In light of our climate changing, I have growing uncertainty and deep concerns for what the future holds; this is reflected in my work, which explores themes that range from the impacts of climate change, to the sustainability of water supply, and excessive waste production. I work predominantly in socially engaged performance and site-specific installation, incorporating photography, video, and sculpted objects as defining artistic elements. With the onset of the pandemic, my practice expanded to embrace lens-based forms as a primary platform. Regardless of the medium I am working in, my work is designed to activate specific sites and engage a public to share experiences with climate change, sustainability, and reuse.
My most recent body of work, Superimpositions: Wildfires In My Landscape is a conceptual animated photography series. It involves my superimposing found images that document recent wildfires onto photographs I took in rural Ontario, in regions I am deeply connected with, which have not, to this point, been directly impacted by an increase in climate fires. The overlays unfold over a prolonged period of time to convey as premonitions, reflecting my thoughts and fears that similarly devastating fires could easily happen in these regions I have a strong connection with.
My socially engaged performance work is often site-specific. And my method for engaging a public involves using props, duration, and action as devices that embrace the absurd to engage the everyday; I do this by using props, performing actions, or engaging in a duration that is noticeably out of place so people may become curious and feel compelled to talk with me. I also use duration to generate scale and convey endurance in my work. The best example of this, is with my piece, One Year and Twenty-Four Days of Fishing, for which I carried a fishing rod and wore rubber boots everywhere, every day, for over a year. The scale of the project increased by the amount of time I committed to it, given the number of experiences and interactions I had over time increased, the extended duration made the project more enduring and ultimately, a transformational experience. I became the girl with the fishing rod; it was nearly impossible to be invisible.
Working with salvage became a significant aspect of my work when I began building docks as platforms for socially engaged performance projects. When creating sculptural objects that function as props in my work or components of a site-specific installation, it is important to me to use refuse as my material and to make the elements appear as true to life as possible. My reason for this is two fold – a realistic appearance of the element helps to emphasize the absurd nature of the action I am performing and also demonstrates that one can create impeccable elements/objects out of refuse.
Shortly before the pandemic was upon us, my socially engaged performance practice expanded, in that I had begun to incorporate additional performers, choreography, and structured dialogue, while continuing to engage specific sites and cultivate opportunities for public engagement. For example, in Harbinger, I directed and led a group of 13 performers through areas that would be flooded with a 6 foot rise in sea levels, and in fact is already flooding frequently, during the performance we incorporated choreography that utilized prop, signalling gestures, and conversational prompts to engage each other as well as any public present, in order to reflect on the subjects of extreme weather, climate change, and survival.