Open Studio: Vicki Couzens
Saturday, Oct. 26th, 2019 - 11 am–4 pm
Blue Cabin (Plaza of Nations Aquabus/False Creek Ferries dock)
Possum cloak maker and multi-media artist Vicki Couzens, the Blue Cabin's inaugural artist-in-residence, is hosting an open studio at the Blue Cabin this Saturday October 26th, 2019. During this final event of her residency, Couzens will show works-in-progress and discuss her creative practice, including an artist talk at 1pm.
Vicki Couzens is a Gunditjmara citizen from the Western Districts of Victoria, Australia. Couzens acknowledges her Ancestors and Elders who guide her work. She has worked in Aboriginal community affairs for almost 40 years and is Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Cloak Story and Language Reclamation in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue. Couzens has distinguished herself with her interdisciplinary artwork, or as she prefers, ‘creative cultural expression’ – painting, installation, visual arts, printmaking, mixed media, performing arts, language revitalization, ceremony and teaching – and is widely known for her central role in the revival of the possum skin cloak making tradition which began in Victoria and is now established across south-eastern Australia. Vicki Couzens is a Vice Chancellors Indigenous Research Fellow at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University.
Vicki Couzens is a possum cloak maker, multi-media artist, and member of the Keerray Wooroong language group of the Gunditjmara of western Victoria, Australia. Couzens is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Cloak Story and Language Reclamation in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue. Couzens is also the current artist in residence at the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency.
Vicki Couzens will host a talk and workshop on traditional ceremonial and decorative possum armband making. Each participant will have the opportunity to learn techniques and create their own possum armband.
*All materials provided*
This workshop is free, but capacity is limited and registration is recommended. Please register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/possum-armband-making-workshop-with-vicki-couzens-tickets-75920691833
Meet the artist: Angela George
Thursday, Oct. 3rd, 2019 - 6 pm
Native Education College (237 East 5th Ave, Vancouver)
Join us in welcoming the Blue Cabin's upcoming artist in residence, Angela George. This event is a chance to meet George and learn about her creative practice, and will take place in the Native Education College Longhouse.
Angela George carries two ancestral names, sits’sáts’tenat and qʷənat. Her late mother is slatwx, Cookie Thomas (Cole/Discon/Billy family) from Sḵwxwú7mesh and her father is from the Baker family from Sḵwxwú7mesh and the Jones and Peter family on Vancouver Island. She was raised by her late Dad, wika, Alexander Paul of Sts’ailes in the Fraser Valley. Angela is married to Gabriel George, grandson of late Chief Dan George and lives and works in the Tsleil-Waututh Nation in North Vancouver. This Coast Salish mother of 4 has dedicated her career to the betterment of First Nations people and communities. Traditionally groomed, she has a strong understanding of her culture and spiritual teachings and the impacts of colonization and barriers that plague First Nations communities. She has a strong passion in traditional canoe racing, weaving and cultural singing and dancing and believes that practicing traditions and having a strong sense of identity and connection to our ancestors is vital to community wellness, development and sustainability. Angela is currently working on her EMBA in Indigenous Business Leadership at SFU.
Meet the artist/welcome reception: Vicki Couzens
Thursday, Sept. 26th, 2019 - 6 pm
Blue Cabin (Plaza of Nations Aquabus/False Creek Ferries dock)
Join us in welcoming the Blue Cabin's first-ever artist in residence, Vicki Couzens - possum cloak maker, multi-media artist, and member of the Keerray Wooroong language group of the Gunditjmara of western Victoria, Australia. Couzens is a Senior Knowledge Custodian for Possum Cloak Story and Language Reclamation in her Keerray Woorroong Mother Tongue.
This event is a chance to meet Vicki Couzens on-site at the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency in False Creek. The evening will include an artist talk from Couzens at 6:30PM. Light refreshments provided by the Australian Consulate in Vancouver.
This event is free, but capacity is limited and registration is required.
Please register via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/meet-the-artist-welcome-reception-vicki-couzens-tickets-73327694107
grunt gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, and Creative Cultural Collaborations (C3) have officially launched the historic Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency, and you are invited to tour the beautiful structure, currently floating in False Creek. It's a chance to see not only the cabin restored carefully by artists Jeremy and Sus Borsos, but also the 500-square-foot deckhouse--an energy-efficient structure featuring off-the-grid water and power systems--designed by artist Germaine Koh and architect Marko Simcic last year.
