Requiem for a Glacier – Paul Walde
Exhibition: January 4 – February 8, 2014
Gallery hour: Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm
Opening: Friday, January 3 from 7-9pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, January 4 at 4pm
In this era of environmental transformation, most people now understand that the ravages of global warming pose a real threat to the future of our planet. The sound and video installation Requiem for a Glacier by artist Paul Walde explores the boundaries of a growing national and international movement of art practices produced with consideration for the wider impact of the work and its reception in relationship to its environment, where a representation of nature has been replaced by direct intervention. Because of the physical demands required to access the site-specific glacier location and because of the sheer number of volunteers who participated, this project exemplifies to what extremes a community’s engagement with an issue can lead them and how powerful unified creative expression can be.
Requiem for a Glacier prematurely memorializes BC’s Jumbo Glacier area, an ancient feature of the landscape leftover from the last ice age, now under immediate threat from global warming and resort development. The coordination of the project was lead by local curator, Kiara Lynch and involved the collaboration of roughly 100 people: a team of mountaineers, a 30 piece choir, a 40 piece orchestra, conductor, soloists, film crew, sound recording crew, sherpas, and drivers. According to Walde, “the sheer number of people involved and the political motivation of the collaborators has given the work a dimension of social practice which is entirely new for (his) practice.”
Requiem for a Glacier is a “total work of art” in that it depended on the interconnection of audio, visual and performing arts mediums with scientific fact and community engagement to bring it to fruition. By combining cerebral information with emotional experience this work provides an original platform for engaging with our environment. Information such as temperature records for the area, the name Jumbo, and a Latin translation of the BC government’s press release for the announcement of a year-round resort community at the site in the middle of a nature conservancy, were converted by Walde into music notation and a libretto. It is because of this interconnectedness of science with creativity that works like Requiem for a Glacier not only show us but can make us feel the issues we are dealing with as a society.
The exhibition opens at the Oxygen Art Centre (320 Vernon Street – alley) on Friday, January 3rd from 7 – 9pm followed by on artist talk on Saturday, January 4th at 4pm. The exhibition runs until February 8th. Gallery hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 1-5pm
Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges the support of Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Arts Council, Canada Council for the Arts and the Government of British Columbia. As well as the creative partnership with The Langham Cultural Centre and business sponsorship from PK Sound, Big Cranium and Business for the Arts, and the generous support from individuals within the community.
Articles and Press:
Canadian Art (online) – http://www.canadianart.ca/
Articulate Magazine- http://www.wkartscouncil.com/
CBC’s North by NorthWest – http://www.cbc.ca/nxnw/
The Nelson Star – http://www.nelsonstar.com/
Paul Walde is an intermedia artist, composer, and curator. Walde’s body of work suggests unexpected interconnections between landscape, identity, and technology. Recent exhibitions of his work include: The View from Up Here at the Anchorage Museum (2016), Nature’s Handmade at Museum London (2015) and All Together Now at the University of Toronto Art Centre (2014).
In 2013, he completed Requiem for a Glacier, a site-specific sound performance featuring a fifty-five-piece choir and orchestra live on the Farnham Glacier in the Purcell Mountains. Requiem for a Glacier was subsequently developed into a multichannel sound and video installation which has been the basis of solo exhibitions at L’ Université Laval Art Gallery in Quebec City, QC; Art Gallery at Evergreen, Coquitlam, BC; Oxygen Art Centre in Nelson, BC, (2014) and The Langham Cultural Centre in Kaslo, BC (2013).
Walde is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario (BFA) and New York University (MA). He is the winner of The Prescott Fund Award from the National Arts Club in New York City, and has recently received awards from the Canada Council for the Arts and the British Columbia Arts Council. In addition to his studio practice, Walde is an active lecturer, curator, teacher and writer and has attended residencies at Pouch Cove, Newfoundland and the Banff Centre for the Arts. From 2007 to 2010 he was the Artistic Director and Visual Arts curator of LOLA, the London Ontario Live Arts Festival during which time he presented projects by such international artists as Brian Eno (UK), blackhole factory (DE), Yoko Ono (US) and Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky (US). Often blurring the lines between producer and curator he has also presented the work of such Canadian artists as: Michael Snow, Kelly Mark, Dave Dyment, Gordon Monahan, and Michelle Gay.
In 2012 he relocated to Victoria, British Columbia, where he is Associate Professor of Visual Arts and Department Chair at the University of Victoria. Walde is a founding member of Audio Lodge, a Canadian sound art collective and EMU Experimental Music Unit a Victoria-based sound ensemble.
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