Thursday, July 28, 2016
He told us he stopped making art for awhile to look after his disabled parents. He showed us pictures of his parents -- separately, then together -- and I thought he might not yet talk about "hybridity" (his father is of Swiss decent, his mother of Japanese descent) but about what "walking on the land" meant when his parents "walked" on hand-powered wheels. Of course I thought about what Carmen had said, about what it is to be in a physical position different from that which is assumed to be the norm.
Later, he presented a book that moved him, and a critique of that book for its failure to consider architecture in a nomadic context.
Heidegger's "Building, Dwelling, Thinking."
Then his paintings, his interest in holes, enclaves. Literal holes, with strange shapes (strange to me), then more recently a series of alley paintings that suggest the kinds of walks required to find them -- dérives!
Like him, she began with who her parents are (were?), and their parents. Where they landed, how the word "settler" was stamped on their immigration documents by government officials.
A walking practice that she did not want to talk about -- "not today."
A recent project that had sugar cookies in unusual shapes (barbed wire, a noose) and distributed on Parliament Hill. For this she did not project its image, but gave its clear-topped plastic box to the moderator to pass around the room.
She had also mentioned that she would leave it to her collaborator (up next) to talk of a performance the two are doing on Friday, and this her collaborator did after introducing herself through a word that evokes "hybridity" but is specific to a particular time and place in the history of this country's histories, but not before speaking of her current work on a PhD that is interested in the "complexities of dealing with indigenous communities through art."
The kitchen table was mentioned as a site of engagement, research and exchange, a curatorial "counterpoint" to ideas that "mirror" those common to "colonial practice," and this too brought to mind the extra-long dining table cloth Farheen spread out for us in front of the Alternator Gallery a couple weeks back.
Then suddenly her talk began to move quickly, too quickly for me to keep up with. Someone was cited, and I was not sure if the citation had ended. She (her source?) said, "Curators should stand beside or behind artists, never in front of them," and then said something that sounded like she had rethought this position.
(Later, at the potluck at Platypus House, I asked her if she thought curation was closer to art history or to studio practice, and she said, as I expected, the latter.)
The kitchen table is to be the site of this Friday's performance.
The final presentation came from someone who asked not to be photographed or quoted without her consent, and this had me taking it too far, missing much but gaining more through listening with my ears, not my hand.
Ethics was a word that was mentioned more than once, and I mention it here because it is a word whose meaning, I wish, meant something to everyone. An eagerness to learn the natural laws of where she is living. Cognitive imperialism is mentioned only because she did not coin the term. An excellent description of neo-liberalism. Work was shown -- an image of a work made with (iron) nails and hair. New work in the studio, and an invitation to visit her there. Am I taking this too far? Maybe. But we spoke after, at the potluck, and I am hoping it is worth the risk.