August 2018

My works are always context specific, and having considered the theme of Art In The Open for 2018, “Future Tense”, my sculptural response was a project titled — waterline—, a social sculpture made through community participation during a residency at this town is small Charlottetown, PEI’s artist run center and performed during Art in the Open’s concluding evening.

My background as an artist who creates site/context specific work, is faced with a loss of such an identity in the context of the “future tense” of Charlottetown. As we race into the anthropocene, our coastal futures certainly begin to look a lot more aqueous.

Projecting ourselves our society and our projects into the “future tense” requires mediation of: 1) defying optimization 2) regression into nostalgia 3) holistic understanding of the site/context. As Kwon presciently wrote, it “might mean finding a terrain between mobilization and specificity – to be out of place with punctuality and precision”.[1] As our futures become more aqueous, and our sites deterritorialized, we may become free from place-bound identities. In the future tense, the site becomes liberation; more fluid and migratory. This seems to allow for the possibility of multiple identities and convergence, between the chance encounters and circumstances. I consider this a proposed project based in relational specificity of the imagined.

“It is through our connections with other people that we find our own centres. Another way of saying that our identities are formed by our relationships. We are the sum total of what others have given us and what we have given others.” – Jen Budney

This description above (written by a fellow Canadian from Saskatoon) describes the work of Lucy+Jorge Orta[2], the direct inspiration for this proposal. These words echo the driving principle of my own work, that interdependency is part of the human, and further, universal condition. Waterline aims to demonstrate this metaphorically through creative play and public performance. I draw from the fact that physical waterlines exist throughout Canada, so also does the concept of ‘keeping your head above water’. Many of us are trying to do just that, though various socio-political and environmental factors threaten to engulf/subsume us, these issues were explored throughout the week alongside the idea that it is collective self-care that could be our salvation. As Homi Bhabha has said, “The globe shrinks for those who own it; for the displaced or disposed, the migrant or refugee, no distance is more awesome than the few feet across borders or frontiers.”[3]

During the residency, and interactions with participants, we promoted the ideas that each individual keeps an eye on, and protects others. One individual’s life depends on the life of the other, and we manifest these concepts through creating collaborative works such as the –waterline– installation/performance, each person donating individually to the group project.

Presented with the support of:

[2] Visit Studio Orta for more information at: http://www.studio-orta.com/en/artwork/18/Nexus-Architecture-Nexus-Type-Operation

[3] Homi K. Bhabha, “Double Visions,” Artforum (January 1992), p.88.

[1] Miwon Kwon, “One Place After Another: Notes on Site Specificity,” October #80 (Spring 1997), 109 – 110.