A Hairpin Turn is like a Plot Twist
August 1 – September 6, 2020
Katharina Cameron, Cadence Planthara, and Ekow Stone
A Hairpin Turn is like a Plot Twist
Katharina Cameron, Cadence Planthara, Ekow Stone
August 1 — September 6, 2020
There will be no opening reception due to social distancing measures
What’s the di erence between sap and snot? Within a western context it is easy and even encouraged to create a false dichotomy between “humans” and “nature.” This suggests that humanity itself is somehow diametrically opposed to harmonizing with the planet. The term anthropocentrism and the idea that human beings arethe most important entity in the universe is not only selfmythologizing but a symptom of this type of ecological dualism. The current state of global health, climate change, and political instability would suggest that if the goal of the human project is to conquer nature then it is not withoutconsequence.
Duality via reduction is not an uncommon strategy forhumans to make sense of the complexity that ll our lives. Cartesian dualism (mind—body), Saint Thomas Aquinas’s Law of Nature (good—evil), or sexuality itself are just some examples of concepts that are likely limited by such a binary assessment. With the creation of computer technologies, processing power and the ability to complete a given task became further contingent on a binary state change of ones and zeros. However, as early as 1957,quantum physicist Hugh Everett proposed a vision of amore pluralistic world with the many-worlds interpretation. This view is one where “our Universe [is] just one of numerous parallel worlds that branch o from each other, nanosecond by nanosecond, without intersecting or communicating.”2 In other words, if you’re feeling uncertain while approaching a fork in the road, rest assured that in many-worlds you both turned towards route A, route B, and all combinations in between. Everything, everywhere,all the time.
These ideas have been built upon and developed by philosophers and social theorists such as Karen Barad, Sara Ahmed, and Donna Harraway in order to develop a new politics of being that attempts to dismantle theprivilege of the human position in relation to the rest of theuniverse. For example, by shifting notions of agency awayfrom someone or something and towards an entanglement of intra-activity, Barad asserts the possibility of “dynamic (re)con gurings of the world.”3 Similarly, in Montreal Brian
Massumi and Erin Manning work towards an ecology of experience at the SenseLab at Concordia University. Here a relationscape is cultivated between individuals and organizations where one can engage in both philosophical thinking and art making. The result is a hybrid animal where philosophy is doing thinking, and the art developsthinking in the doing.
My own development of thinking through doing began without planning or intention. I grew up on Vancouver Islandand developed an early understanding of its geographythrough highway 19, a 521 km stretch that e ciently movesdrivers north/south along the east coast of the island. Thehighway establishes a linear understanding of place that begins from point A (Swartz Bay) and ends at point B (Port Hardy)—here again duality limits the scope of experience. It wasn’t until I started to work in the eld of Silviculture (the growing and cultivation of trees) that I began to understand Vancouver Island as a complex network of roads, paths,trade routes, rivers, streams, and valleys that turnedand twisted without the logic of e ciency or productivity. My time in these spaces was spent walking (sometimes wandering) in search of white pine trees. The mental driftthat accompanied each footstep instilled a connection to the land that articulated the epistemological distinctionbetween knowing how and knowing that.
Daydreaming wandering through dense foliage became a way for me to temporarily suspend my own subjectivity and relate to the complexity of the land in terms closer to Barad’s entanglement. In the book A Pattern Language(1977), author and architect Christopher Alexander proclaims “making wholeness heals the maker” to communicate a similar communion with space and place as a strategy towards an enhanced quality of life and community livability.
Although these concepts may appear to exist mostly onthe fringes of academic and art theory, notions of movingtowards a more holistic way of being and dismantling the status quo has recently become politicized. In urgent reaction to the rise of anti-black racism and systemic oppression that was ignited by the muder of George Floyd,4 writer and eco-activist Leah Thomas formalized the idea of Intersectional Environmentalism. In Thomas’ outline of this emerging ideology she describes how Intersectional Environmentalism “advocates for the protection of the people and the planet. It identi es ways in which injusticeshappening to marginalized communities and the earthare interconnected. It brings injustices done to the most vulnerable communities, and the earth, to the forefront and does not minimize or silence social inequality.”5Thomas’ initiative provided an important bridge between the proportionately white and privileged undertones of the environmentalism movement alongside Kimberlé Crenshaw’s afro-feminist concept of Intersectionality.
The works on display in this exhibition illustrate a shared sensibility, or sensitivity, to a mental and spatial drift andits capacity to enhance a relationship to space, place,and land. The result is a proposition; a view into a way of being and living that embraces multiplicity and strives for wholeness.
