Week 3 – Studio Progress

This last weekend was Canadian Thanksgiving so I was able to have a long weekend. Although I wasn’t able to travel too far from home this time around, it was the perfect weekend to spend time outdoors, reflecting, and putting in hours in the studio.

Under Kimberley’s advice I have been taking turns between working on the web and Photoshop work needed to complete my projects and doing some irl, pen to paper work to break it up. This has been so important, as I can only handle so much screen time each day, despite my excitement about the works.

Chugging along on the web project, all 7 poems are now completed and written out in my handwriting. I precisely calculated the 526 words over the last few edits, and are ready to be integrated. Hopefully all spelling mistakes were caught, but hand writing the text seemed important to me so that the website feels as handmade and materialistic as possible, and also adds to the personal feeling of the writings.

Using these poems and some other drawings, I laid out the negative that will be used to make an accordion book. It will be paired with another that will be filled with the 526 stars in Pleiades, and will be accompanied by larger embroidered cyanotypes for my ArtsNB grant project.

for journal.PNG

Cyanotyping in the backyard
initial test to draw all 49 back grounds for website

I also decided to cyanotype all the images of the stars, rather than drawing them by hand, to capture the unpredictable and exciting hues that come from the process. I took a very large NASA public domain image, edited and inverted it, and made it more graphic to create the 50 odd negatives which capture all 526 stars. I also think there is something very poetic about an image of stars made by our closes star, and me, another bundle of stardust. These still need to be scanned, and have the text added, another big computer job that I will be breaking up with another physical project.

This project will involve the exploration of sound, another new media for me, but still based within the realm of drawing. I will be using these DIY paper music boxes to create soundscapes. I have always been fascinated by music boxes as objects, their form is so unassuming, but also ingenious. That something so small and simple can play back a sound that can evoke such strong emotions is really incredible. I also think the way they can play off paper is really the perfect blend of the physical and technological that I have been searching for. Their materiality is physical and so known to me, I spent all last year poking holes in paper, it makes perfect sense to activate it by making it into sound.

Image result for diy paper music boxes

Starting off with a simple question: what would a constellation sound like? I intent to puncture holes as they appear to us in the cosmos, play it, and see what it sounds like. The paper tape will be looped and also drawn on to reflect the glow of these stars and the complexity of darkness. I also plan to do more research into the sounds that actually exist in space, if any(?) and research songs and fables that may relate to these ideas (Vega, Lyra?).

Sackville is expected to get five straight days of constant rain, so I am thankful I had one sunny day to get some work done. I love the impracticability of working with the sun, but I also wonder if an exposure unit might we a worthwhile investment, as it will be a long winter without much sun, and a busy schedule. Cyanotyping at night under UV, is not quite as poetic, but a bit more practical.

This week my reading and research has mostly been about wavelengths, soldering and how the science of cyanotype actually functions, considering all the practical problem that could arise while trying to build one myself. I also do not want this to take up too much time, but would be time-saving in the long run, rather than having to wait for sunny days to make work.



“Lyra represents the lyre of Orpheus. Made by Hermes from a tortoise shell, given to Apollo as a bargain, it was said to be the first lyre ever produced.

Orpheus’s music was said to be so great that even inanimate objects such as trees, streams, and rocks could be charmed. Joining Jason and the Argonauts, his music was able to quell the voices of the dangerous Sirens, who sang tempting songs to the Argonauts.” http://www.evolveandascend.com/2016/08/20/cosmic-music-vega-lyra-88-constellations/

Music composed based inspiration from the cosmos: https://www.astronomy2009.org/static/resources/iya2009_music_astronomy.pdf



Activating Archives

Last Tuesday I gave a talk on digital archives to a group of fourth year students as a part of their Art and Archives, Art History Seminar. I talked about some projects from my curatorial career but also my artistic projects. I find it impossible (but also maybe pointless) to try and keep these two worlds separate. All the research is related and overlaps and informs my making. Further more the core values of my artistic process are the same as my curatorial and I am always working towards these goals in everything I do. Providing accessibility to the arts, encouraging engagement, providing a democratic space for making and thinking and to present under represented voices and stories are at the core of my two roles of curator and artist.

I think at the route of all online endeavors, accessibility should be a core goal. Not only does the online provide those facing physical barriers access to information, it also provides opportunities to share previously hidden information like behind the scenes info which demystifies the institution. It also provides opportunities for engagement. Commenting, sharing and retweeting allows for anyone to have a say about exhibitions, artworks or artists.

