Anna Homler FIMAV, Victoriaville QC, May 20
Published May 21, 2018I don't know who "Breadwoman" really is, or what she represents. But in a short documentary made by RVNG Records for their 2016 reissue of the 30-year-old cassette release, Breadwoman & Other Tales, Anna Homler describes the character's genesis as her "having the overwhelming desire to wear bread."
At the beginning, Homler was a visual and performance artist, but developed the songs and chants associated with the character in a created language that resembles a cross between Japanese and an Eastern European one. This suggested time for her become a vocalist and pass the bread along to a proxy.
At FIMAV, that proxy is dancer/performance artist Maya Gingery, who starts draped in a veil that is stripped to reveal "Breadwoman" with mask and crone costume, part menace, part supplicant, part shaman. As Gingery slowly works through a sequence of short deliberate movements, Homler and electronic musician Jorge Martin weave the incantations that bring her to life and sustain a mood that is ceremonial and arcane.
Martin's tasks are tweaking the softly clattering rhythms that he supplements with analogue tone and subtle manipulation of Holmler's vocals, while Homler herself weaves the spells, both in song and with an array of objects and toys. These range from plastic megaphones to simple rolls of packing tape that are surprisingly effective when amplified and treated.
The whole affair was spellbinding, though the crossover into David Lynch territory came when "Breadwoman" grabs one of the many loaves arranged on both artist's tables, one assumed as decoration, only to rip it open and sprinkle out little handfuls of colourful feathers across the stage.
So, I still don't really know who "Breadwoman" is, but she sure ties together an avant-garde performance piece.