The images in “Walking with Kindred Spirits” mark a moment of personal loss and transformation. The photos were taken as documentation of a performative exploration of grief. They capture a dance piece “Two”, that was created in response to the death of artist Terry Haines, my kindred spirit. Eight years later, I can experience these images with a new perspective. They celebrate a love, a companionship and a partnership. I chose these images to relate the strength and importance of the many bonds and kinships that we as humans are privileged to share. This new piece seeks to acknowledge the spirits, beings and ancestors, seen and unseen that walk the worlds with us.
Banner at McBride Park: WALKING WITH KINDRED SPIRITS
Aaron is an emerging interdisciplinary artist of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk) First Nation. His work combines the mediums of printmaking, video, textiles and sculpture. His work focuses on the manipulation and assemblage of movement and patterns and is informed by teachings of the land and traditional forms of artmaking. He seeks to explore concepts of indigeneity, queerness and land/spirit relations. His work has exhibited with LocoMotoArt at Queen Elizabet Park(2013), Patterns(2014) at Aberthau Mansion and Oscillations(2015). His most recent video installation Fire.Heart.Spirit. was created for the Response: Our Land Narrative exhibition at The Polygon Gallery, (2021). He lives in Vancouver, B.C. and is currently pursuing a BFA in Visual Arts at ECUAD.
These images are from research we are currently undertaking on a hybrid biological-technological installation called Beauty that featuring a bio-driven artificial intelligence system that remediates a contaminated soil ecology while generating an audio-visual composition in real-time. The work creates a situation where the fates of the contaminated soil and a group of bacterial cultures are determined by the whims of an AI that has an internal model of “beauty”. This AI builds its model by observing the cooperative pattern-forming and swarming behaviors of numerous bacterial species. Growth patterns, colors and spatial dynamics will be analyzed by the AI to determine how well the colonies conform to its internal model of beauty. The more beautiful the growth patterns of the cultured bacteria appear to the AI the more of the remediating solution the soil receives and the more nutrients the bacterial cultures under the microscope receive. It is known however, that these bacteria only produce their intricate patterns under environmental stressors such as lack of food and moisture. Thus the AI will also have to reduce nutrient levels and introduce stress-inducing chemicals (e.g. non-lethal concentrations of antibiotics) into the bacterial cultures. In addition, the bacteria will be genetically modified in a way that manipulates their stress-response genes to express the aforementioned “beauty enhancements”. Thus in order to properly remediate the contaminated soil, the bacteria may have to starve themselves to look beautiful for the AI. The AI will also express its “feelings” about this process via a series of evolving sound and visual patterns.
Special Thanks to Solon Morse and the Coalesce Center for Biological Arts
More information on the project: ccastellanos.com/projects/beauty
Banner at McBride Park and three videos: BEAUTY
[phylum] is an experimental research collective specializing in cultural production informed by the intersections of science, technology and the arts. Our approach is exemplified by the embracing of aggressive transdisciplinarity and a continuously shifting, heterogeneous structure. We build systems and models that exhibit high degrees of uncertainty and ambiguity, which allows us to explore novel approaches to knowledge generation and experiential inquiry.
Carlos Castellanos is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher with a wide array of interests such as cybernetics, ecology, embodiment, phenomenology, artificial intelligence and transdisciplinary collaboration. His work bridges science, technology, education and the arts, developing a network of creative interaction with living systems, the natural environment and emerging technologies. His artworks have been exhibited at local, national and international events such the International Symposium of Electronic Art (ISEA), SIGGRAPH & ZERO1 San Jose. He is also a founding member of Phylum, an interdisciplinary research collective working at the intersection of science, technology and the arts. Castellanos is Assistant Professor at the School of Interactive Games & Media (IGM), Rochester Institute of Technology. He holds a Ph.D. from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), Simon Fraser University and an MFA from the CADRE Laboratory for New Media, San Jose State University.
