still underwater: 2019-22 decolonial land art projects marking the centennial of the disappearance of False Creek East in central Vancouver & with a number of indigenous names including “SKWA-CHICE” in Squamish translated as “deep hole in water”

8 April – May 24, 2019
still underwater 1: traces, pronunciations, recollectionso

organized by

still underwater:
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

territorial acknowledgements: SKWA-CHICE “deep hole in water” | “hole in bottom” | False Creek East

Much of contemporary culture in Vancouver, and other parts of Canada, is about territorial acknowledgement: out of consideration as sensitive members of multicultural communities, as part of commitments to decolonization and conciliation, in respect for new inter-governmental protocols, and as creative practices that foster dialogue and collaboration.

This project, on SKWA-CHICE “deep hole in water” | “hole in bottom” | False Creek East, is grounded in the territorial acknowledgement of our current host and partner in Vancouver, Access Gallery:

“With gratitude as guests, Access is located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.”

This kind of territorial acknowledgement from a cultural organization nurtures a diversifying set of inter-cultural and political conversations.

While many people were hurt by the destruction of “deep hole in water,” a large portion of  respective governments, organizations and individuals, who cared about these losses at the time, were indigenous. But since the latter decades of the twentieth century, the benefits  to settlers and non-indigenous Canadians from indigenous erasure and the neocolonialism, that ignored indigenous governments and demographics, have largely expired. For most Canadians, the lack of real conciliation and basic contact with First Nations governments and civil organizations is a real drag: economically, socially, and culturally. Indigenous erasure in public space and landscapes increasingly undermines long-term social solidarity and the integrity of community-based cultural production.

While ‘white privilege’ continues to be a significant source of inequity, all Canadians benefit from ongoing political and cultural conversations about indigeneity. And relationships to indigeneity are simple: having at least one indigenous parent who lives that identity in some way or not. There are no choices with indigeneity, the choices are with the depth of acknowledgment and engagement with respective intercultural inequities and taking the opportunities for expanded dialogue.

Today, a broader spectrum of Vancouver’s communities see the damage that was done, with the destruction of “deep hole in water,” and are learning and experimenting with evolving protocols and intercultural practices to acknowledge multiple owners, stewards, cultural economies, and modes of creative production. In order to parse the 19th and 20th Century conflation of the diverse indigenous territorial and governmental relationships, languages, and cultures that lead to the erasure of “deep hole in water,” a few activist principles can guide our excavations, interventions, reconstructions, and restorations:

1. acknowledge and learn from “deep hole in water” as part of the communities of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations  and treat these relationships as ongoing, in present and future tenses;

2. acknowledge and learn from the three indigenous languages spoken in “deep hole in water”: Musqueam Halkomelem / hunq’umin’um’ / hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓; Squamish / Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, sníchim; and Chinook;

3. as a core tenet of conciliation, treat First Nations as sovereign governments with shifting and ongoing responsibilities for stewardship of territory (including “deep hole in water”);

4. support treaty and other forms of inter-government negotiation lead by First Nations;

5. support organizations that give voice to indigenous elders and youth;

6. explore a range of experiences of personal and familial loss extending to the historical and contemporary losses of most indigenous families living around “deep hole in water”;

7. make art and design that functions to spark intercultural conversations and be prepared to face critical responses, admit mistakes, and build ongoing personal, inter-family, and institutional relationships for indefinite collaborations;

8. work with First Nations language offices: spelling is important as the written forms of Musqueam Halkomelem / hunq’umin’um’ / hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓; Squamish / Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, sníchim; and Chinook continue to evolve;

9. engage proactively around possible appropriation: there are plenty of good ways to reference and pay homage to indigenous artists without ripping them off; and

10. a good way to bridge the gaps from divergent relationships to historical and contemporary trauma is to make, perform, and experience site-based, multimedia art centred on territorial acknowledgements.

Nobody knows what shared sovereignty means when involving the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish), and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations along with the government of the City of Vancouver, Province of British Columbia, and Government of Canada and the real estate interests claiming to continue to ‘own’ deep hole in water.” The possibilities for moving forward will depend on the new forms imagined through contemporary and traditional culture, possibilities that emerge from collaborations such as “still underwater.”

Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram 2019 May 11

scenes from a disappearance: A decolonial ecological breakdown cabaret

1913 July 7 the extreme eastern part, east of Main Street, of a panoramic photograph of all of False Creek (Vancouver Archive AM54-S4-3- PAN N161A)

EVENT | PLOT @ Access Gallery | Scenes from a disappearance… | 730-10PM | MAY 24

May 24, 2019 7:30 pm. to 10 p.m.

PLOT @ Access Gallery
222 East Georgia St.
Vancouver BC V6A 1Z7 Canada

Scenes from a disappearance:
A (decolonial) ecological breakdown cabaret for the centennial of the destruction of
SKWA-CHICE, Deep Hole in Water

*entrance is free

A century ago, the sea, salt marshes, and Salish gathering sites that thrived in what is now bounded by Main, Union, Clark, and Great Northern Way in central Vancouver were filled
with a train station, garbage, and dirt from the digging of the Grandview Cut. But SKWA-
CHICE, translated from Skwxw7mesh xwumixw (Squamish) as “Deep Hole in Water,” has
not gone quietly, and those seas and marshes are resurging. Join artists active in the “still underwater” project for an ‘open mic’ night (without the mic) for a number of short
multimedia, spoken, and spontaneous performances on the aftermath of ecological
breakdown in the DTES. After introductions from hosts Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram and
Alex Grnenfelder, artists and other cultural producers have eight minutes to present.

RSVP kexminfieldstation@gmail.com to reserve a spot in the line-up and specify any media
or spatial needs.

**

KEXMIN Field Station are the current occupants in Access Gallerys PLOT space, from 8
April to 24 May, 2019; conducting their project still underwater: tracing SKWA-CHICE, ‘deep hole in water’, in todays False Creek Flats.

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: Mtis public artist and environmental scientist, Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (currently coordinating the 2019 events at PLOT), Salish curator Rose Spahan, public artist and designer Alex Grnenfelder, site-based artist Oliver Kellhammer, Musqueam weaver and public artist Debra Sparrow, and community-engaged environmental artist Sharon Kallis, amongst an evolving group of affiliates.

For event details + announcements visit:

http://www.gordonbrentingram.ca/stillunderwater/

On the shores of Hole-In-Bottom: The open source landscapes of Oliver Kellhammer around False Creek Flats

————————————————————————
EVENT | PLOT @ Access Gallery | KEXMIN field station |

On the shores of ‘Hole-In-Bottom’: The open source landscapes of Oliver Kellhammer around False Creek Flats | MAY 18, 2019
————————————————————————

KEXMIN Field Station presents: [‘KEXMIN’ is a word in the SENĆOŦEN language and the ‘K’ is meant to be underlined]

Saturday, May 18, 2019 from

Drop in from 1 – 5 PM

meet at PLOT at Access Gallery, 222 East Georgia Street, Vancouver Canada

Schedule:

1 – 1:30 PM – Access Gallery: Skype discussion with Oliver Kellhammer

2 – 3 PM – Cottonwood Garden with Rose-Marie Larson

3 – 4 PM – Means of Production Garden with Sharon Kallis

4 – 5 PM – Healing the Cut with Mike Simpson

*Please note that there will be travel between each location. For more details on 
accessibility, please contact kexminfieldstation@gmail.com.

*This is the second public event of the 2019 – 2021 ‘still underwater’ project.

PRESENTER BIOS:

Environmental and biological artist Oliver Kellhammer has three decades of achievements working with public space and outdoor sites based on his philosophy of democratic interventions through ‘open source landscapes’. His three, site-based works on trashed sites around the historic shores of False Creek Flats (sometimes referred to as ‘hole-in-bottom’) have been prescient especially within the movement of art as forms of ecological remediation and decolonization.

Len Kydd is a retired construction worker and long time Cottonwood gardener. He started the Native garden in Cottonwood. “Truth is, he knows everything there is to know about Cottonwood and he knows Oliver.”

Using the lengthy title of being a community engaged environmental artist, what Sharon Kallis really does is commit to being a life-longer learner. Learning while teaching and teaching while learning”Sharon partners with ecologists, gardeners, weavers and others with an interest in linking traditional hand technologies to what we can grow, gather and glean in our urban green spaces. Sharon has been one of the primary stewards of Means of Production since 2007 and the roots of her creative practice are deeply entwined with this public park and garden. Sharon is the founding executive director of EartHand Gleaners Society.

