The Elastic Test Project – Rozalinda Borcila and Robert Lawrence
You are invited to the latest installment/performance of the ongoing “Elastic Test Project”
Friday, April 11th, 7PM
Nickle Arts Museum
Alberta, Canada
part of MS2 Performance Festival

Following a week of workshops with local participants, the project develops a location specific examination of 'naturalization' not only in the national context, but in the peculiarities of the venue as well. We will critically explore the conceptual and social dimensions of “valuation”.  The performance combines the evaluative methods in effect in monetary systems and numismatics with the evaluative systems used in Canadian Immigration Law to determine worthiness for citizenship.  Using workshop participants as “evaluation agents” we will separate the audience into groups of contingency based on fixed value systems, only to unsettle this structure through a more flexible or "elastic" system of barter.  This social performance, and the accompanying multi-media display, is constructed as a test that makes visible the ways in which systems of value are institutionally imposed and negotiated.

The foreigner plays a crucial role in the performance of citizenship. At the border between citizen and foreigner, the process of “naturalization” is scripted in Immigration Law, and negotiated through the courts. Much is at stake at this dangerous border: defining “us” and/through “them”, establishing and policing access from “them” to “us”, punitive reinforcement, and the punishment of transgressions. Western investment in these stakes is violently apparent, publicly and severely asserted, and for us urgently in need of contestation.
The premise of this project is simple and deliberately absurd: what kind of testing procedure can objectively measure a foreigner, to determine if they can become “naturalized”? Who is desirable, who fits and why: who fails to pass the desirability test and why? It is left up to the courts – the institution – to quantify this subjectivity. Through this website, we solicit proposals for elastic tests, debate/negotiate the selection process, broadcast the performance of the tests in different locations/countries, archive the results, and provide the final measurements. We contribute the well-behaved foreign body to be subjected to aggression and experimentation, to be tested, classified, stored, measured, expelled. In all seriousness, through parody, the performance reveals and examines the unseen – the hidden – within immigration procedures and policies. Our re-enactment forcibly makes visible the violent performance through which immigration is institutionally negotiated.