what remains: chapter three

CHAP3_what remains

Defibrillator Gallery proudly presents

What Remains: On the Sacred, the Lost, and the Forgotten Relics of Live Art




Massive in scale and retrospective by nature, What Remains: On the Sacred, the Lost, and the Forgotten Relics of Live Art is the first exhibition of Defibrillator Gallery’s 10th anniversary year. Curated by Netherlands-based ieke Trinks, this visual art exhibition and performance art series features a cohort of artists from around the world who responded to an open call to reanimate Defibrillator’s collection of objects from performances that took place over the past nine years.

CHAPTER 3: REFERENTIAL | “Referential” relates to participating artists’ personal stories, and experiences. The relics featured in this chapter act as conduits, channeling narratives and associations, referencing biographies and experiences. REFERENTIAL features live installations, a satellite sound-performance event at No-Nation, a Performance Art Program on Saturday, February 22, and our second and final Soup Kitchen Conversation.

WED 19 FEB | 4-6PM | Witness work being installed

THU 20 FEB | 4-6PM | Witness work being installed

THU 20 FEB | 7-9PM | Off-site Performance Program:  No Nation Unspace Lab       > 1542 N Milwaukee Ave, FL 2

SAT 22 FEB | 6-9PM | Performance Art Program

SUN 23 FEB | 2-4PM | Soup Kitchen Conversations: The Impulse to Collect

Soup Kitchen Conversations are community based discourse featuring guest speakers who talk about a topic over a hot bowl of soup or stew [vegan+gluten free], followed by discussion. Minneapolis based Katya Oicherman will be working with textiles from the relic archive. Nightlife persona, life-art practitioner and voracious collector, Jojo Baby will discuss their eccentric collection, including puppets from the legendary Greer Lankton. 

proxy* | when the featured artist isn’t able to be present, a local artist will produce the work.


**Artists are not aware of the context of the original performance in which the relic was used.

Alice Vogler | "Liability of body. Language of liability" | Venice International Performance Art Week | Photo by Monika Sobczak 2014

Alice Vogler | “Liability of body. Language of Liability” | Venice International Performance Art Week | Photo by Monika Sobczak 2014

Alice Vogler [Atlanta] (b. 1975) is an educator, timed based artist and curator. She has shown her work in many performance festivals and galleries in Italy, Japan, Columbia, China, Canada, Mexico, New York City, Brooklyn, Chicago, Miami, and Boston. In response to moving back to the deep south after 20 years in Boston, she has been exploring the idea of “home” and the weight and illusionment that that word carries with it. Some other ongoing themes in her work include: place, choice, control, interaction, anticipation, private, public, remembrance, and preserving. The audience is always an essential element. Alice received her Bachelors of Fine Arts (’98) from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland Oregon, and her Masters of Fine Arts (’01) from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts. She currently lives in Atlanta, GA with her husband Vela Phelan and their two sweet fat cats Chilita and Leche. 

PROJECT: 032_01: WHAT REMAINS tradition and contradictions** |This piece explores a small piece of Vogler’s new relationship with the south and the good and bad of its history that clings to it like a wet blanket. In Vogler’s words: “We always carry our past with us. The south is my past, my birth land, and it also is my present, my once again home.” Volger’s durational action will include the relics sleeping bag, apron, and gasmask. 


Ashley Hollingshead | Photo by Justin McGregor

Ashley Hollingshead [Minneapolis] is a director, performer, and collaborator. They hold an MFA in European Devised Performance Practice from Columbia College Chicago. Their performance practice mashes up personal narrative, pop culture, and sweet dance moves (made by a non-dancer body). From 2015 to 2017 Ashley served as Production Coordinator for Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, they gathered many of the artifacts used in What Remains (and many, many more not featured here) for the artists of Rapid Pulse. They are currently based in Minneapolis. 

