January 13, 11am – 4pm
Arianna Tooke,“Sincerely, An Open Letter”
Viewers are invited to cut the artists hair in an exploration of the way that appearances, and relationships with others, shape identity.
January 14, 12 – 3 pm
Andrew Stauffer and Leila Neverland, “Relate/Reveal”
Through music and sound-making, Relate/Reveal explores new ways of relating to human-made objects.
January 15, 7:30pm
Ben Gorodetsky & Larissa Poho, “Biblioteka”
A dance with, of, and on books
Duration: 75 min
January 17, 12-3pm
Brittany Reitzel, “Drawing with Earth”
The audience is welcome to get their hands dirty and be part of a large collaborative drawing that will span over three hours.
January 20, 9am – 4pm
“The Kinetic Potential of Two Objects in Flight (pull my string and make me fly)”
Two helmets hang from the ceiling.
January 21, 1:30- 5:30pm
Tania Willard and Company
Students and Faculty will bring experimental processes and impromptu studio activities with a focus on relationality, through artistic research, works and happenings.
January 22, 11am – 3pm
An experiential drawing performance that invites the viewer into a haptic interaction with the artist through surface.
January 23, 10am – 7:30pm
Patrick Lundeen, “The Ice Cream Man Cometh”
A one day experimental sculptural sound installation.
January 24, 9am – 9pm
Freeing of Paint
This course covers theory and practice of encoding creative process and designing software for visualization, simulation, sonification, and generative systems.
Into The Woods
Kohl Finalyson, Tim Offenwanger
Unity for terrain
Helm for synth
Sydney Bezenar, Lark Spartin
Processing Code, Mixed Media Screen (wood, canvas, feathers)
Dalmarr Hussein, Tyrel Narciso
Blender, Unity, Reaper
Paige Latimer, Nicholas Hemingway
Processing, Arduino, Mixed Media
Paper, Plexiglass, LED Lights 12 x 12 x 16 inches
The human body doesn’t last forever. We grow, we age and eventually we pass away. That is the nature of our life cycle. At a very early age I became intrigued and deeply afraid of this reality. Around the same time, I was introduced to science fiction and retrofuturistic media- different perceptions of the future by authors and artists who might not live to see the future they imagined, but endeavoured nonetheless to visualize what form it might take.
It is a glorious dream, a neon-lit future with anti-gravity engines and hydrogen-powered societies populated by people with chrome-plated skin, where injuries and illnesses are easily dealt with thanks to advanced biomechanical technology.
I have been immensely fortunate to have many people in my life, friends and family, whom I care deeply for and care for me in turn. Whenever one passes away, I feel a deep sense of loss and grief, not only because of the emotional act of parting, but because of some faint hope that in the not-so-distant future there would be technology that could save and preserve people, keeping them with us longer. As a child it was easy to think that all it might take is some hard work and a keen mind to invent such things. Unfortunately, I am not a brilliant scientist or doctor, and I am not capable of the means to stave off sickness and death, no matter how much I might like to. It would be wonderful to live in a world where we never have to say our goodbyes, but that world exists only within my own imaginings.
I like to render people as machines and cyborgs because it gives them a permanence and an ageless quality, where the feelings and personality that made them irreplaceable remain. Regardless of what reality comes to pass, they exist forever inscribed upon my own memory. Retrofuturism offers solace as a tomorrow that might not arrive, it’s a universe of fiction, a galaxy of possibilities not bound by time or reason.
OMG this quiz says he defs likes you, 2019
Acrylic on canvas 5 x 4 feet
Aiden de Vin
The spaces that exist in my work are based on the nooks and corners of my childhood home. Through my painting process I have begun to abstract the spaces, bringing the emotional experiences of the space to the foreground. The marks within the spaces are representative of people, conversations, feelings and moments that have been felt and remembered; representations of the memories and emotions felt during a specific time in that corner of my home. The colours of the walls combined with the marks further allow the viewer to experience the emotions of the space.
