Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Heritage Garden

We are going to lose a beautiful heritage garden in our neighborhood. I can't tell you where it is right now, but we will be sad to see it go. Gardens like this contain years of stories, memories, and a great deal of mystery. No one really knows what goes on in the mind's eye of the gardener. What songs did she hear in her inner ear when she planted the roses 40 or 50 years ago? What conversations did she have with herself over the years of raising her family? How did the garden twine itself around her heart? How did its sensuous appeal affect her spirit? Does her spirit return to the garden to relish in all her work and care?

She had a passion for roses.

There are flowers I just never noticed before now, like the irises below.

Her columbines bloomed on the summer solstice.

If you look closely, there are unexpected delights, like this lone dianthus blossom.

She also reveled in big and showy blooms.

I hope to take many pictures of the garden this summer. We will collect some of the memories and stories of its creator and share them with you in the fall.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Twilight Tea Party Photos: Part 2

David Floren holds an MFA from Concordia University where he studied sculpture and integrated media. Currently Floren's creative work focuses on event collection, discrete networks, and remote systems. Floren's work has been shown internationally at venues including Berlin's Sony Centre, Répliques in Algiers, Send and Receive in Winnipeg, À la nuit tombée in Grenobles, and at Icons in Washington state.

(COME SEE) THE FRENECIRCES: A two-thirds scale Ottoman/Czarist styled gondola remembers journeys between oasis caravanserai. It absorbs solar energy during the day and at night it emits light, and text (wirelessly), and skitters along its support wire. Intermittently, the gondola will transmit prose to ground-based wireless handsets (iPhones or other WiFi equiped devices). The text alludes to Marco Polo-like traveller(s) in mid journey between oases, and to the context of the original gondola among the opulent architecture near the resort city of Gagri on Georgia's Black Sea. The Park-to-Spa line once carried czars, dukes, and aristocrats.

These are the solar lights designed by Peter Courtemanche and created by the community in a workshop at The Britannia Community Centre for the Light Headed Lanterns below.

Naomi Singer is the Artistic Director of the Secret Lantern Society and has been a practising artist since graduating with honours from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design in 1989. She has created and participated in countless festivals and community projects as an artist, performer, director and designer and has taught workshops throughout BC and Alberta. She continues to produce and direct the annual Winter Solstice Lantern Festival in multiple Vancouver neighbourhoods, collaborating with over 500 artists and performers, dozens of community associations and countless volunteers. Over 15,000 participants attend this annual event.

Light-Headed Lanterns: In a workshop for the commmunity, participants created head-shaped lanterns using tissue paper, petals, twigs and natural materials from the MOP garden. Once complete the new lanterns were outfitted with solar technology created by participants in a workshop with Peter Courtemanche. Light-headed is a solar powered lantern project that plays on the concept of personal illumination. Ten head-shaped portrait lanterns will invoke the "eureka moment" we hope to inspire regarding the conversation between art and science. A head lit from within is inspired, it contains spirit, it holds an idea. And when we put our heads together, anything is possible.

Les Serveuses! Sharon Kallis and Jody MacDonald serve up garden tea and bannock.

Lori Weidenhammer is a Vancouver performance-based artist originally from Saskatchewan. For four years she has been appearing as the persona Madame Beespeaker on a regular basis. Lori created an Artist Run Bee Garden at the MOP (2009). Her collaborative media works with Peter Courtemanche have been shown in Canada and abroad. As a food security volunteer and activist Weidenhammer works with colleagues and students of all ages on identifying native plants, eating locally, gardening for pollinators, and guerilla gardening.

In her installation and performance Lori Weidenhammer will embody a psychic medium called Madame Moth appearing in an illuminated cocoon. She will enter into a trance state with the help of a sound track she listens to created from fortunes from a vintage scale and 19th century recipes. Moths have eaten away at the memory of Madame Moth as she struggles to channel her own past.

Twilight Tea Party Photos: Part 1

Crow hour happened during the twilight on June 26 above the MOP Garden. My son was on documentation duty and took this photo.

