2012 marked the exciting 10th Anniversary of the TBA Festival, and newly-appointed PICA Artistic Director Angela Mattox’s first year curating the program. The Festival has always presented diverse visions from around the world, but TBA:12 hosted one of the most global lineups to date, with artists hailing from Democratic Republic of the Congo, Zimbabwe, Italy, Mexico, France, Japan, and elsewhere. From epic to intimate, projects included Big Art Group’s monumental outdoor real-time film The People—Portland; Ant Hampton & Tim Etchell’s headphone-directed performance for just two people in a library reading room; Sam Green’s “live documentary” on R. Buckminster Fuller; Keith Hennessy’s dance response to the economic crisis; Laurie Anderson’s contemplation of death and loss; and Faustin Linyekula’s solo dance about his childhood in the Congo.
Through “End Things,” the TBA:12 visual art projects explored the unique empathic resonance of objects and the artistic impulse to continue making things. Isabelle Cornaro created two levels of ethereal site-specific murals at the PICA offices; Erika Vogt suspended a room of re-cast and repurposed forms from ceiling-mounted pulleys; and Alex Cecchetti initiated a performative game of “telephone” as a series of local performers took up the task of retelling his poetic story. With a new outdoor beer garden at Washington High School, attendees to THE WORKS were treated to a TBA Eats lineup of rotating nightly chefs and Blind Tasting Bingos with some of the city’s most inventive culinary talents. When they weren’t drinking and dining beneath the stars, audiences caught “drag terrorist” CHRISTEENE; Internet TV star Thu Tran’s blacklight food demo; and a Skype-driven, trans-Atlantic mashup of African musicians and Portland jams from BRAINSTORM and Sahel Sounds.