The French philosopher Gaston Bachelard has informed my work through his writing The Poetics of Space, in which he writes “we comfort ourselves by reliving memories of protection. Something closed must retain our memories, while leaving them their original value as images. Memories of the outside world will never have the same tonality as those of home and, by recalling these memories, we add to our store of dreams” (Bachelard 6).
For example, OMG this quiz says he defs likes you speaks to a memories of sleepovers I would have with friends at the age of 13. The sensation of the space was electric. We would giggle and hush ourselves as the light from the hallway peered into the room, exposing our joy and enchantment to anyone who may pass by.
In this work I am interested in the way that domestic spaces have the ability to sustain memories and moments that have passed. We are often able to relive those memories and emotions through entering into the space, even after those experiences have become fragmented by the past.
Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. Print.
Acrylic on canvas
30 x 24 inches
The Importance of Human Expression
These portraits are observations of the energy from the subtle and not so subtle clues from gestural and facial expressions. I have always valued these visual signals as universal communicators. I have incorporated a of style painting that hopefully brings a vibrant energy into the subjects. Also using the raw canvas pigment aides in the overall aesthetics of the undertone for the subjects as well as neutralizing the background. I have a special relationship and respect for the people that I depicted in these paintings as they have had personal struggles and challenges. Whether they have overcome these challenges, or they have had to learn to live with them, I feel that most viewers can relate to these people. My cell phone has been the least obtrusive way to capture natural images. After taking a few photos I asked the person to relax, so they returned to their natural behaviors and that is when I capture their more authentic expressions. It was not necessary to have all candid shots to capture an engaging expression. Of example, Mary’s vibrance did not suffer although she is facing us, and for John’s although he spots the camera, it is the vantage point that interested me. In preparing for the project, I have studied artists such as Alice Neel as she also worked with emotionally charged portraiture. Studying Vincent Van Gogh’s expression of movement through brush strokes, and Edgar Degas’s handling of textures and pigment also helped my process. I feel these examples of expressionism is important, as we cannot leave our emotional selves and needs behind in this depersonalizing cyber space world. (There is more to us than what an emoji can express.)
What is existential?, 2019
Photography on Stonehenge paper
8 x 11 inches
River Woven Vessel, 2019
Canvas, line, twine, clay, organic materials
65 x 45 inches
In my art practice I seek grounding by connecting organic with human made or manipulated materials through weaving and entanglement. I offer viewers a space for contemplative engagement through my work and chosen materials. Having fallen in love with the Shuswap river, a river that runs from the mountains and through the Okanagan and Shuswap regions of the Syilx Nation, I chose to carefully harvest materials from along its banks. I have created a vessel woven from these materials which I combined with canvas and line.
Lines and canvas are reminiscent of sailing, which is perhaps why I am so drawn to use them. I spent my childhood on a sail boat traveling north and south throughout the Caribbean Islands. This was an influential time in my life that has affected my outlook on spaces and my relation to them. It is unavoidable to feel a sense of entanglement with nature when you are sailing. While living on a boat, whether in quiet bays, unreachable by any other means, or on the ocean with no land in sight, where the horizon melts and shifts between the sea and the sky there is a feeling of immersion with nature. I do not see a separation between myself and my environment any more than I see a separation between myself and other beings, whether they are human or otherwise. I feel we share space and imprint on one another just as we imprint on spaces and places that we have connected with.
While creating this piece I engaged in active meditation while allowing the materials to guide my weave. The act of weaving from this meditative state promotes a sense of grounding that I lacked due to the fluid and changeable nature of my nautical childhood. The weave itself is a way in which I express the connection I feel with my environment. The vessel holds, both within it’s hollow interior and on its entangled surface, the imprint of my interactions with it, as well as the connectivity I feel while weaving materials together in a rising spiral as a reflection on the cyclical nature of all things.
