I Slept with Linda Montano
Paul Couillard 
PC: Given your history in performance, I wanted to start by asking whether you see a distinction between performance or art and life?
Linda Montano: Until I wrote a recipe that indicated that every minute was performance, there was a distinction. In 1984 I appropriated all time as performance time or art, meaning every minute of my life was an opportunity for that kind of higher–not higher–but that kind of consciousness, a kind of awareness or–sacredness is a word that is laden–but that kind of sacredness. Before 1984 I made attempts, but they were for a week or a month or for shorter periods of time. In ’84 I designed it so that the rest of my life will be in a work of art.
PC: So, everything you do is art because you’ve consciously identified it as that?
PC: Are there other things wrapped up in that, like a sense of discipline or a certain kind of awareness you try to bring to things?
LM: It’s almost like… There’s a massage form called Reiki, and in Reiki, there’s a little bit of study, maybe a weekend workshop and three levels. Then there’s this so-called initiation, and it’s really an initiation into nothingness. It’s so simple; it’s just a laying on of hands. It’s not as if it’s a complicated massage form. And for me it was just a matter of consciously setting up the parameters that allowed me to incorporate, appropriate, grab all time as art.
PC: I was wondering about discipline.
LM: In the beginning it was about discipline. I had to do this, this, this and this for numbers of hours and days and weeks and months. Then I found that the overall intentionality worked to incorporate my needs, and the disciplines were really my own ego struggling, pushing. So when I lightened up and stopped pushing so much and creating boundaries and formulas, the permission to live in the state of art loosened me up. I started making more things that looked like traditional art because I was free. Before, it was always this sort of guilt of not being in the studio, not producing enough, not working — which comes out of an art school training or a western model of abundance and consumerism. How can you say you’re something if there’s no product? When I took that away, I actually started producing, which is always an interesting kind of contrast. But given my philosophy, there’s no need for production, because I am in the state of art, so to speak, at all times.
PC: Why was it important for you to identify what you were doing as art?
LM: Art gave me the same kinds of pleasures and aesthetic ecstasy as the Church used to give me. And because a woman is denied priesthood in Roman Catholicism, I knew instinctively that I would never be able to be a ritual-maker.
PC: Do you make distinctions? For example, when I contacted you about TIME TIME TIME, I told you I was looking at durational performance and I wanted to present a series of pieces that were at least 12 hours long. You could have said, “well, I’m doing that right now” or “I’ll come to Toronto and just be Linda Montano”, but instead you organized a specific event with an audience component to it that could be published or announced. Is there a distinction to be made between performing a piece called Appreciating the Chakras and being in your kitchen making dinner?
LM: Sometimes you eat chocolate cake with raspberries on it, and sometimes you have a rice cake. Doing a performance like Appreciating the Chakras is the chocolate cake with raspberry sauce. It’s a luxury, not necessary, but certainly something fun that I am still interested in. I see it as a night out.
PC: In calling everything you do art, and thinking of what you do as being an artist, do you think an artist necessarily has an audience? Is there a relationship between artist and audience?
LM: I think it’s changing with computers and websites and so on. It’s becoming a virtual audience — a non-visible, non-visual, non-physical audience. Then there’s the audience of rumor, the audience of legend and gossip–“oh isn’t that the person that, you know…” being known for one piece. There is a hunger now for community, for bodily closeness, for performance. But there’s also a plethora of taste. Things have gotten so specific to the person, that the people who will come to see a particular piece are drawn chemically by the taste of that person. The flavor of the piece coincides with the flavor of the audience members. I think there are a lot of different levels of audience, unless it’s a person or a piece that has such a following or such a need to be seen. Other than that, I think that as performance artists we draw the audience with the taste that corresponds with ours.
PC: In an interview you did before the Toronto show, you mentioned that one of the aspects of maturing as artists — I wasn’t sure whether you meant specifically in performance art or just for yourself as an individual — was accepting or recognizing that not all audiences are going to love what you do, or have to like what you do.
LM: I think that’s an important lesson to learn, not getting attached to numbers of people in the audience, not getting attached to being loved, so that you can really do the work for the right motivation. Hopefully the timing of the work is right. I really think a lot of it is about the presenter. If the presenter is coming from the right place and is well loved in the community and does a good job of making the artist comfortable, the audience can feel that and they respond. I think it’s a real collaboration, because you can do something in the right place with the wrong kind of treatment or atmosphere, and it’s not a good time for anyone. Sometimes it’s not the artist so much that’s drawing the crowd, but the presenter.
