Circle: Peter Morin’s Museum Final Performance (Part One)

by Sean Michael Nelson

At 6:39 PM Peter Morin calls a meeting to explain the purpose of the night’s performance. “Tonight is an interesting experiment,” we’re told; “Peter Morin’s Museum’s first performance was about history. The second one was about how the Tahltan people organize stories and knowledge. Tonight’s performance will be about knowledge-in-action…”

The first declaration of the Museum’s Manifesto (which hangs on the wall) states, “I invite you to participate in this new museum,” which is what I find myself doing this night as I document Morin’s performance.” The 16th declaration notes that the space is designed to demonstrate this knowledge, which is like a river. This river grows larger; when I arrived at 4 o’clock, more printed fish were being placed on the museum’s walls.

Re-entering the gallery space barefoot, wearing a shirt which reads “Official Bannock Judge,” and holding a pristine Oh Henry bar, Peter unplugs the headphones from the two video monitors in the room. Fred Roland’s song fills the space. Several of us set up the frame of a tent around the smaller, melton-cloth tent already hanging in the room. “I had a dream about a tent in a tent,” Peter says to us, “and now you’re seeing it.” The rest of the performers—Simon Reece, Tamara Skubovius, and DJ Darwin Frost—arrive.

I look over at the video monitors. Peter stands beside me. “That’s my favourite part,” he says. “When the horse walks back and forth in the background?” I ask, unsure why this stands out for me. “I like that too…” he replies; “I meant when the little guy tries to sing like Freddie.” I realize that this moment of knowledge-in-action is my favourite part, too.

It’s 7:18. Peter’s Oh Henry remains uneaten. In a metallic tree-branch candelabrum he lights a candle. His voice turns to the room. “It’s time…”


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