News & Writing

One Last Look …

I am in the process of editing a raft of documentation from the recently-closed Macromareal exhibition at SNAP. Below, a selection of images from that exhibition – a fond reminder for me of how lovely it was to show in this beautiful gallery & be supported by such an excellent organization – and a sampling of what was there for those who weren’t able to see the work in person.

GMFF 2020!

Excited to say let everyone know that I have a one-minute film in the Gotta Minute Film Festival this year!

The festival went live today, and will be presented in transit stations in Edmonton & Calgary, and online for folx elsewhere in the world.

My film is called “Chaotic Bodies: Take A Minute” – and as the name implies, it is a one-minute musing on the strange times we are experiencing, and the value of the moments in which we can pause – step back – take a minute to recharge – and then decide what it is that we want to do.

https://sydneylancaster.com/portfolio/chaotic-bodies-and-ruckus/
Chaotic Bodies: Take A Minute
Still, 2020

2020 has been characterized by stress, fear, chaos, and isolation. And yet, in all of that there has been value: a massive wakeup call to all of us to really consider what we value, and which things need to be jettisoned to create a happier life and a better world for all of us as time passes.

It’s my hope that this little minute will spur further reflection, and offer a short burst of bright visual input as the days grow shorter, and life continues to be complicated.

Artist Talk Coming Up!

I am really not sure where the last month has gone … but here we are, in October!

And that means (for me) that Macromareal (a rising tide lifts all boats) will be closing at SNAP Gallery … but first:

SATURDAY October 10, 2020 – 1pm – 2pm MST SNAP will be presenting our artist talk, online.

Macromareal approaches the tidal range in the Bay of Fundy, its documentation, and related environmental data through a series of interrelated works that explore the cyclic and durational aspect of natural processes, and the relationship between those processes, human activities, and conceptions of time and memory. The artists will discuss the trajectory of the Macromareal project, their collaboration, and the resulting concoction of work in the exhibition.

This lecture is free, online, and open to the public.

IF you would like to join us for the talk, please REGISTER HERE>

IF you’re in Edmonton, you can still catch the exhibition in person before it goes away throughout this week on a drop-in day, or book a visit on SNAP’s website.

Looking forward to discussing the project, and hearing your thoughts and questions.

MACROMAREAL – at SNAP

Very excited to say that MACROMAREAL (a rising tide lifts all boats) will be opening at SNAP (Society of Northern Alberta Print-artists) on September 11, 2020!~

It’s a VERY odd time to be presenting work to the public – but I am so happy with all the precautions SNAP has in place, and so very happy to sew showing work in their BRAND NEW home!

There’s several things going on for this iteration of MACROMAREAL. Both Scott and I have re-worked existing elements of the project, and I have been busy since the last time this work was shown making a bunch of new prints! So, brand new work for us in a new space – how lucky can you get??

The exhibition will be opening on the evening of September 11, from 7 – 9 pm. This will be a hybrid event: SNAP is pre-booking (free) tickets to see the show in person, and limiting the number of people in the gallery at one time, so that everyone can stay safe AND see the art in person. We will also be online – Scott & I are attending the Opening virtually, so more people can see the work in person if they want to – and anyone else who wants to attend virtually is welcome to do so as well!

Fundy Sine, Cyanotype on Cotton, 2017.

There will also be a socially-distanced LIVE performance of Scott Smallwood’s score “Macromareal Prelude: in Fog and Storm and Sunshine” on Saturday September 12, at 1:00 pm local time, in the immediate neighbourhood of SNAP, outsdoors. We are both extremely happy to be able to work with some excellent local Edmonton musicians for this event, and to be able to present this work live in a safe way. This is a ‘roving’ performance work; the musicians will be moving in the neighbourhood as they play, and will be distanced; we ask that anyone attending keep 2metres or more from any musician(s) they encounter, and PLEASE wear a MASK!

Dress rehearsal for the original performance of Scott’s score in 2017, Parrsboro NS

Scott and I will also be presenting an artists’ talk about the genesis and evolution of the project on Saturday, October 10th, again at 1pm local time. This talk will be presented online.

A collage of various elements of the project as it evolved

And for some added fun: I will be facilitating a cyanotype workshop/demo online for SNAP on Thursday September 17, starting at 6pm.

Caution, Cyanotype on Cotton, 2019

Looking forward to all of this very much – and hope that you can join us for some of it.

(Be)coming Together Apart

Deeply grateful for the serendipity that brought me to this series of video works today.

Especially grateful for this work by Sally Morgan and Lou Sheppard, and Kinetic Studio for the series. So much of the threads of thought and feeling I (and I am sure many, many others) have been experiencing over the last months are encapsulated here.

The Escape, and What I Found

I have been so very blessed to be able to spend time away from the city this summer, working on a project close to my heart.

Make=Believe is progressing well – I’m working hard on the installation, and it’s coming well – but I am also spending my time considering (and re-consdering) all the resonances and histories the place holds. Many kids of archaeology here, many types of rootedness … .

And surprises, always.

A delightful moment in my last work trip: a man, a flute, a magpie, and the trees that lend their bodies to the work of this installation.

I hope you enjoy it.

