Recent visitors to Concordia’s 4TH SPACE may have noticed even more activity than usual. That’s because six students have installed themselves in full view of passersby to better share their creative processes.
The students were among those who applied to an artistic residency program run by the Concordia University’s Centre for Creative Reuse (CUCCR). Their challenge? To consider the full lifecycles of the materials they use in their artistic practices.
Creating more with less
Each resident is required to create without producing waste and to use salvaged materials, including those collected at CUCCR.
However, this year’s residency boasts some significant differences. To begin with, it’s the first time that CUCCR has partnered with 4TH SPACE rather than the Visual Arts Gallery. This shifts the work’s focus from outcome to process.
“4TH SPACE activities connect people to research, learning and changemaking at the university,” says Anna Waclawek, manager of 4TH SPACE. “Having the CUCCR residents developing their projects in real time, in a public space invites exchange. This residency not only connects audiences to what research looks like but also supports and celebrates CUCCR’s operation in an accessible venue.”
In the past, the residency culminated with a vernissage. Expect to hear and see more on social media this year as the residents experiment with and develop their projects over time.
Organizers are also inviting audiences to take part in workshops, demos, conversations and performances within 4TH SPACE itself in April.
Casting a wider net
Another change is how the call for submissions was shared. This year, students in all faculties, not just those in the Faculty of Fine Arts, were invited to participate. The goal was to welcome makers from all disciplines who are interested in creating sustainably.
“Shifting from product to process, and to a larger consideration of materials, expanded the residency and its purpose,” says Arrien Weeks, sustainability technician and CUCCR member. “We want to keep pushing conversations about creativity and sustainability into all areas of study and innovation.”
Students are encouraged to dig through the CUCCR’s recovered materials — available at the onsite depot in the Grey Nuns Building — but can also introduce elements of their own.
“Participants were encouraged to look at themes like circular economies and social sustainability,” EXPALINS Maya Jain, CUCCR Depot Coordinator. “At the same time, we tried to keep the themes open so that they could come in with their own views on materiality.”
This year’s cohort
Raviya Azad is studying studio arts. Azad is exploring how drawing and language can interact with sculptural, spatial and performance works. She is experimenting with used and found materials and considering notions of immateriality.
Azad plans to incorporate movement, music and drawing into her 4TH SPACE activity.
Clare Chasse, who is majoring in anthropology with a minor in sustainability studies, is using the residency as an opportunity to skill-share and promote self-sufficiency. She is applying a variety of techniques including crochet, paper sculpture and kombucha growth.
Chasse will also be giving away kombucha scobies and teaching visitors how to make their own as part of her exploration of slow production, restoration and resilience.
Kaitlyn Di Bartolo is studying English literature. She is using fibre arts to explore concepts of nostalgia, the ephemeral and meaning in a consumption-driven age.
Influenced by the whimsy of fairy tales, Di Bartolo’s project intends to emphasize her notion that even a mere fabric scrap has meaning.
Emem Etti is a Nigeria-born, Vancouver-raised filmmaker and installation artist pursuing a BFA in film production. She strives to create work that challenges notions of Black representation, representation of women, Afrofuturism, surrealism and expanded cinema.
During the residency, Etti will be creating a masquerade suit from recycled material and hosting a roundtable discussion on ancestral knowledge about sustainability.
Keith Fernandez is a fine arts student focused on performance creation. He is using the residency to explore sustainable opulence. Through his drag persona, KAJOL, Fernandez is seeking creative ways to use plastics and other materials to create wigs and clothing items.
He also wants to engage with the drag community to build aesthetics based in creative reuse, sharing and eco-conscious perspectives.
Evelyn (Ev) Ricky is interested in the ways that popular discourse can set disability justice in opposition to environmental perspectives. Their artistic practice of painting, sculpture, comics, and poetry deals with immunosuppression, access intimacies and queer desire.
Ricky is converting Styrofoam waste into a castable resin for sculptures. They have set up a collection bin in the 4TH SPACE, from which they can recover more material.
Visit the 4TH SPACE webpage or its social media channels for details on events linked to the creative reuse residency.
Learn more about the student residents and their projects on the CUCCR webpage.