D.B. Clarke Theatre Day 1

The Butterfly Effect

María Ezcurra and G. Scott MacLeod

Abstract: “The so-called Butterfly Effect, the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in China can influence the weather in Florida”. (From http://people.sc.fsu.edu/~jburkardt/fun/misc/butterfly.html)

Through an animation and textile performance of the Monarch butterfly this performative inquiry explores the interconnections that exist between ecological and social issues. Based on ideas of immigration/migration we want to investigate the interconnections, possibilities and consequences of global environmental change. As Maria Ezcurra is from Mexico and G. Scott MacLeod is from Canada, we will use the Monarch butterfly as a symbol to represent the connection between our two countries via the migratory pattern of the Monarch, which in reality transcends our man made boarders and adheres to natural set of rules. This presentation is a metaphor for the emergence of the life from the chrysalis state of the butterfly, before the migration process of the Monarch, showing both its vulnerability and strength and acting as a symbol to illustrate that what happens locally affects us globally. We believe that in our environments we have a responsibility at this defining moment in our history to act and be the change we want to see in the world. Our performance could conclude with an open discussion that reflects how we function as a society within ecological and social matrix. We both feel strongly that by raising issues around social change and its connection with ecology, immigration, migration, transformation, it will incite new interpretative possibilities for a better environment, social and global consciousness.

“And if we seem a small factor in a huge patter, nevertheless it is of relative importance. We take a tiny colony of soft corals from a rock in a little water world. And that isn’t terribly important to the tide pool. Fifty miles away the Japanese shrimp boats are dredging with overlapping scoops, bringing up tons of shrimp, rapidly destroying the species so that it never come back, and with the species destroying the ecological balance of the whole region. That isn’t very important in the world. And thousands of miles away the great bombs are falling and the stars are not moved thereby. None of it is important or all of it is.” (Steinbeck, John (1951). The Log from the Sea of Cortez. P.p. 3).

Bio: Maria Ezcurra: Artist, Art Professor and Mother. Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1973. Lives and works in Mexico City since 1978. Currently she resides in Montreal, where is coursing a PhD in Art Education at Concordia University in Canada, with support of Concordia, Promep and Fundación Jumex Awards. Previously she studied at the Visual Arts School (ENAP) in the National Autonomic University of Mexico, received a Master’s degree in visual arts at the Chelsea School of Art in London and completed coursework at the San Francisco Art Institute. A recipient of the Fulbright scholarship, multiple FONCA programs and currently a member of the National System of Art Creators (SNC), Ezcurra has participated in more than 50 group and 10 individual exhibits in the Netherlands, Greece, Australia, the United States, England, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and Mexico. Additionally, she has installed her works as outdoor sculptures in Mexico City, London, Caracas and San Francisco. She has taught at diverse universities in Mexico, such as La Esmeralda, UACM, Centro, and is part of the Faculty of Arts at the Autonomic University of Morelos (UAEM) since 2001.

G. Scott MacLeod: Multimedia Artist, Film Director, Musician and Educator.
Born in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, in 1965. Scott received his diploma of collegial studies in Fine Arts at John Abbott in 1984 and BFA specialization in printmaking at Concordia University in 2003 and is currently a candidate for a Masters in Art Education at Concordia University. He is a fellow at The Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico and sits on the Concordia Fine Arts Association. Scott has over 150 exhibitions and performances nationally and internationally and his work has reflected social, political and historical themes with an aim to promote education and accessibility to art and culture. His work is in many museums, corporate and private collections. He has presented his work in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, Czech Republic, and the USA. He was awarded the following grants notably; The William Blair Bruce European Travel Scholarship for his Ancestral Homes Viking heritage project, a Conseil des arts et des Lettres du Quebec ‘A’ grant, on two occasions the Filmmakers Assistance Program from the National Film Board of Canada for his documentary After the war with Hannelore – A Berliner war child’s testimony 1945-1989 and the Saga of Murdo MacLeod, a Conseil des arts et des lettres research/creation grant his Animated short the Saga of Murdo MacLeod and finally the Fr. Shaun Gerard McCarthy Govenlock Scholarship from Irish Studies at Concordia University for his Master’s thesis work on the community of Griffintown in Montreal.


