I have a favour to ask. I’m currently in the midst of preparing for a solo show that will open this October in the little town of Minden, Ontario. It will be a show entirely devoted to the Anthropocene, and I’d like you to be part of it.
One of the pieces I’m planning to make involves a little bit of community participation. And by “participation” I mean “Please send me materials to put into a mosaic for the show.” Now, this isn’t some sneaky ploy to get free materials. I neither expect nor want you to send me your 24k gold smalti, that’s for sure. Let me explain…
In my opinion, one of the things that has contributed to this giant mess we’re in is an increasingly individualistic mindset and an erosion of community. We are increasingly out for ourselves and disconnected from others. This disconnect isn’t just between us and our fellow humans, it also extends to the relationship between us and the planet and all its landscapes and inhabitants, whether they’re fuzzy, slimy, leafy, scaly, or anything else.
Without a deep sense of connection—to other people, other beings (sentient and non), and other places—it becomes far too easy to ignore the consequences of our actions. What’s more, resilient communities, where social bonds are tight and there is a strong sense of place, are a key ingredient in turning this ship around and starting to make real progress on the environmental challenges we face.
There’s a lot more I could say, but I’ll save that for the blog post once this piece is eventually finished. But to do that, I need your help!
I want to make a mosaic to connect people to each other through their experiences, stories, and places. This mosaic will incorporate pieces of people’s places, which they (you!) send to me and I knit them together into a cohesive whole. And here’s the fun part: I plan to invite viewers to touch it. To get to know it. To connect with it—and, by extension, other people and places—in a very literal, tactile way.
I would love it if you would consider sending me a small contribution. I’m not looking for your most precious materials, and it most definitely does not have to be fancy or blingy or expensive. If you want to send me a rock from your driveway or your garden, that’s cool. Some brick that has broken off your house? Also cool. Part of a broken plate off of which your family has eaten many home-cooked meals? Again, cool.
Here’s what I really want: Send me something that makes you think of a place that’s special to you. Send me something that reminds you of home. Send me something that reminds you of someone special. In short, send me something that tells a story.
Here are the details, as well as some rules / guidelines to follow when you’re figuring out what you’d like to contribute.
Where do I send it? If you’re in the Kitchener area, we can arrange a drop-off / pick-up. If you need to mail it, just email me and I’ll send you my address (for obvious reasons, I’d prefer not to post that here). And here’s a bonus for any fellow mosaicists attending SAMA in Nashville: I’ll be there and I’d be happy to accept your contributions there if you want to play!
What’s the deadline? June 15. (I know it’s a long way off, but I’ll remind you again closer to the date.)
What size does it have to be? It can be as small as you like, but please don’t make it too big. Maximum size: about three-ish inches in either direction, and no deeper than two-ish inches.
Can I send anything? Feel free to get creative—you are definitely not restricted only to rocks—and if you want to run it by me first, please do. But keep in mind that people will be touching it, so nothing sharp. And while I love rusty metal, this is not the place for it as I’m sure there would be some tetanus-related liabilities… Also, nothing that will biodegrade, please and thank you. Oh, and maybe no creepy doll heads, ok?
Will you use everything you get? I will try to use everything you send me, but reserve the right to exclude a submission if it does not meet the criteria outlined above. Also, be warned that, while I intend to use most submissions as-is, you have to be ok with me cutting them or otherwise altering them. Don’t send me anything precious if you’re not ok with me taking a hammer to it.
Anything else? When you send it, please include a note saying why you chose that particular thing to send. Tell me its story. I’m going to try to find a way to include all that information in the final presentation…
Other questions? Just ask!
And that’s it! I hope some of you out there will be keen to participate. I look forward to hearing your stories and playing connector.