PROJECT: THE ARTIST WILL PROVIDE | As Production Coordinator for Rapid Pulse from 2015-2017 Hollingshead sourced hundreds of items used in performance at DFBRL8R. Surrounded by as many pieces of the archive as possible, they will read a list of every material used in a performance that took place during the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival, including the title of the performance and whether the artist of DFBRL8R provided the item. 

Christine Ferrera | Awkward Pauzez | Photo courtesy of the artist

Christine Ferrera | Awkward Pauzez | Photo courtesy of the artist

Christine Ferrera [Chicago] | Ferrera began her artistic career as a visual artist. However, after completing several series of paintings and artist books, she discovered a narrative thread running through her work and made the leap to time-based media. Whether in the form of stand-up, video art or experimental theatre, her intimate stories begin with a familiar experience but inevitably veer into unpredictable terrain, revealing their emotional core. Her current practice lives at the (dangerous!) intersection of performance art and comedy. Dan Hanrahan [Chicago] is a writer, musician, performer and National Poetry Slam finalist. He has presented his work at venues internationally, including Beyond Baroque (Los Angeles), the Milwaukee Art Museum, Center Portion & Teatro Aguijón (Chicago), Theater X (Milwaukee) and the Amsterdam Fringe Festival. His essays have appeared at counterpunch.org, El Beisman, The Mantle, Op-Ed News and Bmore Art. Dan released the album, Three Waves in 2015 and the album of protest songs, Radical Songs for Rough Times, in 2019.

PROJECT: There Is No Time** | There Is No Time is a series of short monologues written and performed by Ferrera and Hanrahan in response to the relics: four cardboard neckties. Each monologue presents a glimpse into the often lonely and alienating experience of living in a consumer-based mass society. Taken as a whole, the performance reflects upon the competing demands for time and money with which the artist must constantly contend. 

CR Cooper [Chicago] | Cooper is a visual artist working in print, digital, performance, and sculpture. As Proxy coordinator, CR has been working with artists who couldn’t attend the exhibition to ensure that their work is being presented according to plan, often installing the work itself. 

Erin Peisert | Photo courtesy of the artist

Erin Peisert | Photo courtesy of the artist

Erin Peisert [Minneapolis] + Amy Whitaker [Cincinnati] are both interdisciplinary artists working in performance, sound, and video. They both attended the School of Visual Arts MFA Art Practice Program in NY. Common themes in their work include the impact of sound, place, and movement upon the body.

PROJECT: Fact or Condition** | How do an auditorily-dominant body and a kinesthetically-dominant body relate? In thinking about their relationship and its journey from out of body into embodiment, Peisert and Whitaker will use the relic a metal bowl with ashes to create a sound and movement exchange in which presence and absence are considered. The performance acts as an investigation of the active and passive in relation to bodies of water in multiple forms, and how that relates to time: past, present, and future. 

Frans van Lent_Staan

Frans van Lent | Photo courtesy of the artist

Frans van Lent [Netherlands]’s work is concept-driven and minimal in approach. Through performative and sculptural methods, his practice focuses on human behaviour in the public realm and observing, processing and redefining the ordinary ways in which this is visible. He uses various methods, specifically chosen for each occasion: performance; photography, film and sound, descriptive texts.

PROJECT: A Chair as Any Other** |Recognizing the red folding chair as an object that needs a fair second chance, van Lent will spend a day of browsing, calling and visiting to find the best possible foster home for this chair to function again as the mundane object it was meant to be. Van Lent will specifically look for a place where, away from any artistic context, the makes and the colour of the chair are honestly appreciated, or are not of any importance to the user, and a place where it can unnoticeably blend into a group of comparable chairs and pieces of furniture.

