This new media installation by Vancouver artist Althea Thauberger is a collaboration with the performers Jessica Griffiths, Gemma Isaac, Kaoru Matsushita and Natalie Needham. Each girl has developed her own characters, costumes, script and songs in response to a story about confronting death through improvisation and singing. Shot in a North Vancouver backyard around a pool with lush landscaping, the film is cinematically lit and shot as a stage production played out in real time. The contrived footage resembles soap opera, music video, slasher movies and musical theatre. A Memory Lasts Forever is a portrait of a social landscape that highlights the energies of teenage girls prone to euphoric fantasies and abjection. As with her earlier work, Songstress, a series of original songs written and performed by young women, the film poses questions about the limits of self-expression and authentic emotion, and the very idea of social documentary. The interpretations of amateur performers are becoming increasingly important to the content of Thauberger’s work, creating an effect that troubles distinctions between fiction and reality. Her interest in the social and spectacular aspects of performance have extended into the public domain in her two new projects that involve working with community choirs.
Althea Thauberger was born in Saskatoon in 1970 and graduated with an MFA from the University of Victoria in 2002. She has exhibited extensively and was short-listed for last year’s Sobey Art Award. She was in the touring exhibition Baja to Vancouver: The West Coast and Contemporary Art, recently had a solo exhibition in New York and is part of InSite: Art Practices in the Public Domain in San Diego/Tijuana. She is represented by Tracey Lawrence Gallery, Vancouver. This project is a co-commission with the MATRIX Program of the University of California Berkeley Art Museum. Funding assistance for the project is from The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, Vancouver.