Acts of Carbon

Hamilton Artists Inc, Hamilton, Ontario
May 8-16, 2009

With this performance-installation I performed for five hours a day over the course of a week. The piece explored the intersections of drawing, improvisation, and personal archaeology, within a theatrical set-up that continually evolved. Actions took place at different “stations” of the gallery, forming a cycle of gestures. Much of the time I moved blindly, either wearing an eye mask or with my eyes closed. The actions included moving through a pile of ash, organizing my findings from the ash pile, drawing, combining objects with the drawings, washing my hands, wrapping/unwrapping a collection of soap remnants, crisscrossing the space with the help of a clothesline, sewing words onto my nightgown (listing things found in the ash), rolling on the floor, filling plastic bags with air, pausing to eat an orange… Many of my gestures were in response to discoveries made in situ. For example while sifting through the ash pile I discovered an ancient fragment of newspaper that read “bodies of scattered.” This text was physically and metaphorically incorporated into the work.

Materials: nightgown, ash, charcoal, watercolour paper, newsprint, erasers, soap, basin with water, rags,

clothesline, child’s wool suit, plastic bags, needle, thread, oranges

Photographs: Stephanie Bell & Irene Loughlin