I started the talk by going back to the first online archive experience I had as an undergrad and over the summer after graduating from my BFA. I worked with Owens Art Gallery Conservator Jane Tisdale and Curator of Education and Community Outreach, Lucy MacDonald, to create A Virtual Companion to All Things Useful and Artistic: Applied Arts at Mount Allison University 1906-1960. The exhibition, curated by Jane Tisdale, included woodcarving, leather work, jewellery, metalwork, china painting, pottery, basketry, and weaving by students and faculty between 1906 and 1960. The exhibition examined the important place of the Applied Arts program in the history of art education at Mount Allison University and in Canada.

Acting as a legacy for the exhibition, the website provided in-depth features on selected objects, behind-the-scenes documentation of the exhibition installation, video footage of conservation treatments, archival photographs and oral histories from graduates of the Applied Arts program, a group that had largely felt underappreciated during their time because of the stigma around applied arts and their gender.

https://www.mta.ca/owens/appliedarts/index.html Screen Shot 2018-10-01 at 11.57.03 AM.png

I then talked about more creative/resourceful approaches to sharing an online archive by showing them #Colville365 on instagram and facebook. This hashtag is an archive that is growing daily to share one object a day from Alex Colville’s studio. The entire studio was donated to the Mount Allison University Archives and is on display in the Colville House, which is only open seasonally.

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 1.03.12 PM.png

I think this leads to s low unraveling of something larger, and also provides a space for audiences to comment, question or add their thoughts about the individual objects. It has also been interesting to see how the switch to thinking about all the objects together versus one item at a time, both contribute to a larger understanding of the Artist.

I have been thinking about how twitter and instagram bots could be used in my own projects to slowly unveil a larger idea.

Particularity this could lend itself well to the idea of the pleiades being made up of so many stars, and how each contributes to something larger than itself. The 526 drawings of each star I have made, could be published one at a time, with their name, and word from the larger writing to create an asterism that grows over time.

A daily project examining the rates of star decay and births could also be interesting.  Since they are linked both would needs to be constantly changing.

In the lecture I also talked about the Society of Anonymous Drawers, and the GAZE Archive I started last year, and their issues and why I no longer continuing down those paths.

I then discusses a curatorial project, U-PICK I have been working on which is a series of community curated exhibitions and a growing Vimeo Chanel online.


Each month a friend of the Owens Art Gallery is invited to select a work or two, or sometimes three from the Owens’ collection. These community members, students, staff and faculty share their own perspectives and connections to works that they pick and to the collection overall. This leads to new voices being present in the gallery and online, as they share fresh, often personal perspectives to the collection. It also leads to a sense of public ownership over the works, and activates the collection in new ways each time, as each curator brings their own approach.

The Owens Art Gallery’s collection began with an initial group of 300 predominantly European paintings, prints and drawings acquired in 1885 as a teaching collection for art students to study and copy. The collection has now grown to over 3000 works of art including paintings, photographs, prints, sculpture and multi-media work by established Canadian and International Artists.

From this I have dscovered that I really do enjoy working with others, and their ideas create such rich interpretations and links between works, that I would have never considered. Perhaps this is something I could incorporate into my own practice, not as much working with big groups anymore, but with a collaborator.




Week 2 – Research and Tutorial

On the theme of testing practice and to go along with the observations we made during last weeks’ session I am hoping to continue to explore themes of understanding self through the cosmos but in new medias. This way of working may get to the heart of my desires to bridge the gap between my practice of drawing and zines with the social practice/interactive art. This also allows the work to be interpreted and activated without me being involved as a performer, which is something I would like to step back from.

In these ways of working I hope to explore the possibilities of non linear story telling though custom built websites that respond to early text based video games.

These games, which started being created as early as the 60’s, employ language and simple images to set up a set of choices for the players/audience. These text-based adventure games allow you to choose your own path, sometimes with a concrete ending, but others can have endless combination possibilities, or be cyclical.

I  have been looking at artists who use text in online platforms to explore those possibilities of internet based collaboration in their practices.

Emily Short — Galatea (2000) first game made by a woman

Amanda Low — origin of the net (2014) and eternally moving (2018)

Miranda July — App Somebody https://www.mirandajuly.com/somebody-2/

Kara Stone — Just tell me how you feel (2017) Friendship simulator

Ben Chang — Dots and Dashes (2008)

Darious Kazemi — Reverse OCR Twitter Bot

Nathan Austin  — @orctifacts (instagram page of glitch poems)

Micah Lexier  — I am the coin (online version)

Everst Pipkin  — bodies.html, window, link poetry

Dan Vogel  —  Siftot and my name is Owens

I have also been reading through the Rhizome Net Art Anthology to see ‘historic’ ways of working. https://anthology.rhizome.org/

I have started teaching myself to work with Adobe Muse to build these sites, because it is so visual, and I am not in a place to learn another language of coding.

