In the absence of the Festival of New Dance in 2020, Neighbourhood Dance Works invited the FND artists to collectively activate the liminal space of a profound cultural pause, creating the Virtual Festival Residency. The first iteration of the VFR was an artist driven process led by Montréal-based artist Angie Cheng and involved 23 artists in a 10-week process framed around weekly Offerings + two virtual gatherings.
Through the series of weekly Offerings, NDW made space for an artist-centered process where ideas, daily action, contemplation, discovery, and reflection could emerge. Offerings were inspired by individual
check-ins with Angie and through a shared community Miro bulletin board, where needs and interests could be shared. The VFR took place in personal spaces chosen by each artist so they could realize a
self-determined process in context of their individual circumstance.
From Fall 2021 to Fall 2022, NDW carried out a second iteration of the VFR, creating a public facing element to the VFR process. During this second phase, NDW saw 21 existing and new Virtual Festival Residency Artists revisit Angie Cheng’s 2020 ‘VFR Offerings’, to create their own artistic response in the form of
self-generated performance videos, soundscapes, readings, performance essays, multimedia files, digital collages, or other interdisciplinary outcomes. These responses became each artist's Artifact of their individualized VFR Digital Now process. Each artist's Artifact is featured below.
The second iteration of this project was made possible through the generous support of Canada Council for Arts Digital Now Program.
Originally from Ottawa, Angie Cheng is a Montreal-based dance artist. Collaborative creation processes ground her ongoing research in performance; investigating the liminal space between creative process and performance event, between spectator and performer. The embodied and specific understandings that arise from these investigations shape her current questions and engagements both in her own work and with others. Her interest in understanding other platforms and how they are available for presenting work and examining how we present the different states of work and the influence it plays with what we create. Practice as product. She has also been actively engaged in the conversations of inclusivity, diversity and accessibility. It’s not just what we make as artists but how.
Calla Lachance in conversation with Angie Cheng
Every Monday morning VFR artists would receive their weekly Offering, giving them one week to respond to, and reflect on Angie’s thoughtfully sourced materials - ideas, images, poems, questions, podcast, playlists etc. Artists could track their process, if they chose, through whatever means they felt relevant. They were provided note books and tracking sheets to note emergent ideas and experiences. Each VFR artist chose their own path, the process was not monitored nor were particular outcomes prescribed. The work was self-determined and generated. Artists were encouraged to share with each other through the Miro board, but that was also not mandatory.
Over the course of the VFR, participants had the option to share ideas and communicate to the other artists through a shared virtual Miro Board. Miro is an interactive community bulletin board where participants could post comments, leave or pick up ideas, post images, exchange messages or simply read the contents provided by Angie.
Engaging with other VFR artists was a personal choice, and no one was obligated to be in contact with other participants. The Miro platform presented yet another opportunity for artist exchange in an open format that offered a playful container to envelope the artists’ time together.
Noah Bender is a visual artist based in St. John’s, NL. Noah was invited to create a series of visual works inspired by, and in response to, VFR offerings. This imagery is an additional way for the public to relate to the framework of VFR.