14 February 2011

everything is illuminated

  Video still of Gatekeeper's Lodge Illumination, Gothic-Revival Walk

A big thank-you to everyone who made their way to the Khyber ICA last night!  It was a great evening, and while I performed the Gothic-Revival walk on my own, an intimate crowd was gathered at the Khyber Building once the walk was finished.

To describe the process of this performance, I began at the Gatekeeper's Lodge in Point Pleasant Park, dressed in a MUSTANG survival suit outfitted with a 2-way radio (the MUSTANG suit is lined from head to toe with a thick foam layer, making it buoyant - and also explaining why I look like an orange snowman).  The start of the walk was marked at 7:00 pm with an emergency strobe in the lodge window, which you can see in the video  still above.  This strobe was eventually synched with another strobe in the turret window at the Khyber Building, eventually marking the end of the walk.

Gothic-Revival Walk at Inglis Street and McLean Street junction

As the walk progressed, marine flares were lit in front of buildings along the route that were also constructed in the Gothic-Revival architectural style (as both the Gatekeeper's Lodge and Khyber Building are), illuminating that building and my movement through the city.  The light from the flares created a roving beacon that attendees could monitor visually through binoculars placed inside the turret.  While I walked the route from Young Street, via Inglis Street, and finally to Barrington Street, viewers at the Khyber were able to keep track of my performance by listening to my radio communiques of current locations, from a receiver installed beside the third floor turret (orange box in photo of installation below) at the Khyber.

With flare in front of Khyber Building, 7:45 pm

Final Installation view, interior Khyber Building, 1588 Barrington Street

The final gesture of the performance was to synch the emergency strobe in the Khyber building with the strobe at the Gatekeeper's Lodge, after which I turned off the radios and shut the lights to the room.  The light from the strobe reflected against the silver solar blanket and bounced out from the turret window, making the flashes of light visible from  Barrington Street below.  The strobe was kept running into the night until the batteries ran out.

Emergency strobe visible in third floor turret
The use of survival strategies while exploring the history of Point Pleasant Park and the city of Halifax has let me bring a contemporary context to my archival research.  The aesthetics of survival gear provides reference to catastrophes that have occurred in the park and city's history, while simultaneously discussing themes of apocalypse theory, end-of-times movements, and social malaise as we approach the year 2012.  

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