Corn Field Performances and Live Dining

Nicole Fournier

Abstract: From GMO cornfield to adaptable concepts – “Being there” – food, soil, plants and us. Most people don’t like getting dirty, you get your hands in the dirt, and you want to clean them off. Plants can pick or many people these days have allergic reactions to them. Nature is messy and chaotic, and in our attempt to control it’s messiness human’s have played their role in causing inbalance in Nature. I will present two artworks, the first is “Corn Field Performances” (2002), a questioning performance intervention in a GMO cornfield in eastern Quebec, and the second is the adaptable concept and collective performance “Live Dining” (2005-2011). The evolution of the first artwork to the second, is going from questioning industrial scale monoculture practices in agriculture, to living a solution, of poly-agriculture. In both cases, I am there. I am in the environment. “Being there” is about being in the environment, with plants and soil, in the country and in the city, in particular how it relates to relationships with each other, to food and human consumption. I include in polyagriculture being with biodiversity and eating with it around us, with wild plants, drought resistant plants and plants that naturally survive and live in depleted soil, and do not need to be genetically modified to do so. This polyagriculture is about embracing the messiness of Nature in its diversity, as opposed to trying to controlling it, through monoculture. While presenting “Live Dining”, I will explain two concepts the ‘interconnected-self’ and ‘adaptable concept’, which define my artworks since Live Dining. This concept introduces the inclusion of interspecies interrelationship into what I define as a relational environmental aesthetic. Reflecting invisible complex interrelationships and the idea of performance ecologies, these new performance rituals are about celebration and critiquing norms. The rituals perform the concepts, which are about interrelationships between members of diverse communities and species, adaptation and interconnectedness to the environment.

Bio:  Nicole Fournier is an artist, activist and founder and director of InTerreArt. She has exhibited her art internationally and for more than two decades has been addressing ecological environmental issues in her artwork. Since 1996, her practice has embraced the interdisciplinary of art, communities and environment through independent research and the development of concepts and actions with polyculture-food-medicine systems. In the last 10 years she has been addressing the idea of sustainability by bringing together biodiversity, systemic causes of poverty and new art practices that include environmental thought, performance and conceptual art. She holds a BFA from Concordia University (1993) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Environmental Studies from McGill University (2005).

Listening to a Sense of Place

Jennifer Schine

Abstract: How do we listen? And what does our experience of listening tell us about the pioneer experience, the transformation (and continuity) of resource-based living to environmentalism, and the contemporary importance of sound in the cultural history of British Columbia’s coastal communities? At the intersection of acoustic communication and memory studies, this video and audio piece documents the ethnographic process of community-supported research with residents of Echo Bay, located in the Broughton Archipelago, BC. This fishing and logging community is transforming into a remote tourism destination, and the Archipelago is also home to the highest density of salmon aquaculture in the province. As such, the area has become a contested site over the (mis)use of local knowledge concerning the impacts of salmon farming on the local ecology and community. Using sound as a catalyst and soundwalking as a form of ethnography, storytelling and expression, this multi-media piece explores historical and contemporary ideas about both the global and local environmental crisis. We bring together both scientific and situated knowledge by listening to biologists, researchers, community members and, specifically, to the life-story of Billy Proctor, a renowned elder and pioneer of the community. In doing so, we are able to “hear” the past in the present and understand the importance of historical, contemporary and environmental listening. This piece and research suggests that through listening to sense of place, ideas of nature, art, science, technology and society provide us with a vital interdisciplinary platform as we move into an era of ecological threats.

Bio: Jennifer Schine is a Masters student in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University and an active sound artist. Her work explores the relationships between soundwalking, aural and oral heritage and culturally-specific listening practices within the fields of acoustic communication and memory studies.

Greg Crompton writes, makes video and uses sound in his creations. He began creating narrative fiction films while studying writing at the University of Victoria. Video journalism took Greg to Africa, where he worked as a journalism trainer and documentary filmmaker. Greg is now the creative director and producer of a video production company based in Vancouver.