blóm + blóð
Concordia University (Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology) Montréal (QC, Canada)
>> Video stills from the 8-minute video, entitled, blóm + blóð, produced during a residency at the Icelandic Textile Centre (Blönduós) in September 2016.
blóm + blóð presents performance as embodied research, in the landscape as laboratory/studio.
The artist navigates the autumnal terrain of Norðurland vestra, collecting natural dye and fibre stuffs, using landscape elements as tools for making, and experimenting with flora and fauna in the creation of a textile work. The end (textile) result is never shown, the emphasis being on process as the creative work in focus, and the acquisition of new knowledge as one of the results. Utilizing the landscape as a laboratory means more than simply the outdoor acquisition of art/craft materials – it mobilizes human empathy (through experiential learning) in gaining an ecological awareness of the source of materials one works with, fostering a working relationship with the environment and its agents.
The video plays with notions of temporality and labour, but also with ideas of material agency, in terms of Jane Bennett’s, Vibrant Matter, where “efficacy or agency depends on the collaboration, cooperation, or interactive interference of
many bodies and forces.”
In the video, a deliberate romanticization of landscape (as within the landscape tradition in art, as well as touristic notions of place) is disrupted by the practical necessities of Icelandic life, such as the sheep slaughter. Likewise, engagement
with the messiness of the body is embraced as necessary on the path towards aesthetic outcome. The hegemonic notion of studio space, as isolated and hidden rooms where masterpieces are hatched, is subverted as the creative process is literally exposed.
WhiteFeather is a Canadian artist/researcher, educator, consultant and writer currently based in Montreal.
WhiteFeather has been professionally engaged in a craft-based (bio)art practice for over 18 years, via an ongoing material investigation of the functional, aesthetic and technological potential of bodily materials. Her works coalesce various media approaches, such as textile methods, biology, storytelling (video, audio and text), performance, public intervention, digital + web-based installations and DIY electronics.
WhiteFeather's work has ranged widely, from the utilization of human hair in textile construction, to rogue taxidermy soft sculptures of found flesh and bone, to digital/ pop culture representations of the body absent in the digital world. Her most recent work, spanning the last four years and encompassing several laboratory-based artist residencies, is on biotextile experimentation through the creation of new vital materials via hands-on tissue engineering, and through microorganic processes for textile applications. Hacking the laboratory and negotiating institutional bureaucracy is part of the materiality of her work.
WhiteFeather is a multiple-award winner and grant recipient, holding an Master of Fine Arts in Fibres and Material Practices from Concordia University. She is Principal Investigator and Technician of the Speculative Life BioLab at the Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University and Artist-in-Residence at Sporobole centre en art actuel/Université de Sherbrooke with collaborator, Dr Denis Groleau, Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Microorganisms and Industrial Processes.
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