The Space Between Us

Into roughly the 8th week(??) of isolation (time has become incredibly fluid for me), and as the days pass, I think increasingly about what will be in the “time after.” Everyone is in such a rush to “get back to normal,” to reopen businesses and relax some of the protocols that have kept many of us safe and healthy – if not employed. I do absolutely sympathize with those who want to re-open their businesses, who are desperate to earn an income to support themselves and their families. It’s at least as frightening to have the economic rug pulled suddenly out from under you as it is to come face to face with a pandemic. This is about survival, on so many levels.

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https://www.carfac.ca/news/2020/03/30/a-notice-to-our-members-and-our-community-regarding-covid-19/

BUT. I am going to articulate  massively unpopular opinion.

I DO NOT WANT to get back to “normal life.” Not soon, and if I am honest, not ever.

I’ve been thinking a great deal about how ‘normal life’ breaks people and communities through its enactment of privilege, how many people are silenced in so many ways, how at its root this is all about the trade of labour and creativity to enrich the few on the backs of many – and at the expense of the environment and all other beings. How I desperately, urgently, passionately want it all to CHANGE for the better on the other side of this. How afraid I am that it won’t. And how I feel increasingly paralyzed by the prospect of a ‘return to before.’

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This is true for me in relation to the broader culture in which I live, and for the sector in which I work. This is a moment in which we could – and should – recognize that not only will the ‘new normal’ be with us for a long time (2 metres for the win!), but the ‘old normal’ is something that we should neither wish for nor return to. It also may be moot – because the ‘old normal’ may not exist for much longer, regardless of what some (or most) people desire.

“Normal” or “business as usual” has been exposed with utter clarity by the pandemic: ┬áthe glaring gaps in care, the enormous disparities that are actively cultivated and maintained by the systems in which we live and work. How many people have no choice but to risk their health and that of their loved ones & work in this time, in order to survive; how the most vulnerable of us have even fewer options to remain safe and healthy.

How many of us have seen our entire sector shut down, cancelled, income evaporated, in already tenuous livelihoods.

So this is a point in which we can CHOOSE what kind of world we want to live in moving forward. And we need to ask these questions of ourselves – NOW – while we have the time and opportunity to do so.

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What are you prepared to do to create a more equitable culture and community as we come out of this? How can we work together to make that happen?

What aspects of ‘normal life’ are you happy to see gone?

I leave you with these questions – and encourage your replies … and also with an excellent essay by Lou Sheppard; they articulate far more eloquently than I some of the things that have been worrying me about what comes next.

Take Care of Each Other.

Sharing … at a Safe Distance

It’s been quiet here in some ways – and definitely not in others! Whilst we have all been minimizing our in-person contact with friends and colleagues (well ok, with EVERYONE!) for the last few weeks, there’s been a flurry of activity behind the scenes regarding advocacy and support initiatives of various sorts. It’s been confusing at times, and much has happened very quickly – so it’s been challenging to keep up and understand what is relevant to my profession as an independent visual artist, and to the sector as a whole.

Happily, CARFAC Alberta and CARFAC National have been doing a fantastic job of compiling and distilling information as it becomes available, and advocating for appropriate support for our sector. I have never been more grateful for the work these organizations do to support artists and advocate on their behalf. As a board member in both, I continue to offer my time and effort to help them help all of us.

If you want to chat about what’s available, what you are facing, and what CARFAC is doing, I’ll be part of an online session on MAY 2, from 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm MDT

Join CARFAC Alberta for a SATURDAY ZOOM ENGAGEMENT…
What CARFAC is doing for Visual Artists during COVID -19
Hosted by Chris W. Carson: Executive Director, CARFAC Alberta and guest Sydney Lancaster: CARFAC National Board Member and Alberta Representative on the CARFAC National Board.

The ZOOM coordinates are here:

Join Zoom Meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87871667746
Meeting ID: 878 7166 7746

I hope to see & hear from you then!

Being Resourceful

We are all hunkering down – making the best of social distancing, of being at home (the privilege of those of us that can work from home … or find themselves now out of work).

We are reading, making art, caring for and educating children, caring for friends and others at a distance, going for walks, venturing out as little as possible otherwise … life, in silos.

Those of us facing down this strange time in human history by removing ourselves from the community (or being removed through unemployment) are where we need to be right now, for the protection of everyone, not just ourselves.

So it’s a ‘social good’ – but the varying degrees of lockdown across the country also mean that people with precarious incomes – like artists – have seen the income from their practices all but disappear, and the gig work they do to make ends meet has evaporated.

It’s still not clear (to me at least) where people that had ‘potential’ income that has dried up will fit into federal and provincial relief programs … hopefully that information will be forthcoming soon.

So – WE HAVE TO BE PREPARED.

Yes, that’s right … just when you hoped to avoid paperwork for a a while, since the deadline for tax filing has been deferred … you need to keep track of ALL the income you have lost.

It’s ain’t sexy or glamorous – and might be a bit depressing – but it is SO NECESSARY right now. By tracking our losses, we can provide an accurate picture of the financial impact of the pandemic for workers who don’t “fit” into the regular systems of income-generation and accounting.

There are many of us – so it’s vital that we have the facts to hand, so the case can be made.

Here are some tools & other resources to help:

Stay safe, take care of your self and each other. And do your paperwork! :)