Dana Michel is the 2019 Winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art

Dana Michel. Photo Pekka Mäkinen.


Dana Michel was announced as the 2019 winner of ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art on Saturday 14th September. Dana Michel was revealed as the 6th winner of the prestigious prize during the ANTI Prize Party in Kuopio, Finland.

The 2019 shortlist comprised of four celebrated artists from across the globe: Cuqui Jerez (ES), Dana Michel (CA), Mammalian Diving Reflex (CA) and Keijaun Thomas (US).

The prize, at €30,000, is one of the richest in the arts, and is awarded annually to an artist or artist collective. ANTI Festival International Prize for Live Art is the world’s first prize dedicated to live art. The prize is funded by the Saastamoinen Foundation.

The 2019 prize saw a chance in the winner selection process with the new Shortlist LIVE! concept funded by the Kone Foundation. For the first time ever, ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival presented the shortlisted artists live as a part of the 2019 festival programme in Kuopio. The jury had personal meetings with each of the artists and decided on the winner after seeing each nominee’s presentation.

The 2019 jury’s chair was internationally acclaimed author Saara Turunen (FI) and the other members are reknowned artistic director and cultural leader Daniel Brine (UK) and celebrated professor, academic and artist Thomas F. DeFrantz (US).

The Jury states of the winner:

Constant Surprises – intimacies and small gestures. Strength and physical ability, resisting presumptions and testing suppositions.  Dana Michel makes work in order to see better and know better.  She explores an archive enlivened through performance.  Lifetimes of experience animated.  Interiorities.  Intuitive making with objects that become … Free!  A remarkable poetics of movement and imagery, bound up in an ethically-engaged approach to making and sharing. Modest and accurate, measured and structured.  A faltering stagger reminds us to keep moving.  A dreamlike character  –  charismatic and absurdist.  We commend this clarity of performance, engaged in identity … dreamlike and touching in its way. A powerful presence of a female body.

We commend your vision and your creative path towards remarkable, unexpected images.  Striking, clear images that arrive and disperse unexpectedly.  Multitudes of memories wrapped into live art.  Everything here matters, everything sounds, everything vibrates into our shared experience.

Dana Michel won a 15 000€ cash prize and in addition a production support of the same amount to bring a new piece to ANTI – Contemporary Art Festival 2020.

Dana Michel

An amalgam of intuitive improvisation, choreography, and performance art, Dana Michel’s artistic practice is rooted in exploring the multiplicity of identity. Michel works with notions of performative alchemy and lucid dreaming – using personal history, current preoccupations, and future desires to create an empathetic centrifuge of live moments between herself and witnesses.Today, her work can be described by some of its influences and inhabitations: sculpture, cinematography, comedy, hip-hop, psychology, dub, and social commentary.

In research, Michel alternates between the work that takes place in and out of the studio. After pouring over a subject via writing, reading, video, and discussion she relaxes her focus and let the body take over. “I feed myself with sound, silence, and dissonance – at times over-stuffing my body and psyche with stimulation to encounter its response. Then, minute details pop into my kinetic vision. They manifest movements, resonations, colours, textures, and certain experiences of light. These details clarify the trajectory of the work.”

“Using difficulty as a navigational methodology comes naturally and coerces my performances into places of emergency and vulnerability. This is where I am able to listen at closest range, and to share with the least hesitation. Thinking about beings as mathematical proofs or portals, made up of billions of possibilities, deepens this listening.“