IRL: light the internet on fire! | Week 12 of 12.
THEME BY | Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett
ARTISTS | Jayda Karsten, Jenna Swift, Keith Rodger, Lauren Hassell, Luba Deduch, Matthew Kennedy & Phil Wilson, Matthew Waddell & Laura Anzola, Rebecca Reid & Ryan Bourne, Svea Ferguson, and Caitlind r.c. Brown & Wayne Garrett. Special thanks to Audrey Lane Cockett for a last minute animation contribution.
Screenshots and photos captured with thanks to Kenzie Housego, Luba Diduch, Matthew Kennedy, and Caitlind Brown.
In light of ongoing “social distancing” measures and the increasing dominance of digital space to the everyday experience of people everywhere, for the last official Hibernation Project of 2020, artists were invited to make works sitting on one or the other side of the spectrum from physical to digital, embracing and combating the limitations of real life NOW.
Participants were asked two questions: what are the opportunities in digital space that don’t exist IRL? What are the possibilities in domestic space that transcend isolation to participate IRL?
Matthew Kennedy & Phil Wilson began the night with participatory project “Portrait Portal,” a group drawing experiment using computer screens as tracing surfaces for quick, gestural portraits.
Rebecca Reid & Ryan Bourne painted an incantation in real time over the course of the evening, sharing the origins of the word “ABRACADABRA,” and the belief that it holds magical, protective properties.
The painting was accompanied by a video artwork (above). At the end of the evening, they suspended their painting above the door of The Castle (their domestic space) as a talisman IRL.
For her part, Jenna Swift shared the documentation of “Non-Attachment Ritual,” a solo action created on the previous night.
Jenna Swift says this of her work, “An experiment in entropy: the thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work (often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system). – Unlinked chains and assorted hardware hang from a dead, overburdened tree. – Fire is introduced as an agent of undoing. – Listen for linkages as distant train cars shuttle past with their cargo. – Contemplate efficiencies and inefficiencies. What is this shame we feel in faltering? – Why do I live for the moment of a fall? Touching the ground is a holy gesture. The etymological root of humility is literally to be brought low.”
Lauren Hassell guided us through a group drawing exercise, “Collaborative Creature Drawing,” using the invisible nature of digital space to facilitate individual drawings of an imaginary character, created blindly from one another. At the end of the exercise, we all shared our versions of the same critter.
Luba Deduch shared her audio artwork “The Language of Trees,” documentation of an international performance by herself and a friend.
Along with the text above, Luba shared this quote:
“I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. Trees have always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet ever since the Druids. The Druids used their trees to define their holy places. I can see such a use for the future…”
— Joseph Beuys in conversation with Richard Demarco, 1982 1, David Levi Strauss. From Head to Hand, Art and the Manual (Oxford University Press, 2010), 33.
Jayda Karsten screened video work, “Reimagining the Archives.” A long-term project specifically examining the relationship between objects, their documentation, and the archival process.
Svea Ferguson completed her 12th and final installment in the Fridge Illustration series, using, for the first time ever, a physical whiteboard to draw this week’s theme.
Caitlind Brown & Wayne Garrett invited willing participants to “light something small on fire” in their respective living spaces. While viewers lit their own objects, Caitlind & Wayne ignited a fire sculpture – a stack of a-frame house skeletons, growing out of each other.
The performance/installation ended in the reveal of a physical message projected on the outside of their rental home, reading “the sun will come to warm your weary bones,” (a note to the neighbours).
Speaking to those things which can never truly translate into digital space, the artworks were intended engage the transpersonal dimensions of domestic space, inviting friends in distant places to suspend their disbelief and join in psychic space where fire crackles and projector whirrs.
After the fire crackled down, DJ AZMA-TRAX took the stage! Matthew Waddell & Laura Anzola invited everyone to sweat to a “Colombian Dance Party,” hosted in digital space across multiple continents!
The artists used YouTube live, accompanied by Zoom and some fancy technology to live-edit photos and videos from various participants into the dance party environment.
Friends from near and far – including Laura’s family in Colombia – joined the Digital dance party, sweating to the classics!
Keith Rodger ended the night by singing us all a lullaby to tuck us into bed.
“Puff the Magic Dragon” was accompanied by a few little tears, and charming illustrations by Beth Cooper.
We definitely hung out for a while afterwards, sharing crafts and thoughts before we all had to “go home.”
Thank you to all the artists + participants who joined us, not just on Saturday night, but from the last 12 weeks of The Hibernation Project. This year has been a rollercoaster, between the usual intensity of winter in Canada, and the added isolation of COVID-19. But The Hibernation Project was always intended as a small talisman against being alone during difficult days. ⭐️ Togetherness ⭐️ is more important than ever, in all its many forms. Being alone right now is dangerous. In your own ways, reach out to one another right now. Be well, friends, we’re together in this thing.
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