July 29 Detail of gathered materials

Epic Walk Diaries (July 29)

glad to be at gladstone
eager to pick
thwarted to the way back
we agree
it’s pleasant in pleasantville after all

riverside living
groomed wild community
careful peace
gardens for the curious
noted garbage absence

heavy machine interrupts
gas side living – naturally
fortissimo!

heron floats into the booms
adjacent camouflaged geese
perfectly distanced

three pink tugboats

comfortable joy
solo walks
family noodle picnics
signs of birthdays
makeshift bonfires

heat
heat
so hot
some sweat some overheat

grateful for
cottonwoods maples mountain ash
and unnamed sun shields
paths among friends

sustained by plumpest blackberries
baked to perfect sweetness
and hospitality

four paintings
relate a change of relation
river as witness
wesgroup looks away
river as district
commodity community

boundary achieved!
a gate greets us
tempts us
to burnaby beyond

—-

[
Start 1:49pm
End 5:15pm
Start on a very hot day at gladstone park, follow the river path, the railway, around a fortis gas construction, to the shore, back to the path, lunch at riverfront park, best pesto ever, to adcy beach, past a lot of log booms, to the new river district, arriving at burnaby fraser foreshore park – the end of this side of the epic walk, back along the paths and railway, collecting blackberries, to lola and air conditioning.
]


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July 22 Detail of gathered materials

Epic Walk Diaries (July 22)

perforated walk
greeted by gurgling starlings
and putrid scents

you test the mud
I wait anxiously
not snapping a picture
so close to the 007 boat
the mud won
special mud

fire in our thoughts
not sightlines
still     we watch water

jets of water for rocks
starving plants nearby

sidewalk fragments
protect the banks
or us rather

gothic highlife in style
a mural in best (uncanadian) color
type with character
and cancel canadian

another rat another railroad

the shoreline apportioned
to industry columns
concrete human-made remains wood
material mountains

hopping column to column
gobbling fat juicy blackberries
no access no problem

lo the northern cafe!
a family oasis with history
solid red vinyl booths checkered floors
low uneven roof
we eat like family
yelp family

the shore gentrifies
groomed for plants fishers readers
not crows ducks gulls cormorants
though community all

—-

[
Start : 1:07pm
End: 4:44pm
Start at Prince Edward and Kent, to the muddy shore, into the mud, back to the car, drive to the next access point, onto the cement fragment shore, back to the car, drive to the next access point, no access to shore, cautious permission given through concrete supply yard, onto bike path, unde Knight St Bridge, to Northern Wood Products, lunch at surprising (and popular!) family run Northern Cafe, past the Cold Fish store, onto walkway through river district, past fishers and readers, to gladstone park, and back along the railroad and bike path, with a lot of blackberry stops, to Lola.
]


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July 15 Detail of gathered materials

Epic Walk Diaries (July 15)

the smell of cedar
captured
breezy wheezy dusty and loud
by a too dangerous—for you—lumber mill

delivered onto old technology
rails and slats
a spike! the First Spike, not the Last
flying grasshoppers – with action timelines
dried rat husks, two unknown ends
stagnant canal imagined mutated life
lined with corn flower

a guy on the fence
a bag on the pole
both wave in the wind

cement wombs
hiding spiral blades
enticingly empty, inert cocoons
perfect for songs of resonance

shoreline refuse refuge
new old fibre shredded, pulped
molded, wetted, watered, sliced, diced
delivered
we smell the rot

finally the jade river
grasses and mud
aster surprises
iris pods
skunk cabbage masquerading as bananas
papyrus? we may be denihilists

a brutalist abandoned boat
a heron on set

detoured again
this time by the shore itself
delivered to bracken water nettles brambles spiders
oh the memories

ground zero of cheesy rot
high or low road?
we go low
alarm sounds – shrug

rocket for the middle class
sends us to the trestle stoner bridge
a fitting dead end

