To see more installation views, visit my flickr page.
This City, My Love (mapping the unspectacular in Saint John)
The City of Saint John Art Gallery, Saint John, NB, March – May, 2014. This City, My Love (mapping the unspectacular in Saint John) is a project that I began in March 2013 in Saint John, New Brunswick. I went there for a month, and spent my time visiting with locals who brought me to sites that have special meaning for them. I wanted to learn about this city not from the perspective of a textbook or a tourist guide but from the people who make up the place that is “Saint John.” In a relatively short time, I got the strong sense that the people who are there are really invested in their city and work very hard to create an ongoing sense of “pride of place.” And by extension, make great efforts to increase the quality of life for fellow citizens. As an “industrial city in transition,” and a city that is largely overlooked by the rest of the country, I got a glimpse of how this place keeps having to reinvent itself.
One year later, in a second stage of this project, I constructed an unconventional map of human encounters. Not quite a conventional map, but a mapping of emotional landscapes, via photography, field notes, drawings, collected artifacts and film, the exhibition recalls my visits, and reconstitutes this city out of the memories that were recounted to me. In a sense these have now become my memories as the stories I heard in conjunction with each site, and person, now become part of an album that uncovers the varied histories and identities that contribute to the rich tapestry that is Saint John. More installation views here.
FatherWork – MonTravail
3e impérial, Granby, QC, 2010 – 2012; final presentation, March – April, 2012. FatherWork – MonTravail is an off-site interdisciplinary exploration in the town of Granby, QC that culminated in the production of a short film combining black and white Super8 footage and video, and a colour photo series. Produced over a 16-month period in residence, going back and forth between the city of Montreal and Granby, the creative process interwove performance, photography and moving image – inventing a world inspired by the career of my father.
Drawing a poetic parallel between the archetypal figure of the traveling salesman and that of the nomadic artist – between my father’s life and my own life, the search for meaning via an investigation into this paternal relationship was re-formulated through a proposed trajectory across sites of transaction and transition. Simultaneously disjointed and coherent, the hotel room, the bar, the jewelry store, the photography shop and the audio equipment boutique became the containers for fragments that constructed a touching autobiographical fiction – films and photographs melding into the everyday life of these businesses, the spaces of a brief moment in time. Additional photos can be viewed here and the film can be viewed here.
Roadside Attractions: From A to B and Back Again
PAVED Arts, Saskatoon, SK, July – August, 2010. For the last two years I’ve been exploring a traveling performance called Roadside Attractions. Asking questions such as: How do you show a transitional space? Where are the interstices between leaving and arriving? What are our strategies for getting there? Roadside Attractions is an unconventional travelogue that is more interested in the journey and the acclimatization, than in the final, definitive destination.
Having brought this process of site-specific performance for the camera to several cities and towns in Canada and abroad, an installation of video projection, single channel video and photo portrays the culmination of this series of meditative micro-interventions carried out since 2008. Focusing on the parallels between performance and travel, and on a potentially destabilized relationship to place, this exploration of transitional space examines comprehensive states of “performative consciousness,” investing a performative presence within multiple locations, while addressing notions of connectedness, (dis)orientation, abandon, and transformation. Additional photos can be viewed here.
Tenderpixel Gallery, London, UK, March – April, 2010. For this project, I collaborated with sound artist Christian Richer to produce a live, participatory installation of drawings and ambient aural textures. Gallery visitors were invited to bring an object to which to they felt an emotional attachment (from key-ring to crystal goblet). Together, me and guest chatted about the object’s history and personal significance. We also sketched: individual and comparative interpretations of the precious object in question. No drawing experience was necessary! Perfect execution was not the purpose of this interaction – but moreover, about highlighting these fleeting moments of change and exchange. Christian recorded, and transformed these conversations into atmospheric tape loops, slowly building a soundtrack that accompanied the expanding collection of drawings. Connecting, recording, sketching, editing, broadcasting and affixing…constantly evolving and dynamic, our residency at Tenderpixel culminated in an immersive installation of playful images & evocative sounds: an eclectic collection of ‘stuff’. Additional photos can be viewed here.
(Being) One Thing at a Time / (Être) Une chose à la fois
Galerie Corrid’Art Sylviane Poirier, Montreal, QC, January – February, 2010. The (Being) One Thing at a Time photo series portrays the traces of momentarily activated – and at times even politicized – public spaces. Emerging out of a number of public actions that were carried out at selected sites in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, and St-John’s, artists and non-artists alike were invited to join me in imposing slightly transgressive, bewildering (or questionable) gestures in unexpected, or just plain banal places. Together, we created contemporary living tableaux that proposed to open up a dialogue between the body and the environments it traverses. The ensemble of pictures make up a narrative across time and space, re-creating and reconsidering various elements of each of the performances. Captions appearing along with these images provide another contextualizing frame for the viewer to virtually re-visit the performances. More images from this series are also featured on the Culturehall website.
Read a review of (Being) by Gavin Thomson in the McGill Daily.
This installation proposes live-art/relational action in the gallery, photo/video and text documentation of previous in-situ performances, as well as documentation of actions as they unfold in the gallery.
The performance ESSEN (German or Yiddish: to eat), was initiated in 2003 when I was working on a series of tableaux vivants; process-based public art actions called (Being) One Thing at a Time. Since its first showing, ESSEN has taken on a life of its own, with repeated invitations to re-enact the performance in several locations – both within Montreal and beyond. ESSEN requests that pairs of participants sit across from each other at a table, in the sharing of a meal which takes place in a non-art venue: a restaurant, a park, a guest’s home.
This playful and meditative performance insists that one is not permitted to feed oneself but instead be fed by one’s dining partner (drinking independently is allowed). As a performance, ESSEN creates an opportunity to pay close attention and to slow down time. In so doing, it serves to address several themes that have occurred in much of my artistic work over the last number of years – my contentious relationship to food (and eating), as well as issues around body, sexuality, intimacy, and obsession/addiction. While this work has previously only been undertaken in non-art spaces, for the exhibition I plan to bring the performance into the gallery, inviting audience members (participants) to come and share a meal. Public meals, carried out in the same manner as previous ESSEN performances, are scheduled repeatedly throughout the course of the exhibition.
As an exhibition several stations are set up throughout the gallery: Station 1: The Performance (as described above). This is the proliferation of ESSEN in action: as people come in to share meals with me, we document it and then post images – along with notes on observations – on the wall behind us. Station 2: The proliferation of ESSEN. Prints from several photographers’ documentation are displayed here, in varying size and quality of image. Further along the wall (adjacent to the performance) are photos and notes from independent initiations of the performance – enactments done without my involvement whatsoever. Station 3: ESSEN’s 15 minutes of fame (proliferation to the nth degree): showing video footage from a taped episode of the CBC’s Des Kiwis et des hommes.
Today I Ate
Please see the One-Off Works section.