Jeremy Saya photo courtesy of the artist

Jeremy Saya photo courtesy of the artist

Jeremy Saya [Canada] is a queer interdisciplinary artist based in Toronto whose practice integrates elements of performance, installation, sound, video and electronics. He holds a BA in Sociology from Laurentian University and currently studies Integrated Media at OCAD University. His academic background in philosophy and social science often informs his work which deals with themes of queerness, the body, identity, vulnerability, ephemerality and interactionism. Jeremy has performed at Ignite Gallery and at Cold Waters Media Arts Symposium & Festival in North Bay, Ontario. He has exhibited at White Water Gallery, VSVSVS, and has curated film programs for both the Toronto Queer Film Festival and Images Festival. Jeremy has worked at Vtape, Feminist Art Gallery, Trinity Square Video and currently holds the positions of Festival Assistant and Box Office Manager at Images Festival.

PROJECT: The holy risk of chance** | An installation in which acetate sheets hang, a fan activates, and lights illuminate. Ever-changing textual projections appear. Saya’s installation will use the relics that are a stack of acetate sheets covered with text. The installation will be built by proxy artist C.R. Cooper.

Jessica van Deursen_All for Art_Art Rotterdam_2018Jessica van Deursen [Netherlands] is a performance artist who pushes the boundaries of the common fine-arts practice. Not only does she challenge the borders between her art and her personal life, she also challenges her own mental and physical limits while questioning to what extent she can control the course of her life, and to what extent others are influencing her, and which role art can play in this investigation.

PROJECT: An Artist’s Armor** |  Everyone’s an artist. Oh yes, you are too! Play around. And take a picture, as you wear those golden shoes. In van Deursen’s installation you will find the relics a pair of golden shoes and a piece of golden fabric.

Katya Oicherman_DFBRL8R relic used in What Remains_Photo ieke Trinks 2019

Katya Oicherman_DFBRL8R relic used in What Remains_Photo ieke Trinks 2019

Katya Oicherman [Minneapolis, b. Russia] is an artist, researcher and educator working on the subjects of memory and identity as reflected in art and material culture, especially textiles. She lived in Russia, Israel and the UK; currently she is based in Minneapolis, USA. She is a visiting research fellow at the Centre for Jewish Studies, University of Minnesota. She studied textile design and art and modern Jewish studies in Israel and the UK. Her practice-based PhD (Goldsmiths, London) addressed 19th century German Jewish ceremonial textiles and their relevance in contemporary art practice. Katya works with a variety of media, including video and installation, performance, weaving and embroidery. She has exhibited her work internationally. She taught textile practice and history and headed the department of Textile Design (Shenkar College, Israel).

PROJECT: The Laundry Room** | Oicherman will interact and transform various textiles from the archive: covering, wrapping, wiping, tying, netting, holding, revealing, binding, hanging, fixing, staining, brushing, tumbling, washing, marking, scenting, waving, mending, folding, stretching, ironing, bandaging, rubbing, spreading, drying, boiling, straightening, crumpling, soiling, combing, cutting, tearing, scrubbing, pressing, flapping, knotting, stitching, bleaching, swinging, releasing, rolling. 

Madison Juliana Alexander photo courtesy of the artist

Madison Juliana Alexander photo courtesy of the artist

Madison Juliana Alexander [Chicago] works with issues of visibility and finding catharsis using her own experience as a catalyst for conversation. Through installation, performance, and participatory prompts Alexander engages her audience physically with her work to allow them to feel connected to her and to be able to project their own personal experiences onto what she presents. She has found that when she shares her trauma, people feel empowered to share their own which is a step towards healing. In 2018 she began work on the “Cabinet of Curiosities” project where she explores the spaces that encase trauma, and the debris left behind. To do this she asked participants to donate objects that they associate with anxiety, sorrow, or trauma that they feel are too precious to throw out, but too painful to keep. 

PROJECT: Residual Ritual | Residual Ritual is Alexander’s way of airing out and transforming past trauma through performing acts that brought her shame as a child but that she now sees as acts of resilience. Bathing without gas in the house was one such challenge which the artist solved by manually heating water to have a warm bath. Bathing was such a source of anxiety for Alexander when she was young, but it is also symbolic of cleansing and rebirth, so this is the act that will be repeated with Guilia Mattera’s relic, a tub, used in her last years performance Emotional Labor.