Johnny DiBlasi’s interdisciplinary arts practice exists at the intersection of art, science, and technology and explores various processes and forms. He works with computational media, data, networks, and electronics to create large-scale, interactive installations that fuse site-specific data structures into a physical architecture. Through various works, he explores the aesthetic possibilities of data gathered in real time and how these aesthetic experiences can connect an audience to the pulse of the landscape in which they coexist. DiBlasi exhibits his works and installations nationally and internationally.
DiBlasi is Assistant Professor of Scientific Visualization and Digital Media in the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Iowa State University. He earned an MFA from the Photographic and Electronic Media program at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD. Prior to that he received a BFA in Photography and Digital Media, Magna Cum Laude, from the University of Houston. DiBlasi teaches studio courses in video, web design, creative coding and interactive media. Recently, he co-founded a new arts collaboration named Phylum which brings together other artists and researchers working at the intersection of science and technology. Prior to teaching, DiBlasi worked as a photographer and web designer.
Bello Bello is an interdisciplinary artist whose focus is experimenting with art, biology, sound and technology. He creates custom electronics and software to enable participants to interact with plants and other lifeforms. Bello uses art and science as a means to showcase the beautiful and necessary symbiosis of earth's diverse lifeforms, and his works utilize nature’s phenomenal energies as a catalyst for self-discovery and awareness. Bello received his Bachelors of Fine Arts with a concentration in Digital/Experimental Media from Kansas State University.
Iqaluit is the capital city of Nunavut, Canada’s newest territory, created by the land claims agreement negotiated between Inuit and the Canadian federal government in 1993. Iqaluit is located in Koojesse Inlet, a part of Inuit homelands, since time immemorial. The colonial settlement began as an American army base in WWII, growing during the Cold War into a townsite, named Frobisher Bay.
Sir Martin Frobisher, a 16th Century English explorer who made three voyages to the area, seeking the Northwest Passage (between Europe and Asia) and to establish an English colony in the Arctic, while also aiming to enrich his Queen’s coffers (and his own) with gold.
Elizabeth 1, Queen of England, commissioned Frobisher’s endeavors and named the south Baffin Island he brought his fleets to ‘Meta Incognita’ (The Unknown Shore). Meta Incognita, as a concept, was designed to provide Elizabethan explorers with a ‘moral’ justification for settling new lands and can still be found on modern maps, alongside Inuktitut toponymy.
Frobisher’s expeditions failed in all aspects. The Northwest Passage remained elusive. Plans for a new land settlement were abandoned due to loss of ships with essential supplies, and the deaths of seamen and carpenters. On his last trip, Frobisher brought 1350 tons of rock back to England that he believed to be gold. It turned out to be worthless horneblend - “fool’s gold.”
Frobisher abducted three Inuit from the Qikiqtani region and brought them to Bristol in 1577 - Kalicho, Arnaq and her child, Nutaaq. They all died soon after arriving in England.
Although Iqaluit returned to its original Inuktitut placename in 1987 and the only remnants of the American Distant Early Warning site is a condemned barracks, the city itself is still a colonial epicentre in Inuit homelands, full of contradiction and paradox. The annual average income for Inuit is $22,000, with non-Inuit incomes averaging $110,000. While Inuit are supposed to be hired at representative percentages at all levels of government, most Inuit who are employed remain at the lower rungs of authority. While Inuktitut is an official language of Nunavut, it is rare to find children speaking Inuktitut in Iqaluit’s playgrounds. Many Inuit have lived in substandard, inadequate and overcrowded Euro-Canadian housing since the time of colonization and yet empty housing units are commonly set aside for unfilled government jobs and transient workers from the south. Inuit have been forced into a position of poverty in their own homeland.
White Liar and the Known Shore: Frobisher and the Queen brings together many aspects of the colonial story of Iqaluit. The photograph is taken on the northern shore of Niaqunnguup Kangiqtunga, an inlet to ‘Frobisher Bay.’ The late spring sea ice is seen in a state of decay, melting a month earlier than usual.
