Special Event

What Are Our Supports? Re-grounding the Footnotes

June 4
June 9, 2018

Saturday, June 9: Soundscape response by John Brennan, Elisa Ferrari, Michelle Helene Mackenzie and Justin Patterson


The surfaces we walk on and pass by contain stories – the residual and collective memories of a place. Sometimes stories are not told, but felt; sensory clues abound. For Re-grounding the Footnotes, DRIL Art Collective catalogues the surrounding urban area through frottage, mining surfaces and beneath for other narratives and pathways within. Transforming Boothy into a lightbox, these rubbings are reconfigured akin to stained-glass windows, offering unexpected and alternative ways of reading the city.


Buried within these “footnotes” are an accumulation of residual histories, failed utopias, and potentials overlooked. Shifting perspectives from dominant narratives to the structures that quietly support, DRIL affirms the margins. In doing so, what do they discover? What else emerges? The imprints of past and current worlds may yet reveal something in their inverses; margins, footnotes and oblique views prove crucial in this re-examination. By gathering fragments of forgotten structures, DRIL catalogues and memorializes a rapidly vanishing-reconstructing city, adding texture to our architectural amnesia. Fragmented patterns framed within cross-sections of surrounding architecture echo the spirit of Gothic Revival and its post-modern interpretations, recalling humanity’s own pattern in reaching to the past for insight. Their gesture is not nostalgic, but revisits questions of intent in aesthetic representation: how can representation convey social consciousness, shared values, and collective acts of creation? How can one read within aesthetics the indices of process and webs of relations – both human and human-material collaborations? What latent energies exist within the built environment, and how can invisible patterns be made present?


Friendship is a medium and often a condition of cultural practice: it is “a vital alliance, a sharing of acts and thoughts, an exercise in freedom.”^1^ As Celine Condorelli further describes, it is also a political act, “a specific model of relationship in the large question of how to live and work together – towards change, and as a way to act in the world.”^2^ Re-grounding the Footnotes looks to render legible this process of praxis, accepting the gaps between current support structures and the future ones as-yet-unformed.


On June 9, join us for a site-responsive sound work comprising gathered field recordings, nearby church bells, EMF frequencies, acoustic and synthesized sound, as further exploration of the sensorial.

DRIL is a Vancouver-based artist collective comprised of Dylan McHugh, Rachel White, Ian Prentice and Leisha O’Donohue. Founded in 2009, with diverse backgrounds in painting, sculpture, ceramics, and printmaking, their collaborative practice has expanded to immersive installations and social events. Their installations, often site-responsive, engage with the architecture, geography and histories of a space through an archeology-inflected process: sifting from the present downward to consider layers of interpretation. Emphasizing sensorial experience and tactile experimentation, DRIL utilizes artifice, mediation and cinematic affect to reframe perceptions of the everyday, questioning subjective experience, notions of authenticity and the idea of a collective consciousness. Recent exhibitions include Print Ready VII: Stockholm Edition (Stockholm, Sweden, 2016), Measure of Light (Dynamo Arts Association Vancouver, 2015), THRU THE TRAPDOOR (On Main Gallery, 2014), and Western (Kamloops Art Gallery, 2013). Since 2014, DRIL has run CinemaShine, a winter speak-easy foregrounding community, friendship as solidarity, and informal independent spaces for art. All members received their Bachelor of Fine Arts from Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.


John Brennan, Elisa Ferrari, Michelle Helene Mackenzie and Justin Patterson are a group of artists, writers, curators and musicians living on unceded Coast Salish Territories.


What Are our Supports, a series of artists’ projects in public space by Emily Neufeld with Cease Wyss, Stacey Ho with Elisa Ferrari, DRIL Art Collective, and Khan Lee and Andrew Lee, is made possible through the generous support of the City of Vancouver’s Public Art Program. For this project, we are especially thankful to Denbigh Fine Art Services, LocoMotoArts & IMAPON for their additional support.


The Or Gallery and Richmond Art Gallery acknowledge their presence on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territories. We are grateful for the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of British Columbia, the City of Vancouver, the British Columbia Arts Council, our members, donors, and volunteers. The Or Gallery is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres (PAARC).


^1^ Celine Condorelli, “Reprint,” in Mousse 32 (February 2012), 224 – 227.
^2^ Ibid.