For the text I have been writing poems one line at a time and rearranging them to make new poems for a book work, but online I would like the lines to be read in any order depending on which word in the line you click. Doing this will take you to another line and then another, then back around again.

These poems incorporate themes of mythology, scientific observation, and personal narrative, on themes of transformation and growth. I am interested in how the poetic language can work with scientific language to create new mode of meaning depending of the reader’s relationships to those types of words. Both these types of language have to do with communication, either by communicating hard facts and data or subjective information.

I have started this simple site which will focus on the Pleiades myth and asterism. A story/celestial object I am interested in because of the themes of sister hood, transformation to escape male violence, that it is the oldest recorded collection of stars (Nebra Sky Disk), that we see 7 stars, but its glow is actually made up of 526 stars, all with names.

With my drawings as backgrounds, you can click any star to go to another place in the asterism, and see new parts of the Pleiades, or click any word in the the poem to go to the next phrase.

site map.PNG



Poems: 5/7 in progress

Seven Sisters Seven Times for the Pleiades

Celaeno (Dawn)

each day standing in front of a small circular mirror

when it is still dark out, quietly and carefully,

as to not wake the starlings that have taken to roosting outside my window

counting the new dapples and bruises acquired from another restless sleep

dawn happens at a different time each day, even if you don’t notice

Urania’s mirror reflects the moonlight and first peek of daylight

across my skin, casting the familiar shadows made by a treatise of cosmic dust


Elecrta (Noon)

clustred together seven ring doves create a heptagram

some distance above my zenith view, marking the connection between the terrestrial and celestial

they retreat into solitude when the sun it at its strongest

or when the first warm day of spring arrives

hibernating above the thermosphere, and nesting atop the exosphere

the electromagnetic forces shift, pointing the cluster towards a new home

protecting them from Orion’s grasp for the last hundred million years and the next to come


Maia (Evening)

each Julian year, at the beginning of spring a routine retreat

ensure the safety of seven sisters, just outside the Orion Nebula

Maia appears first, as the day gets washed off my face

and the weight of a cosmos above me is released from my compacted spine

I grow seven millimeters each night under the stars, and shrivel eight in the sun

expanding sixty seven kilometers per second while nothing feels like its moving

is enough to make anyone feel nauseas, even when the movement is predictable


Sterope (Dusk)

doves will always fly in predictable patterns, or at least recordable

it is in their nature to do so, in the universe’s to expand and in mine to shrink

before the day can end, their calculated gestures finish mapping a purpose

a means to remain safe, even if it means eventually burning out

at least one hundred billion each year

but they will cycle back, in their own time, and I will too

it is nothing worth getting worked up about


Merope (Morning)

the faintest dot marks a recurring, expected change through its gossamer beauty

migrating form east to west, a starthroat’s migratory path predicts the day

before it dissipates among the light from our closest star

their shadows cycle, trailing behind our own anticipated motions

mapping lines to connect an asterism to a larger constellation

a topographical depiction of an incomprehensible horizon

spanning across a personal urographia, that any starthroat could fly beyond

Bibliography MA2 (in-progress)

Articles and Books:

New (to me) Artists:








This summer was one of reflection and research. After completely burning myself out between school and work in May, I spent June stepping back from the studio.

I focused on reflection about why I have been doing what I did during the first year of the MA and what it actually accomplished. I think I was actually fairly nervous to really try anything new, and quickly abandoned ides that didn’t work out in favour of something that could be finished. However this finishing didn’t really push anything forward, and looking back feels really predictable.

Leaving the studio for a while let me spend the summer outside: walking, thinking, writing, collecting and just enjoying the warmth while making small projects and writing small poems outdoors.

I have been sending out postcards monthly to a group of supporters, and this was my main form of making. I feel so much freedom when making these, and am usually so much happier with them than anything I made the last year.

I feel really fortunate to have received a grant to make a small book and series of drawings, which have been slowly percolating. Focusing on the Pleiades, these writings and images are really an extension of projects started last year.

how do we extend practice and towards what?

  • I would like to extend my practice back into the social realm, but have felt conflicted about the sensationalism of social practice
  • I think an more introspective online or postal project may get to the audience I want, with out large social gatherings that I just don’t feel I can facilitate right now
  • working online or in this remote way, I want to expand the audience of my work, especially to participants outside of the art world
  • Strive for an interdisciplinary approach

How are we curious materially and yet focused?

  • I am curious about so many materials, but still want to stay focused on drawing for its immediacy, and ability to be translated to print or online
  • expansion to digital and new media (animation, projection net.art) but based in drawing which is familiar

How to incorporate purposeful play?

