Hibernation is not the same as sleeping. It’s more akin to falling into a coma. Scientists speculate that many animals must raise their heart rate and body temperature – coming out of hibernation – to sleep, to rest.
The Hibernation Project is a domestic art intervention occurring annually from Winter to Spring. A tool for embracing – and combating – Winter in Canada, each weekend an open community of artists, musicians, and participants respond to a theme, installing work for the duration of one night. The project started in our house and yard in the Calgary/Mohkinstsis neighbourhood of Ramsay, and expanded at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to include abstract locations spanning virtual, auditory, public, interstitial, and time-based spaces, leveraging analog technologies like radio and public amenities like parking lots as experimental venues for art. While the heart of our project is domestic, artists can participate from near and far in the spirit of sharing localized time and space through art. Intended as a gratifying, productive, and immediate experience, artworks are free from the pressure of bureaucracy and perfection. The Hibernation Project is a gestation period for concepts, for workshopping ideas, for snowy day projects, for the dreams of we who wake to sleep.
The Hibernation Project has spawned several spinoff projects, including monthly sound art radio program EARS HAVE EYES and car-based exhibition IDLE WORSHIP.
Learn more about the history of The Hibernation Project here.
Isolated Babel Archive
See the themes of The Hibernation Project 2023 here
The project is located in Calgary/Moh’kins’tsis on the traditional territories of the people of the Treaty 7 in Southern Alberta, including the Blackfoot Confederacy, the Tsuut’ina First Nation, the Stoney Nakoda, and the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region III. We share these lands with gratitude, with special attention to seasonal thinking, thankful for the insights of Winter.
Balanced at the precipice between all our yesterdays and all our tomorrows
All our autumns and all our springs
Not sleeping, we dream the dreams of in-betweens
of the stamen when the petals fold
of the trees while their friend the beaver sleeps
of the river frozen solid
waiting for thaw trickle to become roar.
These dreams are the sharpest
most violent, technicolour
evading our memory in deep slumber
but just below the skin
They are angled, like geodes
They are set against the darkness
shadows in the cave
shadows of still more caves and shadows and caves and shadows
stretching outward, and in: all directions.
Do we wake from hibernation?
To sleep, to dream softer dreams?
Or do we bolt, upright and shivering,
starved for meat and togetherness
stumbling out into the light
and blinded once again
forgetting the sun
forgetting time by woke minute, hour, day
forgetting the pale expanse beyond our isolated, insulated
wrapped in coats and blankets
searching the empty plains of nowhere
for each other
that isn’t ourselves?
We hibernate, forgetting
We hibernate, remembering something raw, celestial, and new
We close our eyes and slow our hearts and drop into nothing that is something
not dreaming, we see the future,
and release it from our grasp
in exchange for return
at the end of winter
to a promise of waking.