—-

[
Start: 1:02pm
End: 4:15pm
North Arm Bridge to Mainland Sawmills, denied entry, follow railway to Southernstar Enterprises, to Kent bike path, past Lafarge, Mason Sewing, lunch at the riverview private park with a cool breeze (technology for living), onto the shore, under the bridge, around an inlet, scramble up to a smelly pile of reclaimed wood, down the embankment, to an abandoned bridge at the foot of Prince Edward Ave, back onto Kent, retracing steps and picking up stored steel spikes along the way, back to Lola.
]

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July 8 Detail of gathered materials

Epic Walk Diaries (July 8)

rebooting reorienting retracing
losses changes and pivots
mark a half century

lo a saint in the sea grasses
among lovingly arranged boulders
strewn slabs of long discarded concrete
iron cast-offs

what is lively here? what lives here?

fenced fallow asphalt lots
separating spirit from soil
united by wild flower determination

rusted remains of metal supports
sculptural now


air land water machines
compose a mechanical symphony
with a chickadee lift

escaped logs lazily float
easy as
the taste of first sweet blackberries

a square column of cattails
cattails!!

spatial imprints of clovers
crisped in place stoically unwilted
in sudden heat death

no people
not this time not today
their smeuses a true gift

—-
[
Start: 12:40pm
End: 2:50pm
Bottom of Shaughnessy, backtrack along the shore to remember where we were, to oak stree bridge, walk on beaches, rocks, slabs, up onto deserted paved parking lots with traces of buildings and habitants long gone, through holes in fences, to the north arm bridge, through the parking lot, over a fence, squeeze through a close gate, onto Kent avenue, and back to Lola.
]


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A Bayou Bouquet

Today was a Bayou bouquet, literally and figuratively. We actually did go out and collect a bunch of Golden Clubs from the Bayou, and the rest of the day was a diverse mix of class and individual visits, printing of Hurricane Alex print, processing of the shapes scan from last weekend, artist talk, and wonderful dinner out with our new Pensacola friends.

Maria spent a good part of the day altering and cleaning the scan of the shapes to get them ready to be masks in TouchDesigner. Here are some results from those efforts:

Alex spent a good part of the day processing the files from the Hurricane Alex scanning experiment for printing, including some detail subsets. When the first print came out we weren’t happy with the level of contrast but noticed that when oils from our fingers got on the print, the blacks became blacker. So we rubbed mineral oil all over it and this helped a lot. We know Carlos will be interested in our hands-on innovation :–) The print now hangs in the studio space. Below is a detail:

We also went for a quick jaunt to the Edward Ball trail head to gather more of the Golden Club that a student had gifted us a couple days ago. We collected a whole bouquet of them and found a couple of mushrooms to add to it. Almost every one of them were added to the progressive scan. Here is a scan snippet with a part of the original Golden Club:

 

We have two scanners working now – one is working on the progressive scan mentioned above, and the other is our camellia scan. The camellia is deeply embedded in the land and culture of the Florida Panhandle. When we flow the scans through touch designer back in Vancouver we will be experimenting with layers, transparency, colour, texture, shape, speed and rhythm to capture this flower in its cultural complexity.The image below shows a red variety crisply dehydrated:

The end of our day found us discussing our installation and AIR discoveries in an artist talk held in the gallery. We had a warm and curious audience that, through their questions and comments helped us see how much we had done here. The innovative open studio model of this residency has been excellent as a method of generating ideas and materials. The format allowed us to become integrated into the creative community here in a natural, seamless and enchanting way. We will miss these people and this place!

The final part of our day was spend in the quaint part of Pensacola at a great Indian restaurant with the friends we’ve made here. As we left we looked up and saw this  charming chiming ceiling they’d installed to welcome diners and also offer a delightful goodbye.

