Selected works of Lori Weidenhammer
Madame Beespeaker – 2006 to present
An ongoing community-engaged performance based on the folklore of telling the bees about important events such as births, deaths, and marriages. Performing the persona of Madame Beespeaker, Lori Weidenhammer works with the public to discuss issues of biodiversity, bees, agriculture, and gardens from both a contemporary and folk-historical perspective. The audience is invited to leave messages for the bees on Madame Dolittle’s skep-shaped tent. “Telling the Bees” is a tradition dating back to Medieval times, where a member of a community was designated as a messenger to visit the apiaries to relay to the bees significant events in the lives of the community nearby. It is still thought by some farmers that when a beekeeper dies someone must inform the hives of her death and introduce them to their new keeper. It has been observed that failure to report the beekeeper’s death will cause the bees to swarm.
Slofemists – 2013 to present
Artists Lois Klassen and Lori Weidenhammer have hosted Slofemists as a series of social craft events during which participants have collectively embroidered feminist content onto linen squares. Through commonalities and conversation Slofemists patterns have developed while circulating the little known knowledge and accomplishments by women artists and ecologists. In 2016 the embroidered panels were sewn together to make Slofa – a colourful patchwork which, when laid over a couch or other seating surface, designates a dialogical feminist space. Sept/Oct 2019 The slofemists will be artists in residence for four days at the Dunlop Gallery in Regina, as part of programming around La Nuit Blanche and the Stitch in Time exhibition.
Queen Bee – 2012-2022
Performed in various locations. The queen bee gives lessons on how to perform as a proper honey bee, outlining the various jobs to be done in the hive, the purpose and form of the communication dances, and how to protect the hive from various predators from varroa mites to raccoons, skunks, and thieving beekeepers.
Mystic Moth – 2011
A solar powered performance installation at the Twilight Tea Party in the Means of Production Garden, Vancouver.
Laughing Dress – 2008
In collaboration with Peter Courtemanche. An interactive dress created for performance and installation with a sound component based on the myth of Melusine. Photos by Peter Courtemanche.
Madame Beespeaker’s Auditory Hive -2007
An interactive installation at VanDusen Gardens with the Second Site Collective. Yolanda Doolittle is a fictional Edwardian entomologist and Theosophist that has been “re-incarnated” by Lori Weidenhammer. Doolittle developed a number of inventions for communicating with honeybees, including the Auditory Hive and the Beespeaker Millinery. Lori has created a new version of the auditory hive – a canvas hood in the shape of a skep that is suffused with the scent of beeswax. Audience members can put their head inside this virtual hive and hear the sounds of the hive’s interior. Performing the persona of Madame Doolittle, Lori Weidenhammer works with the public to discuss issues of biodiversity, bees, agriculture, and gardens from both a contemporary and folk-historical perspective.
Constars – 2003
With Donna Lewis. To create Constars, Donna and Lori improvised for over three hours in a hotel room with several suitcases of costumes and makeup. Their goal was to “find” as many characters as they could wearing each other’s clothes, eyeglasses, wigs, etc. This improvisation was videotaped by Matt Smith and captured so that it plays back in compressed time, giving it a “fast forward” look. We edited stills of the personas into the video and. in this way, Constars was born.
100 Housewives – 2003
This performance was a five-hour costume-based improvisation in the window of my local YWCA Thrift Boutique. The work engaged the many adults and children who live and shop in the neighborhood. Photos by Sandra Wintner.
The Haunted Crinoline – 2003
Dunlop Gallery. To Conjure (group show) curated by Sigrid Dahle, 2003. I performed a seance in the gallery with my “haunted” crinoline. This piece is informed by my research into the early history of spiritualist mediums (performers in their own right). Photos by Peter Courtemanche.
Gilder’s Girdle – 2003
A suffragist’s megaphone designed by Lori Weidenhammer, and constructed by James Koester. Photo by Peter Courtemanche.
The Grim Nymph – 2002
Having already portrayed a cartoon sea creature (Stella Seamonkey), I now want to create images of the gothic side of the water nymph, referring stylistically to the fin de siecle femme fatale which the painter Gustav Klimt portrayed so well. After reading countless news stories about the high levels of pollution in the great rivers around the world, I wanted to create a character more akin to an oracle warning us of impending ecological tragedies.
Brain Dress – 1999
In Collaboration with Peter Courtemanche. An interactive dress with a sound and video component that is about the artist’s relationship with her grandmother and their shared uneasiness with the telephone.
Advice for Young Women – 1999
This series of photographs (shot in Drumheller) create an open-ended photo-essay. Part of this project included workshops with high school girls on creating their own performance photos. Photos by Peter Courtemanche.
Eating Swan – 1998
Performance and Video. Western Front, Vancouver. A mockumentary about the culture of eating swan.
Stella Seamonkey – 1998
A cabaret persona created from comic book ads for sea monkeys.
Don Juan Envy – 1996
A woman daydreams in the Winnipeg winter, and discovers the Don Juan within. Don Juan, as a woman, gives us glimpses of her life with a collection of cross-dressers, unlikely saints and martyrs. We meet the Cappuccino Nun, the Nun of Naverone, and the Saint of Cactus Lake. Along with these debauched and sacred characters, Don Juan becomes a martyr for women’s pleasure. Actors in this video are Shawna Dempsey, Lorri Millan, Rebecca Popoff, Erika MacPherson and Lori Weidenhammer.
Goddess of the Feminist Utopia – 1995
This persona has been performed in cabarets and in the video The Day I Examined my Breasts Feminist Aliens came to Town. Photo by Bernard Weidenhammer.