Join us August 25th 11:00-6:00 for the public launch and first open house of the historic Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency on August 25, 2019, at the Plaza of Nations in False Creek!
The August 25th public launch will include the announcement of the first full season of Blue Cabin programming, as well as tours of the facility every 15 minutes from 11:30 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. for a maximum 20 people per tour on a first-come, first-served basis. It’s a chance to see not only the cabin restored carefully by artists Jeremy and Sus Borsos, but the 500-square-foot deckhouse–an energy-efficient structure featuring off-the-grid water and power systems–designed by artist Germaine Koh and architect Marko Simcic last year.
This event is free and open to the public.
Find the Facebook event and more details here.
Photo: Marko Simcic
The Foreshore is a public research project in collaboration with Kimberly Phillips and hosted by Access Gallery and the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver. The series has included a bi-weekly series of discussion sessions, three mini-artist residencies, open studios, workshops, and performances.
Thematically, The Foreshore explores poetic activist strategies, radical philosophical proposals, and politically engaged artist practices. Describing the land that is submerged and revealed by the tide, the foreshore is the wet part of the beach, a place of unclear jurisdiction, and thus of contestation, friction, and constant movement. Those who dwell in this zone must continually adapt to a changing environment. The foreshore conjures narratives of trade and exchange, habitation and nourishment, resistance and violent erasure. It might similarly evoke our contemporary lived situation in this place. Our questions were: The Foreshore exists at the edge of the city. Can we bring it to the centre? Can there be land that is not property? In conditions of appearance and disappearance, what is, as yet, unseen?
Nineteen discussion sessions featured brief presentations by two people drawn from the visual art community, as well as thinkers and practitioners working in poetry, housing rights, architecture, economics, song, theatre, history, and others. Sessions 18 and 19 took place in Prince Edward Island as part of the Artist Run Centre Association’s (ARCA) conference Flotilla.
Photo: Pippa Lattey
In 2015, just before the Blue Cabin was relocated from its site on the North Vancouver Foreshore, Luke Blackstone removed Al Neil's piano and took it to his Vancouver studio. During a mentorship project with Luke in 2017, artist Pippa Lattey began working with the piano.
I've spent some time with this piano. I rescued many objects from inside, including marbles, bottle caps, even a knife. I noted the scratches, dents, and splashes of paint. The back of the piano is marked by staples, nails, and tape. Al Neil and Carole Itter hung household tools and assemblages there. Most of the keys still work, but many strings are broken and swing outwards.
Inspired by the migration of the piano, and a particular photo of it lifted way up over the cabin by an excavator, I wanted to lift the piano up and move it around. I decided on a circular movement inside a square steel framework. These shapes are like the geometric image on the cover of Boot & Fog, the LP by Al Neil. The turning piano will activate sounds, responding directly to the weight and structure of the piano. I plan to automate the rotation following the tidal changes in Burrard Inlet. In this way, the piano's movements will relate to its old home.
As of March 2019, the framework supports the piano rotating 360 degrees, on eight handmade wheels rolling on large steel rings. My next step will be to automate the movement, and work with the sounds that come out of the turning piano. Along with the old bottle caps and marbles, I will be looking for the sounds that Al Neil left behind.
Photo: Rachel Topham Photography, Installation view of Germaine Koh: Home Made Home, exhibition at the Art Gallery at Evergreen, 2018
The Blue Cabin project was invited to participate in artist Germaine Koh’s exhibition Home Made Home, which looks at using creative space design, sustainability, and self-sufficiency as ways to address current housing issues relevant to the Lower Mainland. (The Blue Cabin Residency aims to be sustainable and self-sufficient, and its history is fixed in alternative ways of living.)
The Blue Cabin exhibited a map-like 24”x36” designed poster as part of a sub-exhibition of Home Made Home. This sub-exhibition featured works by designers, builders, and activists working with alternative housing options. The Blue Cabin project poster outlines the history of the cabin and the region, going back to its early days when it was moved to Tsleil-Waututh territory within the District of North Vancouver, through 2015 when Al Neil and Carole Itter vacated the property.
