What do you get when you combine art, community, and adventure?
In Kitchener, the answer is Night/Shift.
Inspired by Nuit Blanche with a cool KW twist, this festival brings art and community together. One night of nocturnal adventure and an amazing array of creative projects, performance, and participation for all to enjoy.
November 1st 2014 marked the second anniversary of the Night/Shift festival of art, and my second year as a contributing artist. Last year I created an interactive sculpture piece called “Clash”, which was very well received. The theme was Intervention, and this piece encouraged participants to work together for the exchange of ideas through sound. It was my first attempt at installation work and with it’s success, I was hooked!
This year I wanted to push the envelope a little further. I decided to create a piece that would have a grand presence. Something that would cause people to think and reflect on life and their experiences, and those of others. With the theme of hidden stories as my guide, the concept of “In Love and War” was born.
The idea came to me through a photograph online. A picture of wartime women seeing the soldiers off at the docks as their ships departed for battle. I was so moved by the photo that I started to wonder about those women. What their lives must have been like then, and all the challenges that lay ahead. I wondered about their journeys, and their experiences, and what came after those tearful goodbyes.
This installation travels through time, taking us back to that moment when 5 of those women would look out over the treacherous waters and wonder what would become of their loved ones.
Five women, five stories, and countless lives forever impacted.
With Night/Shift being held on November first, I hoped that “In Love And War” would be an appropriate and powerful way to pay homage to our fallen heroes and heroines through art. Located at the Cenotaph War Memorial in Downtown Kitchener, and so close to Remembrance Day, many were moved by it’s solemn presence.
In Love and War was definitely a stretch for me, in so many ways. A huge challenge. But that’s exactly what I liked best about it. It gave me the opportunity to experiment. To reach farther, and get out of my comfort zone a little.
In fact, as an artist, I think that’s what Night/Shift really represents for me. An open invitation to explore the spectrum of possibility. To dream on a grander scale and raise the bar for myself creatively. With the support of the Night/Shift team and organizers, it’s a great space for artistic growth and actualization.
For those of you interested in the technical side of things, a lot of hard work and many hours went into the making of “In Love and War”. The installation consisted of 5 life size sculptures made entirely of packing tape wrapped onto real life models, then removed and reassembled. (Approximately 5 rolls per sculpture). The bases are constructed from wood and 4 foot metal posts. Each sculpture had to be fitted with appropriate WWII attire that suited it’s subject’s story, these were scouted from various local thrift shops. The “dock and water” aspect of the project was probably the most challenging part. This required precise measurements and construction. Two 12ft wooden posts were cut into 1 and 2 foot lengths to represent dock posts and to connect the framework of pvc piping that would support 2 large blue tarps (cut into strips to allow airflow) meant to represent the ocean. There were MANY obstacles to overcome during the set up of this contraption. Not the least of which was a forceful wind! But in the end, it turned out beautifully and had a very elegant and regal effect.
Huge thank you’s go out to Alternatives Journal and Night/Shift for putting on such an amazing festival two years running, and to my Production Assistant and all around go-to-girl Heather Riemersma for her patience and hard work in helping to make this project a success.
Here’s to blood, sweat, and tears.