 

 

 

 

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A visiting day

Working with the delightful students here has defined our day today. At 8am, Thomas Asmuth and his digital foundations class viewed the installation and conversed with us about the process of creating it. Afterwards we walked through the campus Bayou (Edward Ball boardwalk trail) and found ourselves seeing it anew through the lens of the local knowledge and memories of our guest walkers. Thomas identified the fish in the water, (blue gill and small mouth bass) and many, many of the plants – he even spotted an exotic, definitely non-indigenous, opportunistic taro plant tribe. How it found its way there is a mystery. Alyx Jeffreys, the student in our feature image, brought a handheld bluetooth digital microscope that allowed us to see the bayou in a completely new way. She also had a regular SLR and took some wonderful images – including this lichen.

photo courtesy of Alyx Jeffreys

The students thought ahead and brought bags for collecting garbage and left the bayou better than they found it. We heard about the behaviours of local wild life (Dylan had intimate knowledge of possums – not as cute as you’d think). We saw lots and lots of spider webs of all kinds. It was unclear whether we were seeing so many because they were made more visible by the rain or if the rain had somehow prompted the creation of more webs. They were hard to photograph but we all tried. The view with the microscope was very interesting, especially viewed sidelong.

  

The collection from this walk collection yielded new pine life, new ferns, and new mushrooms including a tapioca slime mold (ok, not technically a mushroom). Wikipedia claims that this slime mold got its official name, Brefeldia maxima, because it was thought to be particularly ugly. Granted, the specimen we saw was not so big but judge for yourself:

Alyx got a picture of it using her microscope and it looked like snow crystals. I hope we get our hands on this picture to update this post!

In the early afternoon, Nick Crogan, the director of the Pensacola Museum, brought his museum design students to visit us. We discussed all aspects of the exhibit, from conception through to visual technique to production and the the multiple changes and adjustments we all went through in the installation process. We also discussed the unusual format of being highly visible and interactive visiting artists-in-residence and all the advantages that this format has had for us.

Yesterday Noah, a ceramic and sound student had brought up the idea of bringing in physical bowls that could be played in response to the soundscape Simon Overstall created for the installation. He came in with a variety of bowls today and Maria and he experimented with recording them in a rehearsal room using the 360 microphone (Rode NT-SF1 Ambisonic mic). On Thursday we will try recording them in tandem with the installation.

1

Foxtrotting

Today we walked with four lovely students! When we got to the studio this morning we were surprised to see people waiting to go on a walk with us because we hadn’t seen any names on the signup sheet before we left yesterday. So nice to have these wonderful enthusiastic people joining us. Rebecca, a student who knows the campus trails very well, offered to lead the group through the boardwalk bayou to the Foxtrot trail and back. The sky was cloudless, the air crisp and cool – a perfect day for an outing. We walked for 3 hours discovering more and more life within a seemingly dormant bayou. As happens every time we go on a walk, the eyes adjust to the details gradually. Initially we engaged in conversation about life, school, their experience with the campus, nature, etc. But as the enchantment of nature took hold, we started pointing out details like minnows, scales on scaly pines, spider webs, decaying trees, grasses.

We made a rule that we (Alex and Maria) would not collect anything on this walk. It would be the responsibility of the guest walkers. This would prove to be hard for us but ultimately the right choice as it was fascinating to see what they picked up, being locals. We did have some influence, particularly on how much of each thing was taken (they were more timid at first). In the end we had two bagfuls of bark, branches, grasses, mushrooms, needles, and more.

When we got back to the studio, we arranged our collection on one of the tables. Unfortunately Alex and I had to jet downtown for a talk but we left the very capable guest walkers with the task of coming up with rules for how we would set up the scan the next day. We still haven’t seen these rules but very much looking forward to the process of interpretation tomorrow morning when we quickly drop in to the studio before going downtown for the colloquium roundtables.

