Khyber Centre for the Arts, The

A Strong Desire

A Strong Desire

There is a concept in translation theory called the lacuna. The lacuna is a lexical gap, where a direct equivalent between two languages doesn’t exist, creating a loss of meaning between an original and its translation. The word translate shares an etymological root with the word traitor, suggesting that all translations betray their originals, and that in translation new or other meaning can be found. The lacuna is a place of slippage, a place where the assumptive linear is loosened. Is it possible that the lacuna could be read as a queer space? We find queerness in the liminal, unchartable places in our language and in our identities. We apprehend queerness through resonance, a slippage in meaning that amplifies an otherwise illegible connection. A Strong Desire reflects on these resonant possibilities, suggesting that queerness is apprehended in the places where meaning is not.

Over a month long Khyber residency in April 2018, Lou Sheppard will be working on a choreographic translation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) diagnostic criteria for gender dysphoria. The DSM text represents a psychiatric diagnosis that allows access to trans health care like hormone therapy and surgery. It also represents the medicalization of Trans identity, acting as a barometer against which Trans experience is judged. Using large printed versions of this text, Lou will translate the negative spaces surrounding the words into labanotation, a standardized dance notation. This notation will then be choreographed, performed and documented with Leelee Eko Toyosi Davis.



Belonging(s) is a month-long duo exhibition and series of public events by Toronto-based artists Lisa Smolkin and Neil LaPierre, scheduled to take place at the Khyber Centre for the Arts over August-September 2018. The title of this project connects misattuned themes, i.e. belonging as in being a part of a group (or not) vs. belongings as in what can be obtained through online shopping. Belongings, or the acquisition of them can be the balm to feelings of not belonging or actually not belonging.

Through two new video installations, a collaborative audio piece, three public performances, artist talk and workshop, Belonging(s) engages with a Nova Scotian audience using comedy and art to explore human emotional pain, how one consoles or compensates. In addition, an essay component written by Amy Lam and Jon Pham McCurley (Life of A Craphead) will accompany the exhibition, and local artist and comedian Cheryl Hann will join for one performance.