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(carrying wind, for now) Kara Stanton, Meagan Berlin

Thu. September 17th 2020 - Fri. October 9th 2020 Please see thefiftyfifty.net for our most up-to-date hours.
For the length of a year, a big swath of blue scaffolding netting hung on one side of the building at the corner of Yates and Langley. I encountered it every day to and from work, and quickly became enraptured by the big blue and how the wind moved through and with it. Its invitation to pause and notice my surroundings transformed that generic city street into a space that felt profoundly comforting, and which held my queer and often tired body with a softness that eluded me elsewhere. –Kara

(carrying wind, for now) looks to recreate this space through works that attend to the wind and the ways in which it, in turn, calls us to attend to our bodies. For queer folks and others who find themselves tired, overwhelmed, or ill at ease in historically antagonistic city spaces, the ever-present wind on these territories invites a heightened awareness of the body, and a familiar feeling of being enmeshed in forces outside of your control. And yet, the wind is also a reminder of the land’s power to disrupt and transform the built environment around us. How, then, might tracing its movement become a comfort, allowing us to see where care gives and falls away from us?

Through an audio soundscape and poetry zine (Kara) and ink illustrations (Meagan), the artists trace impressions of the wind as it carries feeling between bodies, fills and leaves fabrics. Alongside these pieces, a piece of that big blue fabric will be hoisted in the gallery to hang over us as a kind of canopy, inviting our bodies to still beneath it. The material, a 9x9ft piece salvaged by Meagan from a closed-up construction site, is synthetic and net-like in texture. Removed from its outdoor environment into a mediated indoor art space to hang as a sculptural piece, the fabric asks the questions—what kinds of spaces are we constructing; what feelings or moments do we allow ourselves to be caught in; where can we be held?

In a time of increased policing and surveillance of public space, the question of who gets to be at peace in public is critical. While many are seeking respite in parks to visit with friends and family, the blue fences that run along Pandora and beyond speak to the ongoing displacement of unhoused communities. As we reckon with this within the larger context of the displacement of Lekwungen and WSÁNEĆ peoples, the question remains: how can we create a city that holds its residents with equal care?

Drawing from Maggie Nelson’s meditations on queer feeling and the colour blue, Sara Ahmed’s study of how queer bodies orient themselves in space, and Hans Haacke’s play with impressions of the wind in his piece Blue Sail, (carrying wind, for now) seeks to embody queer ways of holding bodies in flux, bodies experiencing unease, and bodies looking for repose from the weight of the contemporary city.

The artists would like to thank poet Molly Berlin for generously sharing the title of the show.

Artist bios

Kara Stanton is a poet and cultural worker of Scottish, Irish, and Ukrainian ancestry living on Lekwungen and W̱SÁNEĆ territories. Their poetry has been published in Poetry is Dead and Arc Poetry Magazine, and they organize literary programming for Open Space artist-run centre. In their work, they seek to articulate personal, emergent, and embodied relationships to place.

Meagan Berlin is a white, queer self-taught illustrator and tattoo artist fixated on the repetition of small marks, and currently working on the territories of the Lək̓ʷəŋən people, represented today as the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations / 'victoria BC.’ Meagan’s illustration practice captures simply with single-weight linework illustration. Their work has been published in Poetry is Dead, GUTS magazine, and Salt Hill Journal, among select zines.

Covid - 19 Guidelines
· Only one visitor or household allowed in the gallery at a time. Physical distancing in effect.
· Visitors are asked to wait outside until the gallery sitter opens the door for them.
Thank you for your considerations.

the fifty fifty arts collective is comprised of individuals living and working on unceded and occupied First Nations Territories, specifically the lands of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, as well as the W̱SÁNEĆ, Sc'ianew and T'Souke First Nations.
The programming space itself is situated on Songhees and Esquimalt Territory but engages with individuals and communities across Turtle Island.
As a collective we endeavor to deepen our own understandings of how we are implicated in the history and in the present ongoing project of settler colonialism. As members of the fifty fifty arts collective we continually responsibilize ourselves to the complex kind of space that is the fifty fifty which hosts and facilitates the dissemination of the ideas and work of others.

Accessibility Information:
The entrance to the fifty fifty arts collective is wheelchair accessible, however the door is not automatic and we have no washrooms on site. A more comprehensive statement regarding our accessibility is in progress, specific questions or requests regarding accessibility can be sent to [email protected]