Jamie has taken on the character of Frobisher dressed in white, to symbolize a White Liar. A repeated theme in Jamie's works, the White Liar functions to expose the fallacies that those in power use in order to stay in power, using historical White Liars as characters to unveil the mechanics of racism. Frobisher carries the (phallic) tusk of an ‘unknown’ creature that he gifted to the Queen, birthing the myth of the unicorn. It is, in fact, a narwhal tusk - from a much cherished animal that Inuit have always hunted and eaten.
Laakkuluk is interpreting Queen Elizabeth 1. She is in White Face, simultaneously mimicking the make-up Elizabeth was famous for and harkening to whitened bones - an Inuit symbol of respect for ancestors. The black and red flagstaff use the colours of uaajeerneq. Black is a symbol of the humility humans must strive for because of the unknowable immensity of the universe. Red is a symbol of a vulva - usurping the power Elizabeth held as “Virgin Queen.”
An original ‘fool’s gold’ rock, that sailed on Frobisher's ships to England, lies at Laakkuluk’s left foot. It was returned to Iqaluit by Bristol-based artists Angela Piccini and Kayle Brandon and given to Janet Brewster (artist and Iqaluit’s deputy mayor). Loaned to the artists for this artwork. While this photograph examines historical events and aesthetics, it challenges contemporary viewers to see their own place in Arctic colonization. It asks white people and other non-Inuit in Iqaluit, what role they play in the ongoing industry of colonization that exists. Do you know where you are? What is your function in this city? What are you afraid of? How do you address racism within yourself and allow for Inuit decolonization in Iqaluit?
Banner at McBride Park: White Liar
Jamie Griffiths and Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory are collaborating artists both based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Originally from the UK and a long-time resident of Vancouver, Jamie has created award-winning work that uses experimental tools and custom digital environments, digging into humanity's failings and triumphs, through autobiographical transparency and deliberate cultural confrontations. Laakkuluk, a Greenlandic Inuk, uses uaajeerneq (Greenlandic mask dancing), poetry, theatre and performance art to tackle topics ranging from colonization, sexuality, intergenerational strength, fear, boundaries, and love. Laakkuluk is currently long-listed for the 2021 Sobey Art Prize. She is previously winner of the Sinchi Indigenous Award (2020), the Kenojuak Ashevak Memorial Award (2018) and co-winner of a Dora Mavor Moore Award (2018).
Jamie and Laakkuluk’s recent works include a collaborative film installation called Silaup Putunga (2019), acquired by the Art Gallery of Ontario for their permanent collection, and Ikumagialiit, a performance art show quartet with Cris Derksen and Christine Tootoo, commissioned by the National Gallery of Canada to premiere at the international Indigenous art exhibition Abadakone (2019). Auk (2021), a short film, is currently in the works for the National Arts Centre of Canada.
Jamie: www.chickweedarts.com &
Papatsi Kotierk — Costumer (Frobisher)
Cat Leahy — Hat Maker
Sheila Papa — Camera Assistant and for all the good living
Janet Brewster — keeper of Frobisher’s fool’s gold
Angela Piccini/Kayle Brandon — for repatriation of Frobisher’s fool’s gold from Bristol to Iqaluit
Williamson Bathory kids — for their patience as they live in Covid lockdown circumstances while their parents work. Stephen Williamson Bathory — for ever-loving support.
I created the photographs you see in this work over a period of several years during an artist-residency with the City of Vancouver Parks Board. The images depict in situ events as well as in-studio photography of the natural plant life I collected during my walks, such as fall leaves, twigs, shells and rocks.
The digital collages assembled here were created via the proprietary software R-Combo, developed by Dr. Rob Scharein. The image collages I chose for my visual storytelling convey my feelings of the sense of being interconnected with and in the natural world.