Maya_Nguen_Noah_Fields_PC_Stefania_Gomez - maya nguen

Maya Nguen + Noah Fields_Photo by Stefania Gomez

Maya Nguen [Chicago b. Russia] is a poet and sound artist. Her current work explores sound compositions that pick up what remains after the collision of language, field recordings, and music. She shuttles between Moscow, Hanoi, Berlin, and is currently based in the South Side of Chicago. She also edits poetry for Asymptote journal. In a parallel universe, Maya is probably a techno dj, reads lengthy novels, and has a firm sense of home. Noa/h Fields [Chicago] is a writer of poetry, art criticism, nightlife fragments, and other hybrid-genre experiments. Their books include a poetry chapbook WITH and a flip-over duo artists book TECHNO BOTTOM::xxGOTH TOP.  They have performed, and curated readings at NoNation, DFBRL8R, Cathy Edelman, M. LeBlanc, Pilsen Community Books, Siblings, Women & Children First, Salonathon, Wesleyan, and SomoS House Berlin. They are a member of de.composition collective.

PROJECT: Our Mutter** | What remains after the break-up? Maya Nguen and Noa/h Fields create a live, deconstructed counterpoint for human voices and edited tape recordings, with additional movement by Carole McCurdy and sound by Mah Nu, all responding to a broken tape cassette player relic.

Nora + Mána

Nora + Mána

Nora + Mána [Chicago] Nora is an art historian specializing in Southeast Asian Art. Mána is an artist and writer who recently graduated with a B.A. in Human Rights and Literature. 

PROJECT: Spilled Ink** | This is an ongoing exploration of letter writing. Throughout her travels, Nora has collected hotel stationary from many countries with the idea to use them for an art project. Mána had additionally been interested in writing letters as an art form. They are both inspired by the book “Griffin and Sabine” and the artist Sophie Calle. Together, they will write fictional letters by hand and typewriter throughout the month responding to an ink-stained watercolor painting and a full bottle of ink. Nora + Mána’s piece will re-occur in multiple weeks and culminate in CHAPTER 3: REFERENTIAL.

SUNGJAE LEE photo courtesy of the artist

SUNGJAE LEE photo courtesy of the artist

SUNGJAE LEE [Chicago b. South Korea] is a multidisciplinary artist based in Chicago and Seoul, Korea. He makes performance, installation, text, and video that probes the relationship between societal fringes and normativity in order to increase the visibility of marginalized groups. He has presented his works globally, including at the Seoul Museum of Art, Art Sonje Center, Hapjungjigu (Korea), Galleri CC, KHM Gallery (Sweden), Links Hall, Zhou B Art Center, New Wight Gallery, and Zimmerli Art Museum (USA). He has recently performed at the “RIPA 8″ at Darling Foundry (Montreal), “Performance Is Alive” at Pfizer building, and “ITINERANT Performance Art Festival” at Last Frontier (NYC). LEE received his M.F.A. and B.F.A. in Sculpture from Seoul National University. He has recently completed his masters degree in Performance Art at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He is currently working in Chicago, IL as a curatorial assistant of the performance art gallery DFBRL8R.

PROJECT: Untitled (Men I Have Ever Met) | Untitled (Men I Have Ever Met) is a one-to-one performance inspired by Felix Gonzalez Torres’s light bulb installation Untitled (Last Light), 1993 and Korean performance artist Hee Ran Lee’s light bulb-throwing piece 50 Bulb performed in Rapid Pulse 2016. By inviting people to hold a light bulb, listen to his stories about men he has ever met, and swing the lightbulb to hit another lightbulb, LEE wishes to explore how interpersonal relationships form and shift with the performance of small gestures. 

