lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Breath and the Heart, Listen (1994)

exhibited at Niagara Artists’ Company, St. Catharines, ON
Fiesta Cultural, an anti-racism project presented by Worldwise International Awareness Centre Niagara and Niagara Artists’ Company
March and April 1994

2 faux tree trunks, velvet curtain with 2 cut-outs, 2 videos, grapevine, headphones and audio text, lit museum case* holding The Voyages of Jacques Cartier** and 2 b/w photocopy cut-outs

B+H, LBeyond the texts is a curtain hung between two theatrical, faux tree trunks. Two shapes, a human heart and lungs and an ear are cut out to reveal a videotape image of tree branches. I intend this miniature proscenium as a cultural metaphor and the videotape and cut-out component as a reminder of our own nature, our connection to nature.

Artist’s Statement
B+H, L caseThis work constructs a way of seeing a commonality between two nature-based cultures which the dominant western culture has attempted to destruct; the two being a British pre-Christian earth goddess culture and a North American indigenous culture.

B+H, bookI have chosen two texts on the subject of healing. One is an incantation which was recorded in a twelfth-century British medical treatise. The other is an excerpt from The Voyages of Jacques Cartier in which the explorer records an event in which the diseased crew is healed by medicine provided by the leader of the St. Lawrence Iroquoians (later rewarded with his abduction and death in France). The incantation is taped and heard through headphones which alludes to oral tradition. The other text is placed in a display case which alludes to cultural authority.
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* The museum display case in this piece was designed, built and used courtesy of Joe Favro.
** The Voyages of Jacques Cartier. University of Toronto Press. 1993.

  1. […] the early 1990s, I made Theatrum Silvaticae (performance, 1992) and Breath and the Heart, Listen (installation, 1994); they were close to the beginning of my interaction as a non-native Canadian […]

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