Osgoode Artist in Residence incorporates 12-foot long seesaw into public performance

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WHO: Julie Lassonde, 2014-15 Artist in Residence, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

WHAT: Counterbalance performance and installation, and public reception

WHEN: Wednesday, September 16, 2015, 12.30 to 1 p.m., and Sunday, September 20, 2015, 3 to 3.30 p.m.

WHERE: Gowlings Hall, Osgoode Hall Law School on the Keele Campus of York University. See #32 on map.

Julie Lassonde, Osgoode Hall Law School Artist in Residence for the 2014-15 academic year, plans to turn the Law School into “a playground” for the next 10 days with the performance and installation of her Counterbalance project involving a 12-foot long seesaw made of steel and recycled wood.

Lassonde, a performance artist and social justice lawyer, will incorporate the seesaw into free, 10-minute public performances she will present at Osgoode on Wednesday, September 16 at 12:30 p.m. and Sunday, September 20 at 3 p.m. Her presentations will also include movement, the manipulation of objects, and a sound recording.

“My project explores the notion of balance and risk-taking in law and life,” said Lassonde who held workshops about “physical presence” with students and faculty during her artist residency. “It encourages reflections on traditional legal topics such as the balance of probabilities as a standard of proof, but also on mental health and self-care issues within the Law School setting.” Lassonde’s project has also received Ontario Arts Council funding.

Visitors will be able to use the seesaw in Osgoode’s Gowlings Hall from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays from September 8 to 18. (And, yes, the Law School has taken steps to ensure that it cannot be held liable for any injuries.)

Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin will introduce Lassonde’s performance on Sept. 16 at a special event to showcase the work of Osgoode’s Artists in Residence. Playwright Catherine Frid (LLB ’87), Osgoode’s other Artist in Residence in the 2014-15 academic year, will introduce Lassonde’s performance on Sept. 20. Frid presented a well-received reading last March of her new play NormaLeeDean, which was written and produced with the assistance of Osgoode students.

Sossin said he is delighted to see Osgoode’s Artists in Residence receiving recognition for their work. “Our Artist in Residence Program is helping to provide new perspectives on law and opening our minds to different explorations of justice and legal education,” he said. “We believe that our students, faculty and staff are strengthened by understanding law through diverse media and that an artist’s expression of ideas about justice and the law can enhance our own thinking on those subjects.”

Lassonde’s performance on Sept. 16 will be followed by a viewing of Toronto-based visual artist and inaugural Artist in Residence Cindy Blažević’s exhibition at Osgoode. Her 600-square-foot installation of the photograph Colonialism, Continued, 2013, has been wrapped around the exterior of the Law School’s east-facing glass structure. Her installation, which will be exhibited until March 2016, is part of a larger photo-based artwork, Through A Prison System, Darkly: Criminal Justice Through the Lens of Kingston Penitentiary, developed during her 2013-14 residency.

In addition, Osgoode’s 2015-16 Artists in Residence, Kami Chisholm and Nadine Valcin, will be introduced.

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Media Contact: Virginia Corner, Communications Manager, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, 416-736-5820, vcorner@osgoode.yorku.ca