Mike Simpson is an urban geographer, and postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Geography at UBC, as well as a former student of Oliver’s. His research considers how solidarity is practiced between settler environmentalists and Indigenous land and water defenders on the frontlines of these struggles, and broadly asks how transformative movements seeking to bring about social and environment change can be built across difference.

***

K_EXMIN Field Station are the current occupants in Access Gallerys PLOT space, from 8 April to 24 May, 2019; conducting their project still underwater: tracing Skwahchays, hole-in-bottom, in todays False Creek Flats.

K_EXMIN 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: Mtis 
public artist and environmental scientist, Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (currently coordinating the 2019 events at PLOT), Salish curator Rose Spahan, public artist and designer Alex Grnenfelder, site-based artist Oliver Kellhammer, Musqueam weaver and public artist Debra Sparrow, and community-engaged environmental artist Sharon Kallis, amongst an evolving group of affiliates.

For more information visit: www.gordonbrentingram.ca/stillunderwater/or

www.accessgallery.ca/plot-2/plot-kexmin-field-station/

Contact:kexminfieldstation@gmail.com * 778-354-2505

bicycling through deep time + tracingB

Saturday, May 4, 2019 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Bicycling through Deep Time: The shifting shores of False Creek East, ‘hole-in-bottom
:
a bicycle trip clockwise around the 1919 shores of False Creek East / False Creek Flats / ‘hole-in-bottom on the centennial of the corporate destruction of this massive, urban salt marsh, marine ecosystem, and Salish cultural landscapes

meet at
Access Gallery
222 East Georgia St.
Vancouver BC Canada
and bring a bicycle, helmet & water*

Saturday, May 4 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the PLOT space at Access Gallery
tracingB
: based on the bicycle trip, drawing one or more of the shifting shorelines of hole-in-bottom on 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets to be then be ordered by the group and placed on one of the walls of the PLOT space at Access Gallery
bring your favourite drawing tools and snacks

This is the first public event of the 2019 – 2021 ‘still underwater’ project this first year at Access Gallery in April, May, and October.

Presented by Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram. Brent’s father was born in Kitsilano in 1905 and, as well as English, spoke Chinook and Halkomelem. Growing up with family stories about False Creek Flats (and bitterness about its destruction), Brent went on to study with trail blazing, Salish and Native American Studies theorist, Mary Nelson, who imparted a deep sense of the cultural losses from the erasure of these landscapes and seascapes whose rough translation has sometimes been said to be, ‘hole-in-bottom’.


For individuals not able to bicycle on the field trip, there will be a walking tour offered by Alex Grunenfelder later in the month. For interested individuals who needed motorized or other assistance, please email to arrange alternative travel possibilities that would be offered on another day.


PLOT: KEXMIN Field Station
still underwater: tracing Skwahchays, hole-in-bottom, in todays False Creek Flats
8 April to 24 May 2019

still underwater | 1: traces, pronunciations, recollections

The former inlet and salt marshes bounded by todays Clark Drive, Great Northern Way,
and Union Street were once more commonly known as False Creek East, and by Salish
communities as Skwahchays”what might be poorly translated as hole-in-bottom. In
the centennial years of the filling and destruction of hole-in-bottom, PLOT invites the
KEXMIN Field Station collective to initiate new research, 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 concerning environmental, site-
based, and public art in the Pacific North-West: 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 xwmkwy”m (Musqueam), Skwxw7mesh (Squamish) and sl”lwta”/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? Considering the seismically-vulnerable terrain of hole-in-bottom, how can site-based artistic interventions and permanent public artworks hold transformative roles within its redeveloping neighbourhoods, where new construction forges onwards despite its geological
instability?

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: Mtis
public artist and environmental scientist, Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (currently
coordinating the 2019 events at PLOT), Salish curator Rose Spahan, public artist and
designer Alex Grnenfelder, site-based artist Oliver Kellhammer, Musqueam weaver
and public artist Debra Sparrow, and community-engaged environmental artist Sharon
Kallis, amongst an evolving group of affiliates.

