8 April – May 24, 2019
still underwater 1: traces, pronunciations, recollectionso
Tracing Skwahchays, Hole in Bottom, in today’s False Creek Flats
The former inlet and salt marshes bounded today by Vancouver’s Union, Clark, Great Northern Way, and Main Street were once known as False Creek East, and more previously by Salish communities as what might roughly be translated as hole-in-bottom, or, Skwahchays. In the centennial years of the filling and destruction of hole-in-bottom, PLOT invites the land art collective KEXMIN field station* to initiate new research, field trips, monitoring, test sites, public conversations, screenings, ceremonies, performances, interventions, and proposals. In various periods over the next three years, still underwater will explore new forms of decolonial land art based on emergent protocols in acknowledging a wider range of territorial, linguistic, cultural, and historical concerns, as well as emerging relationships, alliances, and communalities.
At the core of still underwater are a series of questions about new opportunities for environmental, site-based, and public art on the Pacific North-West coast: How can artists, curators and audiences—with a wide range of heritages—engage fully around unceded land and sites, with respect and support towards the rapidly evolving cultural, political, and legal protocols of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations? For indigenous artists, what does it mean to have a heritage and political entitlement around unceded sites such as ‘hole-in-bottom’? On the seismically-vulnerable terrain of ‘hole-in bottom’, how can site-based artistic interventions and permanent public art works hold transformative roles within its ‘redeveloping’ neighbourhoods, where new construction seems inevitable despite its geological instability?
This event is held on the unceded territory of the sḵwx̱wú7mesh, sel̓íl̓witulh, & xʷməθkʷəy̓əm nations.
KEXMIN field station* is a loose collective of indigenous and non-indigenous site-based artists, environmental researchers, scientists, and designers focused on the waters, shores and islands of the Salish Sea. Currently located on Salt Spring Island, the field station exists as a research, learning and experimentation space to nurture conversations spanning traditional indigenous knowledge, modern science, and contemporary culture. Individuals currently contributing to ‘still underwater’ include Musqueam weaver and public artist Debra Sparrow, Salish curator Rose Spahan, Métis public artist and environmental scientist Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (currently coordinating the 2019 events at PLOT), public artist and designer Alex Grünenfelder, ecological designer and public artist Oliver Kellhammer, and Sharon Kallis a community engaged environmental artist.
*The ‘K’ in KEXMIN is underlined where possible [but not possible in the current version of WordPress] and represents a distinctive sound and letter in the SENĆOŦEN language – one of the more than a score of Salish languages.
Event listings and documentation will be posted below