I enter the forest. I am there “being”. I sense the spirit of place, the genius loci and the spirit reveals itself to me. I soon see myself in shadow form embedded into the textures of the land and rock next to me.
The Crows come to visit me and we start to communicate. They guide me towards a feeling of change and transformation. I turn and I see fiddle-heads growing as a spiral. Spiral is a symbol of rebirth, return, and also found in the cosmos, in other earth life forms like sheep horns or certain creatures. Ancient peoples all over the planet carved this symbol. I feel it is a message from the forest that I am one with the forest for that instant.
During this communion I am released from the corporeal form and am flying over the water, faster and higher, towards great mountains. And, as I look back to where I once stood, I see my hand is imprinted on the side of a tree.
I have a knowingness - I am there always, in memory, as a spirit of the forest.
at McBride Park: SPIORAD NA FORAOISE
Four videos for the seasons: TREES
Laura Lee Coles is a curator, researcher and multidisciplinary artist and published arts-based researcher whose interests include human, technology and nature interaction and the re-visioning of public space. A published author, she presents her research internationally. Her arts practice consists of photography, video installation (interactive, contemplative and site specific) digital storytelling and naturalist collage making. She has exhibited in Canada, Europe and the USA. Laura is also the founder of IMAPON and the arts group LocoMotoArt, currently artists-in-residence at McBride Fieldhouse (2019-2022) and formerly at the historic Aberthau Mansion (2013-2018) via the Vancouver Park Board’s Arts, Culture and Engagement studio programme. She holds a Master of Arts from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University.
Artist website: www.lauraleecoles.weebly.com
Publication: Digital Eco-Art: Transformative Possibilities (Coles & Pasquier, 2015) found at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/14626268.2015.998683
Other writings: www.researchgate.net
Organizational website: www.IMAPON.org
The Walk To Work and Back Home Again is an ongoing project by Lee Hutzulak that incorporates photography and narrated video. This project began as a way to connect with a loved one living overseas, by sharing images of urban wildlife and the ever-evolving landscape in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the Spring of 2021, after years of commuting to work on bicycle, Lee decided to reimagine this small but regular routine. He began walking to work with a camera, exploring new routes and revisiting spots undergoing transformation. The development of the new St. Paul’s Hospital is one of these places, and where the video of the crow was filmed. The bare field is now an active construction site, changing daily. Dave Leith's audio creates a new narrative playing on the crow's interaction with the changing environment. Composed using layers of granulated and time-stretched audio from the original footage, Dave also incorporated electronics, field recordings, and Lee's guitar.
Banner and video installation at McBride Park: THE WALK TO WORK AND BACK HOME AGAIN
David Leith is a multi-disciplinary artist. He has an extensive background in media, sound art, music recording and performing. His work has been exhibited and published internationally for over 40 years.
Leith taught at the Vancouver Film School for over twenty years. He recently retired from teaching. Leith was artist in residence for the 2008 VIVO SLAB workshop. He taught students to build their own theremins and create interactive installations. In Winnipeg he received a Manitoba Arts Council 'Artists in the Schools' grant to teach pinhole photography.
Dave develops custom Max/MSP/Jitter software. He uses it for audio compositions, multi-media installations and slit-scan photography. A long term project has been to complete a large SDIY modular synthesizer. He often creates field recordings, employing them in his sound compositions. Current compositions are on Bandcamp as the artist Infinite Zest.
Based in Vancouver, Lee Hutzulak has been writing, recording, releasing music and sound art since 1991. His 2017 album, "Twilight, Sound Mountain" by Dixie's Death Pool was called "flat-out amazing" by the Georgia Straight. In his home studio, he has an arsenal of both acoustic and electronic instruments and hand-built contraptions tucked away, at the ready, should the occasion arise. Lee's interest in musique concrète, field recordings, and foley sounds owe as much to his exposure to the movies as they do to music and music history. Check out the almost 500 videos he has uploaded on YouTube, an ongoing documentation of his practice.