The poster was designed by graphic designer and Master of Landscape Architecture graduate Teena Aujla, and includes texts from historian Harold Kalman, the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, The Vancouver Sun writer Tom Sandborn, and images contributed by artist Stan Douglas, City of Vancouver Archives, and artist Carole Itter, to name a few.
June 17 through August 26, 2018
Richmond Art Gallery
September 14 through November 4, 2018
Evergreen Cultural Centre
November 16, 17, 18, 2018
Small Housing Summit
Photo: Dennis Ha
In The Blue Cabin Exhibition, Artists Jeremy and Sus Borsos presented a body of work documenting the remediation of the Blue Cabin that they took on in June of 2017. The Borsos treated the restoration as an archaeological site, collecting its history in bits of newspapers and mouse nests and painstakingly saved what remained. The humble structure revealed itself slowly over the six-month period of the restoration and culminated, when they took up the floor, in the discovery of almost 40 posters that had been put there in 1927 to prevent the floor from squeaking. grunt gallery produced an exhibition catalogue with essays by curator Glenn Alteen and writer, curator and professor Scott Watson. During the run of the Blue Cabin Exhibition, grunt gallery also hosted The Blue Cabin Speaker Series. Video of each talk in The Blue Cabin Speaker Series is available on our YouTube channel.
Jeremy Borsos lives and works on Mayne Island, British Columbia and in Athens, Greece. He worked in the motion picture industry in numerous capacities before enrolling at Emily Carr School of Art in Vancouver in 1983. He then relocated to New York, where he attended the Art Students League to study classical media. He returned to Canada in 1987, and has since exhibited his work regionally, nationally, and internationally. Jeremy’s multidisciplinary practice includes architecture, writing, photography, installation, painting, and video.
Sus Borsos was born in Denmark. After studying statistics and computer sciences at Copenhagen University, she worked managing Scandinavian Stage Design, where she oversaw the creation of stages for major events in Europe in the 1980s and early ‘90s. She moved to Canada in 1992, and worked with Jeremy to build their home, which was created from salvaged architectural fragments. Since then, she has worked in multiple creative capacities, including digital film and sound editing, and the design and construction of multiple residences.
Photo: grunt gallery
The Blue Cabin project hosted two Arts Umbrella’s Youth Summer Camp programs, where students learned about the Blue Cabin’s history, as well as Al Neil and Carole Itter’s assemblage works that were affixed to the cabin’s exterior and placed in the surrounding landscape or on the water.
Under the Floorboards featured Emily Carr University student Laurance Playford-Beaudet’s research on the posters from 1927 discovered under the Blue Cabin floorboards during the remediation. Laurance created a series of six (six) well-researched blog and social media posts that delved into the histories of the now vanished Vancouver theatres featured on the posters, as well as the advertised productions and the actors who starred in them. She also experimented with sound, creating short audio and video works that personified the found posters, imagining what they might have heard as they rested under the cabin’s floorboards.
Photo: Mike Wakefield
The Blue Cabin partnered with North Vancouver Arts Council and their Spring Break Camp Program to tour three separate student groups through the remediated cabin at Maplewood Farm. Blue Cabin’s Development Director, Marlene Madison, spoke with students about the cabin’s many histories, including the squatters that once lived on the foreshore. Through photographs, she introduced participants to Al Neil and Carol Itter’s artworks and spoke about the Blue Cabin’s future as a floating artist residency.
Emily Carr University student Laurance Playford-Beaudet talked with the students about the posters from 1927 that were discovered under the Blue Cabin floorboards during the remediation.
The students spent the following days making art about the Blue Cabin and the many histories connected to it.
Photo: grunt gallery
Artist Jeremy Borsos, who worked on the Blue Cabin remediation with his partner, Sus Borsos, spoke about the restoration, from taking the cabin apart board by board to the discovery of a series of cultural posters from 1927 hidden under the cabin’s floorboards. Jeremy also talked about the cabin’s deeper history and its significance to the region. It was followed by a Q&A period.
Photo: Unknown source
Organized by NVMA Director Nancy Kirkpatrick, “Water’s Edge” explored the impact of human activity on North Vancouver’s shore over the past two centuries and the interrelated history and changing natural environment of the shore. The Blue Cabin component comprised of a short video by video artist Krista Lomax, and a multi-media presentation that interwove photos of the Blue Cabin and its assemblages with quotations from Carol Itter.