A distinct aggregation / A dynamic equivalent / A generous ethic of invention: Six writers respond to six sculptures - Publication

A distinct aggregation / A dynamic equivalent / A generous ethic of invention: Six writers respond to six sculptures - Audio

A project by Aislinn Thomas with Anna Bowen, Angela Marie Schenstead, Crystal Mowry, Laura Burke, Catherine Frazee, Nicole Kelly Westman, and Shannon Finnegan

August 8, 2019 – September 27, 2020

This commissioned work is available in two formats: as a sound-work available and through a broadsheet featuring audio transcriptions of each response as well as text drawings from the collaborative series, A seat at the table, a slice of the pie, the result of a dialogue between Aislinn Thomas and Shannon Finnegan about the practice of visual description.

I am sorry I didn’t Call - A poem for a now - vancant site
responding to Sharon Moodie’s I dont want a massage, I want a miracle (1989-2017)

In the days when she stood here,
she was bathed in golden hour dappled light
from fluttering shadows of swaying pines
coniferous limbs dancing into an ever-exuberant setting sun.

she stood beneath full moons
and disappeared in the murky fog of forest fire smoke.
she was cloaked in blankets of snow for many blizzarding winters
and again
and again
and again she was revealed by the melting of spring.
but, now the only remnants are faded fraudulent rocks
camouflaged in a mesh of grass and gravel.
scattered amongst complimenting severed shards
detached from their binding collage.
like boulders balanced between glacial currents.
no longer a part of the mountain that once held them.
no longer so rigid with identifiable edges.
no longer holding the purpose they once had.

she weathered many tenuous storms
resting upon a terrain of severe extremes.
while she stood she held her space without the support structures bestowed to those around her.
without the didactic
without the curatorial context
without the records of maintenance in the addendum of condition reports.
so, slowly and subtly she relinquished from her pebbled bed foundation.
until her precariously ephemeral lifespan abruptly concluded.
all that stands here now is impermanence
as a question to the relevance of permanence permeates this site.

a binary begins to form
to segregate the alumni that remember her from the new residents that may never know she was here.
for me, she became a marker for a moment in time recorded by a field of memory.
a metaphor for the political capacities of resisting from the outside.
a visual critique poignantly critical of the continuation of systemic inequalities
an overtly feminine passageway that lasted only long enough to embrace some of us.

she was once embossed with Venus of Willendorf replicas
and Barbie busts.
inscribed with text-based sentiments like ‘punk junk’
and curt curses like ‘fuck face’
slotted amongst ceramics scribed with concerns like
‘sentimentality is a superstructure covering brutality’
‘hierarchy is just their control device against free spirits.’
you must trust me as I attempt to describe her aesthetic appeal
as she is not googleable now
just as she was not commissionable then.

I suppose for some she lost her lustre
after twenty-nine years of remaining as
a mosaic,
a memento,
a site marker.
a signal of resistance
until finally she was but a resignation.
she was a visual balance of rhythmic chaos.
in complement to the complexities of ever-evolving theories relational to feminism.

recorded in recent archives,
are documents depicting her final celebration.
under the moon and amongst many friends
she was gazed upon and rested on.
as they gathered together to sit on blankets
they talked of gossip and then of art
with the origins of their quest
to share in a love for the poetic
to sit with her and wait in these moments of finality
to praise her for her long-standing commitments to feminism
to learn she had a name we never knew and never used.

colloquially she was known as the feminist arch.
but her truest name was,
I don’t want a massage, I want a miracle.
in thinking of this naming
I lust for an era that desires considered consent
one that is mindfully cognizant of the overt consolation in offering touch over tangential change.
I too await this forlorn miracle as I fend off mediocre offers of suggestive caress commonly exchanged in the prowl of power.

I sit where you once were
in an area now sanctioned off for construction supplies.
I begin plucking from the earth what remains, assembling
a constellation of ceramics in my palm.
a faded yellow
a brushstroked orange
a swirling lilac
a black wave jutting onto a sunset pink
an oscillation of sage and evergreen.

I think of this modest foraged collection
finding its way into a new arch.
an arch with varying intersections
an arch built by the hands of many
an arch depicting the temporality of listening
an arch that resists the monumental.
what I want is a miracle but what I’ve got is a mirage.