A 3-hour performance at Bellevue House, home of Canada's 1st Prime Minster, John A. Macdonald.
Museums often strategically appeal to visitors' sentiments, and in this performance, Gothic, Peter Hobbs took up the idea of empathy literally. Stirred by the stories narrated by the guides and wall text at Bellevue House relating to the prolonged illness afflicting Isabella, Sir John A. Macdonald's wife, and the death of their infant son, the artist attempted to express the emotional affect permeating the site and embedded in its objects.... Playing off the word "aura" in both its sense of historical value and psychical presense, Hobbs tested the mysterious powers of objects to evoke sensations.... Afterwards, Hobbs related that despite his conscious preparation and expectant attitude, he felt hit by a forceful wave of emotion that was disturbing as well as surprising. His limbs went numb, he thought he was going to pass out, and he wept uncontrollably.
Jim Drobnick and Jennifer Fisher, Museopathy (exhibition catalogue).
The scene is surreal. Some visitors squirm, others laugh uncomfortably. Peter Hobbs, a Montreal performance artist, is mocking their detachment.
Sharon Doyle Driedger, Maclean's, July 9, 2001