On August 4th, 2015 I will begin my “Fresh!AIR” Artist-in-Residency in beautiful Vernon, BC located in the North Okanagan. My residence will be at the Caetani Cultural Centre and my studio space is located at the Allan Brooks Nature Centre, a few km to the south of Vernon.
I am looking forward to this amazing opportunity to create work in such a supportive, natural environment. This will be a fascinating exploration for me to meet the people and learn about the community of Vernon and environs. My residency will begin August 4th and extend to September 11th, 2015.
The “Fresh!AIR” project will be a site specific, integrated media, community based art work that will be featured on this page and on the sponsoring organization’s websites. The site will have a great deal of influence on the project, but every aspect will relate to the community of Vernon.
The Caetani Residence itself is an ideal topic of investigation because of the history of the property outlined by this article published in RV West. The Alan Brooks Nature Centre also has an interesting history that focuses on the endangered environmental conditions of the area, as stated on their website, “The Okanagan is considered as one of the three most endangered ecological regions in Canada.” an important fact to consider when investigating the natural setting that surrounds the city.
Here is a live webcam streamed from their site:
“Looking northeast from the top of Allan Brooks Nature Centre over the City of Vernon and BX [ranch]. The Department of National Defence Camp Vernon grounds are in the centre foreground with Vernon Jubilee Hospital in the middle of the frame. Swan Lake is in the left of the frame with the BX [ranch] and Silver Star Mountain in the top right of the frame.” quoted from the Allan Brooks Nature Centre Site.
Developing an Artist Statement
Much of my work involves technology and the Fresh!AIR residency will give me an opportunity to integrate technology with the narratives present in the natural environment and the local community. I intend to build work using the stories of the area to present on the internet and in a community event to be held near the end of my residency.
The theme, “what we once were, we are not now” can be applied to historical, environmental, social or other aspects that will be discovered by my research into Vernon’s past that may be contrasted with present day Vernon. The artwork will emerge as the result of applying the theme to my research, then deciding the best method to convey the multitude of aspects in an artistic presentation.
Documenting the Residency
During the residency I attended two of the presentations at the Alan Brooks Nature Centre. The first one was a presentation about plants traditionally used as medicine by Okanangan First Nations, August 26, 2015, as part of the ABNC Sunset Speaker Series. Michael Ochoa gave an informative talk and introduced me to the story of the Four Food Chiefs. He was kind enough to give me a handout with a brief outline of the meeting of the Four Food Chiefs in the time before humans were on earth that is part of the creation myth of the local Okanagan Nation. Michael Ochoa stressed that each time he heard an elder tell the story, it had changed to reflect the lesson that the storyteller wanted to teach the listener. However, the basic idea that humans should be aware of our environment and thankful that food has been given to us is always present.
My talk at the ABNC followed Michael Ochoa’s talk and preceded the second event that I attended. I showed a demo of my interactive projection works Share A Tweet and Bandwidth: Interactive Installation and spoke about the challenges of developing a site specific work.
The final project became an interactive web installation – Click to view