From the Ground To The Sky And Back Again
2016, video documenting a site-specific action, (8 minutes 16 seconds, looped, with sound) accompanied by a 250' inflatable, for an exhibition at La Galerie Du Nouvel-Ontario, Sudbury, ON
The first in a pair of interrelated exhibitions dealing with the natural resource industries of Sudbury Ontario.
Sudbury's success is largely due to the nickel mining activities that have taken place throughout the last century. The industry grew by leaps and bounds during World War 1, and it is estimated that 60% of the nickel used in allied artillery was mined in Sudbury.
The video accompanying this exhibition speculatively traces the meandering route of a piece of nickel through time, space and world conflict. Extracted from a Sudbury mine a century ago, it was smelted, shipped to the UK, fashioned into an artillery shell, dropped on the German lines during the Battle of the Somme (July 1916), plucked out of the earth by a German soldier in the form of a shrapnel fragment, fashioned into a wartime souvenir while in hospital, sold a hundred years later on Ebay, shipped back to Sudbury and returned to the ground. Reburied at a site that is currently reprocessing material, there is a possibility that the object could once again be dug up and sent back into circulation in some future international conflict. Presented a century after the artillery was deployed but more notably, a month before the historic Brexit vote quantified some divisive nationalistic sentiments, and brought the possibility of a balkanized Europe into the spotlight.
The companion piece, a 250' long air-filled smokestack rises from the floor, coils around the gallery space in a manner reminiscent of a giant writhing snake or a heaving intestinal tract, before returning back into the floor and "closing the loop." It is vulnerable, organic, menacing and unnatural all at once, and alludes to the cyclical nature of local resource extraction industries, as well as the exhibition title.
Grateful acknowledgements: Felix Lopes, Lopes Ltd. Sudbury, The Canada Council for the Arts, The Ontario Arts Council, Christine Shaw, Scotiabank Nuit Blanche, and Clint Roenisch Gallery.