For event details + announcements visit:
http://www.gordonbrentingram.ca/stillunderwater/
Contact:
kexminfieldstation@gmail.com
778-354-2505

the frenzy of 1917 – 21 that saw the destruction of most of the marine and salt marsh ecosystems of False Creek East

The most frenzied period of destruction, as in the term ‘reclamation’ that was used at the time, of False Creek East and sometimes called ‘hole-in-bottom’, was in 1917-21 as part of the construction of the railway station on Main Street. Along with the railway station, the associated ‘Grandview Cut’ rail route such much of the soil from that dig dumped into the inlet and salt marshes.

In the 1917 image, with the camera pointed due east, into False Creek East, a series of east-west bridges and dykes have been constructed but the northern side of the inlet, near today’s Great Northern Way, was largely unimpeded and still had some deep areas.

In the 1921 image, the centre of the image is due south towards Mount Pleasant along with the construction today’s Main Street a bit south of Terminal. False Creek East is on the far left of the image with tidal movement, passing under today’s Main Street, evident and a covered barged close to shore. As late as 1921, much of hole-in-bottom was still underwater.

captions:

upper photograph:

View of False Creek Flats east of Main Street March 10, 1917 by W.J. Moore Photo, Vancouver Archive Reference code AM54-S4-3-: PAN N87

lower photograph:
1921 June 30 Constructing Main Street Vancouver Archives PAN N158 – [View of the reclamation of False Creek Flats showing the reconstruction of Main Street at the bascule bridge]

photograph above: A view of False Creek East in 1917: directly east from the train station (at today’s Main and Terminal) with a north-south raised road in the horizon which is roughly today’s Clark Drive

photograph below: A view of False Creek East in 1921: the south-west corner (with signs of deep water) around what is today just below Main Street and Great Northern Way

The rapid transformation of False Creek East in 1916-17

This 1917 (or late 1916?) photograph is in the panoramic series by W.J. Moore Photo but the archive number has been misplaced.

This 1917 photograph (date to be confirmed) shows a great deal of construction, and filling, in the previous year. The view is due east from roughly today’s Main and Terminal. The railway bridges from the new railway station are half built as are a series bridges and dykes to minimize tidal flow. Here and then, False Creek East, ‘hole-in-bottom’, is beginning to disappear.

Construction of the rail-line & train station in 1916 as part of the broader filling and disappearance of False Creek East (‘hole-in-bottom’)

View of False Creek Flats east of Main Street, August 19, 1916,
by W.J. Moore Photo Vancouver Archive Reference code AM54-S4-3-: PAN N86
“Scope and content [of the complete image which is wider]: Panoramic view showing the start of the False Creek reclamation, the Great Northern Railway Station construction site, the Main Street bascule bridge, Market Hall and Ivanhoe Hotel.”


It is with this image from the summer of 1916, in the midst of World War I when the absence of males of European heritages was conspicuous, that the designs to destroy the inlet and salt marshes became clear. On the left of this image is the beginning of the first rail line, the closest to what is today Terminal Avenue, a few feet from where its terminus would be a year to two years later, at the new train station. In the distance at the far left is the burgeoning Strathcona neighbourhood with a road just above the inlet that would become Venables.

On the far right is the tidal bridge that would eventually become today’s Main Street a block or two south of today’s Terminal Avenue. On the south side of False Creek East, is a rail line services a number of factories and warehouses.

There are already several shacks along inlet in the drier parts of the tidal flats, roughly at today’s Southern and Station Streets, suggesting that in the previous years tidal flooding has been partially controlled.

A still intact False Creek East (‘hole-in-bottom’) 1913 from Mount Pleasant

the central-eastern two fifths of the image,
“Vancouver From The Lee Block. Corner Broadway and Main Street”
by W.J. Moore Photo” ca 1913
Vancouver Archives Reference code
AM54-S4-3-: PAN N161C

The road on the left of the scene is today’s Main Street with a bit of the junction with today’s Kingsway. The road on the right is East Broadway. While contained by the bridge at what is today Main and Terminal, False Creek East was still a body of saltwater with a tidal wetland and was still so deep that the island around what is today the Strathcona and Cottonwood Community Gardens was still distinct.