NOTES ON 'TRAVELLER'S TAILS'
by Janis Bowley, Curator / Director, OR Gallery

I want to tell a traveller's tail; but is it justified to tell a tale when there is no ending - when we're in the middle of it - when Wrangellia continues to collide with Laurentia and there is no moral?

Instead I will offer my observations of ....Traveller's Tails at the occurance point in Vancouver, February 1996. Neil Berecry arrived and took occupation of the space, thereby bringing into motion a spiral activated by individuals in Canada, Australia, Ireland, Sweden and theoretically beyond. Berecry's definition of the gallery space within his non-exhibition practice and his activities within Synapse, reflect my interest in facilitating artists' projects that re-define the functioning of the OR's exhibition space. The structure of Traveller's Tails held a number of artists, scientists and members of the public in a loose net of parameters; parameters that connected us to each other and also our part in 'the bigger picture' - the world 'out there'.

The physical location of Traveller's Tails was significant only in that it continued and connected elements of Berecry's earlier work in Vancouver. The architecture of the gallery was erased - marine signal flags connected the exterior walls of one institution with the interior walls of another. A boat was found to be lost. Messages arrived from distant shores.The gallery walls became thin supports for wafts of information that flowed through the space.

In the centre of the gallery, the centre of the round table focused magnetic forces. Gwen Boyle's magnet / sound piece created another gap, a charged point of focus, an opus. Tales were told at the table of journeys past, of journey's we're on and journey's anticipated. Over the month, the continents continued to collide and the earth quaked. Relentless seismic readings reminded us that we are not, in fact, on solid ground. Participants developed TremOR coffee and we ate our words. At times there was not enough oxygen. We felt bouyed by helium and anchored by gravity. Mysterious tree portraits arrived from Haida Gwaii, Australia and Ireland. Some of the contributions to ....Traveller's Tails created resonances with each other while those outside the parameters did not.

....Traveller's Tails furthers the role of non-exhibition, collabortive, artist-initiated activities within Contemporary Art practice; a role that is emerging with increased significance and continues provoking discussion between artists and the communities we inhabit.

What remains as I report this is fotsam and jetsam, the tide is ebbing. There are residues and resonances that continue out in spirals and shock waves, and Wrangellia continues to collide with Laurentia.

 

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