Framework - the MOVIE!

Fieldwork, Framework: Words on the Land 2016, Ottawa Writers Festival

We are so very pleased to now have this gem of a video documenting Framework: Words on the Land 2016. It is short and sweet and provides a window into the experience for the 9 writers who participated.

Featuring: Helen Humphreys, John Steffler, Alissa York, Sandra Ridley, Pearl Pirie, Jonathan Kaplansky, Monty Reid, John K Grande and Katherine Graham

Very very special thanks goes to the generous and talented Orion Zuyderhoff-Gray for making this exceptional bit of documentation for us.

Let us know what you think!

Click here to watch

Storywork: Telling Tales Rooted in the Land - coming September 24.

storywork: telling tales rooted in the land at fieldwork, 2016,


Fieldwork is delighted to be partnering with 2wp and the Ottawa International Writers Festival in presenting an afternoon performance of storytelling Saturday, September 24. 2-4 pm.

With: Marie Bilodeau, Katherine Grier, Daniel Kletke, and Marta Singh. Curated by Jennifer Cayley (2wp)

Four of our region's finest storytellers journeyed into the very particular natural and creative landscapes at Fieldwork this summer. Inspired by their experiences and by an abiding love for the old stories, these Tellers will bring a vivid performance of telling tales to the loft at Fieldwork.

Storywork: Telling Tales Rooted in the Land will offer audience members a rich and memorable experience of some of our ancient, yet oh-so-contemporary narrative gems.

For keen listeners aged 12 and up.

Tickets: $20 through the Ottawa Writers Festival HERE

Location: The barn loft at Fieldwork - 2501 Old Brooke Rd. 15 minutes west of Perth. Map HERE



If you don’t know the trees you may be lost in the forest,
but if you don’t know the stories you may be lost in life
                                                                                                  (Siberian elder)
How long is it since someone told you not just a good story but a great story, filled with adventures, transformations, compelling journeys and valiant people facing life’s challenges with perseverance and imagination? For most adults the answer to this question is: not for a very long time. Now is your chance to change that. Fieldwork and 2 women production (2wp) are offering you a unique opportunity to re-discover the very particular experience of listening to some of the all time great tales from traditional oral literature. Storywork: Telling Tales Rooted in the Land will be taking place on Sept 24, 2-4pm with support from the Ottawa International Writer’s Festival (OIWF), the Ontario Arts Council and National Bank Financial.
2 women productions (2wp) is dedicated to high quality adult storytelling performances for audiences in Eastern Ontario. People may remember 2wp’s annual series of three productions that toured the area several years ago. Fieldwork, has presented exhibitions and events related to its rural landscape for 9 years; bringing contemporary art to the rural landscape near Perth with an annual exhibition of site-specific art installations; hosting a writers' weekend and public reading (Framework: Words on the Land); and now (new this year) hosting this Storytelling event.
A shared interest in landscape and its place in the development of both visual arts and storytelling resulted in this year's partnership between 2wp and Fieldwork. Jennifer Cayley (curator, 2wp) has assembled four skilled professional tellers- each with a reverence for traditional stories. Marie Bilodeau, Daniel Kletke Katherine Grier and Marta Singh are four revered professional storytellers who will  breathe life into some grand old tales that explore connections to history and the landscape that we live in.

Listeners will be carried back to a time when folk and fairy tales were integral to the fabric of cultural life. They will be reminded that though these stories are increasingly sidelined and forgotten in the bustle of the contemporary world, they are deeply engaging and filled with insight, challenge and delight. 
Storywork:Telling Tales Rooted in the Land will be held in the intimate loft of Fieldwork's old barn near Perth. Opportunities to experience the quiet strength and enchantment of folk and fairy tale are indeed, few and far between. Space is limited so do consider purchasing your tickets early. It's an event not to be missed!

Fieldwork and 2wp acknowledge the generous support from the Ontario Arts Council and National Bank Financial which has helped to make this event possible.

What's in a Frame?

Fieldwork, Framework: Words on the Land, writing on the land

Fieldwork's second edition of Framework: Words on the Land is just days away. Ten wooden frames have been installed around the land on the farm where Fieldwork is located - each articulating specific viewpoints on the rugged and varied terrain here. Ten intrepid writers will arrive on Friday to find their way to their particular 'sit-spots' where, faced with a frame, they will write for just under 2 days.

