The Centre for All Canadians
Christine Swintak and Don Miller, Tower of Babble, 2012, mixed media installation, dimensions variable

Christine Swintak and Don Miller: Artist-Run Bunker

Christine Swintak and Don Miller, Tower of Babble, 2012, mixed media installation, dimensions variable
Artists-in-residence Swintak and Miller produce a large-scale installation that involves the display of objects gleaned from the Confederation Centre Art Gallery’s storage bunker.

When Christine Swintak and Don Miller were invited to be artists-in-residence this summer, they began by asking me for a task that could lead to an exhibition. Their process is guided by improvisation on a given set of materials and a proposed opening verb or first action. I offered them the job (and starting point) of cleaning the art gallery sub-basement, nicknamed by staff “the Bunker,” and bringing its contents upstairs for the production of a work. Aside from some possible usefulness to us, this task had the potential to bring to visibility some of the history of this institution, and the objects behind the scenes of an exhibition: crates, plinths, books and slides, signage, framing materials, and other detritus from nearly 50 years in the life of a gallery, some still used, but much of it now accumulating dust as it outlives its usefulness. By building a work out of these materials, they would be able to refer to the frameworks, words, labour, and conditions of storage that underpin any artwork, exhibition or collection. Ultimately, however, they withheld or scrambled much of this information, undermining its easy assimilation into conventional modes of evaluation by concentrating on the latent physical and aesthetic qualities of the things they found.

Swintak and Miller saw themselves as reanimating these objects through their actions, and they set upon the task of making a tower that would reach the ceiling through the simple expedient of stacking without fasteners. The artists analyzed objects in a playful twisting of the notion of research. Instead of examining them for their ostensible content, they chose and placed them on the basis of their strength under compression, their potential as building materials for the skeleton of the tower, as well as their aesthetic qualities, literally squeezing unexpected information out of them. The building of the tower followed a constantly shifting process rather than a planned structure, set of instructions, or system. Rules were created, only to be broken as conditions changed. At each level, the situation was reexamined, until finally the parameters were fixed by the height of the ceiling. The resulting Tower of Babbleis a record of Swintak and Miller’s frenetic process, in which material and structural considerations were in constant, swirling dialogue with action and reflection upon a set of charged objects in space.

-Pan Wendt, curator

Newsletter Signup


First Name:

Last Name:

Email Address:

HOURS OF OPERATION

Building Hours

Monday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday – 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday – 8:00 AM – 8:30 PM

Art Gallery

Daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Box Office

Monday to Saturday 12:00 – 5:00 PM, Closed Sunday
Please call 1-800-565-0278 or 902-566-1267 for information.

The Story of Confederation

September
Mon-Sat: 10am-3pm


Toutes nos excuses. La version française de notre site Web est présentement en construction.

HOURS OF OPERATION

Building Hours

8am – 6pm, Monday – Sunday

Art Gallery

10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Daily

Box Office

12 – 5 p.m. Monday – Saturday
Please call 1-800-565-0278 or 902-566-1267 for information.

The Story of Confederation 

September
Mon-Sat: 10am-3pm


What are Relaxed Performances?

 

Sometimes referred to as sensory-friendly experiences, Relaxed Performances give the opportunity for those with various sensitivities towards sensory stimuli to experience and enjoy live theatre.

These performances will be designed in a way to be more comfortable for audience members who may experience anxiety or are not comfortable with some aspects of a traditional theatre setting. This can include people on the Autism Spectrum and their families; those with sensory and communicative disorders or learning disabilities; people with Tourette’s syndrome; someone who might need to move often due to chronic pain or to use the facilities; or even parents with toddlers.

 

Relaxed Performances offered during the 2021 Charlottetown Festival:
  • I agree to receive further communications from Confederation Centre of the Arts for upcoming events, promotions and market research purposes.