Katharina Cameron presents a series of drawings that were made during a short term residency in Toronto. Born in Nürnberg Germany, Cameron spent time exploring Toronto and used the typography of street-level signage as the basis for her works on paper. NO FRILLS, BULK BARN, and VALUE VILLAGE, become a palimpsestuous base to be consumed and overgrown by layers of natural forms, hearts, and owers that not only become a type of experiential narration but also a trace of the city as a tangled garden. Acting as both conduit and content, these works articulate the feeling of schwindeln, a German wordthat ecompases feelings of dizziness, defying the linearityof time, and being dislodged from reality.
Cadence Planthara’s paintings and sculptures appear at rst as pure abstraction of form and colour. However, through an emerging guration, Planthara’s work positionsitself as relational not representational. Conducive toprolonged viewing, the gestural and iconic forms in Planthara’s paintings build a vocabulary for the viewer that does not strive for objectivity but rather glimpses an array of emotional states that propose an ethics of being. A small pearl nestled into the wall sits at the height of an outstretched arm above the head—this variance in scalefrom paintings to sculpture deepens the relationshipbetween works and the body. Finally, the “misc img” books (2017-2020) illustrate Planthara’s veracious and routine practice of photography that acts as a notebook or diary as well as a type of image index for concepts and ideas that may later manifest in painted or sculpted works.
Ekow Stone employs a stippling technique to works on paper that use the archetypal gures of the hunter andwarrior in order to recall a before now where divinity and ecology are intimately intertwined. These works create an entry point to alternate worlds of mythology while simultaneously, and quite pertinently, calling for sustainability through the protection and stewardship of our own land. A history of labour and relations are visible in Stone’s sculptural pyrography works done on everyday objects. A warped cutting board and used chair are burned with symbols and scenes of a thriving communion between people and the earth with such intention that it feels as though Stone himself brought these objects back as proof of the existence of the very world he is creating.
About Pumice Raft:
a pumice raft is an ecological phenomenon that usuallyfollows an underwater volcanic eruption. Amongst the lava, plumes of pumice stones slowly oat to the surface of the ocean. If the wind is calm the individual stones form what some sailors have reported as oating islands that appear out of nowhere. The pumice raft has even been known to ferry ora and fauna to new shores. More than anillusion on the horizon, a pumice raft represents a vessel,a conduit, a vehicle; its very constitution cultivates an environment where things can come together in the spirit of collaboration.
Pumice Raft is also an alter ego, a lecture series, a tool, but most recently a non-pro t space in Tkaronto ON, Canadathat advocates for an ecological approach to the display of visual art and the facilitation of related education. Thephysical space of Pumice Raft currently resides on the land of the Haudenosaunee, the Huron-Wendat, and the Anishinabewaki .
About the artists:
Katharina Cameron nished her MFA at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam in 2018. She lives and works in Berlin. Recently her work was exhibited at Available&TheRat (Drama Pur), Rotterdam; Palazzo San Giuseppe (Baitball), Polignano a Mare; Schloss Callenberg (A ektive Allianzen), Coburg.
Cadence Planthara creates functional objects and installations. Her work has recently been exhibited at Hearth (Toronto), Trinity Square Video (Toronto), the Ministry of Casual Living (Victoria, BC) and Xpace Cultural Centre (Toronto).
Ekow Stone is an emerging artist based in Toronto. His artpractice focuses primarily on spirit, nature, and origins. Hissoul-tappings (stippling pieces) often depict these themes as mythical happenings in primordial worlds. As a student of the environment and an aspiring earth worker, he iscontinuously striving to root his creative practice to landand explore what it might mean to be connected to the more-than-human.
1. The title of this exhibition comes from a quote from
Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking.
Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: a History of Walking, 72.
London: Granta Books, 2014.
Part of what makes roads, trails, and paths so unique as built structures is that they cannot be perceived as a whole all at once by a sedentary onlooker. They unfold in time as one travels along them, just as a story does as one listens or reads, and a hairpin turn is like a plot twist, a steep ascent a building of suspense to the view at the summit, a fork in the road an introduction of a new storyline, arrival the end of the story. Just as writing allows one to read the words of someone who is absent, so roads make it possible to trace the route of the absent.
2. Crease, Robert P. “The Bizarre Logic of the Many- Worlds Theory.” Nature News. Nature Publishing Group, September 2, 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/ d41586-019-02602-8.
3. Barad, Karen. “Posthumanist Performativity: Toward an Understanding of How Matter Comes to Matter.” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28, no. 3 (2003): 816. https://doi.org/10.1086/345321.
4. On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black American man, was killed my police in Minneapolis,Minnesota, during an arrest for allegedly using a counterfeitbill. Derek Chauvin, a white police o cer, knelt on Floyd’s neck for eight minutes and forty-six seconds while Floyd was handcu ed, lying face down, and repeatedly saying “I can’t breathe”.
5.Thomas,Leah.Intersectional Environmentalist.Accessed July 24, 2020. https://www.intersectionalenvironmentalist.com/.