Call for Volunteers: The River Peace

In Volunteer on August 30, 2010 by danceumbrella

The Distillery Historic District presents
by Thomas + Guinevere

Call for Artistic Collaborators:
Musicians, dancers and more invited
to help create large-scale installation piece
Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2010 in The Distillery Historic District.

Volunteers are needed in September to help bring to life The River Peace, a large-scale public participatory performance art installation created by Thomas + Guinevere and sponsored by The Distillery Historic District. It will premiere at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2010 on October 2 from 6:57pm to Sunrise.

Inspired by Mahatma Ghandi’s concept and scope of Satyagraha, or non-violent resistance, The River Peace is a giant metaphoric river where the content is not water, but a mass human expression of peace.

A large-scale sculptural movement and sound performance installation, The River Peace will take the form of a 2,000-foot long luminescent sculpture, stretching around and through the historic laneways in Toronto’s Distillery Historic District, which members of the public are invited to move through in their own meditative expression as musicians, dancers and creative collaborators create the illusion of a river in constant flow – with everyone’s cell phones providing the installation’s luminosity.

An aerial perspective of The River Peace will also be captured on video in The Distillery Historic District and projected onto the walls of Mill Street so the public can witness the real-time media artwork resulting from everyone’s participation.
To help create the sound, flow and form of The River Peace, Thomas + Guinevere is making a Call for Public Participation, inviting volunteer collaborators to participate prior to and on the night of Nuit Blanche. Volunteer participants are needed in the following categories:

    Mass participatory orchestra (Sound Streams): Placed at special sound stations along the river, musical contributors (instrumentalists and vocalists from all musical styles welcomed) will create a large-scale site-specific orchestral soundscape. Musicians will collaborate with noted composer John McDowell who created the soundtrack for the Academy Award-winning documentary Born into Brothels.

    Movement meditations (Beacons & Currents): Dancers from all styles and disciplines will act as beacons of peace. Beacons positioned throughout The River Peace’s course will be the home to dancers engaged in a durational movement meditation while River Currents will lead members of the public through the installation in a slow meditative choreography that can be done by everyone.

 Sculptural form set-up, movement and strike (Helmsmen): The sculptural form of The River Peace will be assembled, carried and steered by Helmsmen. Two hundred participants are required at any given time to mobilize the 2,000-foot long mobile sculpture made-up of lightweight telescopic poles connected by reflective banners.

   General volunteers (The Crew): Numerous tasks during the rehearsal and presentation of The River Peace will need to be assigned to volunteers who want to participate outside the artwork’s creation and production, from ushering on the night of Nuit Blanche to instructing cell phone use for creating the light, etc.

Interested volunteers should contact or visit

by Thomas + Guinevere
At Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 2010
Sponsored by The Distillery Historic District, and in partnership with Scotiabank Nuit Blanche and Le Labo
October 2, 2010 – 6:57pm to Sunrise
Visit for more info

ABOUT THE ARTISTS – Thomas + Guinevere

Thom Sokoloski and Jenny Anne McCowan have built a partnership around developing site-specific public participatory art installations. With their common interest in site-specific work, the interrelationships between art and public and their extensive experience in creating innovative multi-disciplinary performance and image-based work, they began Thomas + Guinevere.

What distinguishes their work from most conceptual and relational art practices is their insistence on the primacy of the visual and aesthetic impact of the work. Socially and historically relevant, interactive, and truly public through participation, they create a sculptural landscape by conducting an optical experiment on a grand scale that can be experienced from multiple perspectives. From afar, their work creates a temporal sculptural form, while up close the work offers accessibility into an experiential and visceral intimacy with the content. To this end, they rely on an interdisciplinary mix of creative collaborators from the community who step forward to participate in the artwork’s process and construction.

In 2006, they were commissioned to create a large-scale public performance art work The Royal Flush, integrating the indoor and outdoor spaces of the Fallsview Casino that was presented all summer long. They were then commissioned by Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 06 to create Confinement of the Intellect, a metaphorical archaeological dig into the memory and history of mental health on Queen St. West. It then went to New York City in 2007 and was presented on the South Point of Roosevelt Island where it was renamed The Encampment and focused on the island’s history as a centre of quarantine until 1975. In 2008, it was then presented in Ottawa’s Major’s Hill Park with a focus on Canada’s history of intellectual disability. Upcoming works include The Ghost Net Project, The Hope Tower and a new version of The Encampment for the War of 1812 Bicentennial.

Thom Sokoloski was co-founder of The Theatre Centre and Autumn Leaf Performance. Some of his signature work includes directing R. Murray Schafer’s RA throughout the Science Centre and at the Holland Festival and Hermes Trismegistos inside Union Station for World Stage and Festival of Liege, his own Kafka in Love inside the Hart House swimming pool for World Stage and producing an international tour of Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus, Michael Nyman, Master Musicians of Jajouka and the Sonic Boom series of new opera and music. He has curated for the McLuhan Festival 04, Toronto International Art Fair 05, Contact 07 and Scotiabank Nuit Blanche 09.

Jenny Anne McCowan has an extensive background as a dancer and choreographer in creating and performing mass routines in rhythmic gymnastics in Canada and abroad, a developed working philosophy and practice of ‘public momentum’ drawn from her master’s thesis on Rave Culture and a body of work that has been performed in New York City, London, Miami, Lyon and Berlin. Her dance/circus spectacle Raise, a fundraiser for a paralysed circus artist, created a mass following and collaboration between 100-plus performers and the public. She is now developing a series of solo works inspired by female artists and composers.

John McDowell achieved worldwide recognition with his soundtrack to the Academy Award winning documentary Born into Brothels. The score blends Western and Indian music in a mesmerizing mix and features the seductive vocals of Brazilian Girls vocalist Sabina Sciubba. He was also the composer for the documentary Stolen, which premiered at TIFF in September, 2009. From the NYC area, John has worked with the likes of Sting, Santana, R. Murray Schafer and Donna Karan. In 2007, he orchestrated the soundscape for Thomas + Guinevere’s The Encampment in NYC on Roosevelt Island.

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