PC: When you do a piece, what are you hoping the audience will get? Or does that matter?
LM: Community — that they’ll have a place where they can wash their subconscious of ideas or fears or taboos, and a place where they can touch a kind of magical sacredness, have a spiritual high. Moving through matter and the dirt and detritus of matter as a jumping-off place to this ecstasy.
PC: Do you have any thoughts about the element of time in your work? I chose you for TIME TIME TIME because I was familiar with the fact that you had done a seven-year project of exploring the chakras, where every moment of every day for quite a substantial length of time was devoted to or charged with the intent of the particular project you were working on.
LM: Working with time allows for a timelessness. You almost have to grab time to go out of time. Focus and concentration and discipline and spaciousness all happen at the same time when you work with endurance and time. It inhibits scatteredness. It inhibits shallowness. It helps us to go to places that change brain waves, literally. If something’s done for a long period of time, then brain chemistry changes. All of those things interest me.
PC: I was very intrigued by the way you chose to structure what we called the ‘piece’ Appreciating the Chakras. Essentially, there were two parts. The first part of 3 1/2 hours was a soundscape that people could enter or leave as they wished, just soaking in the energy of it. The second part required a different level of commitment on the part of the people who were involved. They were no longer participating spectators; they were being what they were being. You asked us, in a sense, to sleep together.
LM: “I’ve slept with Linda Montano.”
PC: (Laughing) I’ll bet you have! In the morning, when we were ending the performance, one of the things you spoke about was that there was a sense of community created in our being together, just in doing a simple action together like sleeping. But people had to commit to be there for that 7-hour period and not leave in the middle, whereas the first part was set up so that anyone could come and go.
LM: A lot of that was just practical safety, in terms of doors opening and closing, people coming in, and protecting the space. Because people were sleeping, the space had to be different, so the parameters were different. But time is energy. We are energy. And energy needs a lot of attention. If we’re busy, if there’s a divorce from energy, then it’s like not being nurtured, not getting enough food. All of these actions are vehicles. They’re designed to produce the effect of feeling aliveness and energy — and maybe, if there is such a thing, a chemical shift in the brain where it’s touching bliss or sacredness.
PC: Is it fair to say that what’s involved is a commitment to acknowledging and working with the particular energy of time?
LM: When you translate time, the next word you get after time is death — because time is so mysterious and it’s all about the race against time, or time out, or time is over, or time is up, etc. Time is a real piece of the puzzle that nature holds and has control of. When artists play with time, they’re playing with God’s toy, nature’s toy. It wasn’t designed for us to play with, but artists never play with anything that isn’t sacred. Or, it’s the artist’s prerogative to go into that playground. Time brings up issues of dying and of death. And of impermanence and of change and of flux and of loss. “Time marches on.” “I don’t have enough time for that.” It seems to dog us and nip at our heels and run after us. We don’t have enough of it, but when the focus changes, when the artist uses time as a material — a clay to mold — the artist can use that material to reach timelessness — no-time. And no-time is bliss or ecstasy or energy, pure energy.
 Paul Couillard is the director of FADO, an alternative space in Toronto, Canada. This interview took place in conjunction with a festival entitled TIME TIME TIME, a twelve month series of durational performances by artists from the US, UK, and Canada curated by Couillard. Montano’s contribution Appreciating the Chakras took place from January 30-31 in the Canadia dell’Arte Theater Troupe Studio Space. The title, I Slept With Linda Montano, refers to the 7- hour endurance, Chakra Sleepover/Workshop, Montano offered as part of the event. The unedited interview can be found at http://www.performanceart.ca/.
BIO/MOTHER TERESA I was raised orthodox Catholic and this informed my mind, my art and my life. As a result of this early spiritual training I lived two years in a convent, years in an ashram, years in a Zen monastery and years mak…
LIST OF PEOPLE NOT IN THE BOOK: PERFORMANCE ARTISTS TALKING IN THE 80’S: NOW IN FLAES LIBRARY, ARCHIVE OF LINDA MARY MONTANO
LIST OF PEOPLE NOT IN THE BOOK: PERFORMANCE ARTISTS TALKING IN THE 80’S: NOW IN FLAES LIBRARY, ARCHIVE OF LINDA MARY MONTANOFOOD (MAYBE)FRANK SCHIFREENELIZABETH CROSSYUSHINCYNTHIA SINCLAIRBILL GORDHJACQUES HALBERTTAKAHESHI KOSUGILINDA MONTANOMIL…
LIGHT IS IN THE HOUSE: EASTER IN THE CHURCH WITH THE GODDESS.
