Helping to Create a RUCKUS!

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I had the pleasure earlier this fall of working with Anastasia Maywood, Krista Posyniak, and Alison Kause (and a group of amazing dancers!) on a new dance work-in-progress called RUCKUS.

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Anastasia has been given a residency by the Good Women Dance Collective in Edmonton to develop the work further, and has launched a GoFundMe Campaign to support the residency work, so that we can bring RUCKUS to life  as a more fully-developed work.

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I am so excited by this collaborative process, and being able to create sculptural work specifically for people (dancers) to interact with has been both challenging and a whole lot of fun. What this work is teaching me about sculpture and space is invaluable, and I am working with some wonderful, intelligent and talented women in making this idea a reality.

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If you would like to support this project, you can help Create a RUCKUS here!

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IMAGE CREDIT: All Images,  Ernest at Studio E Photography

On Galleries, and other difficult spaces

And excellent essay from Riva Symko, Writer in Residence at Latitude 53 in Edmonton.
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Rivals thoughts come at a particularly opportune moment, as I am heading to the CARFAC National conference and AGM in Montreal.
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The problematic nature of the gallery-as-institution has direct implications for the ability of artists to have the opportunity to show work, to experiment, as Riva so eloquently discusses.
There’s also this … Who gets to show, where, and why also has direct economic implications on an umber of levels (including the ability of artists to earn a copyright-based licensing fee for the exhibition of their work in public galleries, artist-runs, and museums).
Much food for thought here …
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 … and no doubt, much more to come over the next few days …

SubArctic – Amazing!

What an amazing SubArctic Improv last night!

I am continually blown away by the diverse and powerful talent we have here in Edmonton. I’m also inspired and thrilled by our creative community’s generosity of spirit – the way people come together to make work, and give freely of themselves and their creativity. These people share with each other and share with their audiences – and we all are better for it.

A better city, a better community, creative and otherwise.

*yes, if it seems I am gushing a bit, I am – no apologies. It was a great night!

I must extend my thanks to everyone that made this event happen: Jen Mesch and Allison Balcetis who curate Subarctic Improv, Mile Zero staff and volunteers for being such excellent hosts, and all the people who shared the stage: Kate Stashko, Vincent Forcier, Pigeon Breeders, Nicolas Arnaez, Thunder Lightning Heart & Adrian LaChance.

It was an honour to work with you all.

Some preliminary pics from last night, courtesy of Ernest at Studio E Photography, below.

The bubble wrap/LED light objects and bubble wrap costumes were my contribution to the night.

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Enjoy!

SubArctic Improv – coming soon!

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I am really looking forward to participating in this month’s SubArctic Improv, which will happen on Thursday January 21st, starting at 8pm. This series is curated by two amazing women: Jen Mesch and Allison Balcetis. The lovely people at Mile Zero Dance host this series, and the Spazio Performativo is a beautiful and welcoming space to be working in. (all the details are in the links!)

This is a delightful opportunity for me – a moment to play a little, stretch my thinking, try things, be funny and fearless. I’ve long wanted the opportunity to make work for and with moving human bodies in space (dancers and movement specialists), and so when Jen kindly invited me to participate in SubArctic, I couldn’t say no.

This series harkens back to a project I had roughly a decade ago with the Edmonton Poetry Festival: a multidisciplinary jam called CORTEX, that I pulled together with Phil Jagger. I’ve always thought that the silos within which we create in the arts here were limiting, somewhat artificial divisions (not to say that cross-disciplinary work hasn’t become more prevalent in recent years, but this kind of work could happen more IMO). There’s so much to learn from other disciplines’  creative process and from the people who live in it. Working outside our respective comfort zones – making that leap into risk –  is always a great way to come at what we do with fresh eyes.

So – to that end – my contribution to this month’s Improv will feature unconventional (and interactive) materials, and provides a new and playful way for me to consider: light (and its absence), stars, hibernation, insulation (because, heck it’s Edmonton and January, and well … cold!), security, exposure … .

A nod to how fragile real safety is, perhaps; or a fun way to explore what it means to have the illusion of safety, and actually be really vulnerable. Riffing and punning on the idea of exposure, privacy, security, ‘nesting’, voyeurism, exhibitionism …….

All potentially heady/serious/intense stuff. And all very real concerns in the world – but here, for this moment, I wanted to flip all of that on its ear, and have a little FUN – be a little silly, inject some humour and play into the mix.

SO … here’s hoping that happens! (it’s improv, ANYthing could happen)

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I hope to see lots of familiar and unfamiliar faces on January 21st! Looking forward to it immensely!!

Stillness (after the frenzy)

Gathered with family yesterday evening to celebrate the Season; many hours of good conversation, cooking together, and eating. Spent the entire time counting blessings, and losing count over and over.