 

 

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STEAM2020 Feb9 Detail of gathered materials

Epic Walk Diaries (Pensacola) February 9

perdido toward perdido
never quite though
the indolent (beep beep)
keeps us rotating north

lime yellow green
spike stems
glowing in moist grasses
memories of horsetail
neither moss nor pine
vascularly rhyzomic
sporifically versatile
the original flash photography

happy black snake
not seen      seen
not bothered either way

long live the longleaf pine
from grass to tree
needly joyful fireworks
friends of fire
blue skies and wind

pine savannahs
pulped to near extinction
colonized by slash and loblolly
saved by love and rainwater
long live the longleaf pine

saw palmetto
pierce ground and brush
radiate blades
cut through uncertainty
with planar precision

scintillating
sleepy tubing river
I can see alabama from here

first timers greet
memories of the ancient
no hurry
the snake shall remain black
long live the longleaf pine

memories of alberta
wild rose country
catching
brambly
insistent

quiet budding
summer to us
winter to them

simple vertical
calming spindles
this forest is hope

—-
[
Start 1:33pm
End 4:53pm
From University towards Illian, recalculating,
recalculating, to Perdido River Nature Preserve,
onto trail, didactic panels, sunning snake, muddy patches,
to the river bank, a look at alabama, quick chat with the local,
back to trail, stymied by mud and brambles,
escape to private property, wet feet, lunch on the road,
boardwalk through the bog, sleeping pitcher plants,
long leaf pine savannahs, grasses, back to private property,
feathery finish to The Indolent (now loblolly).
]

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November 1 Detail of gathered materials

Epic Walk Diaries (November 1)

metallic blue berries metallic blue metallic blue
like planes so many planes so many boats
heard so many cars
there was dust
there were the waves too the lapping of water
sometimes we couldn’t see the boat it was a crescendo of
metallic sounds

remember the music notation for silence?
it wasn’t there
but sometimes almost there

didn’t you love that there were so many fences
and as many holes as fences?
we were always at an almost-dead end
then a new portal
so good

caught once
(but to be fair many came before us)
we slip past the perplexed matriarch
“we’re not wandering in, we’re wandering off!”

hardened flyäsh
it’s condemned he said
it would move the needle but as it was
it only said 13480 lbs
with some flickers
but really 13 or so tons
this is the coolest parking spot in vancouver
so many shapes and the potential of flyäsh
and and and
an ecosystem fed by the fraser

we heard the sound of hell fire low deep resonant menacing constant
it’s behind a door there are no windows
how do we know it’s not hell in there?
we have no contrary evidence
except the flyäsh guy
he says its a blower
you know for those big ass cement pipes you see lying around
oh ya I guess they’d need some blowing

a playground of shapes
like kindergarten but rusty not soft not small
ratty curtains of orange and blue
a lot of land doing not so much toil not so much work
piles of sand and products of sand
sometimes more emptiness
but on a fresh surface

what a weird little spot we found ourselves in

an outside living room
a box of test tubes with industrial plastic wrap
a survival kit war field surgery guide wilderness survival
water filtration he was ready for everything
except
maybe his own self
a woman would use a backpack
you know…you need both arms
for survival
he’s a survival commuter

a little frisson
probably we’re not supposed to be here
the whole time
we’ll apologize
it helps we’re women

brambles are the original colonizers
creeping across the concrete
far criss crosses
such an interesting deadlive zone this is
we find a colonial talking stick
hard and definite
it never stops talking

we happen on two eagles
they happen onto crows that feel their own mortality
attack screech eagle feather floating down
once more a path opens and we think
maybe this feather is for us
no I think
it will bless this forgotten road instead

—-
[
Start 1:22pm
End 4:37pm
Fraser Park to educational panels,
through trails and down to beaches once in a while,
through holes in fences and makeshift homes and living rooms,
many steps on forbidden territories including a cement factory (garden?)
it kicks us out swiftly,
we walk through the garden of cement shapes,
past a condemned fly ash dispenser,
under a tressle bridge and abandoned structures,
under the yellow oak street bridge,
through a mossy green pebbly beach,
up an embankment to a business park,
and finally to a park at the end of Shaughnessy Rd
(with sand volleyball courts)
back through the railroad tracks (on flyäsh advice)
down Kent (crossing the beginning of the arbutus greenway)
back to Fraser park and Lola.
]

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