How does a frame provoke or inspire a writer's imagination? What is captured, suggested, illuminated, or exluded by such a framing device? How do each of the writers respond?

'Framework is one part residency, one part retreat, one part performance art, and one part wilderness lab: ten writers, framed (literally) by and in the landscape, and at the same time bringing to bear on the landscape their framing intelligence.'    (poet Amanda Jernigan on her experience of Framework 2015)

This proved to be an inrtiguing experiment last year (our first Framework weekend). Some incredible and sometimes surprising writing emerged and was shared with an appreciative audience. This coming weekend is our second edition of Framework: Words on the Land. We can't wait to see what evolves.

Join us as we wrap up this coming Framework weekend in the loft of our barn with readings of newly minted work by a wonderfully diverse group of writers.

With: Helen Humphreys, Monty Reid, Sandra Ridley, Pearl Pirie, Katherine Graham, Alissa York, Natale Ghent, Jonathan Kaplansky, John steffler and John K Grande.

Sunday, August 21 beginning at 3pm.

Where: 2501 Old Brooke Rd. (Between Perth and Maberly, just off of hwy 7).  Map

Tickets and Info: $20  through the Ottawa International Writers Festival: http://www.writersfestival.org/events/spring-2016/framework-words-on-the-land-2016

Contact: Susie Osler 613.268.2024

We are pleased to be partnering with the Ottawa International Writers Festival again this year in the presentation of Framework.

We are happy to have the support as well of the Canada Council for the Arts (through The Writers' Union of Canada & The Quebec Writers' Federation) and National Bank Financial


TheCanada Council for the Arts and the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018 Education, Immigration, Communities

With financial assistance from The Canada Council for the Arts through The Writers' Union of Canada


Jolie Bird on walking and the making of 'What's Around Me'

Fieldwork, Jolie Bird, What's Around Me, site specific installation

What’s Around Me is an exploratory art project. Primarily, it consists of a series of objects found while walking through Fieldwork and surrounding areas over a 5 day span. I began each day by reading preselected texts chosen specifically for this project. Afterwards, I walked with no particular destination in mind, only to search for and document content for the collection. Walking encourages a new way of seeing your surroundings.

“A walker does not skip over much, sees things close up, and makes herself vulnerable and accessible to people and places.”[1]

Objects such as rocks, branches, empty beer cans and liquor bottles were selected and wrapped in a thin golden thread. Once entombed in a new fibrous skin, they were returned outdoors and left to alter with exposure to changing weather or human and animal interaction.

Considering walking as an art form, the collection acts as an ambiguous form of documentation and requires the viewer to use their imagination. They are not solely presented as craft-based objects instead they act as markers representing an unseen act that has already taken place. Further documentation including photographs and the route of each walk, mapped with a GPS tracker, will be combined with chosen texts and presented as an art publication in the near future.

  - Jolie Bird

You can watch a beautiful video of Jolie's process here. (Video created by Orion Zuyderhoff Gray)

[1]Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. New York: Viking, 2000. Print. pg. 128




Dreaming up Dreamcar - Marco D'Andrea on his 2016 Fieldwork installation

Fieldwork, Marco D'andrea, soundart

DREAMCAR (1971 Cadillac Coup De Ville)

DREAMCAR began as with an idea to put a sound installation inside a car and to create an immersive environment inside an old worn out vehicle. I (Marco D'Andrea) like the contrast between the familiar—an old car in a field— and the unexpected—loud and strange sounds and an impractical custom stereo. Early on I was influenced by La Monte Young’s Dream House installation and sought to achieve a similar all encompassing sound, but in a car. The Coup De Ville seemed perfect to me for Fieldwork, because of the the story about “the King of Maberly” - a nickname for a man who used to own the farm where Fieldwork is situated - selling some of his land to buy a Cadillac, but also because it is such a strong symbol of luxury, dreams and success. And there is something so amazing about a 20’ long car with just two doors. These early 70s cars are of the biggest ever made. I wanted to find a car that was a really strong contrast from what most of us drive today as I felt this heighten the themes of desire, aspirations and dreams and how this becomes embodied in 3 tons of metal. There is also the legacy of what this desire has meant in terms of pollution, economic inequality, and hyper-consumerism. All major 21st century problems, which I think have a lot to do with the culture that built, advertised, sold and bought something like a 1971 Cadillac Coup De Ville. Its a complicated symbol, both beautiful and deadly.  