It was a culmination of sorts: a time to put aside the busy-ness of the last many weeks for all of us, to stop for a bit and share some laughter, catch up with one another, and leave the frenzied part of this Season on the other side of the door.

So very welcome, that.

And today, I was blessed with a truly quiet and peaceful day.

Took a walk with my best friend and partner late in the afternoon, and brought our cameras along to see what we found …

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SO quiet. Almost no traffic, even on the busy streets; almost no one (save us) out walking.

Fingers wound up fighting with the cold and working our camera controls after a short time, so found a place for coffee – and found it surprisingly busy, but even so, people seemed still – reading, journalling, talking with friends.

As we walked home and the last of the day’s light faded, I was able to catch a few shots that seemed to sum it all up rather well:

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It is my sincere hope for everyone that you might all find some time to

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today, or over the next little while, and have the opportunity to enjoy a little peace and silence in your day.

May all of us find the world we share a little bit kinder, a little bit gentler, a little more compassionate than it was this past year.

May we all be part of making it a better place to live (in however small a way) each day, and carry that spark with us, and let it infuse our actions with the best that humanity can offer to each other and to the planet.

All the very best to you all.

~sydney

 

(at least) two cities

I wanted to pass on a link to some great commentary and insights by Rhonda Kronyk,  concerning the myriad changes & recent downtown development here in YEG … and what it means for local people and the agencies who serve them.

Check out The Yards – well worth a read!

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We are at a complicated juncture in this city’s short history – and we have choices to make on an ongoing basis about what kind of city we want, and want to live in.  There’s some great food for thought here; let’s remember that this city is home to all of us – 365 days a year.

That means diversity is the rule, not the exception …

not a bad thing in my books.

 

Nests! at TIX!

I am very happy to let you know that TIX on the Square in Edmonton, AB is carrying some of my limited-edition artist books!

NEST {types} is a collaborative work, with lovely poems written by Vancouver-based poet Catherine Owen, and hand carved linocut prints by me. Each print/poem pairing revolves around a particular type or shape of nest: cup, saucer, scrape, burrow, and so on.

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I printed and bound only 50 books; the linocuts were printed on rice paper, and the text is printed on eco-friendly straw paper; cover stock is FSC-certified. Hand-bound with unbleached linen cord.

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Get in touch with the lovely people at TIX if you’d like a copy – they are perfect gifts!

Bed

After all the busy-ness of the last few months, working on York:Moments, it has been a welcome thing to have a wee bit of time to reflect on the work that went into the project, and what it meant to bring the work back to the community.
What a gift that experience has been.
In the aftermath of our portion of the project, I’ve also had some fantastic conversations with people … two of which led me back to this post, which I wrote back in 2013 while Marian and I were working on the original YORK material.
I feel like it sums up a good deal about York:Moments as well … the way that work opened up some space to talk about the tension between ‘public’ and ‘private’ configurations of space, who has the power to determine the future of both public & private spaces, how sanctuaries of various types are crucial for the health and sustainability of neighbourhoods. How safe spaces can hold memories, how they can contribute to story-making, and the preservation of histories of all sorts.

YORK at MCPAG

Marian Switzer and I have an exhibition of our collaborative project YORK opening this Sunday, August 16th, at the Multicultural Centre Public Art Gallery (MCPAG)  in Stony Plain, AB.

 

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In addition to showing some of the original work that has its debut at Latitude 53 in July 2013, we are presenting two new series of photographs!

It’s exciting to see the work out in the world again, and especially now that we are also working on the York:Moments project at Boyle Street Plaza, which is a community-based extension of the original ideas in this work.

If you are in the area, and would like an excuse for a Sunday drive … please join us!

The exhibition is up until September 23, 2015, and the gallery is open seven days a week.

Have a great weekend!

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Spring Signs

It seems growth and change are afoot in almost every way imaginable.

Last night, the province in which I live held a remarkable election, with results that have transformed the political landscape here – and certainly made history. A blast of fresh Spring air in this place.

I’ve been back for a couple of weeks from Vienna, recovered from the jet lag and hit the ground running; digging into a big new project that has me very excited: York:Moments. A project that revolves around reclaiming the history of a place and a neighbourhood, gathering stories and memories with a community. A new life of sorts for streets and empty spaces that allow them in some small way to live again through images and (re)tellings … making a place that no longer exists live again.

These things are about potential, about working and building new things out of the old, and saving what’s precious in one way or another … just like the birds do each year:

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Here, a nest within a nest. A bird decided that one of my nest sculptures would be a good spot to build a new home, perhaps.

It remains to be seen what will come of these various activities – for me and for the birds.

But I do know that right now, starting new things and seeing change unfold is exactly what has to happen. It’s Spring (even if the snow today would have us believe otherwise).