Danielle Baskerville and Andrew Bathory (left). Photos by Javier Castellanos
“The next work I’m going to do, I’m going to do something that will piss everyone off!” spat out D.A. Hoskins, during a heated discussion about arts funding.
For this visual artist/choreographer, a collection of words or a title is what tends to inspire his works. “The Land of Fuck! That will make them happy!” continues Hoskins. “The people I was with thought it was really funny, and it registered with me. So I started conceptualizing it.”
Known for his form-bending works, the inventive artistic director of the Toronto-based Dietrich Group premieres his theatrical, exploratory piece The Land of Fuck (a fable) this week.
“I basically took the word ‘fuck’ and used it as a catalyst for my life evolution,” Hoskins explains.
Having grown up in a repressed, religious environment in small-town Ontario, he didn’t even pronounce the word until he was 11 because it was so taboo.
“The liberty in The Land of Fuck expresses the liberty of human nature and sexuality, and has fun with it.”
“When I think of a fable, it is about our individual existence. We all have our own story. In a way, I feel like the piece is an invitation to meet nine people and see them engage. What I’m trying to do is make an exchange for artists to explore.”
Originally created in 2011 as a site-specific piece for nine character-driven dancers, Hoskins worked from a storyboard he created. The multidisciplinary work is divided up into “pods of time” that weave together everyday contexts everyone can relate to, like sitting in a waiting room or a new year’s celebration.
“It’s interesting because this is the first interview that hasn’t been concentrated solely on fucking.” For D.A., this piece is not about the shock value. During our chat, he’s constantly dropping the word “collaboration. ” For him, that’s the key to creation.
“It’s about exchange. It’s about connection. It’s about understanding and sharing. I like now that I am not completely in control. Conceptually, we are exploring things. A lot of the work is improvisational, so it leaves it open for me to be surprised at what they can come up with, which is really important. It keeps me alive. I live for that actually. I need to be surprised and titillated.”
“What I really like about this work is it really infuses a liberty, a liberty that is integral to me. And that liberty comes from me being a repressed kid. You know what? We own this stage. We deserve it, and we’ve earned it!” ■
The Land of Fuck (a fable) will be performed at Place des Arts’s Cinquième Salle (175 Ste-Catherine W.) today, Tuesday, April 15 through Friday, April 19, 8 p.m., $33