The former inlet and salt marshes bounded by today’s Clark Drive, Great Northern Way, and Union Street were once more commonly known as False Creek East, and by Salish communities as ‘Skwahchays’—what might be poorly translated as ‘hole-in-bottom’. In the centennial years of the filling and destruction of hole-in-bottom, PLOT invites the K̲EXMIN Field Station collective to initiate new research, test sites, public conversations, screenings, ceremonies, performances, interventions, and proposals. In various periods over the next three years, still underwater will explore new forms of decolonial land art based on emergent protocols in acknowledging a wider range of territorial, linguistic, cultural, and historical concerns; as well as emerging relationships, alliances, and communalities.
At the core of still underwater are a series of questions concerning environmental, site-based, and public art in the Pacific North-West: How can artists, curators and audiences—with a wide range of heritages—engage fully around unceded land and sites, with respect and support towards the rapidly evolving cultural, political, and legal protocols of the xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) nations? For Indigenous artists, what does it mean to have a heritage and political entitlement around unceded sites such as hole-in-bottom? Considering the seismically-vulnerable terrain of hole-in-bottom, how can site-based artistic interventions and permanent public artworks hold transformative roles within its ‘redeveloping’ neighbourhoods, where new construction forges onwards despite its geological instability?
K̲EXMIN Field Station is a loose collective of Indigenous and non-Indigenous site-based artists, environmental researchers, scientists, and designers focused on the waters, shores and islands of the Salish Sea. Currently located on Salt Spring Island, the field station exists as a research, learning and experimentation space to nurture conversations spanning traditional Indigenous knowledge, modern science, and contemporary culture. Individuals currently contributing to still underwater include: Métis public artist and environmental scientist, Gordon Brent Brochu-Ingram (currently coordinating the 2019 events at PLOT), Salish curator Rose Spahan, public artist and designer Alex Grünenfelder, site-based artist Oliver Kellhammer, Musqueam weaver and public artist Debra Sparrow, and community-engaged environmental artist Sharon Kallis, amongst an evolving group of affiliates.
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