUNK© Gallery. And it is not a lonely venture, it is a community at large. It is a kind of working vacation.

This summer Daniel Dugas and myself took a break from the 9 to 5 when we travelled to exhibit the TRUNK© – GOLD / RUSH project in Hamilton, Ontario and in Saint John’s, Newfoundland. The Hamilton Artists Inc. invited us to present as the sixth element in its year long Perpetual Crisis Series. For GOLD, Daniel Dugas asked the Centre’s members to gather recycled glass before he arrived in town. He broke the glass, piled it up in the trunk of the car, and lit it with amber lights. He then invited people to “handle the gold.” He offered a pair of heavy leather welder’s gloves for protection. Most viewers took advantage of the chance to get closer to ‘his wealth’. My RUSH exhibit involved a circulating champagne fountain filled with water and lit with coloured lights. That was the lure, along with an instrumental version of Three Coins in a Fountain. When I was able to draw people closer, I interviewed them about water memories and vacations. The second stage of the projects was to tour Dugas’ GOLD around the city, parking at randomly chosen, busy corners. Because we were scheduled into the Royal Bank Aquafest of Music, we also set up on the midway of the festival. Amid the carnival rides, gambling wheels, food kiosks and curio boutiques, we parked the borrowed 1986 Cutlass Supreme Oldsmobile and opened the TRUNK©. For this second stage of the project, Dugas’ shared his wealth and I played back a sound bites of story samples mixed with the song track. The reaction was very positive. The ‘normally curious’ warmed up right away to the TRUNK©, and the ‘normally sceptic’ dug in to ask all of the questions you can imagine. As artists we had a lot of fun talking to people and embracing their curiosity. We shared laughter and tears with people drawn to this ‘in your face’ encounter.

In St. John’s, Newfoundland, we were part Eastern Edge Gallery’s first Contemporary Visual Festival. By inviting a variety of ‘out of the gallery’ artistic ventures, Eastern Edge was specifically challenging the artist and viewer to re-contextualize the parameters of what is included in the dialogue of ‘ART.’ Daniel Dugas repeated the GOLD show, RUSH was changed to suit the new location. Because Newfoundland was celebrating fifty years in the Canadian Confederation, I placed a few time pieces in the TRUNK© as visuals. The questions I asked were related to the concept of whether time equals money, and if people got enough time off, enough time for themselves. I played the mix back from a loud speaker unit on top of the car while driving around the city.

The TRUNK© GOLD / RUSH was similar for each of these summer venues but the locations of Hamilton and St. John’s provided completely different experiences. Again, in St. John’s there were the instantly curious, and the initially sceptic, and we always found people to be surprised at the public encounter. From the artists’ perspective, it was a chance to see and to talk to dozens of people that would normally avoid art exhibits. It tested our reactions to the sometimes astonished passerbys. It also offered the chance for two short working vacations this summer. We managed to escape the 9 to 5 grind of trying to make ends meet during those two TRUNK© excursions. It was inspiring and refreshing enough to carry us through until ‘so-far’, the late fall.

Now that I have finally been able to embrace the concept of the ‘other’, which people want, need, and will appreciate, I am truly able to create from real life. This fast paced form of artmaking which touches on installation and performance demands that the artist work ‘on the fly’ with the reactions of the chance audience. The artist must catch the interest of the passerby and reach into that person’s take on being stopped in the street. The artist has to be offering something better than a confrontation sales pitch to successfully draw someone from their pursuit of happiness. One man in St. John’s broke into my ‘speel’ to ask what the TRUNK© was about. Initially, his tone was confrontational. After explaining it to him in detail he began to get interested, finally he he added the comment, “So it is a sort of ‘think-trunk’.” I took it as a big compliment and felt that he offered me the gift of ‘interpreting what I was doing there and throwing it back to me’.

As an interdisciplinary artist, I use my skills to explore the limits of artistic creation. I create to clarify my take on the world, and to communicate my findings. Consequently, my body of work passes through a series of recurring cycles in both intent and physical appearance. The whole of it makes up who I am and what I do. The TRUNK© Gallery enables me to work as ‘animator’, presenting an installation scenario for contemplation. The passerby becomes the audience and I ‘work the crowd’ in the fashion of the food demonstrator in a grocery store. I give people something to think about, and I work to exchange a few laughs. A good time is passed on without obligation. The TRUNK© Gallery requires and enables me to synthesize a full gamut of skills and techniques to realize my aim to communicate.

When artists step out of the Gallery, art transforms itself to fit into the skin of the contemporary commedia dell’arte. The Canada Council is currently wrangling it under the title of Inter-Arts, does that mean that it is almost a household product?

– Valerie LeBlanc November 11, 1999.

Mar 6, 1996

Produit brut, produit net (1996)

• Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, NB, Janvier 1996

Produit brut, produit net is a poetry-performance in three parts and was presented at the Galerie Sans Nom January 11, 1996.

Lis-moi l’avenir
lis-moi l’avenir du libre marchéet du “UNDERPASS OF THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY”
lis entre les lignes du slogan de Microsoft”
Where do you want to go today?”
dans les mosaiques de Pompei
dans la musique de Sousa

C’est l’histoire
L’étrangerMusic: Colonel Boges March by Kenneth J. Alford
AlbertMusic: British Grenadier by Thomas Arne
SueMusic: March of the Toys by Victor Herbert

Je vois
(500 channels / Hollow spirits)Music: The Washington Post March by John Phillip Sousa

je vois une chorégraphie
où des femmes en bikinis
et des hommes torses nu
dansent sur le même rythme

Technical assistance: Valerie LeBlancThanks to : The Canada Council for the Arts, La Galerie Sans Nom, Marc Arseneault, Marc Cyr, L’AEA, and Claude Léger

May 6, 1990

Massacre à la poéscie mécanique (1990)

Massacre à la poéscie mécanique
Chainsaw Massacre of Poetry


• Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, NB, 1990
• Struts Gallery, Sackville, NB, 1990

May 6, 1989

Elestic Deer (1999)

• Galerie Sans Nom,  performance, Art en Direct, Moncton, NB, 1998

May 20, 1988

Un nerd à la ferme (1988)

• Galerie Sans Nom, Moncton, NB, 1988


Jun 13, 1982

Lorenzo- telex, laser and subterfuge (1982)

1982 Lorenzo- telex, laser and subterfuge, GSN, Moncton and Language Plus, Alma, QC


Daniel H. Dugas

Artiste numérique, poète et musicien, Daniel H. Dugas a participé à des expositions individuelles et de groupe ainsi qu’à plusieurs festivals et événements de poésie en Amérique du Nord, en Europe, au Mexique et en Australie. Son treizième recueil de poésie « émoji, etc. » / « emoji, etc. » vient de paraître aux Éditions Basic Bruegel.

Daniel H. Dugas is a poet, musician, and videographer. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as festivals and literary events in North America, Europe, Mexico, and Australia. His thirteenth book of poetry, 'émoji, etc.' / 'emoji, etc.' has been published by the Éditions Basic Bruegel Editions.

Date : Mars / March 2022
Genre : Poésie / Poetry
Français / English

émoji, etc. / emoji, etc.

Date: Mai / May 2022
Genre: Vidéopoésie/Videopoetry




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