The Hammock So Far
From May - August this summer, I’m an artist in residence at Heidi Nagtegaal’s Hammock Residency in garden-like East Vancouver. Originally, I set-out to sift through some old material and recombine it in slightly new ways, although, along the way things have shifted a bit to become a little more site-specific. The Hammock site is a welcome influence on my work, and in fact, becomes the context and sometimes partly the content of my research here. It’s a powerful spot, with many guests, ideas, and materials - all gently swirling together in a kind of dance of community.
The first manifestation of my research was an event last week involving gardening, local bc wildlife animal masks, and a bonfire. It was a ‘secret’ performance and guests were invited to sit around a bonfire and enjoy roasting apples on sticks, corn, and wine. They were asked to focus on the fire - this was the only rule - no matter what happened around them, they should keep the conversation and merriment going and not turn around to face the performance.
The audience’s back space was soon populated by a group of five small animals who gardened the Hammock garden. Partly a midsummer’s eve ritual, five of us wore masks depicting raccoon, fox, mouse, squirrel and porcupine, and slowly added new plants to the negative space around the fire. Of course, the audience did steal a few glances our way, but surprisingly, some of them really tried hard to not even give us one glance. In the end, there were two ‘gifts’ of the work - our guests were given the chance to connect to new people in unexpected camp fire gathering, and the Hammock received a new garden.
This work was billed as a ‘secret’ performance, but from now on, the gardening animals will be called ‘Small Animal Gardening Collective’ and we will appear through various future actions, possibly gardening even more unexpected spaces. The first group of Small Animal gardeners included Brittany Burkhard (Mouse), Luciana D’Anunciacao (Fox), Jocelyne Chaput (Raccoon), Hailey McCloskey (Porcupine) and me, Mirae Rosner (Squirrel). It was a magical evening and couldn’t have been done without the sincerity and dedication of the small animals, Heidi Nagtegaal who hosted the fire so beautifully, and my sister Meghan Rosner who designed and built the sweet yet scary masks. Thanks!
In general, my research here in the Hammock is based in my interest in exploring the connections between bodies and landscapes and as the summer progresses this will manifest in several directions including new work on my landscape detection series, a third issue of my zine, and the creation of two dance letters to be sent in the mail to Germany and Italy.
Brittany Burkhard as ‘Mouse’