Tag Archives: ODD Gallery

2018

The Natural & The Manufactured 2018

Klondike Institute of Art & Culture
Dawson City, Yukon, Canada

August 16 – September 22, 2018

INFO/FLOE

JOSH WINKLER
(ODD Gallery)

LINDSAY DOBBIN with ANGIE JOSEPH-REAR, MICHELLE OLSON, MATTE MORGAN
(Offsite: 88.8FM at ODD Gallery,Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre and the Old Post Office)

CURATED BY MICHAEL MCCORMACK

 


Exhibition Reception & Opening Remarks: 
Thurs. Aug 16th, 7:30pm
part of the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival

Location: ODD Gallery

Artist Talk with Josh Winkler: Friday. Aug  18, 7:30pm
Location: KIAC Ballroom
The talk will present a brief trajectory of the artist’s work, their recent Chilkoot Trail Residency experience, and finish, by discussing a new collection of works created in Dawson for KIAC’s ODD Gallery exhibition.

Curator’s Talk: Sat. Aug 19, 7pm
Location: KIAC Ballroom
Curator Michael McCormack discusses the approaches of both participating artists in this year’s exhibition INFO/FLOE. Through discussing this project he hopes to further understand our complicated and problematic relationships with the environment and promote media literacy, cultural production, and public access to an extensive variety of media. In what ways do we remain connected with each each other throughout generations, across vast distances, through remote sensing, skill-sharing, mark making, collective human memory, and experiential learning? How have all forms of media been utilized or exploited to communicate through time and distance?

Off-site audio installation: 88.8FM
Locations: ODD Gallery, Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, the Old Post Office (3rd & King)
Receive Transmit Receive Transmit involves artist Lindsay Dobbin working remotely from the Bay of Fundy, connecting with three Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in citizens – Elder Angie Joseph-Rear, Michelle Olson and Matthew Morgan – over a vast distance in order to share land-based knowledge and experience together, finding resonance between two places — the Yukon River and the intertidal zone of the Bay of Fundy. Improvised actions emerged out of collaborative listening, some of which leave temporal traces in the landscape. The project explores how
kinship with land can be deepened through sharing and how the space between places can disappear through the combined use of modern technologies and the original form of communication: speaking to the land.

Three lo-fi transmitters are installed throughout town: at the ODD Gallery, Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre and the Old Post Office. Each transmitter is broadcasting to 88.8 FM, and features conversations Dobbin had with the three local collaborators.
Borrow a radio receiver, tune to 88.8 FM, and walk the land — listening to the environment and the dialogue between two places. Also be aware of residue in the landscape from these exchanges. The route is up to you.

We’re grateful to Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation for being continuous stewards of this land, and for welcoming this project.

CFYT 106.9FM: CONVERSATIONS with the artists and curator
Throughout the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival tune in to CFYT 106.9 FM to listen to conversations between The Natural & The Manufactured Curator Michael McCormack and artists Lindsay Dobbin and Josh Winkler.

Commissioned Text: by Exhibition Curator Michael McCormack
Fall 2018

 


INFO/FLOE
is a project that brings together work from two methodologies of communicating with the land as archive; through listening and performance, and through synthetic reproduction of found objects. It considers the impermanence and malleability of information, language, experience and storytelling, through time-based, and print-based media. Josh Winkler, and Lindsay Dobbin have developed practices that deeply consider our relationships as stewards, protectors, active communicators and archivists of the natural environment.

During the Natural & the Manufactured residency in the summer of 2018, Dobbin and Winkler will create and present new works that continue their practice of deep listening, research, and correlation with the land, considering the natural environment as an active storyteller, performer, archivist, and foundation to our survival as a species. The final presentation will cumulate during the Yukon Riverside Arts Festival with an installation of Winkler’s work in the ODD Gallery and a temporary performance and a site-specific radio installation of Dobbin’s work with local collaborators.

