W(here) Festival – June 26th to June 30th 2012
Placing rural art practices on the map in Pictou County
In June 2012 the W(here) Festival* began and ended on its feet, exploring ideas of place, art, and community. Taking place in Pictou County, Nova Scotia, local and visiting artists led audiences in a series of “field trips” engaging participants in an collaborative way. In addition, the festival featured an exciting evening of local artist talks, a special interactive discussion about creative Pictou County, a public launch of an online video project and music by Al Tuck. All events were free and family friendly.
New terrain, new histories, and new possibilities were considered throughout the W(here) Festival and it is our hope that parts of this project will be continued by the residents and artists of Pictou County. Our festival headquarters was located at 13 Water Street in Pictou thoughout the month of June 2012. Have a question about this project? Send us an email at wherefestival(at)gmail.com.
* Pronounced Where Here Festival
About the larger project
Culminating in June 2012 in Pictou County, this festival seeks to bring together local artists, diverse communities and visiting artists in a rich program for all ages. Discussions with the local community will form the basis from which the project will grow as well as the artists, locations and modes of presentation chosen.
From an academic perspective, Mary is investigating the divide between what is historically considered the margins – small town and rural Canada – and various city centres in relation to contemporary art practices. As a curator and artist, she is interested in the conversation between contemporary artists and communities and the complexity of artistic practices and methods that engage the local.
Her research brings together historical and theoretical ideas and debates regarding the definition of “place” and place-based artistic practices. How do we define the rural, community, or art in this context? Thus what constitutes “contemporary” artistic practice(s) is a map of a particular social geography that is permeable and subject to change. Pictou County’s 250 year history exemplifies this project’s goal to engage in complex ideas of place, for its identity is not fixed but constantly shifting internally and externally due to industry (mining, fishing, forestry), tourism, and the history of indigenous population (Mi’kmaq) and settlement (Scottish, French, Canadian).
Ultimately, through a process of interactive exchange (discussion, excursion and presentation), this project seeks to re-position the importance of place within the local context of Pictou County exploring new territory for interdisciplinary curatorial and art practices.
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Grant Kester. Conversation Pieces: Community & Communication in Modern Art. 2004.
Miwon Kwon. One Place After Another: Site Specific Art and Locational Identity. 2004.
Lucy Lippard. The Lure of the Local: Senses of Place in a Multicentered Society. 1997.
Tuan, Yi-Fu. Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. 1977.
McKay, Ian. The Quest of the Folk: Antimodernism and Cultural Selection in Twentieth-Century Nova Scotia.1994.