November 2010

CBC Interview With Jesse Stewart at fieldwork

Tune in to CBC radio One, 91.5 FM tomorrow, Tuesday November 9th at 8:10 am to hear CBC's Dipna Horra interview fieldwork  artist Jesse Stewart about his installation Aeolian Organ.

Later in the day you can find the archived review here:

http://www.cbc.ca/ottawamorning/art.html

From Intention to Access

When I initiated Field of Play, on Gabriola Island in British Columbia, I realized that one of the primary challenges was gaining access to an open field. It quickly became clear that access to this kind of space could not be assumed and that it would have to be negotiated. Access, or lack of access, to open space was a privilege or needed to be linked to a clear expectation, a specific intention. What was I going to do with this open space?

I started recalling time spent in fields as a child in Ontario. At that time I didn't know who owned the fields I played in. I had experienced a kind of free license at that age - to explore and to roam across boundaries. I also remembered seeing signs that said “private property - keep out” in bold letters. As a kid I knew that crossing these barriers was equivalent to testing a boundary. I remembered the adrenalin rush of crossing over. Now as an adult, I was re-experiencing the private property barrier.

My hunt for space began with an effort to open my eyes to what was around me every day. I often passed by my immediate landscape but paid little or no attention to it. I started trying to slow down in order to look and listen. I say try because I also started to realize my tendency to rush everywhere!

I also quickly became aware of another challenge: noise pollution. The sounds of human activity: cars, planes, ferries, chainsaws etc. These noises cast a hard sonic shadow on smaller, more detailed sounds in the natural environment. I hoped to find a space that would allow me to achieve decent sound recording quality and also a space that I genuinely wanted to inhabit for extended periods of time. After several weeks of searching I was starting to worry – but after trying out several locations on the island I eventually spotted an empty field on a walk in my neighborhood. It was an empty property, between two homesteads, on a dead end dirt road. Skirted by forest on the south side the site was relatively quiet with tall grasses and many species of birds, insects, and flowers.

I made a conscious decision to try to get permission to access the space. My instinct was that how I accessed the space would directly influence the quality of inhabiting it. I spoke to several neighbours in order to determine who owned the land. Eventually I crossed paths with a young man coming out of the driveway of the neighbouring property. He told me that the property used to be jointly owned by his family and the neighbour on the other side but that the owner on the other side owned it now. He gave me his name.

The owners name was Earl and he turned out to be the Gabriola Ferry captain. He told me that the property was part of an original homestead belonging to a Colonel Marshall, used for farming, but that his family had let it go fallow for several years. He said his young girls really like spending time there, especially when it was full of daisies in the spring. He granted me access, saying that he would be happy if someone else got pleasure from it as well. I thanked Earl.

I had secured access to my "field of play".

'The Last Sowers' have arrived!

fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers

Wakefield artist Marc Walter spent several days here at fieldwork this past week building two wonderful sculptures in the field.  Titled 'The Last Sowers',  two ghostly figures made of branches tower at the end of the field, beyond the black pipes of Jesse Stewart's 'Aeolian Organ'.   Marc made use of  materials found on site - recently cut maple, poplar, and dogwood branches - weaving and tying them together to create the large forms that seem to be emerging from the woods surrounding them.

"The field is resting and presents a feeling of vulnerability and emptiness.  It is colder, the colours are less, the smell of the earth is in the air.  Yet The Last Sowers are preparing the grounds for the next cycle....When I create my outdoor installations, I tremendously enjoy the rythmn of things.  It is an opportunity to slow down and to reflect on the cycle of life and death, to embrace the surroundings, and to realize passing emotions.  The Last Sowers are doing the same thing....Listen"

The quiet but insistant presence of Marc's Sowers invites us to get out into the field and  explore the subtleties of the landscape - the ground, the vegetation, the colours, and the sounds that they (the Sowers) have emerged from, and become a part of.

We hope you can make it out to the field this winter to explore the space and the installations our invited artists have created within it.  If not, click on the different galleries in the menu  to the right for more documentation of the various projects.

last sowers

fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers

last sowers process

fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers
fieldwork, marc walter, the last sowers