June 21, 2012 film screening and conversation

3 filmmakers + 3 bodies + 3 performers = identities on both sides of the camera

Deirdre Logue, Lysanne Thibodeau, Farheen Haq

For all 3 the self and the camera are the opening images in a dialogue that is still developing. Each filmmaker has her own physical and material viewpoint, ritual and performance: it is fabric for Farheen Haq, memory for Lysanne Thibodeau and repetition for Deirdre Logue. Each direct “the gaze” revealing attitudes and images of the body and perform “projections of anxieties” showing resistance and ambiguities of the body. Haq films herself wrapped in fabric and water suggesting purification and initiation of the body. Thibodeau films are documents of her experiences laden with hopes for what might have been and fears for the present moment. Logue crams her films with the tension of discomforts and humiliations inside and outside of the body. They work not with autobiography or narrative but with the self as subject, as self-interest, producing self-made films that work within a self-representational discourse.

still from Patch by Deidre Logue (photo credit Deidre Logue)



The camera is a glass box a mirror an apparatus in severance to the gesture and gesticulation of the body.

Deirdre Logue

Lysanne Thibodeau

Farheen Haq

Sitting with Species at Risk

Elyse Portal’s project brings attention to local Vancouver Island plant species in risk of extinction. Portal builds an altar for species-at-risk out of the gallery’s neighbourhood found and trash objects. She invites the public to build clay bowls for each near extinction northwest coast plant, candles are lit in each bowl and added to the  altar. At the close of the project the bowls are fitted with at-risk plant seeds and left outdoors with a chance to propagate.

Chaos, September 25, 2010

Performance – actions as language or visual flavors

Sinéad O’Donnell (Belfast), Sandra Johnston (Belfast), Pauline Cummins (Dublin), Poshya Kakl (Iraq)

How do you come to terms with the trauma or bliss of a place?

Where are the borders and curfews of a space?

Where is me? Where is you?

In the performance Chaos the artists rely upon evidence and actions, remembered and mimicked, to build installations in places and spaces that the audience bears witness to.

Sinéad O’Donnell agitated and caressed an unsteady stack of white china plates while a recorded voice, male and then female, repeated the word “VIOLENCE”. Forty anxious minutes later Sinéad walked away from the plates, without her compliance the stack caved.

Sandra Johnston performed in a 19th century courthouse, like a ghost the structure and muscle memory of the place slipped into her. Sandra did not recreate stories but breathed in the evidence of the room, shifting and working with the things at hand.

Pauline Cummins fried chunks of bread in an electric frying pan. The bread chunks resembled the silhouettes of little kids. The gallery smelled of rancid oil. A super 8 film of a family gathering was projected onto a wall, a live feed of the frying bread burned on another. As Pauline cooked more and more bread kids for the audience what seemed a pleasant communal feast became a propensity of consumption.

Poshya Kakl performed via Skype. She was in Iraq, at home in her bedroom. We were in Victoria in the gallery lying on the floor looking up at a data projection of her presence –slowly Poshya revealed herself by unraveling a mass of string that was wound around her head.  When we lost the live feed, everyone groaned—applauded when we reconnected.

Artist links:
Sinéad O’Donnell

Pauline Cummins –

Standing in front of a low table flickering with gleams of light from paper baskets Peter Morin acknowledged all the people who shared a story for the Memory Talking Stick project.


We were surrounded by the stories and activities; the paper baskets hold the stories in the same way that the drawings mark the wall, the stitches tighten the moccasins and the voices echo in the ear. Morin collect 114 stories from the community 114 stories of unhappiness and suffering also 114 stories of strength. Morin’s work and practice engages in a healing process with elders, survivors and youth; Morin reminded us of today’s date: June 12, the second anniversary of the Canadian government’s apology for assimilation practices in Canada’s residential schools.


The doorway into the project is through identity and home.



Morin and friends carry cedar baskets around the room – we each take turns smelling the offering. As we breathe in we cleanse our cheeks, foreheads and hair in the vapors of deerskin, cedar bark, smoke, fire. Now we all have the memory of being washed in that smell forever. “Smell is memory, it all comes home back in a rush”, says Morin.


Morin’s work and practice is about direct experience and exchange: listen to a story and a task is placed on you to respond, to share a story in return or retell a story. The method is radically effective. It holds the potential for change. Start asking both friends and chance encounters: – “Who are your people?”

Memory Talking Stick Project Peter Morin Victoria BC 2010