Art Contribution Possibility – by Bianca Hlywa

The opera has to go on, but the singers are getting tired. They swim through a roaring ocean to get to the stage, not that far, mind you, but they are wearing their costumes, once exquisite and beautiful, now heavy and futile-pulling them down while trying to swim they curse the extra fabric they used to revel in. The stage is brutal, dramatic-a concrete pyramid with a flat top set up 100 meters from the beach of the Isle of Wight. The viewers, on the sand, cold and huddled, struggle to hear the singer’s voices. It is sun set. What at first seemed beautiful and funny now feels severe and tragic-when will it end? Will the singers give up before they are done the opera? Is it necessary for them to swim back and forth for every scene? Where else would they go if not back to shore? Surely treading water would only be more tiring.

Opera seems melodramatic to contemporary viewers used to the close frame of the camera. Seeing the emotion falsified, almost a mockery of itself, the proposed genius of the grand gesture feels like an object of antiquity. The entire relation to emotion and its capture is understood already, the viewer becomes aware of the choices of the theatre and the fictitious world dissolves. In reality, we exist as a folding of roles, actor and viewer alike. We see through our collective selves, hopelessly bound to a destructive tendency-we know better-but still drag on as if it is inevitable. The tragedy of the human condition, and earthly existence is perhaps akin to the weight of the dress in the imagined world of the play-looks great, is great, also weighs a ton and will drown* you in the end, pulling down a couple of other actors while flailing in desperation-in the back of your head a couple on the beach murmuring about the masochism of it all-they must have known.

PROJECT TWO they did know: Michael Burry, the investor and hedge fund manager that forecasted the financial crisis in 2007, “is now focusing all his trading on one commodity: water”. This note finished the movie, The Big Short. It has chilling effects because the movie depicts this man as an articulated genius-steadily and thoroughly combing through analysis, he was one of the first people to predict the largest economic crisis since the 30’s. The drama is traumatizing, real and juicy, and so we are pulled in because of the effects on our home, in reality. The fetishization and glory of the news allows a distancing from reality. The destruction of the world perhaps entertains some perverse pleasure, Freud’s ‘death drive’. The gamble of the stock market, the life-and-death of it all leaves an image of the stock broker as sexy, sleek, gliding through existence unfazed and ready for anything.

Description: A conglomeration of water stocks in graph form indicates the creation of scales, which I will have a choir of opera singers perform, along to a (moving) image of the tide, with a tight frame enclosing its pull to the moon.

Right, ok lets take a sharp turn and be radically practical. How about this- using gutters which are attached to roofs to collect rain water from the surface area of that roof, the water would then funnel into a filtration system which would feed into a back yard-drinkable, aesthetic-fountain. This project would be attempted at with the most rudimentary of materials.

PAST WORK DESCRIPTION:  There is a smoggy room. There is a siren, singing two notes only and caught in some beautiful, awful techno-loop. There is a projection on one side of the wall, a close up of the image of the (moving) tide. On the other side of the room, directly opposite from the projection a white robe is being pulled down by two giant sticks of butter in the pockets, which are melting. It smells like butter. We have a quiet decision to return back to the pulse of the abyss, inspired by Virginia Wolf but contemporary.

* No opera singers will actually be hurt in the production of this play, there will also not be a drowning scene.


Bianca Hlywa is an interdisciplinary artist who has just moved to London from Montreal in order to pursue a masters degree at Goldsmiths University. Over the years, Bianca has exhibited extensively at PHI Centre, FOFA gallery, Skol Centre, Articule and VAV gallery in Montreal. She had a solo show at the Young Artists Association in Budapest in 2016 and showed with AHEM collective at Bezalel Univeristy in Jerusalem, Israel. She is the recipient of various awards and grants including the Goldsmiths MFA University scholarship, as well as the Cecil Buller-John J.A Murphy Scholarship in Drawing in 2015.