Canadian art collective Doja Cat has pulled out of a performance and tour that would have taken them to two states and two countries, citing concerns for their safety.
Doja Cat staged “Covid-19,” a performance-cum-performance-cum-petition, in Toronto on March 3.
The performance refers to a place called “Lux,” an unfinished building that Doja Cat says was scheduled to be completed by 2015. In addition to advocating for the building to be built, Doja Cat hopes to use the performance to spur political action.
Unfortunately, Doja Cat’s “Covid-19” tour — which included performances in the U.S. and Canada — never made it out of the tour stages.
The interstitial “Covid-19” tour consists of three planned performances: a sonic open mic/performance art event on June 17 in Washington, DC, in which community members can engage in discussions, write down-notes, play music, or do anything they like; another in Toronto on June 24, where community members can sign a banner to help generate feedback on the Lux building; and a final performance in Portland, Oregon on July 5.
Focused community conversations around the building are a part of this “Covid-19” tour, as are physical actions, such as the premiere of the documentary about the building, building itself, and the community reaction.
Since the end of Doja Cat’s “Covid-19” tour, the Canadian artist and community have begun collecting feedback on the Lux project. This feedback, where people work with the artists on ways to address the community concerns and needs they’ve heard expressed, will be essential to the building’s future.
This is not the first time Doja Cat has pulled out of a project due to safety concerns. In 2013, Doja Cat canceled a performance after their equipment was stolen from their hotel room. Then, in 2014, Doja Cat canceled a major international performance to process traumatic events that had happened to them as artists.
“We have come to the point where we have to ask for a break from all of this negativity. We cannot participate in ‘tweets’ and hashtag campaigns anymore,” Doja Cat wrote in a statement posted to their website in 2015. “No matter how well-meaning, these things are cliques and specifically for a purpose, or intended to be like a SWAT team, with a road map and pre-invited to the table. No one is forcing us to be a part of the circus.”
Doja Cat’s statement mentions a fear of standing in the way of progress and of leaders who obstruct democracy.
In September 2015, Doja Cat released “This Is Our Reality” — a visual art exhibition of the artists’ intimate reflections and trauma. The exhibition tackled issues such as environment, gender, imprisonment, and racism.
Doja Cat joins the list of artists that have pulled out of shows to fight for their safety — a list that includes Lupe Fiasco, Vampire Weekend, and Queens of the Stone Age, among others.
This is how the investigation into Doja Cat’s “Covid-19” began: