Fragments of Education
Fragments of Education was an site specific installation where I made graphite rubbings of surfaces around Concordia University with which I created a message in code to reveal injustices in the public education system. I wrote about it here on the blog before it had officially been installed, so now I have photos to share.
For the installation I invited people to the coded message (made with pigment prints on cotton) by giving them a card which contained the legend on the front and a fill-in-the-blanks on the back (as seen in the photos - but don't enlarge them if you want to decode it yourself). The website that accompanies this project allows for online visitors to decode it too and has the extra feature of a video hint. Here's a link to the site: http://fragmentsofaneducation.weebly.com/
Fragments of Education
I've been working on a site-specific installation which speaks to the western education system, and more specifically its lack of inclusiveness to students with alternative learning styles. I wish my creative spirit was nurtured by my teachers in high school and definitely see how my poor marks in high school affected my self esteem when considering college. Six years after secondary school I got up the courage to give it a shot to discover I could excel in academics in the right environment and with the right motivations ie.goals I made for myself as opposed to ones dictated to me. Unfortunately not everyone who has had similar public school experiences as me realizes their potential. In Fragments of an Education (working title), I'm grieving this loss.
I created a code made up of rubbings of textures from around Concordia University and then made them into a message. My hope is that people might liken the process of decoding the message, to their experiences in school. Whether the participant has felt victimized by the public school system or not I hope to demystify some of the preconceptions brought about by western imperialistic ways of thinking which put the population into two limiting categories; intelligent or unintelligent. The message I chose was meant to make the viewer think differently about the judgments that they place on others or themselves while also acting as a message of hope and encouragement.
I will be installing this At Concordia University next week sometime with an accompanying website which will give those you who are not in Montreal a chance to de-code it too.
Last night was a total success! TRACES got filled up. The location I was in helped a lot as it was right at the entrance of the 3rd floor. With my simple written directions (thanks Jenna Dawn for the french translation) people were happy to participate. I even took some panels down later in the evening to replace with clean paper for more space. Tomorrow I go back down to the space to pick up the materials so I can make something sculptural for the organizers Harvey and Judith to have as a keepsake. Not sure what I'm going to do yet, maybe baskets to match the ones in the installation...
Here are some not-so-successful photos of the installation in process...(a bit fuzzy)
TRACES at Corridor Cultural
I installed TRACES yesterday at Corridor Culturel, a Nuit Blanche venue where there will be a lot of fun things this Saturday night (including my installation): stop-motion video performances, a symphony orchestra, live music, many art installations and much more that I'm not even aware of. What I do know is that Danny is playing a one hour set at 1am in the loft, and my Fibres Structures class is coordinating an experiential weaving installation in the outside barn and on the second floor of the main building.
TRACES is participatory as well; come leave some traces of your own. You can find me on the third floor where I'm inviting passers by to leave traces on the paper-covered walls by doing pencil rubbings of objects that they have on hand; coins, rings, key chains, anything textured really. Judith Bauer, one of the organizers told me that last year they didn't have much documentation of the night, so I'll be using the marked paper to create a woven structure for them to keep as a means of remembrance.
For their schedule visit the website here:
Family line drawings Part II
Continuing on from my last post, I'd like to share a bit more about the process of this project. Firstly, I am super impressed that my family filled 30 pages in a sketchbook with line rubbings, especially seeing as the sketchbook had to travel from Montreal to Vancouver and then Hawaii. They only had about a month and a half in total to do this and get it back to me in Montreal. On top of each having to do over 30 line drawings they also had to record (in an organized fashion) what objects were below the paper on each numbered page. Everyone's object list was indicative of their personalities, interests and passions. My mother's list was saturated with religious paraphernalia (rosaries, palm leaves, baptismal gown) and my Father's with work related tools and materials; fine scroll stucco, saw, wrench, as well as some hobby related items; Moose-mate call cassette, blues chromatic harmonica, sports watch. My brothers were a little less thematic, but no less interesting. A few of Michael's were; broken sunglasses, pool key, fork, guitar strings. And Davids; Hand, bacon toy, phone, Christmas lights and shark key chain. It wasn't required for everyone to do a different object rubbing for each page (My list was short and simple since I repeated the same six textile related objects; block print, yarn, ceramic buttons, thread and embroidery hoop) but my mom told me that my Dad insisted that he do so with a total of 30 items saying that it wasn't 'creative' enough if he didn't. I love it!
Below are a few the original line rubbings before I added my lines. The acetates in the finished project are complete with my lines though, I just haven't had a chance to scan them again. I'm applying to a few shows with this series so hopefully I'll have a chance to better photograph them. The above picture was the only face-on shot that I took.
Family line drawing series
The process of documenting is something that really interests me. Also, I am realizing more and more that I am a process based artist. For me so far this means that the process of making my art often dictates how my ideas evolve and sometimes -like with the installation above - is how the concept is conceived.
