Elissa Hanson is an independent dance artist, writer, filmmaker, creator and collaborator based in Vancouver, B.C. Her work comprises several small dances, video, and installation works. She engages in somatic, theatrical, and political practices. Elissa particularly likes when dance happens in museums.
Your secret art venue when you seek peace and quiet
My secret art venue for peace and quiet is no secret. If you want utter silence and a reliably unaccompanied experience, the internet is the best art venue. Juxtapoz and Mubi are great places to start. For real-life-peace-and-quiet, you could also visit UNIT/PITT in Chinatown during their sessional reading hours.
The best food experience in an art space
There is an odd sensitivity here — but my best food experience was at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center. There is a cafeteria in the basement that is a large white room that has the potential to feel vacant. Instead, this cafeteria was full of unbelievably delicious food, abundant on our plates, with kind and joyful staff circulating the room. The wonderful meal at the beginning of our visit had a resonant effect on the time we spent there.
A museum gift shop that you never leave empty handed
I had to pry my fingers from a publication of photographs by Czech photographer Josef Sudek at Le BAL Books in Paris. A contemporary art institution, complete with bookstore and cafe, LA BAL has some of the most drool worthy publications I’ve ever laid eyes on. If not for the generous Euro-price tag, they would be sitting on my coffee table this instant.
Your museum with a wow-factor
MACBA, Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art is a magical place. A hidden, beaming lego-like block, a skate-scene haven, a frequently used public performance courtyard. MACBA was a secret garden with everything to offer. The museum’s then-feature of Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies was a violent awakening to the abstract, while a single photograph by the all familiar Vancouver-born Jeff Wall, made me feel at home. MACBA was a stark-white spiral of floor after floor of gifts and secrets. It was so much and more.
Please share with us a special personal memory related to a museum experience
Shortly after visiting the historical town of Barkerville, BC, I encountered a personal memoir written by a biological relative of a resident of that town. The memoir recounts the complicated and devastating family history that played out during the time period and onward, as a larger reflection on the dark, colonial history of our country. Comprehending a present day connection to the not so distant events of our past was an eye-opening reflection. It allowed me to further understand the context of the place my family has settled in.