An intimate guided tour, conceived, created
& hosted by battery opera’s David McIntosh

Evidently evidence is truth justified believably... true belief is a truly believed belief that can be justified by evidence ....belief is justified truth truly believed... the supposed subjectivity of true belief is justified by evidence truly believed... traces identified through objects left behind and framed as justified evidence of past events truly believed... a construction of a basis for belief... a quantifiable notion of truth.... a justification of a past... a moment ... believed... truly... by someone... evidently.

to read Kevin Griffins's Sun review scroll to bottom of page

or click here for the Vancouver Courier).

or there (Plank Magazine).

To read a preview go here (Straight).

For answers to silly questions go here (Courier).

more answers here (Thunderbird).

a very relaxed radio interview here (redeye).

-LIVES WERE AROUND ME- is an intimate, guided tour for an audience of three, a site-specific, roving theatre work that explores the notions of history and evidence in the context of the historic centre of Vancouver. -LIVES WERE AROUND ME- is David’s toast to this city, a libation of place and experience, utilizing the Coroner’s City Examination Room, performances by Adrienne Wong, Paul Ternes, Aleister Murphy, and the city itself.

Your drink is provided.

This production utilizes text from James Kelman’s novel Translated Accounts.

About David McIntosh and battery opera
David McIntosh is a writer, performer and artistic producer of battery opera.

Described as “sexy, propulsive, deeply metaphorical”, battery opera’s award-winning work interrogates the contemporary body as a site of intersecting and displaced histories and habits. Underlying the practice of battery opera is a dynamic dialogue and mutual attraction between opposing tensions, an exchange that is sensitive to the nuances of power and influence in the socio-political history we have inherited. In battery opera, forms and traditions meet, merge and collide to celebrate the power and fragility of a human body that breathes, speaks, sings, thinks, moves, dances.

 Vancouver Sun reviews: - LIVES WERE AROUND ME 2008/2009 season

4-person audience sees city spaces through new eyes
Performers conduct a disorienting, rewarding downtown walkabout
By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun Published: January 8, 2009

When the performer leaned over and whispered into my ear "New York" it was the first time I'd ever experienced such intimacy during a performance. She leaned so close to my right ear and spoke so softly, no one else in the audience could hear what she said. In turn, she whispered something into the ear of each of the other audience members.

Not that it was a big audience. I was there with three others. Yes, that's correct: the audience consisted of four people. And that wasn't a poor turnout. In fact, it was better than a sellout.

During most performances of Lives Were Around Me, the audience is limited to three, although an additional body can be added on occasion. The numbers are small for a reason. Lives Were Around Me doesn't take place in a traditional performance space. It takes place in the streets and interiors of the neighbourhood around Hastings and Main, the historic centre of the city.

Although it's difficult to fit the performance into predetermined categories such as theatre or performance art, it's probably best described as the way it's billed: "An intimate guided tour conceived, directed and hosted by David McIntosh."

The tour starts at the Alibi Room. Led by McIntosh, we follow him along Main. He isn't your usual tour guide. He's not unfriendly but he isn't particularly chatty either. He doesn't string together a series of anecdotes about the neighbourhood. He's more cryptic than anything. At one point he turns to us to say that "you can't always understand what you hear." Little did we know that this would prove to be sound advice.

Because a large part of the appeal of Lives Were Around Me lies in discovery and surprise, I won't say exactly where McIntosh led us. What happened was that at a certain point, he left us on the sidewalk after telling us that someone else would be by shortly to take over. What this did was turn every passerby into a potential performer.

Once our guide arrived, she didn't say anything at first and then started recounting a narrative. Played by Adrienne Wong, she led us into two interior spaces in the area that I've passed by hundreds of times but never gone into. All the while, she kept telling a story or bits of stories. It was difficult at times to follow the thread of what she was saying, especially as she had to compete with the noise of passing cars and other city sounds.

At first, this was aggravating. I'm used to following the narrative so that I can make sense of what I'm listening to. But sometimes rational understanding isn't important. So it was with Lives Were Around Me. Even though I was constantly trying to connect the dots in her narrative, at a certain point I realized it was hopeless. What mattered was how I was feeling. Inexplicably, at various times I felt both extremely disoriented and emotional.

This was particularly evident in one of the interior spaces. In a room with various historical displays, our guide recounted a narrative that didn't have anything to do with her reaching out and turning on the lights on each display case. Because there was such a disconnect between what she was saying and what she was doing, it made me fill in the gaps. I had no choice but to create the space of the theatre: I imagined myself as being one of the lives of the people around me. It left me feeling both ephemeral and elated.

At the end, McIntosh returned to direct us back to the Alibi Room. After he finally left and walked off into the night, I felt saddened that the performance was over. For about an hour on a rainy winter night, McIntosh and the other performers in Lives Were Around Me utterly transformed the neighbourhood. I felt like I'd been privileged to have my eyes opened about a part of Vancouver I thought I knew.

and now, a little political thought.

David McIntosh’s Artist Statement
Given the British Columbia Government's decision to withdraw funding to the arts, I have decided: now is the time to experiment!

For the re-mounting of our show . -LIVES WERE AROUND ME- we will be reflecting the actual costs of the production in the box office price. Because it is a remount and brilliantly, does not require a theatre, we are able to offer tickets at a bargainprice of only $267.67 (Two hundred and sixty-seven dollars and sixty-seven cents). The only way to reserve one of the three available spaces per show, is to buy such a ticket.

My intention is to provoke a discussion not merely about the monetary value of art, but more importantly, about the function of public funding for the arts. It is my belief that public funding subsidizes public access to the arts. As an artist, I will continue to make art, but without public funding, the public will not easily be able to access my art. It and I will go “underground”, or "overseas". This may or may not concern you, but I think it’s time to talk about it because that's what democracies do. Right?

If we sell every ticket, I’ll be thrilled. If you wish to see the show but can’t afford to pay the actual costs, I’d be happy for you attend by donation on a first come first serve basis. Just look for Akasuzi at the Alibi. She’ll take care of you. That’s one of many things art will do.

To link to Vanstage PSA go here.

Now up.


David’s interactive web-art project.

Based on left behind audience feed back forms (Evidence Statement cards from “Lives were around me.”), this site invites you to consider the moments when our bodies, our lives, intersect with objects.

Objects..., framed as evidence of our temporary existence in the shared spaces, trajectories and lives of others... transient histories.... some moments... objects...

If you have a few moments, have a look (use your mouse) and add another statement to the pile.