Acrylic and oil on canvas
3 x 4 feet
My paintings express my feelings and connection to nature and encourage others to reflect on their own relationship to the natural environment. The subjects I have chosen to paint, as well as my depiction of them, are ambiguous and lack complete representation. This allows room for contemplation as viewers decipher what particular organic matter is being depicted in the painting. The act of deciphering urges the viewer to slow down and take time to process what they are seeing, and in doing so, impels viewers to be mindful and observant, which mirrors my process in the creation of my work. Before starting a painting, I observe an area of untouched, local land that is important to me and meticulously gather organic objects that are generally overlooked. I find these objects, often strange yet beautiful and minute in size, to be important, as each fragment has its part in forming the greater landscape. The resulting images serve as a microcosm of the whole forest. Without a combination of the smallest of components, the forest cannot function properly. To allow more intimate connections between viewer and subject, I expand the objects to better suit human scale. My goal is to initiate fascination and intrigue in my paintings that mirror my own fascination with small, overlooked parts of nature. I hope that in providing a space of contemplation, I raise awareness in the details of our landscape. In a world where life is rapidly evolving to be industrially developed, fast paced, and artificial, I think it is important to encourage everyone to pause and contemplate their relationship to the natural world.
They will know if we weren’t meditating, 2019
Acrylic and oil on canvas
40 x 48 inches
I am drawn to situations that slow my perception and understanding. I encounter this feeling often while traveling because of cultural differences, blurred boundaries between natural and man-made spaces, or ambiguous objects. Making art is a way of processing these encounters while allowing the work to evolve into a situation of its own.
In the installation Stones Unfolding, the wooden structure works together with audio to reference my experiences visiting stone buildings and caves in France. My choices while making this sculpture were informed by situations I experienced in these places, most particularly my travels with a friend from the United States. She would often sing songs from the Appalachian region where she grew up in tunnels and churches we happened upon. I remember being struck by how the reverberation in these chambers described what was invisible, so I chose to use the sound in this installation in the same way. The audio draws out the structure where the physical material ends. My travels with this friend were always to new places where I was hyper-focused on my surroundings yet the full moment often escaped me, shifting too fast to fully perceive what had happened. The aesthetic of the plywood structure references these moments, drawing out shapes that I had noticed and then stopping when there was no memory to attach to the form.
If my memory is filled with mostly visuals I choose to paint, whereas if what I remember most is the feeling of moving through and around space I choose sculpture. My process in sculpture and painting is the same in which I add and subtract elements until the work feels like it has something interesting to offer a person who has no connection to it.
Stories of heroes overcoming insurmountable obstacles set before them and saving the day have been narratives I have been deeply drawn to. I loved these stories as a kid and relied on them to help me process the challenges surrounding growing up and overcoming the fallout of abuse. Nostalgia explores the mental state of my childhood through the visualization of imaginative spaces. These spaces are visually constructed through the saturated colour and ambiguous sense of scale of the natural outdoor world. In each photo, the same pink toy is featured as the personification of my timid child self. Growing up, I isolated myself from others as a self defense mechanism. I avoided people I did not trust because I was afraid of being hurt again. I escaped this extreme introversion by slowly forcing myself to stop hiding and let others in. This toy shows this experience by partially hiding from the viewer in each photo. By subjecting this creature in the forefront of each image Nostalgia shows the act of vulnerability and bravery representing the steps I had to take to reach a healthier mental state. Overarching through the narrative of Nostalgia, is the character of the imaginer conjuring the fantasy that is being presented. The world slowly reveals itself up through the slow camera movements in each frame of the imagined spaces and through the poetic narration. The vulnerability of my past experience is shown by opening up the deeply personal imaginative space to be seen by others and by allowing the viewer to see not only what is being constructed in the brain of the imaginer but also the personification of my mental state. Nostalgia is a narrative experience that tells my story of how I was vulnerable and pushed myself to overcome the fallout of abuse.
