Over the past year I have been commissioned to produced several short films documenting the activities of local ecologically minded art collectives. At present, I am working on another group of similar shorts, all with the purpose to highlight the small, but significant activities of grass-roots, community based artists, particularly those that work outside the consumer/gallery model of western art. Most recently, I completed the first of three films that document the CONDUIT project, by the ART IS LAND NETWORK, an artist collective “whose shared connection is the use of natural and repurposed material to engage with the landscape.” The year long project at the DR. SUN YAT SEN PARK in Vancouver, involves three separate groups of artists, working with the public in different ways within this stunning urban park. The first component is called CONTOUR.
Another project that I covered in the past year stems from my previous involvement with URBAN WEAVER, a group formed by Sharon Kallis and Todd DeVries, working out of the McLean Park Field House in East Vancouver. YEAR TWO follows the many projects that the group undertook, including growing and processing flax into linen, traditional Haida cedar weaving, and erosion control methods using culled invasive plant material.
A YEAR AT ABERTHAU follows three artists in a community based project entitled FLAX = FOOD + FIBRE. Artists Caitlin ffrench, Mirae Rosner and Sharon Kallis held numerous public workshops that focused on the growing, processing and spinning of flax, and the ways that this ancient practice spill over into other art forms, including weaving, dance, music, and earth sculpture.
These projects embody a contemporary trend in the arts that highlights local landscapes, skills, and history over the monolithic forces of consumer culture, the international art scene and mainstream media-based culture. Participating in communal, hand-based art forms can be an awakening to another way of living and seeing the world.