Involving participatory performance, sound, and installation, Dobbin’s work is ecocentric, using listening as wayfinding. Their work intends to deepen our relationship with the natural world, and bridge our relationships with the natural environment that have been fragmented and scattered through colonization and industrialization.

Josh Winkler’s work involves in-depth research and consideration of materials that are found in the area of the Klondike, recorded and reproduced as manufactured objects. Through bringing these objects into the gallery setting, Winkler intersects his studio work with installation work, bringing materials gathered from his walks and hikes into a place of critical contemplation, thus problematizing, and opening a conversation that reconsiders objects of “historic significance”.

Throughout this project, both artists have been carefully considering the flow of information and how it is experienced, and eventually absorbed by our physical surroundings. It is an opportunity to reflect on how all forms of information intake influences our memories that are passed on through artifact, recorded information, environmental evidence, storytelling, or art making.

– Michael McCormack 2018

 

 

BIOGRAPHIES

JOSH K. WINKLER is a Minnesota artist working primarily with traditional and contemporary print media. Since receiving his MFA from the University of Minnesota in 2010, Josh has been creating works on paper, running a small gallery, building a stone cabin, and exhibiting work nationally and internationally. He is currently an Associate Professor of Printmaking at Minnesota State University in Mankato, Minnesota. Winkler’s work stems from an interest in how humans manipulate and label the land. How time, politics, and social change alter the context of both natural and inhabited locations. By combining personal experience with historical investigation, Winkler builds layered landscape narratives to reflect on an uncomfortable disconnect between contemporary Americans and the history of the land. He utilizes a range of drawing, printmaking, and sculptural processes to facilitate these ideas.
http://joshkwinkler.com


LINDSAY DOBBIN
is a Mohawk – Acadian – Irish artist, musician, curator and educator who lives and works on the Bay of Fundy in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the L’nu. Born in and belonging to the Kennebecasis River Valley in New Brunswick, Dobbin has lived throughout the Maritimes as well as the Yukon Territory. Dobbin’s place-responsive practice includes music, media art, performance, sculpture, installation, social practices and writing, and is invested in and influenced by Indigenous epistemologies and cultural practices, such as drumming. Through placing listening, collaboration and improvisation at the centre of the creative process, Dobbin’s practice explores the connection between the environment and the body, and engages in a sensorial intimacy with the living land.
www.lindsaydobbin.com

 

MICHAEL MCCORMACK is an intermedia artist, curator, and educator of settler ancestry living in unceded territory of the Mi’Kmaq people in K’jiputuk (Halifax). He has worked extensively within the artist-run centre community as Director of Eyelevel Gallery from 2009-2013 and president and representative of the Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic from 2011-2013. He continues to work as an independent curator for exhibitions, festivals and events, most recently for Nocturne: Art at Night (2016), Flotilla Atlantic (2017), INTERPL/\Y (2017), and KIAC’s the Natural & the Manufactured exhibition (2018). Michael completed his MFA at NSCAD University in 2015 and has been steadily exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions in public galleries, festivals, and artist-run centres  since 2003 and is currently a member of Last Chants Studio, At The Reception and Hermes Gallery in Halifax, NS.
www.michaeldmccormack.com

 

Images: Lindsay Dobbin, Intertidal Cymbal Works – Receive Transmit, Performance, 2018
Josh Winkler,  Klondike Tailings (detail) Color woodcut in 6 parts, 68”x120”, 2018

 

Buch, Marlaina | Text

Post exhibition text 2017

Tall Tales for Short Nights and Warm Planets
By Exhibition Curator Marlaina Buch

 

Narrative accounts of human/animal interactions are complex records. Encounter tales starring animals trend tall. Recollections of brief meetings between species are frequently spectacular, and carry in them ideas about humanity and our place in the world. In these tellings, animals are often symbols, omens, scapegoats, or guides to our wilder selves. Our inability to fully understand creatures that don’t use the same systems as us (language chiefly, but also gesture and expression) creates a gap easily filled with conjecture. To meet another creature’s eyes feels significant, meaningful – “It looked right at me.” Storytelling transforms sightings with the desires, fears, and imaginings of the narrator, frequently revealing more about the reporter than the subject.

