the sitter sat. on a bench in the park called cabot square. spanned four months over the summer of 2012, three months over the summer of 2013.
the sitter sat with the park and took care to not “out” the people who lived their lives in public. rather, the sitter recorded the weather conditions, the temperature, the date, and chose a headline from the local newspaper to transcribe with ink on paper. pinning down time. the sitter also wrote one sentence each day inspired by the park. locating human ness.
fast forward to 2014. the park is “refurbished” or as one headline claimed, “had a facelift.” a facelift to the tune of 6.3 million.
grass? nah, lets rip it out. hedges? nope. people can hide shit in there. picnic tables? ha ha... you’re joking right? they gotta go. oh, and of course the benches gotta change. where are those “no sleeping” bars? oh, and the pathway through the park? lets make it concrete and build risers to keep people on the straight and narrow, and don’t forget the skate-stoppers to keep those property damaging skateboarders away. garbage containers? better not have those in the park, they attract canners.
the sitter’s anger at this blatant theft of place from those who had occupied the park led to words spoken. using the one-sentence-a-day from the park as a score, the sitter spoke the words, using the score like riffs. improvised.
karen elaine spencer (b. 1960) is an artist who maintains a studio practice, performs, curates and writes. Oscillating between work in the street, exhibitions in galleries, and disseminations via the web, spencer’s work questions hierarchies and investigates how we, as transient beings, occupy the world we live in. Since obtaining her MFA from the Université du Québec à Montréal in 2001 spencer has been awarded numerous international residency programs, including the Symposium international d’art contemporain in Baie-Saint-Paul (2015), the International Studio and Curatorial program in Brooklyn (2012), the Cité Internationale des arts de Paris (2005), and the John Snow House in Calgary (2011). Recent exhibitions include One Day at ELLEPHANT in Toronto (2016), letters home/lettres à ma mère, at Galerie B-312 and ELLEPHANT in Montréal and Toronto (2015), Coming to Terms at Little Berlin in Philadelphia (2015), New York Stories: Twenty Years of ISCP in Brooklyn (2014), and La moitié du monde est une femme at the Grande Bibliothèque in Montréal (2013). spencer’s work is held in the collections of Air Canada, the Richmond Art Gallery, the Canada Council Art Bank, the Bibliotheque nationale du Québec, the Musée d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, la Collection Prêt d’œuvres d’art Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre Association, the Art Gallery of Mount Saint Vincent University, as well as corporate and private collections in Canada and the United States. In 2012 spencer was awarded the La Centrale Powerhouse Prize and in 2016 spencer was a finalist for the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec’s prix en art actuel.
The artist would like to thank the Playwrights’ Workshop Montréal – The Interdisciplinary Writers’ Unit led by Sarah Elkashef, the Canada Council, Roxanne Arsenault, Marilyn Farley, Corine Lemieux, Jack Locke, Swimmer and everyone who frequented Cabot Square back in the day.
- karen elaine spencer
POSTE AUDIO /
MAY 18 TO JUNE 23, 2017
THURSDAY MAY 18, 8PM
ARTIST TALK /
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 3PM
SPOKEN WORD /
SATURDAY, MAY 20, 4H30