Robin Ripley is a Vancouver artist who often works with recycled and natural materials as they reflect her environmental concerns. Gathering sorting and reconfiguration are all processes she uses to draw attention to the often overlooked details of our world. She focuses on the re-examination of mundane objects as a way to explore sense, memory, and knowledge. Her working processes are often laborious, questioning current economic models of speed and "efficiency" while suggesting that transformation is still possible through small gestures if we make time to notice the details of the world. Her works have been widely shown throughout British Columbia.

TRACES employs a specific site, the Means of Production garden to draw attention to the complex web of often unobserved activities found in nature. The work was created in collaboration with students from Simon Fraser Elementary. Transparent plastic sheeting provides a surface to trace and illuminate the multitude of activities within the garden. The patterns of activities will be delineated with phosphorescent materials recording the ongoing transitory records left behind by insects, birds, and animals. Slug trails, paw prints, woodpecker holes, insect chewed leaves, bird and insect flight paths are some examples of the elements of the patterns to be transcribed. Painting on individual transparent sheets with phosphorescent paint participants created specific patterns to portray an aspect of the garden which intrigued them.

Peter Courtemanche is a sound and installation artist from Vancouver. He creates radio, installations, network projects, performances, curatorial projects, and handmade CD editions. His art works often have a literary basis - inspired by narrative texts and the history of specific installation sites. His "outdoor" works include: "Divining for Lost Sound"(1996-99), "Preying Insect Robots" (2006), and Poison Mentor (2009).

The Illuminated Shroom is a large tree fungus that has become savvy about science. It is inspired by the notion of wind-clocks and alternate scales of time. It perceives the wind as a variable force that blows during the daytime and goes quiet at night. Thus each day has a different length in wind time, and each night the shroom has an opportunity to stop and reflect on the day. The shroom is a solar powered creature that monitors and records the wind during the daytime, and at night it uses its findings to create a pattern of light, played-back on amber LEDs. Connected to the Time Inventor's Kabinet project at OKNO in Brussels, the shroom also sends it's wind data to the Internet.

Diana Burgoyne refers to herself as an electronic folk artist. Her performances and installations have been exhibited internationally. She was commissioned by Telus Science World to collaborate on a permanent piece which is exhibited as part of Contraption Corner. She has created a work entitled "Audio Quilt" as artist in residence at the Roundhouse Community Centre. "Audio Quilt" is an interactive installation that reflects the sounds and voices of the Roundhouse community by utilizing one hundred audio chips, each recording 10 seconds of sound. Many of Diana's pieces involve audience interaction to activate the art. Whereas we are usually taught not to touch anything in a gallery, her pieces rely on the audience handling the art.

Diana created the work in the Twilight Tea Party in three collaborative workshops with the community. In two workshops with students at Simon Fraser Elementary, the students created Buzzy Light Bugs. The audience can use their flashlights to activate the sound circuit enabling the viewer to experience both the audio and visual aspects of the pieces. The second workshop took place at the Britannia Community Centre. By weaving electronics around rocks or plant materials or by modeling the circuit into insect sculptures, participants created solar-powered audio creatures using light sensitive buzzers and make sound recordings. These are also activated with flashlights.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Passport to Permaculture: A Summer Camp

(Click to enlarge the image)

This promises to be an excellent camp. It takes place in a very special community garden in Kerrisdale. I Wish I could go as a camper! Please spread the word. I'll be spending an hour with each camp exploring the honey bees in the garden. Check out the adult workshops The World in a Garden in holding this summer.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

First Days of Summer Blooms

It's a couple of days past solstice and I wanted to present a seasonal inventory of our garden. First off, we have some blushing alyssum.

I must have been a bit too vigorous in weeding the campanula last year, as I don't have as many this year, so I'll just let it self seed again. The bees like it and it is growing on me.

The climbing rose is will soon be covered in masses of blooms.

The peonies are resplendent.

The lupins are losing it.

The peas are perky.

The strawberries are succulent, but not very sweet.

The bees were really talking to these roses today.

And over here we have the formal wear.

I grew them from seed!

Just the thing to pop into our seasonal salad.

This herb is called Good King Henry.

The nasturtiums are spinning their parasols.

The lacy climbing hydrangea was by far the most active bee plant in the garden today.

There were lots of these lovely little bombus with their orange rumps.

And this is the hole in our storage room they were flying into. Chances are, the queen found an old mouse nest in there to nestle into. Happy summer!