Wild animals are mysterious and charismatic, they arrest our attention in the moments we share with them. Animals are indicators of seasonality, abundance (or scarcity), migration patterns, and changes in the biological condition of an ecosystem. Animal sightings connect us to the wider environmental web, acting as a gateway to noticing other subtler natural communities of plants, insects, fungi, rocks, and elements. Falling in love with a magnificent owl could make you curious about its home, what it eats, where it sleeps. You might spend more time trying to see one, looking for signs of its presence, listening for its call, wandering around at dusk. You might see other secretive, magical things happen when you walk in the woods. This attention can broaden the knowledge base of how creatures behave and what new pressures act upon them. If people don’t spend time on the land, ears pricked, eyes scanning, the environmental memories of previous generations are foreshortened. If comparative changes in the natural world aren’t recorded and transmitted to a population that sticks around, there is less cause for alarm when things shift. The baseline of what’s normal in the natural world shrinks to a few seasons, a few stories. Animal encounter reports are a way of communicating what is being observed in the natural world. Comparative reports can preserve the biological history of a place and mark when changes occur.

Artists Leila Armstrong and Lisa Hirmer spent 6 weeks in Dawson City collecting stories of animal encounters from locals, tourists, and transients. These tales informed the creation of new artworks based on community research and collaboration. As with any sample, certain themes recurred. The recent appearance of species uncommon to northerly climes was noted, as was the necessity of bartering with the town’s resident sassy ravens. Stories tended to break down into three rough categories: tourist stories told by visitors, local stories centered around feelings of wonder or awe, local stories that involved considerable negotiation between humans and animals. Collectively, these stories acted as an informal case history of human/animal interactions in the Dawson area.

Tourist stories followed an arc without a rising action, crisis or climax, and tended to be flat accounts of seeing an animal at the roadside, usually at a distance in a vehicle. Photographing the animal would conclude the story and leave the photographer with an image that captured the thrill of the encounter, represented an authentic moment with place, and could be shared with others as an emblematic travel experience. These accounts left the artists without much to interpret, but helped to identify the kinds of animals one might see in the Yukon. Stories were characterized by spatial and emotional distance, and reinforced the idea that animals occupy a space that is different from humans – somewhere “out there in the wild.”

Stories from local residents that focused on feelings of fascination with seeing wild animals described animals as being in “their” appropriate environment/habitat/space, a space slightly different than those normally occupied by humans. These stories were observational and lasted longer, where humans and animals shared a brief moment as their paths crossed, with a very perceptible sense of their bodies being adjacent. Proximity played an important role. The landscape was pulled much closer into the encounter, feeling more like a room than a vast forest or vista. Storytellers remarked that they felt awe in the presence of animals and the gaze between them was reported to have felt significant or personal.

Hirmer’s photograph A Glassiness to the Eyes came from a curiosity in the human-animal gaze, the common moment in a story when eyes meet and something is exchanged between two species. It was created using Google’s Artificial Neural Networks, programming designed to simulate the human brain’s ability to recognize images. Hirmer applied a version of this code to an image of the forest around Crocus Bluff, a popular place to look out at Dawson and the surrounding landscape. Surprisingly, the neural network “saw” an astonishing number of eyes in a scene a human brain would instantly know was just forest, reminding us of the incredibly complex capacity, fine-tuned by evolution, of the human/animal mind to instantly recognize eyes looking at us. Hirmer then overlaid the original forest image with this “eye image”, creating a composite wallpaper with mysterious, fairytale qualities that draws us into an uncanny gaze.