WilliamSoderberg II_2o19o81olansing_Photo by Candace Wilmore

WilliamSoderberg II_2o19o81olansing_Photo by Candace Wilmore

will sōderberg… [desplaines] | usaes all available temporally-challenged recording devices, abused instruments, discarded electronics, found objects, abandoned ios apps & devices, obsolete software, unwitting collaborators & whatever else he can get his hands on… to attempt to manipulate and recombine sources in an attempt to provoke new contexts by placing them in unfamiliar, often imaginary settings… trying to create a kind of organizing structure as a necessary prerequisite to just let what happens, happen… hopefully capturing that which can break free of expectations and limitations of the conscious, evoking resonances with early dada, old surrealism, fluxus, and psychedelia. 

PROJECT: the troll’s bag **| söderberg’s reaction to the relic [a torn open pillow with feathers and loose VHS tape falling out] will take the form of a multimedia performance including video and sound. [söderberg] “he found me & flattered me… pursuing invasively… eradicating boundaries… erasing my magnetic coupling… degaussing my mind… reclaimed from the sewers of the psoul… i am uncertain of my insecurity… i miss the abuse… i retch deep within, I abjectify as a wretch… i was fluid… then i was captured by the ghost picture taking device, discarded…  wiped… was d n i m ym”

MORE ABOUT What Remains: On the Sacred, the Lost, and the Forgotten Relics of Live Art

What Remains explores the connection between performance and object. Over the last nine years, Defibrillator director Joseph Ravens has amassed a unique archive of relics from past performances.  Instigator and artist ieke Trinks conceived of a curatorial project that would speak to the challenges of keeping records of live performances beyond the dominant and didactic lens of video and photographic documentation. The project is structured around proposals from artists to re-interpret the relics in the Defibrillator object archive and provide a framework for reconceptualizing their value and meaning through new works. 

What Remains features over 40 local, national, and international artists:

A_Marcel [Boston b. Latvia] | Alice Vogler [Atlanta] | Angeliki Chaido Tsoli [Greece] | Ashley Hollingshead [Minneapolis] | Bernard Roddy [Chicago] | Christian Bujold [Canada] | Christine Ferrera + Dan Hanrahan [Chicago] | Doro Seror [Germany] | Emilia White [Ann Arbor] | Erin Evans Delaney + Maria Luisa [Chicago] | Erin Peisert [Minneapolis] + Amy Whitaker [Cincinnati] | Esther Neff + Kaia Gilje [St. Louis] | Eunjin Choi [Los Angeles b. South Korea] | Frans van Lent [Netherlands] | Heinrich Obst [Belgium, b. Washington D.C.] | Jacqueline van de Geer [Canada, b. The Netherlands] | Janneke Schoene [Sweden b. Germany] | Jeremy Saya [Canada] | Jessica van Deursen [Netherlands] | John Thomure [Chicago] | Jolanda Jansen [Netherlands] | Katya Oicherman [Minneapolis, b. Russia] | Kirsten Heshusius [Netherlands] | Kristin McWharter [Chicago] | Lola Blake + Ezra Hawkins [Chicago] | Madison Juliana Alexander [Chicago] | Marina Resende Santos [Chicago b. Brazil] | Marval A Rex [Los Angeles] | Maya Nguen [Chicago b. Russia] + Noah Fields [Chicago] | Nick Tobier [Ann Arbor + Detroit] | Nina Boas [Netherlands b.France] | Nora + Mána [Chicago] | Owen Moran [Milwaukee] | Patrícia Janeiro [Netherlands b. Portugal] | Peter Baren [Netherlands] | Renan Marcondes [Germany b. Brazil] | SUNGJAE LEE [Chicago b. South Korea] | will sōderberg… [desplaines] | Zander Porter [Germany b. Los Angeles]