Thoughts Drip/Drift/Flow, 2019
“Thoughts Drip/Drift/Flow” (2019) is a 2D Mixed Media Animation comprising of charcoal on paper, oil paint on canvas, and digital painting/animation. When creating this work, I had the goal of crafting an experience of emotional disconnect and repression rendered visible. In moments of great distress and trauma, disassociative episodes are common- the brain tries to protect itself with this mechanism as a form of self-preservation. In these moments, even when emotions are boiling inside, they do not show on the face. These emotions, rolling off a person like waves, are what I wished to depict visually. What would a person’s emotional state look like after trauma? What about while inflicting trauma? Such are the questions I wished to answer.
With this animation I tell the story of a girl facing abuse, and her escape to a safer environment. This simple story is illustrated in just a few scenes, and this simplicity allowed for great freedom in my aesthetic and compositional choices. To communicate the dichotomy between scenes I used mixed media to illustrate the scenes in which we are privy to the emotions, and fully digital scenes are used to indicate reality within the world of the animation. With a medium such as animation, there is no limit to what can be done. As such, I felt very inspired to explore topics usually beyond live action capabilities. The image of waves of color and light swirling off of an emotionless face was the first concept finalized for this piece, and that image found its place as a centrepiece in the final film.
My intention with this project was to allow the viewer a glimpse of the feeling of anticipation that I get every night when I hear vehicles or people approach my living space. The feeling that I get isn’t based on anything that is logical rather, it’s based on habitual behaviours from when I was a child and into my teen years listening for one specific engine. I never knew what month or day he would come home but I would memorize the sounds that were extensions of him. As an adult I know that I won’t hear his vehicle but I still subconsciously practice those motions. I intend to show the moments that trigger these illogical feelings and offer clues about my upbringing while allowing the viewer to interpret their own narrative. I’ve visually manifested these intentions in my work by obscuring the perspectives in the video through the layering of many different views of one very small space. The spacial ambiguity that I’ve created has the potential to hold the attention of the viewer and allows them the opportunity to imagine orienting themselves within the space. By transporting the viewer into this space and through the slow pacing of the video, I’m able to replicate my personal head space and introduce sounds of anticipation like vehicles and people. My process involved photographing, filming and recording audio of the interior of my apartment over many nights trying to capture moments that truly brought these feelings of anticipation up for me. I would catch moments in audio where I would be sleeping and hear a vehicle approach and notice that my breath would stop. I have always subconsciously been affected by these happenings but through the intentional act of documenting them, I now have a deeper understanding of my personal relationship with anticipation.
Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus
November 17 – 22, 2019
Aiden de Vin
I’ve always been intrigued by the way that domestic space has had the ability to allow us transcend reality, to daydream and become lost in our minds. In thinking about my home, Gaston Bachelard’s writing; The Poetics of Space inspired me to think about my home in a new way. Bachelard writes that “the house shelters daydreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace” (6). As a child, my home was a safe place for me to dream and often this dreaming came at night, during quiet moments when the business of life had slowed and all that was left was the glow of lights coming from bedrooms bringing comfort andstillness.
This project It’s Bedtime addresses this connection to my home through an image of the inside of the place I grew up, illuminated by soft glowing lights that have been left on after everyone has gone to bed. The window itself belongs to my childhood home, connecting the materiality of the work to the site of inspiration. The imagery suggests a sort of dreaming, of entering a space where something almost magical could happen as the glow from of the lights suggest another world beyond where to viewer is positioned in the space. As a child I would dwell on these moments of stillness, allowing my mind to wander through the imaginary places that existed within the walls I grew up.
Bachelard, Gaston. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1969. Print.