Far and away the most common and most interesting stories told by locals involved a great deal of negotiation between humans and animals, where the interaction required sustained attention, confusion about communication, and resulted in an unpredictable resolution. These stories described the uncertainty of animals coming into human space – mostly yards, sheds, dog pens, greenhouses, outhouses, etc. When animals entered into places where humans live, work, and survive, very practical issues came into play, and often involved considerable complexity. A typical story arc would describe surprise at encountering an animal in an atypical space, a struggle to understand the animal’s non-verbal communication cues, occasional misinterpretation of an animal’s intentions or feelings, and a desire to come to a mutually copacetic outcome, which was not always achieved. These stories made for more satisfying source material because they followed the structure of dialogue – information being passed back and forth in a continuously recalibrated exchange, rather than one way interpretation. Animals felt much more like co-creators of the story and active participants instead of subjects or mysterious, speechless, unknowable entities. Interestingly, in negotiation stories, an animal’s status fluctuated considerably depending on its perceived willfulness. Bears in particular were singled out as being potentially problematic visitors, not only dangerous, but likely to return. Bears that could not be convinced to leave after a few attempts to shoo them away (with gunshots, pepper spray, or banging pots and pans, among other techniques) were often shot. Fear and unpredictability escalated interactions quickly and recategorized bears into pests, with rapid action necessary to avoid a situation worsening or safety being significantly impacted. Often the decision to deal with bears more harshly was made after determining they were “not afraid of humans.” Not all bear stories finished this way. Several described moments of sometimes uncomfortable or unsure bargaining combined with curiosity, wonder, and feelings of successfully communicating with a bear.

Lisa Hirmer’s photographic series Certainties to which we’ve become accustomed, was inspired by differences in stories told by tourists (seeing an animal at a remove, on the side of the road, as separate from the viewer) and locals (animals in shared space, animals crossing into human space, where there is more of a negotiation). Hirmer wanted to “capture the sense of a startling encounter with a large animal in the spaces we think of as ours.” These images of animals in domestic spaces mimic the way we often see animals in nature – as a quick glimpse in forest – but instead are in the spaces in which we feel most at ease, where everything is scaled to our bodies and an animal encounter is truly unsettling.

Leila Armstrong’s drawings capture the climax point of the most compelling negotiation stories collected. Their cartoon style implies a narrative where outcomes and morals can only be guessed at and human and animal characters often swap places. Armstrong targets the ways stories can shift with a simple change of protagonist, context, or location. These drawings are a partial reveal of a more complex account, but highlight the uncertainties of storytelling and our deep desire to fill in information where it’s missing.

The exhibition’s decoy animals act as narrative prompts, encouraging viewers to think about their own encounter stories. Animal representations, whether as miniatures, reproductions, or decorations create an immediate jumping off point for narrative. The animals chosen are present in the local area, but occupy a more minor presence or are newcomers filling new niches created by climate change. Their presence in the gallery points to greater shifts happening out on the land.

Humans make up all kinds of narratives about animals, some more instructive than others. This too is a matter of positioning, of perspective. The degree of assumed difference between humans and animals is cultural. A person whose culture believes animals are ancestors and whose relationship with nature is one of kinship and belonging will tell a story different from one whose culture believes animals are separate, unknowable beings or pests to be “dealt with.” Embodied, emotional, sensory encounters with animals can challenge abstract ideas about nature and who we think we are relative to “nature.” Encountered animals aren’t passive characters onto which all meaning is projected, but rather are active, unstable, uncontrollable non-human actors–they make the story along with the person, though their experience remains beyond our absolute understanding. This has particular implications for how we interact with each other as humans whose codes, expectations and customs don’t always align, in a changing world where uncertainty, negotiation, and competition for resources are encountered every day. When we anthropomorphize or tell tall tales, those narratives say more about us than the animal we’ve encountered. By simply being present and watchful, we can begin to think about animals in terms of their own experiences, in their own environment.

Marlaina Buch makes art, writes, organizes exhibitions, facilitates community projects and falls somewhere on the arts spectrum between maker and doer. She has a background in art education and public engagement and her practice uses creative education, experiential and collaborative workshops, typography, printmaking, critical writing and performance to investigate social and environmental challenges, absurdity, and the potential of public space. She lives in Nanaimo BC.
www.marlainabuch.com