The Bridge Club probably isn’t what you think. Annie Strader, Christine Owen, Emily Bivens, and Julie Wills are not little old ladies who meet up to play cards. They make up a collaborative of performance artists, coming to Santa Fe to immerse you in a slightly uncomfortable, otherworldly experience. Medium, a multimedia performance piece by the group, is one of several public performances during the opening weekend of Currents 2013 at El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe. You might think of Medium as a typical bridge-club meeting, insofar as there are four participants, and they all sit in chairs. However, there is no table, no cards, and the chairs rest not on the floor but suspended from the walls of the room where members of the group interact with video projections and one another. Three performances are scheduled throughout the evening of Friday, June 14, with another three on Saturday, June 15.
The Bridge Club’s pieces are often of long duration, sometimes lasting over several days, and are site specific, incorporating not just the physical landscape of a geographic location but its history and culture as well. Wearing wigs and costumes that evoke bygone eras, the artists conflate past and present to suggest themes of universality and commonality. Medium was performed only once before, in August 2012 at the Art Palace Gallery in Houston. Owen and Bivens spoke with Pasatiempo about their performance style and the physical demands of their art form.