Linda Mary Montano April 2017“Theories connecting Ēostre with records of Germanic Easter customs, including hares and eggs, have been proposed. Particularly prior to the discovery of the matronae Austriahenae and further developments in Indo-European studies, debate has occurred among some scholars about whether or not the goddess was an invention of Bede. Ēostre and Ostara are sometimes referenced in modern popular culture and are venerated in some forms of Germanic Neopaganism. ” Wikipedia
LIGHT IS IN THE HOUSE, Linda Mary Montano, April 2017
” Ostara, Eástre seems therefore to have been the divinity of the radiant dawn, of upspringing light, a spectacle that brings joy and blessing, whose meaning could be easily adapted by the resurrection-day of the Christian’s God. Bonfires were lighted at Easter and according to popular belief of long standing, the moment the sun rises on Easter Sunday morning, he gives three joyful leaps, he dances for joy … Water drawn on the Easter morning is, like that at Christmas, holy and healing … here also heathen notions seems to have grafted themselves on great Christian festivals. Maidens clothed in white, who at Easter, at the season of returning spring, show themselves in clefts of the rock and on mountains, are suggestive of the ancient goddess. ” Wikipedia
Fecundity sat directly in front of me at the pre-Easter’s 2 hour celebration in the local Catholic Church. Though usually a verboten symbiosis, that is: the chance to be turned on and tuned into God, at the same time, I was gifted this waking dream by way of a pagan/non-pagan scenario IN CHURCH. All without my asking. Here is how it happened. I came in all innocence to said Church, preparing to be holy and for a half hour I was that. Holy Girl. I had been sitting still, sitting silent, sitting in listening mode, sitting like a good girl, sitting like a serious Catholic good girl and then the atmosphere electrically changed. Trouble was in the house. I knew it, smelled it, sensed another vibrational frequency as lust itself breezed up the aisle and slid into the seat in front of me. How did I know it was a visit from the goddess of bunny love? Who else has hair swaying in sync-time with a 45 year old peasant body dressed in breezy-vintage but not really vintage clothes; clothes happily shaking with fevered nearness to her love handled flesh. Who else emits sparks of vaporous clouds of pleasure? Who else turns on lights without lamps? Who else perfumes their presence without essential oils? It was the goddess-friend of Mother Mary IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH! A very oy challenge for me!
” Some scholars have linked customs and imagery involving hares to Ēostre and the Norse goddess Freyja. Writing in 1972, John Andrew Boyle cites commentary contained within an etymology dictionary by A. Ernout and A. Meillet, where the authors write that “Little else […] is known about [Ēostre], but it has been suggested that her lights, as goddess of the dawn, were carried by hares. And she certainly represented spring fecundity, and love and carnal pleasure that leads to fecundity.” Wikipedia
There she was, sitting directly in front of me. Frozen in appreciation and not inspired to move to an aisle 50 yards away, I had no choice but to endure her mini workshop in Tantra 101 titled: How To Feel Fabulous and Fecund at All Times, Especially in Church; a class she eventually co-taught because after 5 minutes of my enjoying a private visible darshan ( holy visit) with her, a foot shorter husband/partner appeared and as if perpetually pumped by her presence, slid into the seat next to her. OK folks, let the show begin!