The sounds heard I made from a mix of field recordings, samples of music and other recordings. With the sound, I was trying to bring out the various themes of the work but with an emphasis on loss, sadness and while also trying to explore spirituality in a way. Much of my sound composition is based on Morton Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, a music composition for soprano, alto, choir, percussion, celesta and viola which he created as a response to the Rothko Chapel, a small chapel that was built featuring the paintings of, and is generally inspired by Mark Rothko. Both the Chapel and the music composition were completed in 1971. I choose to use this music because of this association, but also because I think both Rothko Chapel and a Cadillac Coup De Ville are emblematic of a spiritual crisis which blanketed the 20th Century and we are still dealing with today. Additionally the dominant colour inside the Chapel is black, which matches the interior of my Cadillac. I used samples of Feldman’s Rothko Chapel, slowed it down, distorted it, and changed it in a bunch of different ways. I also mixed in sounds of the Cadillac’s engine, and recordings of the field, also heavily processed to the brink of familiarity. I like to use sounds that are on the border of something recognizable—like music and natural sounds—and noise because it can both lead the interpretation of the work while also helps open it up and invite people to bring their own thoughts, memories and dreams. Its is my hope that someone experiencing the piece will be drawn to reflect on some of the themes and associations I have outlined here, but also drift inward and reflect on their own feelings and associations.

The final main aspect is the solar panel, which I think helps bring the work into the present and adds a note of optimism. Using solar to power such a gas-guzzler has a certain irony but is also symbolic of technological change and (hopefully) the direction of future energy. It was a big challenge for me to get the sound to work on solar power because solar involves figuring out a lot of different variables and calculations that I have no pervious experience in. This challenge is really interesting: with fossil fuel power you just plug in (or fill the tank) and get as much power as you want for as long as you want, solar and other renewables require balance, knowing your environment, and matching output to input. As it is set up now, DREAMCAR generates more power in a 24 cycle than it uses, so it can be on and playing sound all the time. I anticipate that I will need to make adjustments for winter, and will likely install a timer in order to conserve power. 


  - Marco D'Andrea



Pointing North - Tripod by the RSSY collective

Fieldwork, Reitzenstein, Smith, Smith and Young (RSSY), 2016, Tripod

Jerrard and Diana Smith, Reinhard Reitzenstein and Gayle Young (aka RSSY Collective) worked together this year on a collaborative installation, Tripod. The installation, which dominates the field, consists of an oversized theodolite on a tripod, a map, and a surveyors grade rod. All pointing North and in line with a lovely mature white pine at the field edge. Will it too succumb to the settler's axe?

'We found our brainstorming sessions focussed on the 200th anniversary events in Perth and area. We thought about how the land was perceived at that time by incoming colonizers and how they divided the landscape into grids by surveying. This prompted our decision to create surveying instruments and a map. From the beginning we wanted to respond to the scale of the site with height and the tripod structure allowed for that, with its monumentality suggesting an unstoppable force (war of the worlds?) marching across the landscape. The map is an accurate representation of the waterways in the area and the grade rod is to reinforce the idea of measurement and scale. The axe (plumb bob) is a reference to the land-clearing.

We obtained some long straight cedar poles (thanks Torch and Wayne) which we stripped and joined into tripod legs that provided the desired elevation. Reinhardt created the metal theodolite head in his Grimsby studio. The map was created using a grid of concrete reinforcing steel suspended between cedar poles and using denim strips woven into the grid to represent the waterways.'

  - RSSY Collective



Chris Turnbull's on her work 'Land,mark'

Fieldwork 2016, Landmark, Chris Turnbull

‘the rock’ - Chris Turnbull

The first time I saw this rock was with my son. I was attracted first to its shape and colour; he was attracted to its
size and surface, and climbed onto it.

This rock is made up of deposits slowly gathered through glaciation; it has been shaped by uncontrollable forces
such as ice, water, and wind, combined with the energies of movement. The rock is a visible presence, its size
suggests unchanging solidity and a sort of timelessness. It is situated at the edge of where Fieldwork and the
neighbouring property share a common boundary, perhaps it was part of a wider boundary/shore of two glacial
lakes, aeons ago. Yet, boundaries are transitional spaces, too, suggestive of states in change, even if slow or
proceeding in ways we do not see or imagine.

