Thursday, July 27, 2017

CRWR 520 (6)

My project for CRWR 520 focuses on collaboration both in form and in content. Originally my intention was to write on that necessarily collaborative form of sculpture known as sandbagging or, as Austen chimed-in during class, “sandbanks.” However, with the recent wildfires I am tempted to extend my project to include another collaborative action -- that social sculptural form known as the water brigade -- where people form a line and pass from one person to the next a bucket of water.

A version of the water brigade can be found in Robert Altman’s film McCabe & Mrs Miller (1971), the story of a self-centred entrepreneur who comes to a small mining town in search of opportunity only to find himself caring less about profits than protecting the town (known as Presbyterian Church) from corporate interests. This conversion, as it were, is played out at the conclusion of the film, when the entrepreneur’s confrontation of the corporation’s hired guns is juxtaposed with an attempt by townsfolk to extinguish a church fire.

Although the church fire was caused by human action (the hired guns), the rising water levels that flooded parts of the Okanagan Valley this spring were the result of natural causes (heavy snowfalls coupled with a sudden jump in temperature), events that drew attention to sandbaggers and sandbanks, but also to property relations.

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