” Sexual desire may be the “single most common sexual event in the lives of men and women”. Sexual desire is a subjective feeling state that can “be triggered by both internal and external cues, and that may or may not result in overt sexual behavior”. Sexual desire can be aroused through imagination and sexual fantasies, or perceiving an individual who one finds attractive. Sexual desire is also created and amplified through sexual tension, which is caused by sexual desire that has yet to be consummated. ” Wikipedia
OK, we were in Church, the Roman Catholic Church, but she couldn’t keep her hands, her hair, her big body, her pulsating hips, again her hair, her lips OFF OF HIM. He responded with strongly controlled and unseen signals of ,”I can’t wait either,” orchestrated by his tightly muscled ass; his ass, a witness to unabashed nights, days and years of thrust, into her largess. This ass and asshole didn’t flinch or give signals of response that I could see, because I secretly watched for butt clenches through his tight going to church clean pants. Nothing he did gave away apparent response to her mare-ish need for sex, sex NOW! Egg-banging sex. In fact his nothing was food for her something. His nothing absorbed her over abundance of desire, enough for the two of them. His nothing buttressed her side body slams when the choir sang HALLELUIAH, his nothing became the canvas for her head bangs into his neck, his nothing was a firm gate, allowing her arms to be flung around him time after time and in view of the probably inwardly panting clergy a few feet away. They see everything even though they don’t act like they do. Let me assure you, I know about this.” Easter eggs, also called Paschal eggs, are decorated eggs that are usually used as gifts on the occasion of Easter or springtime celebration. As such, Easter eggs are common during the season of Eastertide (Easter season). The oldest tradition is to use dyed and painted chicken eggs, but a modern custom is to substitute chocolate eggs wrapped in colourful foil, or plastic eggs filled with confectionery such as chocolate. Although eggs, in general, were a traditional symbol of fertility and rebirth, in Christianity, for the celebration of Eastertide, Easter eggs symbolize the empty tomb of Jesus, from which Jesus resurrected ” Wikipedia
My croned face, tempered by age and regret that I was never invited up to/into the altar to co-celebrate knew that this woman in front of me was speaking for all women. Definitely for me! She shouted silently and symbolically into the air that she was a human neon sign signaling, “See here boys? You don’t want us on the altar? Well guess what you stinkholed-misogonists, we’re here in all our egg laying glory. And we aren’t going away. “” In addition, one ancient tradition was the staining of Easter eggs with the colour red “in memory of the blood of Christ, shed as at that time of his crucifixion.”This custom of the Easter egg can be traced to early Christians of Mesopotamia and from there it spread into Russia and Siberia through the Orthodox Churches, and later into Europe through the Catholic and Protestant Churches. This Christian use of eggs may have been influenced by practices in “pre-dynastic period in Egypt, as well as amid the early cultures of Mesopotamia and Crete”.WikipediaCould something this primal, this for adults only happening, this not for children under 12 performance, this out of context peepshow, this x rated fertility rite happen ever again in this small village Catholic church?Stay tuned.The Goddess of “upspringing” light is in the house!She and Mother Mary are on fire.
“Christians generally regard Easter as the most important festival of the ecclesiastical calendar. It is also the oldest feast of the Christian Church, and connected to the Jewish Passover. Many terms relating to Easter, such as paschal are derived from the Hebrew term for passover. In many non-English speaking countries the feast is called by some derivation of “pasch”. The English term, according to the Venerable Bede, is an Anglo-Saxon form relating to Ēostre, a Teutonic goddess of the rising light of day and spring.” WikipediaLinda Mary Montano, April 2017
A MEDITATION/POEM TO BE WRITTEN, TALKED ABOUT OR JUST IMAGINEDAS TOLD TO ME:”I WAS UNCONSCIOUS FOR HOURS. AN OPERATION.”AS A RESULT I SUGGEST BECAUSE YOU SAY U R HAUNTED AND TOUCHED THAT YOU WRITE, SING OR THINK ABOUT THIS IN THESE WAYS:I AM…
BBEYOND FILM OF COLLECTED PERFORMANCES ON VIMEOhttps://vimeo.com/191861153Password: equniox
MOTHER TERESA IN LAMOTHER TERESA CAN:1.MOTHER TERESA, can walk around the space and bless people with HOLY WATER.2. MOTHER TERESA can sing for 7 hours, blessing people’s Chakras after each song. Or lay down for 2-3 hours, blessing people vi…
Sign I saw at Occupy Wall Street:
COMPASSION IS THE NEW CURRENCY
Ulster County NY has so many Compassion Events:
O+ Positive Festival
Healthcare is a Human Right
Family of Woodstock
Meals on Wheels
Aging at Home
Driving Seniors to Doctor Visits
Please add what I have not included here.
Hudson Valley is practicing Compassion
MEET ME IN MANHATTAN: A DAY OF LIFE-ART..Linda Mary Montano1. ST PATRICKS CATHEDRAL: 1PM Out front 2. Walk to MARLBOROUGH GALLERY. Women Sculpture Show 40 West 57th St…. 3. Bus to Washington Square. 4. Walk from Washington Square to Christine Finley’…
PAULINE OLIVEROS TRIBUTE AT KINGSTON CITY HALLLINDA MARY MONTANO AS MOTHERTERESA; BHAVANI LEE AS ANGEL; LISA AND KYLE JELLEY, SINGINGhttps://hudsonvalleyone.com/2017/03/20/pauline-remembered/