Hands become Ears k.g. Guttman

Artist-in-Residence in Student Residence: October 16–November 4, 2017

Performances: October 25–November 4, 2017


Presented as part of Circuit 2: Care Work, Take Care


Download the Circuit 2 micropublication featuring a project description, artist biography, and full colour illustrations throughout.

k.g. Guttman, I asked the audience to close one eye (performance rehearsal documentation), 2016.
Courtesy the artist.
Project Description

To engage choreographically is to position one- self in relation to another, to participate in a scene of address that anticipates and requires a particular mode of attention. - Jenn Joy, The Choreographic

A collaboration with Terrill Maguire, Coman Poon, and local seniors, Hands become Ears is a two-part performance, commissioned by the Blackwood Gallery, exploring “affective virtuosity”[1] in site-specific encounters. The performance cultivates techniques of talking, listening, moving, smelling, tasting, and touching in order to probe the space between performer and audience. Guttman considers attention to be a combination of all bodily senses—a participation of the senses in each other.

In Part I, invited seniors accompany a student audience member on a walk through the University of Toronto Mississauga campus. This gesture unites the hospitality of two strangers meeting, and the rhythm of walking with the exchange of personal narrative, memory, and conversation. The student audience member is then dropped o at the door of a campus residence, and Part II begins: a private indoor performance that accelerates and enhances the everyday tempo of things.

Intertwining modes of performance in private and public sites, Hands become Ears collapses the everyday gesture and the choreographed encounter to situate social codes of engagement within unfamiliar circumstances. Guttman asks of her audience a small surrender of autonomy in order to attune to an ethics and poetics of interdependence, in which care involves fluctuating exchanges of power that are continually renegotiated.


Accompanying seniors: Irwin Guttman, Mary Alice Guttman, Audrey Joyal, Rosemary (Rosie) Horsley, Carol Lim, Brian Smith, Lorna Williams

Presented in collaboration wnith students in Sociology 352: Gender and Care, taught by Alexandra Rodney and designed by Cynthia Cranford



[1] (A)ffective virtuosity: this is a matter of a criterion of social ecology, which breaks with the idea that care happens because someone loves you and presents it more as an ethical element that mediates every relation." Precarias a la Deriva, "A Very Careful Strike - Four Hypotheses," trans. Franco Ingrassia and Nate Holdren, in The Commoner, no. 11 (2006): 40.


Hands become Ears
Performances led by k.g. Guttman, in collaboration with Terrill McGuire, Coman Poon, and local seniors.

For students, by appointment only.
October 25–November 4

University of Toronto Mississauga campus

Installation Photos

For performance photos of Hands become Ears, visit Circuit 2: Care Work.


k.g. Guttman is an artist, educator, and research candidate in the PhD Arts program of Leiden University and the Royal Academy of Art in the Hague, the Netherlands. Her work considers how territoriality and choreography are intertwined in site-specific practices and has been shown in performances, exhibitions, residencies, and commissions throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, and Europe

Award-winning choreographer Terrill Maguire has had an extensive and wide-ranging career in dance and related arts. Her creation and performance life has been located in her native California, in New York, Toronto, and Ottawa; she has also danced in London England, Ireland, and Paris, France. Her work has been presented in theatres large and small, on television and in film; in trees and forests; in fountains, galleries, city streets and historical sites, among other places.

Coman Poon is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist, activist, curator and producer working within contexts of decolonization and intercultural exchange. He actively collaborates with artists, social and environmental justice activists, academics, filmmakers, photographers, video and sound technicians, poets and writers, architects and builders to realize his diverse local and transnational initiatives.


The Blackwood Gallery gratefully acknowledges the operating support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the University of Toronto Mississauga.



The Blackwood Gallery is grateful for additional support for Circuit 2: Care Work from the Department of Visual Studies (UTM); McLuhan Centre for Culture and Technology, Faculty of Information (UTSG); Parkland on the Glen Retirement Living; The Revue Cinema; Streetsville Public Library; Student Housing and Residence Life (UTM); Women and Gender Studies (UTM); Visual Arts Mississauga; University of Toronto Affinity Partners Manulife, TD Insurance, and MBNA.

Funding for additional staff support was made possible through the Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations program, Department of Canadian Heritage. The Canadian Museums Association administers the program on behalf of the Department of Canadian Heritage.