Lee Hutzulak's YouTube channel: youtube.com/user/leehutzulak
This untitled work is a single frame of video feedback captured in 1/15th of a second, made with 1980s video hardware and MetaMirrors software developed by Rob Scharein and Merlyn Chipman. This particular moment in time was chosen for the theme “Echo”. The unseen video frames that precede and follow it are slight permutations or “visual echos” moving through time. The repeating nature of this feedback process can be seen in the two square mandalas repeating in a checkerboard pattern.
Banner at McBride Park: UNTITLED
Merlyn Chipman's artwork spans live improvisational audio/video, print and installation art but he identifies himself as a "Feedback Artist." First encountering “video feedback” in 1998 by accidentally pointing a video camera at a television set Merlyn quickly reoriented his entire life around his discovery of this medium. His work exemplifies a relationship with video technology that is primal and abstract, absent of visual or verbal representation. Merlyn currently works in audio visual production and film. He has studied psychology at SFU, broadcasting at BCIT and holds a diploma of interaction design from Capilano University. Merlyn has performed live internationally with musicians like Mark Hosler from Negativeland, Eternal Tapestry, Jeremy Inkel from Frontline Assembly and with Japanese Noise artist, Merzbow. Merlyn is a current member of Redgate Arts Society and Loco Moto Art. He is currently an artists-in-residence with the Vancouver Park Board’s Arts, Culture and Engagement studio programme.
These intricate designs are based on engravings done by Leonardo da Vinci. Using my software KnotPlot, I painstakingly traced the interlacing and realized the knot mandalas in three dimensions. This allows one to virtually fly through the designs or to cut them into pieces and have them untangle themselves. Glowing with their own self-illumination, they become objects of peaceful contemplation. Question for the viewer: how many individual strands are in each of the knot mandalas?
Banner at McBride Park (interactive) and one video : Symmetric Energies
Rob Scharein is an ex-astrophysicist, mathematician and artist who is keenly interested in the interplay between Science, Art, and Mathematics. He is a developer of high-performance graphics software that draws from the beauty of Nature to create engaging interactive art pieces. Rob holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia. His art practice interests include computer generative, gesture control and interactive installations, including 3D Virtual and Augmented Reality environments.
Rob has collaborated with the artists Jamie Griffiths, Laura Lee Coles, Merlyn Chipman and Dave Leith, also presenting here. These knot mandalas were the fruit of a collaboration with author Caroline Cocciardi and variations of the renderings were used as illustrations for her book
How do you greet someone in the morning? In the Stʼatʼimc language there are a number of ways to greet someone in the morning. I chose one greeting that sounds poetic and reflects the realities of life. “psil̓núcwkacw!” roughly translates to “you have lived through the night to see another day”. This phrase fits in the S.P.A.C.E. gallery’s People, Spirits, and Echoes aspect. As people we live in this realm of the everyday and when we leave this realm we become spirits and memories of us become echoes.
Banner at McBride Park and one audio file: Good Morning
Russell Wallace is an award-winning composer and a traditional singer from the Lil’wat Nation. He is an alumnus of Capilano University, University of BC, Banff Centre for the Arts, and Spirit Song Native Theatre. Wallace is one of the founding members of the Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast and is an alumnus of the UBC Creative Writing program. Wallace received a Leo Award for Best Musical Score for a documentary series, “1491: The Untold History of the Americas Before Columbus”. Wallace has been a guest programmer for Word Vancouver and has programmed and managed the Aboriginal Electronic Music Festival for a number of years.
Driven by years of literary and artistic influence, I seek to startle and uncover connections from that which is found in the quotidian — the everyday. The work for PERSONA is drawn from what is occurring in an ordinary and sometimes mundane manner. This work, multi layered in the representation reflects a sense of cultural change brought on by the Covid 19 World Pandemic. Specifically, PERSONA chronicles the wearing of masks witnessed in the public sphere of Vancouver, British Columbia.
