Rapid Pulse: Celebrating Five Years of Performance Art

This June, the Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival celebrates its fifth year, a large feat for the non-profit organization that has been deemed “a small festival with a big heart.” The year's iteration will be packed with twenty-five performances over the course of five days (June 1-5), in honor of the anniversary. The multi-day event includes live performances in the main gallery at Defibrillator, durational performance installations in the storefront window, and performances outside in the surrounding neighborhood near Eckhart Park. The festival will also feature a video series, curated by assistant director Giana Gambino and Julia Laffin, and a new nightly experimental food series that hopes to foster discourse about the day's performances.

Rapid Pulse began as a partnership between Gambino and Joseph Ravens, who met in 2011 and conceptualized the idea of a multi-day festival that would bring esteemed performance artists from around the world to Chicago. Ravens, the director of Defibrillator, has co-organized the festival with Gambino for the past five years. While the festival has scaled back from its original 10-day marathon of performances, this year is certain to bring an impressive range of work from artists including Linda Mary Montano, Sarah & Joseph Belknap, Sarah Trouche and Edra Soto.

Montano is an impressive veteran of the performance art scene. She famously spent a year tied by a length of rope to Taiwanese artist Teching Hsieh for his performance Art/Life: One Year Performance, 1983-84. Some of her other artistic undertakings include wearing monochromatic garments for seven-year intervals, singing in a scissor lift for seven hours and being blindfolded for seven days. Montano will close the Rapid Pulse festival with an overnight workshop titled Sleepathon, in which she has invited the public to spend the night with her in the gallery space.  

For a schedule of performances and to purchase tickets visit:

Top Image: Martine Vitale, photograph by Nabeela Vega. All images courtesy Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival.