Collaboration with nulle part

Shelter is the result of a collaboration with artists Nulle Part. Through a unique opportunity presented to us by the Art Gallery of Alberta, Nulle Part and I spent six weeks creating Shelter on site in the presence of the public. The project began as a contemplation both on looking and on being observed. As social media has proliferated our culture, I’ve increasingly become aware of the visual access I’ve been granted to homes and domestic spaces. These traditionally private spaces have now taken on a public, performative role. This shift echoed the nature of our project: we would be observed through the process of making the work and viewers would, in turn, be observed by us as they watched.

The resulting exhibition explored the complexities of looking and of being seen and the blurring of the lines between public and private. Through the use of sound, light, installation and photographic projections, the work considers the what we are engaging with through sight and what moderates that engagement. The exhibition space was divided into two rooms, separated by a wall with openings on either end. During the first six weeks of the exhibition the first room displayed a looping video of single blinking eye behind a red gel. The first room was also where Nulle Part worked for much of the first six weeks. In the second room, I worked to create an installation out of polyester gels suspended from the roof. After the six weeks were over, we vacated the space and the exhibition opened. The suspended installation was a geometric shape created by layering and sequencing the gels. A series of lights focused on the installation making the centre the most brightly lit point in the room. At the same time, some of the light reflected off the gels and filled the space with ribbons of colour. At the centre of the installation was a space that could be entered and inhabited by the public, one person at a time.

The installation allows for two roles, object and subject. On entering the space, people are free to embody either part. The gels that create the boundary between the two roles alter how they perceive each other, revealing the complexity of seeing and being seen. The light that is reflected and refracted by the gels moves freely around the round, projecting onto the surfaces of walls, bodies and eyes. In the first room, a series of rotating images replace the red blinking eye. The images put the viewer exclusively in the role of observer. The photographs exist outside time, depicting a process of transformation that is both public and private. They cycle, inviting the eye but remaining constant under its investigation. In both spaces, the composition created by Nulle Part cycles both in and out of sync with the series of images. The piece, created in the space, adds another layer of invisible presence that both influences and enhances perception.

Projections: 90” x 120” Installation: 96” long (at longest point) x 72” wide (at widest point) by 100” tall