When I first began doing line rubbings my mother-in-law was visiting us in Montreal. As she watched me use various objects she got more and more excited about what else I could use and began passing me textured items like tea towels and lace pillow cases to rub. That's when I got really excited about the idea of making more line rubbings, but with other people involved in the process. It was as if I was creating abstract evidence of our relationship. Right away I knew that my first collaborative line rubbing project would be with my family for the purpose documenting our family relationships and celebrating our interconnectedness.
These pictures are line rubbings which have been layered as acetates to make a series of sculptures. The unique thing about these rubbings is that they were a collaborative effort by my Mother Fiorella, Father Russell, two brothers Michael and David and myself. Every page has one line by each member in my family making each page a family portrait of sorts. Each member used objects of their choosing with pencil on paper. When layered they create dynamic family sculptures, interlacing each story in ways which allows them inform and augment the meaning of each others stories.
It was such a joy to connect with my family in this way in a time when we are all dispersed throughout North America. The common act of creating lines in the same book brought us together in such a unique way. The sketchbook traveled from Montreal to Vancouver then to Hawaii, back to Vancouver and finally to Montreal again where I finished the sculptures. In another post later this week I'll share more about the objects that were used by everyone - it was really interesting to see themes in each persons object list. Some of the items made me laugh too like my Dad's Moose-mate-calling cassette tape. I'll also share the original line drawings which are really interesting on their own.
I'm really looking forward to working more with these. I already have an idea in mind which involves printing the lines on fabric to make a soft sculpture representing my mother; the matriarch.
Textile Tools Part II: Yarn
Yarn is not so much a textile tool as it is a material. I think when titling this small series I was keen on the alliteration. Non-the-less yarn plays a huge roll in the world as it is the building block of most fabrics. Look around you, it's not likely that you can't identify something right away that is made from yarn that has been knit or woven. Spinning yarn (or thread) was also one of the first technologies; archeologists have found evidence of it from 50, 000 years ago. Amazing huh?
This series laments the loss of textile handwork over time. I learned how to spin yarn at Birkeland bros. Wool in Vancouver a month or so before I entered into the textiles program at Capilano University. So, you know who to come to when the apocalypse comes.
This series is being shown at the CTRLLAB until Saturday
DISPLACED: Art & Objects
DISPALCED, which features drawings and paintings accompanied by objects which were significant to the artwork in one way or another opens tomorrow at noon. My pieces in the show are a series of four pencil line rubbings accompanied by none other than the objects which once laid beneath the paper and helped guide my hand while drawing. So, my objects played a part in the making of the artworks quite literally. It should be interesting to see how the other artist's objects relate to their paintings and drawings. I imagine many will have much more of a symbolic relationship with each other. I'll post pictures near the end of the week.
DISPLACED: Art & Objects
CTRLLAB, 3634 St.Laurent Montreal
Opens January 12, 2010
January 12th: 12 to 5
January 13th:12 to 8
Friday January 14th: Opening starts at 6 and Gallery is open from 12 to 12
January 15th: 12 to 5
Printed warp study
I've been working on ideas around how to present my line rubbings; in particular a project where I've included my family in the line rubbing process. I'd like to create an experiential sculpture that tells the story of my family. Today I attempted to create pictures of what this might look like, playing around with scale by making the viewers bigger or smaller. Voila!
I recently did an installation where I made these rubbings into a silk screen, printed it in a repeat network on a 9'X9' fabric and then projected a video which included photos of Clara and I (sometimes wearing the our shared wedding dress) as well as footage of a friend and I manipulating layered acetates of the rubbings. I was exploring the idea of allowing people in my community to support me in my grieving process, and reanalyzing mine and Clara's former relationship.
Below are some snapshots of the installation. Video to come soon.
Through time the practice of making textiles by hand has become rare and many techniques are threatened or lost. These pencil line rubbings are explorations of the fragmentation that occurs to the textile tool that is beneath the paper; and intern explores the fragmentation that has occurred to the object throughout history. The objects participation in the re-invention of itself is representative of the change in perception that may occur within the viewer as they, in discovering what the drawing is, have a deeper and more critical experience when thinking about the object and its history.
Block printing is an ancient printing practice where wooden blocks, which are meticulously hand-carved, are used like stamps to print fabric (usually cotton) with pigments. Very skilled people in India print cloth using this method and achieve seamless repeat networks by hand; a skill that is passed on through generations and requires an immense amount of experience to master.
The first photo below is taken from the Maiwa website. It is of an indian-made cloth called an Ajrakh. Maiwa says, "Producing an ajrakh involves entire communities: block cutters, dye farmers (for the many natural dyeplants), cloth merchants, and of course, the ajrakh craftspeople themselves (those who mordant, print, dye and design the cloth)." -source
I did some line rubbings of my wedding dress which was once my grandma Clara's. Above are the lines in print form; yet another exploration into my line rubbing series. This yardage will be a the background for a projected video; a story about Clara and I in abstract form. I had some friends participate in the video as well to represent my community in this time of grieving.
lately I've been working with ideas around 'traces of places'. I began by filling several sketch books with rubbings like these. I can't stop. The master plan is to translate them onto cloth. I am particularly excited about using them as cartoons for tapestry weaving.