Boréal Art/Nature, Labelle, Québec, May 6, 2007.

To conclude my residency I presented a performance-installation in the Boréal cabin. The piece revolved around a ritual meal – a way of extending beyond the non-verbal solitude that was such a huge part of my residency. It explored relations between dwellings built as a mode of survival, ideas of escape, and the privilege of retreat. This encompassed an interest in animal architecture, as well as research begun in Lithuania the previous fall on underground hideouts built during WWII (malinas).

While on the Boréal land, I often had the sense that this forest, this cabin, could be in another country, another time, and it was this displacement/bridging that was my point of departure. The performance took place all afternoon, with groups of eight people at a time. Participants were seated and served homemade borscht, as I told stories related to the miniature malina ensemble that was on the table. The piece was quite improvised, and slipped between theatrical moments of absurdity or intense emotion, to everyday silence or chit-chat as people slurped their soup. Because of the intimate context, some people opened up a dialogue, asking questions about malinas, or recounting family war stories and recipes. Following this project I produced an artist's book, Boréal Borscht.

Materials: miniature handmade objects (paper, cardboard, glue, thread, paint, pencil), dishes, food, table, chairs.