Scaglione, Joan


Outdoor Site-specific Installation
August 14 – September 26, 2008
Artist Talks & Opening Reception: Thursday August 14, 7 PM



During her six-week residency at Klondike Institute of Art and Culture, Scaglione produced this outdoor installation entitled Earth Bed Tells. By integrating a series of bed structures into the landscape, Scaglione invites the viewer to relinquish the hold that consciousness has on our psyches and enter the interior realms of the unconscious. The bed is a place where we slip from wakefulness into the restorative time of sleep; where we find ourselves in intimate communion with another; where dreams shift us into fluid realities. In this installation the earth-beds become a site of transformation, a metaphorical meeting ground between notions of old and new, the intellectual and intuitive, the natural and the constructed. In the centre of each bed, the viewer will find an opening-a passageway suggesting the depths of the unconscious. As an act of alchemical transformation, this opening has been set on fire to offer a reconsideration of-and reconnection to-the sacred balance of the earth and the interiority of our own psyches. Earth Bed Tells uses recycled wood and other materials from the refuse piles of the Dawson City dump as well as tailings-the rock pile dredgings at the edge of town, leftovers of human intervention by the mammoth Dredge #4. Alluding to ancient human activity in which successive cultures built cities upon previous ruins known as “tells,” Scaglione’s project layers both the earth’s refuse and the rusted artifacts of civilization within the beds as if they were cairns. Scaglione considers the bed structures as simultaneous cultural constructions and metaphysical spaces. In Earth Bed Tells, the distortions of a materialistic and technologically driven culture become spiritual detritus through which we must move to reconnect as individuals and communities with the evolutionary impulse of the Cosmos.


For my installation I envision an “Earth Bed” series, a constellation of bed images that would connect our bodies and psyches to the Earth and its alchemy. The bed as an object is a powerful metaphor that in my work invites humans to sink into the depths of the unconscious and reconnect with the sacred balance slipping from our collective grasp. Situated on the path towards the Moosehide Slide, the most visible of Dawson City natural landmarks,  the beds will juxtapose earth materials with manufactured objects and perhaps video. The intent of my constructions will be to examine the imbalanced relationship between culture and Nature and to re-mythologize humanity’s broken relationship to the earth through images of healing and regeneration.


Joan Scaglione is interested in the power of the earth to reflect and integrate human experience, culture, and spiritual vision. “The initial impulse for any work I engage in derives from my interior Self as I intuit relationship to the world around me,” Scaglione reflects. She has developed a body of work that includes sculpture, environmental and site-specific installation, drawing, and recently video. Growing up in Massachusetts near the ocean, Scaglione developed a keen sense and appreciation for infinite space. Currently, the Saskatchewan prairie is her home where she teaches and works as a practicing artist. Joan Scaglione recently received her MFA from the University of Regina.

Joan Scaglione gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as Byrun Shandler and Veronica Verkley for the installation support.