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Roots & Shoots

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Leah Garnett | Personal Planetarium

Gazing at 299,792,458 m/sec

A celestial sphere is an imaginary ball, centred on the earth, to which celestial objects appear fastened and against which all their motions are charted. It is a fiction that we apply to our perception of the universe. Leah Garnett extends this notion to her Personal Planetarium, a dome tent made of second-hand sheets and opaque fabric. Upon crossing the threshold and sitting on the grid of foam mattresses that make up the tentís floor, one can see sidereal patterns on the domeís interior.

Fact and myth collide in various cosmologies that shape our observations of outer space. Classical mythology and the Zodiac both figure prominently in the mapping of the stars. With these narratives, we give meaning and human proportions to constellations. As the patterned light from Garnett ís pinholes registers, oneís first inclination is to look for these familiar forms that are plotted in the night sky. The expectation fades with the realization that Garnett has remapped the celestial dome, using the flowered pattern of the sheets as a template to puncture the opaque fabric.

Personal Planetarium combines a cosmological experience with the process of tenting. Traditionally, planetariums are scaled down representations of the cosmos, projecting light outward from within, whereas the stellar patterns of Garnettís three-person celestial dome are projections from the past filtered through the familiar patterns of used cloth and individual experience. In the space of Personal Planetarium, light is concept, light from stars—physical reactions occurring light years away and manifesting as dispersals of energy in the present. The past made present.

óRobert Zingone

Robert Zingone | Blind

The Day Doug Henning Died

Hunting blinds disguise the hunter, providing camouflaged cover and elevated or floating vantage points from which to survey potential prey. As surveillance structures they define vision as strategic. However, Robert Zingoneís Blind thwarts the predatory efficiency of its cousin because Blind does not provide a viewing window. Though sited to overlook the Bedford Basin, Blind prevents external observation, demanding an alternate hunt, one more imaginary than real, more meditative than aggressive. Sized to fit Robertís body while sitting in a lotus position, Blindís only view is internal. It is a blind blind. To further shirk a predatory posture, Blind flies a white surrender flag. Ultimately, the hunt here yields surrender to oneís self. This is it; here I am; there is nothing else and nowhere else to be.

So we watch and wait.

Surveillance expects the unsuspecting; it knows that the subject will eventually arrive. So surveillance photos are, in effect, ocular exercises in hunting. Blind Photos expose Zingoneís prey: a yogic flyer suspended over the Bedford Basin. This illusive possibility draws me to Robertís work. For Blind flushes out my secret pheasant, the foil to my well-trained skepticism: I yearn for magic, for the impossible to happen, for sheer will to harness all that is present into unheard creation. Blind asks me to sit, watch and wait for magic, for Doug Henning to reappear, for yogic flyers to hover in energetic fields.

óLeah Garnett

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