Monument to Content, 2019

Engraved acrylic, chip foam block, hardwood floor plank, mini binder clips

A quick Google search following a conversation, on what exactly the canadianness of allcanada is, led to the website brandUNIQ: Your Guide to Strategic Marketing. How would you describe Canada in a single word? Chanelle, on February 7th at 3:29 PM says, “hockey syrup freedom peace home multicultural tim hortons poutine”, omitting commas from her answer through nationalistic excitement perhaps or to say that any one of these terms could describe that “whatness”. 

In constructing A Monument to Content, frustration seemed to drive process. Through my discomfort (and lack of experience) in the realm of fabrication, my structure wasn’t sound. I modified immensely, chopping it down to its smallest size in order to stay upright. I started to think about what it meant for a structure to constantly on the brink of its own demise, whether it was aware of it or not. What had its creators relied on to keep it standing. Did it matter? 

A yoga bock base of chip foam from Half Moon Yoga grounded this work during the combined 37 seconds that the wind stopped blowing. It fell  again and again. Pieces of acrylic fell, again and again. One has a chip on it but they all seem to be left pretty unscathed. Could a structural system be made with the creator’s knowledge of its own demise under external forces but with the reassurance that some of the pieces could be put back together? “The disjointed body…lives where fragmentation flirts with both blood & rubble”, says Domenico de Chirico, describing a group show Body. What casualties are caused through fragmentation of a system? What casualties are caused during the fall?

Tumultuous outdoor install led me from a site-responsive plan to more of a site-specific one. Chirico states, “the world is composed exactly by and only by surfaces on top of surfaces”, and I wanted to see how these natural and fabricated surfaces interacted with one another: soft versus hard, clear versus opaque, cold versus room temperature? Through my exploration, shadows seemed to be the most legible. 

In the interior of a condo, I was able to stack the monument to about half as high as it could go, pulled down only by gravity but protected by a thick-layered bubble of class safety. What this represented was: balance or content (in terms of comfort rather than happiness) is synonymous to wealth. Multiculturalism can be used to sell bilingual poutine and home can sell gallons of maple syrup for Sunday breakfast because the branding of the Canadian economy is based on the social dynamics of getting along while it works through the subjugation of others through competition. The most ingenious part of this branding is that, those who are content sell the idea of content through labour to those who are not, giving the outward appearance that it is a favor because we are nice people. All of us. Even the ones built their wealth who by owning “housekeepers” for free or borrowed land by ridding it of its previous occupants. 

Pinned to a leftover plank of post-reno hardwood flooring are documentation photos & leaning against it is a new, fragile structure on the brink of falling, but strong enough now to be held up by its own belief system. Placed in front is the plastic Canada, stuck into the block of foam, strong enough to stay upright but cowering far shorter than the words meant to connote it. It is a separate entity altogether in this moment, as branding becomes the whatness of a nation.