  • working in series
  • not being afraid to put tests out into the world
  • do not abandon initial ideas, just because they may not seem possible to do in a few weeks
  • set rigorous challenges for myself, and judge successes on whether those challenges have been tackled but not necessarily achieved

Goal based challenges for myself: 

  • create something goes exists in the world, and not just storage
  • create work that matters and will have an effect on audience
  • dont get hung up in the research – its ok to make an then research
  • do something different – grow your skills

Overall I think I just need this year to be a redo of the exploration that was supposed to happen in MA1, not be so worried about presenting finished work or completely backed up ideas, focus in and make things more simple for myself theoretically, but challenge myself materially.






Form Frame Fracture (Final Realization)


Dealing with the Transition on scale between the macro and microcosms of the universe this book work translates the incomprehensibly large to a scale that is related to the body. Documenting connections between the patterns on flesh, microbes and the night sky, scale is hinted through poetic labels which reference an archival collection. Though this work opens up to be larger than a traditional book, the surprise of opening up a book which can not be easily held because it is so long, mirrors the futility of trying to understand the entire cosmos.

Cosmos and Me, Own Work, dimensions variable, 25 x 25 x 350cm long shown, 25 x 25 x5cm when closed, Form Frame Fracture Assignment, ink on paper and board
Cosmos and Me (detail), Own Work, Form Frame Fracture Assignment, ink on paper and board

Exploratory Project: Week 14 (Documentation & Final Thoughts)


*GAZE Archive Statement:

*GAZE exploratory project will aim to connect the audience over the ability to experience the wonder of the night sky, documenting it, and sharing the different perceptions we all have about the night sky.

Archive Name: *GAZEs (Galactic Archive of Zenith Explorations), reads as ‘Star Gazes’

Documenting the ongoing social history of stars, *GAZERs is open to all levels of astronomers and star gazers. The *GAZERs Archive accepts documentation of all zenith* views, the view when you look directly up at the sky. Imagined and observed collections of stars alike are all accepted into this growing archive.

Documenting the ongoing social history of stars, *GAZERs collects facts, fiction and the ideas that float in between. Through collection, creation and preservation of the history of stars, the archive protects and promotes the human desire to gaze up at the stars and wonder “what could be up there?”.

*Zenith: “The zenith is an imaginary point directly “above” a particular location, on the imaginary celestial sphere. “Above” means in the vertical direction opposite to the apparent gravitational force at that location.”


I think this body of work can be broken up into three components. The wall works could be a series in and of themselves, while the archive, performance/participatory project and website function together as another thematic project. Thought they all are dealing with similar subject matter and materiality, the breath of themes and issues these works are trying to tackle is getting a bit out of hand.

I am completely fine with this, and this it is an important way of working to recognize. Especially within the context of this Exploratory Project, I was trying to figure out how I could use this new (to me) material of carbon paper and performance within the thematic scope of my pre-existing practice. I have broken up the work into two categories within the project, the light boxes which are more passive, and the performative elements such as the video, participatory project and website.

Part 1: Light Boxes

By layering paper strategically to limit how much pressure I apply to the back of the carbon paper using pencils and other tools like a sewing needle, Japanese punch, and pattern tracing tool, I can get different marks. It also results in a positive of my negative drawings being produced. By layering different projects I find these are becoming interesting drawings in themselves, showing the process, while the carbon paper shows it too but also the materiality.




Part 2: Performance and Participatory Project

On Friday May 4th the gallery had a small reception, and I invited attendees to submit to the archive. I am still waiting to get the documentation back, but I recieved a good number of submissions, from children and adults alike. Many of the drawings were of imagined stars and skies. The fantastical observations turned out beautiful in the carbon paper, which I will turn into slides and then add to the archive. The notes section of the form also turned out to be delightfully playful, and some notes ranges from just “M” from a 4 year old, to poems from adults.

I have had an embosser fabricated to stamp carbon copies for the collection, and am making small tags and labels for the objects I am making as part of the installation. A half to 3/4 pressure crimp seems to be ideal for read ability.

I think this tool adds an element of authenticity to the archive materials. Even though it is completely fabricated by me, it adds a sense of importance to all the submissions, and is a bit playful in the way it enacts the ritual of officiating or archiving to all objects.

Video documentation of a discrete performance can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc5gpVKDh54

Part 3: Website

I have been trying to work with Google Maps API to develop an interactive map that allows one of my drawing to be tiled endlessly and for users to be able to pick a star and tag it with a name or any other textual information they may want, but I am having trouble figuring out the coding on my own. I have enlisted the assistance of my partner Jacob to help me in figuring out where the code needs to go, but this will be an ongoing project.  http://map.stargazearchive.xyz/

In the meantime I have bought a domain, worked out format of the website archive and have made a submission page and about description: https://www.stargazearchive.xyz/