Avant-Garde Dating

2007 - 08


A DVD compilation of all the "Avant-Garde Dating" trailers with German subtitles, 40 minutes was put together 2009

Tanya Ury’s new work in the collaborative context with Laurel Jay Carpenter during the ”Avant-Garde Dating” week at Art Forum, The New Life Shop Art Gallery, Choriner Strasse 85, Berlin (D):
Website: www.tanyaury.com
Website: www.laureljay.com



Avantgarde Dating an introductory talk was written by Ury for this project. The concepts for Broken Glass 1 & 2 (performed twice during the week), Climacter, Game & Match, were by Tanya Ury; these pieces were developed and performed together by Tanya Ury and Laurel Jay Carpenter. Zucchini was conceived and performed by Ury alone. The Danaids is a purely collaborative work by Carpenter/Ury.

"Avant-Garde Dating" was a Wooloo concept by the artists/curators Sixten Kai Nielsen & Martin Rosengaard www.AvantgardeDating.com


Performance Artists: Laurel Jay Carpenter<br />Tanya Ury
Camera & edit of trailers: Menachem Roth
Camera 2: Martin Rosengaard
Text information: Tanya Ury
Subtitles translation: Tanya Ury<br />Amin Farzanefar
Avid edit of DVD trailer compilation: Rainer Nelissen<br /><br />

New Life Shop Art Gallery was established by Wooloo Productions to represent, describe and investigate contemporary Nomadism. As the first project in their programme, Avant-Garde Dating examined stereotypes of partnering in the increasingly common landscape of online, long-distance matchmaking.


Since early 2007, the website www.AvantgardeDating.com has accepted applications from 150 artists around the world wanting to be matched in new, challenging couples. Out of matches from more than 30 countries, three couples were invited to Berlin to meet and work together for the first time. Each artist travelled there and lived in the New Life Shop Art Gallery with his or her partner for one week.

On display in the gallery space, the artists explored the mechanisms of a relationship begun in the presentational environment of the Internet. Wooloo posed the question: Do the webcams, blogs and online profiles of our culture constitute a surrendering to the controlling gaze – or are we rather witnessing a shift in the dynamics of power?

The first couple was: Felis Stella & Sergio Zevallos
Exhibition Dates: Sept. 13th to Sept. 19th

The second couple was: Tanya Ury & Laurel Jay Carpenter
Exhibition Dates: Sept. 27th to Oct. 3rd

The third couple was: Roxanne & The Thom
Exhibition Dates: Oct. 4th to Oct. 10th

All matches were made online by the artists/curators of Wooloo Productions: Sixten Kai Nielsen & Martin Rosengaard, the jury: Tanja Ostojic, Raul Zamudio and Karen D. Peters.




Preferred gender and age of your match - if any (otherwise "none"): None

Description of the person/relationship/collaboration you are seeking: I seek a person/relationship/collaboration for friendship first and foremost. It would be great if we could also be successfully creative together. And thirdly I would not exclude a more intimate relationship.

I would like that the person I seek understands the importance of trying to live in the breath of eternal life. This person cares about the world and people and this is expressed in their art as activism.

What would you like to learn from your match: I would like to learn to open up

This was the submission made by Tanya Ury to the Avant-Garde Dating “contest”, April 2007, along with a Wooloo website of her work under the pseudonym “Loreley” (an alter-ego that she adopted in the mid-nineties):
www.wooloo.org/laureljay was the coincidentally very similar Wooloo website link of Laurel Jay Carpenter, whom the jury teamed up with Ury to spend the residency in the New Life Shop Art Gallery, Berlin.

Ury and Carpenter later asked Tanja Ostojic what motivated her to bring them together:
“I enjoyed the evening of reviewing applications for the Avant-Garde Dating. I placed the ones I found interesting on my desktop and tried to find out with whom they could best be matched up… Out of all the applicants I found your (Tanya Ury) and Laurel's (Laurel Jay Carpenter) body of work, methods you use and positioning very interesting indeed, feminist, political and very unique. It wasn’t going to be easy to match you with others… But my intuition suggested that the two of you together could have a very interesting and deep exchange and moreover an inspiring influence upon each other whether in creating something new, individually, together or by giving each other the chance to reflect on previous work… Besides that there were few people amongst the candidates who were looking for a soul match rather then for someone from an exact age category, a member of the opposite sex or a gay coupling… This convinced me additionally… And when I saw your joint performance and heard some of your impressions about the joy of exchange you had and the opening up that has happened in your work, I think it was a great match…” Tanja Ostojic, 29.10.2007

After the initial meeting Laurel suggested decorating the walls of the gallery with the entire printed out email exchange between Wooloo and this couple of artists over the previous 6 months. In their exchange Carpenter and Ury discovered common themes; the corresponding printed out images were also displayed: Laurel at the machine sewing her impossibly long red dress (combining many donated red dresses) for the performances Red Woman and Red Crest - Tanya likewise machine-sewing small plastic bags containing her hair for Whos Boss: Hair Shirt. Laurel Jay Carpenter’s photo Cervix taken when she was working as a Gynaecological Teaching Associate1 was also presented together with Tanya Ury’s Blue Danaé 1, a photographic image of her outer genitals covered in gold leaf (the work was made as reaction to the discovery in the late 1990's that Swiss banks had 50 years previously received the equivalent of $6 billion of Nazi Gold and secretly hoarded it from that time onwards).

There were few visitors to the gallery after the opening but Tanya Ury invited the public to her 56th birthday party on October 1st, during which Carpenter and Ury also presented two performance works.

When the week was over, traces of the couple’s activities remained on the gallery walls in the form of wine splashes.

In fact they did not spend this week alone together in the gallery because not only were both the Wooloo artists/curators Sixten Kai Nielsen and Martin Rosengaard around or in the Gallery office, working most of the time; Simon Hoegsberg was also constantly taking photos and giving interviews for a Danish magazine. Tanya Ury had moreover brought assistant Menachem Roth along to document the procedures with video camera. Ury cheated somewhat furthermore by taking a hotel room near the gallery to shower in (which Laurel also did a couple of times) and wash clothes – Tanya slept over there a couple of times…

Tanya Ury and Laurel Jay Carpenter did create an abundance of new performance work (in English) during their stay, most of which was video-documented.

Tanya Ury

1 “That cervix photo was actually taken for a potential artwork, never realized. (Photo by: MARA TRACHTENBERG.) It was able to come about because of my work as a Gynaecological Teaching Associate in which specially-trained laywomen provide a mandatory workshop for 2nd year medical students and nurse practitioners and practicing Physician Residents teaching them how to provide thorough, respectful and comfortable breast and pelvic exams on our own bodies. GTAs serve simultaneously as the models and the instructors. From this experience I was able to teach Mara to insert the speculum to get the photo. I think it would be dated 2003.” Laurel Jay Carpenter, from an email of 7.10.2007

Tanya Ury




The Meeting, 27th September, 25 seconds