With this project I would like to bring natural aspects to an urban setting. This specific building is seen clearly from Highway 97 and is fairly unsightly. The site is a direct reflection of the City of Kelowna to any traveler passing through. I want to add projections of plants to the face of this building that are Indigenous to Kelowna as a way to reclaim the urbanized community. In this particular example I have used Snowberry plants to allude to a “living wall” on top of the concrete face of the building. The Snowberry plant, scientifically known as the “symphoricarpos albus,” is a plant native to Kelowna. It’s multi-seasonal lifespan and drought tolerance is a perfect embodiment of Kelowna. The purpose of this idea is to show how nature is reclaiming its space in an urban setting. The use of Indigenous species add to the reclamation of the space.
Degeneration speaks to the future of our landscapes and forests with changing climates and ecosystems. This piece was created by with a projector and a generator in the middle of the woods here in the Okanagan. I projected an image of a desert landscape onto these trees. The resulting image comments on climate issues while playing with light and color. If we don’t do anything about our current climate situation this very well could be the fate of our forests. Aesthetically, Degeneration was deeply inspired by Kevin Schmidt’s Fog which I saw at a young age in the Vancouver Art Gallery. Schmidt’s piece was a lightbox image of a foggy forest that stood alone in a large dark space, lighting which I tried to emulate with the gallery lighting.
Kevin Schmidt has been a huge inspiration for my art practice. My goal with this piece was to expand upon my work with night photography, while introducing artificial light and color to the scene.
Ben Lee Park has received a bad reputation over the past 20 years. It is commonly known as a dangerous part of the Rutland area as it attracts several people that could be misunderstood to be dangerous. It does not help that some parts of the park can become uncomfortably dark during the late evening. Contrary to this notion, it is truly a safe space. Luminosity sets out to rebrand Ben Lee Park by fostering community building. A campfire conjures fond memories of sitting with friends, staying warm, and sharing in good conversations. This sitespecific installation aims to recapture that feeling and embedding it into this urban park space. The intention of
Luminosity is to foster a third space for people in the neighbourhood to gather, share, and enjoy each other’s company. Luminosity proposes a site-specific installation that resembles a well-crafted stone fire pit with accompanying sounds. The installation is not intended for a real fire, but only simulates the effect. This will be done through a lighting setup within the installation to simulate the flickering of a camp fire. In terms of the sounds design, speakers would be installed within the installation as well to play the sounds of a night time soundscape with accompanying campfire sounds. The whole work models the look and sound of a campfire without the hazards that accompany fire. The lights and sound will be scheduled to run from sunset to sunrise.
Vanessa Mercedes Figueroa
Sex and emotional labour are both forms of invisible labour or unpaid labour which a woman puts forward to the world. When considering how many women have felt obliged to satisfy or prove themselves worthy a man or compared to a man, this does not just apply to sex, but also to emotional labour, and the labour within the institution. When most institutional settings undervalue womanly labour to a mans practice, this becomes problematic.
The exclusion of women from paid or acknowledged labour become synonymous with feminine qualities of invisible labour which can include nurturance, docility and eagerness to please. When all these associations and connotations become synonymous with womanly labour and then that of being a woman, it becomes increasingly more difficult to be taken serious within the institution.
For this piece I intend to explore sex as womanly labour, juxtaposing the domestic to the institution, as the expectation of the woman as an object of desire in the home parallels the woman as an object of desire in the institution. In this performance, I have hand washed white sheets, scrubbing for four hours straight, symbolically “washing away” “sexuality and sin”, making a domestic and laborious effort to disconnect oneself from the sexual/gendered connotations which restrict women entering the institution. This piece is meant to be a paradox, critiquing how even in an attempt to displace oneself from the domestic, invisible labour which can mean different things for different people, ie sexual or emotional labour, is still required in the journey towards acknowledgment.
Acts of Renewal
The restoration of commonplace things left in decay can generate a renewed sentiment for a site’s past and its potential future. Acts of Renewal explores the process of restoring fragments of damaged public sites by sampling Google Street View’s historical imagery and photo manipulation. Alterations based on the sites past are presented as a potential renewal of the site. The images mimic the stylistic cues of Street View to illustrate the documentary nature of the project and present the images as if they are from Street View’s own archive. The purposeful interventions aim to reclaim sites that have been forgotten and left in decay.
