Spacial and Lighting Design, Scenographer
The challenge of the premier In SItu multi-arts festival was the greatest asset of the design: Occupying a crack in the wall, where lost memories seep. With dirty power and 42,000 square feet of raw derelict factory space, the festival required activation tying each exhibiting artist together, power, or more precisely, electricity was the driving narrative force of Creature and became the encompassing festival space thesis. The space was player. Its arteries sparking to life for creation or destruction. Wires, tilted fixtures, punctuated by a cross over of site-curated sources and technologically apart fixtures.
Curating the overall aesthetic and discovery of space and creation through light, was a study in the unearthing of repressed trauma. As we are faced with shifting landscapes in our environments, we dig deeper for foundations. We unearth heritage, diseases, memories. Looking at our carbon sinks, we find a fascinating meeting place between human experience and industry as allegory. And what a venue to explore this in. An old aerodrome, turned Great War arms testing facility, turned electric company warehousing, turned abandoned, – half modernized, half disappearing. With nature, the near conservation lands, aggressively attempting to break back into the space.
Oil from the earth. We are mortal and will end, as too do our memories end in the soil. Just as a pane of glass is pulled from the silt, cleaned reflects us once again in history, this is a human story. Just as the earth has carbon sinks, we have buried our traumas within us and below our homes. What happens when we tap into these to harness as power to exact our desires? And what reverberates? What echo does it create?
The following statement by Colleen Snell, Artistic Director, Frog In Hand
The sound of breaking glass... A group of friends disturb the dusty silence of an abandoned factory. They play lively music, they dance. A friend strays into the darkness... he does not return.
Memories come awake in the night.
Creature draws upon the constant, immersive and consuming presence of technology. It gives physical form to whispered fears and grieves for identities lost. Our project fulfils our urgent desire to explore highly physical forms of storytelling. Dancers journey through the space and the audience moves with them - promenade style. Onlookers encounter the physical and metaphorical spaces where creatures reside.
Creature was first performed in October 2016 at the Small Arms Building in Mississauga. We selected this building for its historical importance as the site of Canada’s first aerodrome and a 1940s munitions factory. This storied building was abandoned, rescued from a demolition ball, and recently designated a historic site under the leadership of local arts advocates. At the time of the performance, the building was an empty, beautifully dilapidated two-storey warehouse, possessing incredible character with peeling paint, exposed brick, large pipes, thick glass windows and a classic architectural style. We are grateful to the Small Arms Society for their support and congratulate them on an amazing festival experience.