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New collaboration in Halifax

I'm just back from a three days trip to Halifax. About four months ago, we were approached by the Center for Art Tapes to do a project in Nova Scotia's capital city. We got Perte de Signal involved and suggested to work collaboratively with local artist Stephen Kelly, who in turn suggested to add Adam Kelly to the team.

I was happy to get to meet many great people during such a short stay. On my first day, I met Thomas Elliott and James McSwain from the CFAT staff and they showed me around. On the second day, met with Stephen and Ilan Sandler in the morning. We went to visit Ilan's current ongoing public art project. Then I went around with Stephen to discuss about the project. On the third day, I met with St Mary's University Art Gallery's director/curator Robin Metcalfe. I also had the chance to have a coffee with artist and professor David Clark who's last project 88 Constellations for Wittgenstein (to be played with the Left Hand) is a must see.

But, back to the project with Stephen and Adam. We've set our minds on working in a park. Together with Stephen, we visited a few locations. Below is an overview of our first general impressions.

Seeview Park Lookoff/Seeview Memorial Park

This park is somehow split in two by the highway that was built on top of Africville. You can't cross between the parks by foot (although a path is said to be planned in the future). We had the idea of making two devices (one in each park) communicating with radio frequencies. Possibly, the cars on the highway could intercept these radio frequencies. Apparently it could be feasible to even get a permission of the CRTC to emit radio waves.

Pros: Interesting "non-site", historical perspective, our work could draw people to this "outcast" area

Cons: Less audience than in other parks such as Public Gardens or Point Pleasant, less controlled so more probability of vandalism

Public Gardens

Located just in front of the CFAT, very nice, enclosed and controlled area. There is a pond with ducks and swans. We had the idea of making something in the water, like a floating device that could produce sound (and thus waves in the water, possibly attracting fish/birds?) Could have a way to move on the surface of the pond with some kind of AI.

Pros: Very controlled so we can make something that would otherwise be prone to vandalism, very popular so we would have a large audience.

Cons: Maybe "too" controlled, we might also have problems with the organisation because of that (Ilan knows someone who works for the city and might be of help).

Point Pleasant

Big park on the side of the sea, very nice, lots of paths scatered through the space. Raw nature, forest-like. Many trees were destroyed by a beetle invasion followed up by hurricane Juan in 2003. Very popular and beautiful area. Has some historic military buildings (bunker-like). Teenagers hang around the park's parking at night, doing car races and stunts (probably with their parents cars).

Pros: Less controlled than Public Gardens but more popular than Seeview. Very large area, beautiful view on the sea.
Cons: Almost too big, nothing stands out of the ordinary (but we would need to do more research/visits maybe)

Other locations visited:

  • Commons
  • ational Historic Park
  • Fort Needham Memorial Park