lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Archive for April, 2013|Monthly archive page

Return to The Main Event – Rennie Park

In Uncategorized on April 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

It’s been ages since I have blogged at all and since I have worked on The Main Event (fond interim name in my electronic folders for the project for which I received an OAC research grant in 2012). This is happily due to other art opportunities (such as the terrific Niagara Dance Company commission, Dissolve, and major family events. I have recently returned to The Main Event and I am sorry to say that the driver is a production grant deadline. Maybe I should not say sorry and frame grant deadlines as helpful.

I have changed direction. This is partly because I am so sick of hearing about the War of 1812 I have lost any interest in addressing war resisters to same. But more positively, it is mostly because the project has evolved to embrace my general direction, which is to dissolve boundaries between my artistic and change agent practises.  (My professional change agent practice, aka consultant business, is non-existent at present and my volunteer activities have increased significantly, beginning with Idle No More in late 2012.) While I have a long history of community work in varied capacities – serving as administrator of arts service organizations nationally, provincially and regionally, catalyzing community arts practice in St. Catharines during my years with the dearly-departed St. Catharines and Area Arts Council, and creating my own art work based in community – I have only once worked in what I consider to be a “pure” community art practice and did not consider it successful (working with RAFT, the local youth shelter in 2005). I do not consider that this work will be “pure” community art practice either, but it will be developed in partnership with community groups and issues with which I identify. The performance remains to be one in which the audience will move from site to site on a bus which will house a video projection system and I still intend that it take place over a series of Friday and Saturday summer nights in 2014. It has evolved to sites only within the municipality of the City of St. Catharines (since I am no longer tied to 1812 War Resister sites and it will lessen bus travel time) which are selected primarily on the basis of their identification with the community groups.

Never Again

Rennie Park Peace Garden

Rennie Park Peace Garden

First up in a partnership with Project Ploughshares Niagara, a tiny and very grassroots peace organization with which I worked on the Art of Peace Festival in my capacity as Executive Director of St. Catharines and Area Arts Council. I have of course worked with peace issues in my work before, with Song For A Blue Moon, a 2004 performance which took 6 years to create encompassing my 3 years of homelessness.

For many years, PPN has presented a Hiroshima and Nagasaki Lantern Service at Rennie Park in Port Dalhousie and is responsible with other organizations for the peace focus of the park (in pleasant St. Catharines coexistence with the rowing focus although I notice the City website makes no mention of the Peace Garden, only the rowing content). This event will be the starting point for the section of the performance at Rennie Park.

Here are a photos of the Lantern Service kindly provided by Project Ploughshares Niagara:


Recently, I scouted the location. The part of the park used by PPN for the Lantern Service is in the area of their Peace Garden, close to a small canal beside Martindale Pond upon which they float the lanterns. I expect to limit the performance to that part dependent on whether or not the City will allow our small bus access to the road leading into that area (because it will house the projector). I eyed an attractive mound with trees close to the parking lot as a possible location if absolutely required as a back-up, but we would need to walk into the the Peace Garden.