Bustling in the heart of Central Okanagan, Kelowna has become a hot-spot for tourism and is called home by avid adventures, business moguls and students alike. As a result, over 2 million people pass through the gates of Kelowna International Airport a year and all kinds of aircraft from commercial jets, to luxury planes, to water bombers, touchdown and takeoff at all hours of the day. Now the 10th busiest airport in all of Canada, the YLW is a hub of activity that connects the Okanagan Valley to the rest of the world.
Takeoff examines Kelowna International Airport as a site that is both a fixed entity and fluid organism where long exposure photography creates a light signature depicting a single trip associated with the space. Many factors such as the plane’s design, speed, and direction interconnect to create a light signature in the sky. Contrasting these bright signatures with rich blacks in a structured composition juxtaposes the methodical and chaotic nature of travel. Even though each flight is one-of-a-kind, they all share Kelowna as a central theme and convergent point.
In its full-scale intended state, the work would be printed and affixed to the terminal floor near the departures counter of the airport. In this space, it becomes dynamic as each passing traveler interacts with the piece by contributing footsteps and luggage-wheel prints. Much like the light signatures, different prints, directions and residual soil and dirt particles speak the to uniqueness of each traveller but all share the space as a commonality.
By recording from and residing in YLW as a principle site, this work speaks to paths previously traveled and participates in present and future journeys.
William R. Bennett Bridge
The William R. Bennett bridge is a pontoon bridge connecting downtown Kelowna and West Kelowna across Okanagan lake; it is the only bridge crossing on Okanagan Lake. It was built on May 25th, 2008 to replace the older Okanagan bridge, which was built in 1985. It was named to the former Premier William Richard Bennett who was a local of Kelowna. William R. Bennett bridge is an important link for the residents of Kelowna and West Kelowna, as it is a part of Highway 97, there are average over 50,000 vehicles crossing this bridge every day. The bridge is 1,060 meters long and it designed to handle 80,000 vehicles daily. The William R. Bennett bridge is now becoming one of the most important landmarks for Kelowna, it is the first icon people will see when entering Kelowna from the west.
My project documents the view of this bridge through time lapse photography, recording the traffic going across the bridge, the outlook of the bridge and the beautiful scenery people will get from the important locations around the bridge. The locations chosen include City Park and its pedestrian pathway on the bridge, and the time period was chosen from night to sunrise to sunset, showing how busy the bridge gets through different time periods. The view includes Okanagan Lake, downtown Kelowna and West Kelowna. Using time lapse allows me to document the bridge in a dynamic way ang allows people to feel the busy traffic on the bridge, which also shows the importance this bridge in functional way.
This project was based on the theme of “Site Specific”, which involved choosing a place in Kelowna to present our work that would be outside the typical gallery setting. I chose the body as my site since I thought it fit this theme, and the body can be used as art in many other styles such as performance, or Gutai art. With my piece Paper Doll I wanted to explore the societal expectation surrounding what is acceptable to wear as everyday clothing. I use the children’s toy of the paper doll to demonstrate clothing items that stem from the typical white t-shirt and jeans style are considered to be for “dressing up” when there is nothing wrong with wearing them as casual dress. The model for these photos owns all the clothing items pictured and wears them regularly and she always inspires me to wear outfits that are more my style for no other reason than I like them and to not be insecure just because they are a little wild. All her clothes are vintage or bought second hand, and are made with such good quality that they last a long time as well as she is skilled in sewing and repairs damaged items to increase their lifespan. With the fast fashion industry pumping out so many cheap clothes that ultimately end up in landfills I think it would be interesting to see how we can restyle old clothing to make it something new.
Your Kelowna Street Market
This is trash…. Literally…..
Do You See Me?