What Remains is divided into FOUR CHAPTERS, each with a specific theme: FIXING, MERGE, REFERENTIAL, and CONSUME. The presentation of objects will change from week to week, with new pieces added when relics are reactivated as performances or installations. The relics that aren’t yet activated will be on view downstairs in the basement on shelves waiting to be used and displayed. The overall idea for the exhibition is to keep it vivid and in a constant flux, just like the nature of performance art itself. Transformation of the space and installation of objects will be done during open gallery hours, underlining the performativity of the accumulation and exhibition of relics. There will also be space given to display the 91 submitted letter-size proposals from around the world. Gallery hours for the visual art exhibition are Wednesdays through Saturdays from 12 to 6pm and Sundays 12 to 4pm

This is an overview of important dates [click the CHAPTER links for detailed information about each week]:


  • FRI 07 FEB | 6-9PM | Opening + Performance Art Program.
  • SAT 08 FEB | 3-6PM | Witness work being installed
  • SUN 09 FEB | 2-4PM | Soup Kitchen Conversation: Activating Archives


  • WED 12 FEB | 12:12PM | Off-site GUERRILLA STREET ACTION | Location TBA
  • THU 13 FEB | 12-6PM | Witness work being installed  
  • SAT 15 FEB | 6-9PM | Performance Art Program
  • SAT 15 FEB | 10-12PM | Off-site Late Night Performance Program | Bridgeport Location TBA


  • WED 19 FEB | 4-6PM | Witness work being installed  
  • THU 20 FEB | 4-6PM | Witness work being installed  
  • THU 20 FEB | 7-9PM | Off-site Performance Program: No Nation 
  • SAT 22 FEB | 6-9PM | Performance Art Program
  • SUN 23 FEB | 2-4PM | Soup Kitchen Conversation: The Impulse to Collect


  • TUE 25 FEB | 7-9PM | Off-site Video Program: Nightingale Cinema
  • FRI 28 FEB | 6-10PM | Performance Program + Finissage


ieke Trinks [www.ieketrinks.nl] | Curator (b. 1977) is an artist living and working in the Netherlands where she received a Master of Fine Arts. In 2017 she finalized her second Masters degree in Critical & Pedagogical Studies at the Malmö Art Academy in Sweden. Trinks has performed extensively at international venues, including: Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst [Leipzig, 2019]; 13 Festivalen [Gothenburg 2018]; Performance Site [The Hague 2017], New Performance Turku Festival [Finland 2015]; Amorph!14, performance art festival [Helsinki 2014]; Bienal Internacional de Curitiba [Brazil 2013]; Out of Site Chicago [2013]; FADO Performance Art Centre [Toronto 2013]. And since 2013 Trinks has been a returning performer at DFBRL8R. In the past three years Trinks has done research on performance art documentation, and wrote on performance art initiatives in the Netherlands as a contribution for the publication ‘Art Action 1998 – 2018’ by Le Lieu, centre en art actuel [Quebec City]. Trinks is since 2010 co-organiser of PAE (Performance Art Event) and works since 2008 in collaboration with the all-women performance troupe, TRICKSTER..

ARC Gallery [www.arcgallery.org] is a non-profit organization with a mission to bring innovative, emerging and experimental visual art to a wide range of viewers, and to provide a nurturing atmosphere for the continued development of artistic potential and dialogue. A cooperative operated by a collective of women artists since 1973, ARC works to empower women and serves to raise public awareness surrounding community-based issues by presenting exhibitions, workshops, discussions, and programs by and for underserved populations. 

Defibrillator Gallery [www.DFBRL8R.org] is an international platform for Performance Art known for bold and courageous programming that aims to provoke thought and stimulate discourse surrounding experimental time-based practices. DFBRL8R actively contributes to a global dialog surrounding conceptual, ephemeral, or enigmatic modes of expression – aiming to raise awareness, appreciation, and respect for the discipline of Performance Art. Based at Zhou B Art Center in Chicago’s historic Bridgeport neighborhood, DFBRL8R LTD is a 501c3 arts organization made possible with support from The Tanne Foundation Award; Reva and David Logan Foundation; Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust; Martha Strutters Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation; Zhou B Art Center; DFBRL8R Board of Directors; and generous contributions from our loving community.