This began as a two-week residency the Chilkoot Trail National Park (BC) and the Klondike Gold Rush National Park (Alaska). It grew into a one-hundred day drawing project. Four Stories (Drawing, Feeling, Forgetting) is installed at the Yukon Arts Centre from May to August 2013 as a part of their summer exhibition, alongside one of my other projects, coyote.
My original intention with the project was to get a different perspective on the Chilkoot Trail, which I’d hiked once before, by creating a set of rules that would decide when I would do drawings. For each of the hundred days, I set my alarm to go off at six random times. When my alarm went off, I would draw in a random direction, and in a random attitude (measurement up or down from the horizontal). So the drawings are not a recording of what I was interested in drawing, so much as a marker of what was around me at the time of drawing. Whatever I ended up drawing did become interesting, however, as I spent time attuning my senses to it.
At a certain point during the residency, an interesting event happened that changed the nature of the project: I was asked to help someone move a freezer, so they could fix it. While we were moving the freezer and taking a look at the back, my alarm went off. I was faced with a choice – to stop helping the person and continue with my project, or to forget the project and continue helping the person. I decided that helping fix the freezer was more important than continuing with the project. The first blank frame came to be:
From that point on, the project also included an ethical negotiation between participating in the art project, and engaging in other aspects of my life. Within the project, I got married, went on a honeymoon, participated in a separate multi-day walking project, and taught a course at Emily Carr University.
As time went on, my decision to draw separate panels also changed. I decided to let the six daily drawings bleed into each other on a single page. The rules progressively became more malleable. So the overall project is not a strict procedural recording of one-hundred days; it is a recording of my evolving participation with the project and my evolving interests. As a whole, I would say the project is a kind of personal calendar. It is a depiction of a sense of time that is different than standard concepts of time that move forward at a constant rate. My time was affected by memory and by forgetting, by feelings, and by the things I was doing at the time.
Another aspect of the project that really transformed my art practice was the artist talks I gave before, during, and after the residency. Interacting directly with people (as opposed to interacting with people through my work as an intermediary) is becoming an increasingly important part of the way I work.