My Piece, Do You See Me?, revolves around mental health and the relationship between professors and students in large academic settings. When struggling with mental health, people tend to try to keep their struggles private. However as students we are expected to still show up for class and participate, regardless of any negative mindset we may be experiencing. In smaller classes and faculties professors are more in tune with their students, and are more likely to realize when someone is in distress. However, in large faculties, were a student may only be one face in a crowd of hundreds, how likely is it that the professor could notice someone having a breakdown? And how likely are they to try and reach out to that student? For this piece I documented my model in a few of the 200+ seat lecture halls on campus, from the perspective of each room’s lectern. I then made a life-size cutout of my model, and inserted it into these lecture halls. From the viewpoint of the lectern, my photo creates the illusion of a student crying. If a professor were to attempt to reach out to this student, the illusion is broken. If left unaddressed, then the cutout remains alone in its struggle.
Mental health struggles have a direct effect on a student’s performance in a class. When professors are aware of someone’s struggle, they are able to work with the student to improve the situation. UBC’s Thrive month promotes “mental health literacy, [reduce] stigma, [and create] a supportive campus culture”. Like this initiative, my piece works to raise awareness, and reduce the disconnect between professors and students.
Down in the Woods
Once upon a time there was an enchanting path that lied deep within the forest just outside the city of Kelowna that would take you on an exciting journey unlike any other. Although, those who did travel this path knew they had to be very careful, because even though this path was filled with magic and wonder there was also a powerful creature that roamed within those same woods. One that was strong and wise but incredibly deceiving with its appearance. He may look soft and welcoming be he was a master trickster. The creature roamed freely and tended to avoid contact with anyone who walked the path. However, on rare occasions when he spotted something that interested him, he was known to steal. Even in broad daylight he would do so without any sign of being seen. He would bring all of his stolen treasures back to his home and add them to his collection. And every once in a while, someone would go and try to find this creature and his treasures, but this is a fool’s quest for anyone who came in contact with the creature would be instantly terrified and scarred for life. But this is just a fairy-tale and no such creature really exist. So, if you go down to the wood today be sure to keep your curiosity in tune for you never know when a fairy-tale may come true.
Mixed Media Installation
MFA Thesis Show
by Crystal Przybille
Listening to the River speaks to the hope and potential for the transformation of “Settler” (or non-Indigenous) society in a process of reconciliation/conciliation with Indigenous Peoples in Canada.
The work speaks to the importance of moving beyond western world views which perpetuate isolation, suppression of Indigenous rights and Peoples, and unsustainable relationships with nature. It speaks to the importance of learning from Indigenous world views, values and knowledge systems to develop reciprocity with Indigenous Peoples and nature, and to restore vital balance, benefitting all.
Okanagan/Syilx activist Dr. Jeannette Armstrong has written:
The act of “collaborating” with Indigenous peoples, on its own, would produce a transformative shift from a dominant framework of “control” toward instituting new ways of being. Such cooperation would be a crucial starting point of calling all peoples back to “Indigeneity” through forging new relationships of “coexistence” in land use practices and structuring new economies as a process of “restoring” Indigeneity to Peoples and lands. The “shift” that constructing such mechanisms would require would be tantamount to a pronouncement of justice for Indigenous Peoples as well as for all Peoples.
- Excerpt from: Indigenous Peoples: Development with Culture and Identity Articles 3 and 32 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 2010
Listening to the River alludes to the disintegration of destructive ways of being, the re-centering of nature, and to the cultivation of a “new tree” representing new ways of being. Independent Member of Parliament and former Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould (Musgamagw Tsawateineuk/Laich-Kwil-Tach) has spoken of this need in Canada:
What we need to do together, Crown governments and Indigenous Peoples, and this work is long overdue, is dig up the dead roots and plant something new and then properly water and fertilize it. Entrenching the recognition of rights in federal and provincial laws, policies and practices – if done properly, in a way that recognizes the legitimate politics of Indigenous Peoples – is the soil for the new healthy roots of strong and rebuilt postcolonial Indigenous Nations and in which our collective and shared future will grow. A new tree.
