Presented in partnership with the Canadian Sport Centre Saskatchewan and Sask Sport
Hazel Meyer’s mutable body of work, Muscle Panic is an iterative world-making project that uses various athletics tropes to enliven and re-centre the importance of desire, queerness, movement and sweat. Muscle Panic engages performers within a scaffold installation containing objects that function across the spectrum of prop, tool, costume, equipment and sculpture. Located between choreography and improvisation, Muscle Panic celebrates the idiosyncratic physicality of each performer, valuing spirit over virtuosity.
Named after the sociological term ‘moral panic’ that describes an often-irrational fear or threat to the dominant order, Muscle Panic creates a time and place beholden to a sweaty self-governance. It values and celebrates forms of gendered embodiment that threaten norms and provides tools and physical prompts to highlight the situations in which we make and flex this power.
Forming as a muscle does, through hypertrophy, Muscle Panic uses this resistance to define its aesthetic and performative edges. The scaffold’s dimensions are determined by the space, and in turn, the scaffold organizes the objects that then organize the action. This order is consistent across iterations of the performance, while the content emerges idiosyncratically as each unique performer confronts the larger structure. This constant redo asks how we can use the same tools, in already existing structures, to make a world that can hold us in ways it hasn’t before.
Hazel Meyer is an artist who works with installation, performance, and text to investigate the relationships between sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Her work recovers the queer aesthetics, politics, and bodies often effaced within histories of infrastructure, athletics and illness. Drawing on archival research, she designs immersive installations that bring various troublemakers—lesbians-feminists, gender outlaws, leather-dykes—into a performative space that centers desire, queerness, and sweat.
Recent activations of her work have taken place at La Ferme du Buisson (FR) 2019, Glasgow International Art Biennial (SCT) 2018, Art Gallery of Windsor (CA) 2019, MAI (Montréal, arts interculturels) (QC) 2019, Progress Festival (CA) 2020, and at the Porn Film Festival Berlin (DE) 2019. Hazel presently lives in Vancouver, on the unceded traditional territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm, Skwxwú7mesh and Səl̓ílwətaɬ Nations with their frequent collaborator and partner Cait McKinney and dog Regie.
More information on this exhibition can be found on Dunlop Learning.
Hazel Meyer, Muscle Panic (Ava Hervier in gut cape, image from rehearsal), 2019. Photo credit: Ferme du Buisson.