lights camera sound actions | time-based contemporary art

Confluence Field Trips, 2016


Video projection with audio, 45min 45sec
4 channel audio, 45min 45sec
5 DVDs, video and audio totaling 5hr 13min 16sec

Exhibited at Art Gallery, Brock University Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, St. Catharines ON
January 7 – 29, 2016

part of an artist’s project including website, walking project, exhibition, talking circle, and multiple
(This work also informed aspects of Whole Shebang Niagara)

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Artist’s Statement

I am a place-based, interdisciplinary artist and my work expands on ideas, emotions and sensations of what it means to be in a body, a place, with others. For some time, I have made works rooted in the watershed of North Niagara.

The project was predicated by the opening in autumn 2015 of two major arts buildings in St. Catharines: the Brock University Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts and the City of St. Catharines’ First Ontario Performing Arts Centre. These buildings overlook Canal Valley, and mark a new phase in a site rich with cycles of wilderness, industry, abandonment, and reclamation.

The “confluence” of the title is that of Dick’s Creek and Twelve Mile Creek, which is viewed during Confluence Field Trip #1 from the MIWSFPA to Rodman Hall Art Centre. About a hundred members of the school and general community responded to the call for participation and walked in seventeen walks throughout September 8 – November 14, 2015. The walks were conducted mostly in silence except for speaking into an audio recorder, while I walked with them wearing a chest-mounted camera.

Place is a broad concept and many ideas have engaged me in making this work. Most of us know Dick’s Creek by the name of Old Welland Canal; this naming speaks of commerce trumping both nature and black history. Others ideas that inform Confluence Field Trips are of water and its management, concepts of governance and ownership of public space, traditional territory, nature within built environments, embodied knowledge, authorship, community and the metaphor of confluence as coming together, displacement and disruption of viewpoints, and historical and contemporary marginalized space and narratives.

Included in the audio is a Mohawk translation of the Nanfan Treaty, translated and spoken by Tehahenteh. This is the third time I have included this in my work and I do so to honour that we live on Haudenosaunee traditional territory and because it is the first governance document after European contact pertaining to this place.

This exhibition is part of Brock University’s Walker Cultural Leader Series, Imagining the City. Thanks to the Marilyn I. Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts, Brock University’s Rodman Hall Art Centre and the Ontario Arts Council’s Exhibition Assistance Program. Thanks to all the walkers and many others whose assistance is acknowledged on the website.

Elizabeth Chitty
St. Catharines ON
December 2015

A Confluence of Geographies. Bart Gazzola. Hamilton Arts & Letters. Issue 8.2.

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