The rock is complex enough as a rock. As I worked on it, I started to see (and feel) that its tilted, bulby, granular
and flat elements were themselves composites of multiple surfaces — upon which insects land, pollen and seeds
settle, lichen emerges from symbiosis, a variety of species navigate sensorily or mark, and my son (and any of
us) might clamber.

Constructing a poem, for me, starts with movement - typically outdoors - and then a run through the mind-mill
into a series of notes interspersed with other notes in a ratty old book. I start with hand-written text and
eventually move toward the computer and its virtual space as defined by boundary marks (margins, screen
edge, window, wall, door). I write virtually onto this ‘page’ and then print it off. I am always trying to work off the
page; I find the surface of the page somehow not enough for words which, for me, are themselves constructed
objects that interact, producing a visual presence, sound, meaning. I may play around with text size and font,
but rarely above 14pt. It seems too big. I tend to move toward the small and smaller, toward seeming
invisibility. I play with space and shade.


It wasn’t until I had started to cut out stencils and gather materials (paint and ink) for writing on the rock that I
realized how uncomfortable I felt inscribing large letters onto it. It may be partially because the rock itself does
not need the letters I put on it. It’s big enough, and interesting enough, on its own or in relation to the variety of
things around it. However, its size became a bit of a challenge. What are some of the elements of the rock that
make it so intriguing? What pieces of its story could words emphasize — what interactions might the letters and
words — their own suggestive surfaces and depths, their measurements — themselves encourage?

you th
are is



Maybe the installation starts with you-who-has-a-pronoun (and likely a name). Or maybe you is a group of you.
Then are you this? Or are you both singular and plural, both are and is? Always? Are you sometimes I and
sometimes you? Is it this? Is this erratic? What is th(are)? There? It’s very erratic, gathering meaning that is not
fragmented, that does not come from a variety of directions, that is solid. Add to the mix our own perspectives
and we find we have to move around, look a little closely, pay less attention to what is immediate. The rock is
erratic, too - it is an erratic. If you’re not erratic, what are you?

There is no assumed direction or required reading on this rock. The pieces build on each other; they can break
down or can be recomposed; some letters aren’t in the pattern you might expect. As a result, the process is
deliberately slow and you may not find all the words (you don’t need to try to find all the words). There are some
discrete fragments scattered on the rock; they are difficult to see because they are small or blend in with the
rock’s colouration. One of them, “just/before/the hour/the news” has been placed on a patch of lichen, an
ecosystem in and of itself. What does the hour or the news have to do with the rock? Whose news? “The news” is
a composite; it is a variety of stories batched verbally or visually at a common time and place. We rely on its
consistency and immediacy, and use it to inform our relationships with other (mostly human) elements of our
world. The hour — as a unit of time — and our estimated measurements ( “just/before”) are variable
constructions; the rock, too, is a gathering of news, mostly non-human, and made up of the very old and the

In an assumption that most people would really love to climb this rock, I have stencilled (using colours of pink,
green, grey, black, and white) a sound poem that runs up and over — it could be read in either a N-S direction, or
a S-North direction. Either way, I encourage it to be voiced, with as many voices in chorus as possible. Or, if not,
read silently in tandem with sounds and presences of what lives and moves through the Fieldwork space as a
whole. You will have to move to read it. The sound poem starts or ends in poetic grandiosity with epic
invocation: Sing —

Sing-ing touches on the chorus that got us “here” and represents continuity, taking its cue from “land/ing”. It
touches on measurement and units of time that seem so concrete, among other things. From here or maybe
before, you may run into multiples of shadow text — one of them from Canadian poet and artist a rawlings’ play
“How to Manage a Conservation Conversation” (in o w n: Cue Books 2014). This piece follows the rock toward
the tree at its base. It was written in the shadow that the tree casts, but the movement of the sun during each
month and season, and the changes that the tree itself undergoes, will shift the readability of the poem and the
appearance of the rock — except at a certain timeframe of the year, when the piece will be covered in shadow
again. In a similar way, other pieces on the rock will also be covered at certain times of the year — in fall (moss
and needles) and winter (snow/ice). These elements will shift the poems’ meanings or make them illegible in
places; some poems will be rewritten; they will shift or emerge into new forms and meanings.

This rock is a place — a remnant of a process and a reminder of processes. It is “here”, on the surface of the land,
clearly visible. Sometimes it is writing and words that are blurred — a smear on the surface of the writing, not
this rock.

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