- Excerpt from Jody Wilson-Raybould’s book: From Where I Stand. 2019
Curated by Lindsay Kirker
“The dynamical process by which a system forms persistent structures in space or time, often in response to a flow of energy, matter or information within and across the system boundary.” – Dr. Lael Parrott
This show is a moment to reflect on nine days spent at the Kluane Lake Research Station in Yukon Territory as guests on the traditional territories of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Kluane First Nations. Taught by Dr. Lael Parrott, this field course examined the complex system of the Lhù’ààn Mân or Kluane Lake region, observing how interactions between humans and the environment have influenced the present landscape. Meeting with researchers and members of the community, we observed how interconnected this place truly is. Because the Kluane region is so culturally and ecologically diverse, it presented the opportunity to look at interactions between different aspects of this system across multiple spatial, temporal, and hierarchical scales, taking into account economic, cultural and social influences that drive them. The Kluane landscape is a complex system and we saw firsthand that a place like this cannot be studied in isolation from any of its parts. For example, nothing in the environment can be studied without the assumption that there will be human interaction, whether through population increase, tourism, or economic and means of survival. Likewise, no aspect of the humans in this region can be studied without considering the environmental context of the Kluane region.
In nine days, we learned more in the field than being in the traditional classroom setting. As the only Fine Arts student in the group, being able to participate in this trip was not only significant to my research but solidified the importance of communication and connection. All students came from different cultural and educational backgrounds but this experience connected us, and the conversations we shared were enlightening and extremely informative. Sharing stories and research, academic and personal, allowed us to approach difficult problems from all angles. Communication between and across fields is essential. Listening to multiple perspectives introduces the possibility of different approaches in how we might solve issues that impact us as a collective. As in a complex system, nothing should be considered in isolation; boundaries are arbitrary and everything is interconnected.
Emmanuel Adoasi-Ahyiah is an MSc Forestry Student at The University of British Columbia Vancouver Campus. He is studying the regeneration of tree seedlings post-disturbance in the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest and hopes to provide useful information for the sustainable management of the UBC research forest and other similar forest types around the world.
Elizabeth Houghton is in her final year of a BSc in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of British Columbia. She is focusing her undergraduate research on the implications of postharvest deficit irrigation in cherry orchards throughout the Okanagan Valley in hopes of contributing to the improvement of water management techniques.
Lindsay Kirker is a Master of Fine Arts Student, completing her second year at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus. Her thesis examines the emotional and ethical disconnect in the Anthropocene. Her main focus is painting the construction taking place in Kelowna as a site of contemplation.
David Lee is a BSc student in earth and environmental science and minor in human geography at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He is studying mapping, hydrology, and climate based fields in the major, and the area of environmental sustainability and food systems in the minor. He hopes to enter to work in environmental sustainability and urban planning/development.
Heather Magusin is a Master of Arts student in Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC Okanagan. Her research examines the influence of language on our conception of and responses to complex social-environmental phenomena, from wildfire management to urban cycling. An avid photographer and nature lover, she spends all of her remaining time adventuring outdoors.
Kayleigh Nielson is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) studying the impact of climate change on spotted knapweed biological control efficacy. She hopes to continue researching the interaction between the environment, invasive plants, and their insect biological control agents to better understand current and future invasive plant management.
Claire Thornton is a BSc student in Earth and Environmental Science at The University of British Columbia – Okanagan. She is in her final year of her BSc and hopes to work in resource and land management.
Nick Tochor is a fifth year environmental science and biology student at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus. Recently, he has been researching how patterns of habitat suitability for Grizzly bears has changed in Western Alberta over the last few decades.
Natalie Trusz is a BSc student in microbiology and political science at The University of British Columbia. She is currently developing her potential in both fields, with a hope to one day connect the two disciplines in an impactful way.