Art you can touch

The Enteractive Language festival is the less mannered cousin of Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Time-Based Art Festival. Created by 2 Gyrlz Performative Arts, the Enteractive Language fest is concerned with language as a means for creating and interpreting art. It is also filled with more strangeness and wonder than your average art festival.


For one month beginning Oct. 27, artists of various mediums and genres will converge on venues in and around the Portland Metro region to dance, sing, play, lecture and set themselves on fire. For instance, at an event called Language of the Nightmare, which takes place at Sabala’s on Nov. 6, audience members are suggested to join “our endless nightmare of fire, pain and sensual horror” and to enjoy the full bar. Other events offer chances to help build an alter, play a language game that involves your drink of choice, make toys for SantaCon and be lulled into the alpha state through the use of “visual frequencies.”


This idea of participation makes up the “enter” portion of the Enteractive Language Festival. There is the sense that the line between the audience and the performer is almost completely demolished. You are encouraged to approach and speak and touch and experience much more deeply than one might do normally in an art venue. This is a welcome change as most people have only interacted with art in the kind of “don’t touch” atmosphere common in museums, galleries, theatres and even strip clubs.

Barriers of all kinds seem to be in the glowing crosshairs of 2 Gyrlz Performative Arts. Included in the festival is an event to commemorate the International Day of Remembrance for victims of anti-transgender violence. There is also a symposium to discuss police violence and alternatives.


There are several events that seem to good to miss. On First Thursday, Nov. 3, poet Kevin Sampsell will perform with the hilarious and amazing Haiku Inferno at the Heathman Hotel. You may believe that Haiku is an archaic art that is not valid in today’s fast-paced society but you will likely change your mind when those three simple lines are aimed at your temple and fired with extreme velocity.


In an event called Language of Random Mutation, Nov. 11 at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, the movements of bats and insects will inhabit the bodies of a dance group called Osseus Labyrint. With 10 years of experience practicing these movements it should be an amazing show.


There are many more events throughout the month that seem just as bizarre and compelling, making the Enteractive Language festival a worthy digression as we enter the winter months. Not to mention the price is right with sliding scale admission between $5 and $15 per event. So find the time, loosen your tongue and your inhibitions, and join in.


More information regarding the festival can be found at