The images are of everyday people that I have observed during the first year of the Pandemic. Awkward social distancing, irregular masking, and a general malaise occupied the moods of the people as we moved through our lives with the new health restrictions. We learned to smile more with our eyes. I celebrate that warm, ethereal connection with bright colours and classic line.
Banner at McBride Park: Persona
Susi Milne is a Canadian artist known for her drawings, watercolours, and electronic mixed media art objects. Her works range from paintings, paper and textile sculptures and video/photo-based art; to politically themed poetry/performance art. Milne's eclectic practice is informed through her life and work as "Living Art". A prolific maker as well as a talented administrator, Milne served as the President of the Board of Directors at the grunt Gallery, Vancouver through the early 2000's. A picturesque history with several founding artists-run centres in Vancouver including years as program director at the Western Front Society rounds out her fulsome art career.
Milne has a strong social media presence (@tibbedragon777) and has exhibited and performed her artwork and performance/poetry nationally and internationally over the years. Most recently; a sold out on line exhibition through IMAPON LOCO MOTO Arts - PERSONA (ongoing at https://imapon.org/Co-Vid-EO/); featuring twelve watercolour/pen and ink paintings of people out social distancing and wearing their masks during the first year of the World Pandemic.
Several of Milne's watercolour paintings have been featured in prestigious literary journals during 2017-19. Milne's iconic watercolour interpretation for the #METOO movement appeared nationally and internationally (2017) both online and as large scale banners at rallies. Milne exhibited watercolour paper freize works at Artbeat Vancouver 2014 and 2015; and was curated into a prestigious group show at The Roundhouse in 2016. Born and bred into the rich Canadian art scene, Milne's lives in an art abode overlooking the seaside of the Pacific Northwest coastal mountain range.
I acknowledge that I live and work on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
I want to say a special thank you to Laura Lee Coles and the folks at IMAPON for continuing to support my art practise in such a dynamic and important way.
As an artist, I think about the mask that we show to the world and how it is in a constant state of transformation. We transform our inner self into an outward mask that simultaneously protects and exposes us. I am interested in personal growth through art, making pieces that invite the observer think about who they are and all the different components that make up a person.
Banner at McBride Park: Mascara
Zenyase Hunsberger was born in Toronto, Ontario and grew up in Puebla, Mexico. A self-taught artist, Hunsberger recently finished her degree in visual arts at Emily Carr University and has a degree in Applied Linguistics from the University of Victoria. Zenyase exhibited at ARTBEAT 2015, a group show curated by Dr. Lynne Ruchinski. She appeared alongside prestigious Artists in the exhibition for ARTS UMBRELLA AUCTION - SPLASH GALA VANCOUVER - 2018, 2019, 2020 and most recently was in a group show entitled QUARTZ at SLICE OF LIFE Gallery & Shop, Commercial Drive, Vancouver in February 2021.
I find inspiration for my painting from a variety of places: dreams, the natural landscape, and the visualization of atmosphere, of spirit. I like to interpret my feelings and emotional senses and often draw upon them. I paint when I’m happy, when I’m angry, when I’m sad, and this emotional honesty guides my hand. My work at this point is about self-introspection and my place in this world. Being creative gives me a sense of peace and freedom.
Banner at McBride Park and one video: Renewal
Born on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Tierra is of mixed raced heritage (Filipino, Chinese, Spanish and Native American). Raised by a single mother, Tierra’s interest in painting began when she was 10 years old, which she pursued through her school years. After graduating, Tierra began her family, now nine-children strong. Curator, Laura Lee Coles recognizing Tierra’s talent has supported her return to painting by providing materials, canvases and inspiration to pick up and continue that pursuit. Tierra now resides on the Big Island of Hawaii where she is interested in exhibiting her new works.