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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Events Guide: GETting Over It #3, Girlface goes for a walk

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DARTMOUTH – What do you get when you speak ‘Hansel and Gretel’ into the iPhone app Dragon Dictation? Well, to the surprise of Adriana Lilley, it wasn’t Hansel and Gretel, it was ‘Girlface’. Girlface seemingly fits into the concept of Lounders GETting Over It performance walks, where she edits the visual urban environment through digitally projected fragments.

Recently, over a cup of tea at Steve-O-Renos, I talked to Brian Lilley, professor of Architecture at Dalhousie Unviersity and a participant in Lounders’ walking series; so far, Lounder has initiated two walks in the GETting Over It walking series – Solstice Walk & South North. Lilley initially met Lounder through The Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture and Expanded Bodies: Art, Cities and Environment. Lilley appreciates the GETting Over It walking series for their ‘augmented experience’ – pushing and pulling him out of his regular routines and ways of experiencing the city. He tells me about his adventures in London where he studied at the Architectural Association and worked for architectural firms in both London and Berlin. With worldwide experiences of urban infrastructure and architecture, Lilley enjoys how Lounder provides clever insight into the walks helping participants experience urban geography in a way in which they would have never considered before. Regarding Lounders’ themes of the walks, he explains that “there is a guide or intent, but no fixed way of interpretation; the character of the walk depends on how the walk is experienced.”

Lilley mentions ‘states of liminality’ and the ‘derive’, as a way of understanding and experiencing Lounders’ walks. He describes the dérive as a city comprised of a series of fragments which are reassembled by the urban protagonist.  The dérive was defined by Guy Dubord, a french marxist and situationist who is well-known in regards to ‘psychogeography’. Derive – and Lounders’ walks – helps Lilley move beyond routine ways of seeing, thinking and understanding architecture and the urban landscape; and further allow him to consider new alternatives. Liminality on the other hand, is a psychological, neurological, or metaphysical subjective state, conscious or unconscious, of being on the “threshold” of or between two different existential planes.

From Lilley’s points of references, one can extract the ‘derive’ and ‘liminality’ in Lounders’ first two GeTting Over it walks. Solstice Walk was held on December 21st marking the transition between autumn and winter, and new years.

Lounder situated this walk on the MacDonald bridge and walked back and forth between Dartmouth and Halifax. I appreciate the overall visual of being stuck in a feed between two bodies of land over a massive body of water. It also makes me think of my own states of liminality of crossing the bridge to Dartmouth or pushing past the rotary to go to Spryfield. The 2nd walk titled South North was themed around ‘vagrancy’. A vagrant is a person in poverty, who wanders from place to place without a home or regular employment or income.

The above image, shows Lilley drawing the hobo symbol, from the guide Lounder provided, for “free drinks here” on the sidewalk outside the liquor store on Agricola Street in Halifax’s North End. South North also examined the geographical boundaries between the South end and North end of Halifax, NS – questioning specifically the divider marking the two ends of the city. Lilley explained that the group talked about the activity around the Commons and the Citadel, conceiving states of liminality in particular around illicit activities on the Citadel that push and pull the boundary back and forth. For both walks, so far, Lounder augmented the scenery, by projecting images on a hand held projector; selected images had been documented on a different day, at a different hour of that day or conceived through concepts such as vagrancy, providing for an edited version of reality.

Experience something different today! Join Barbara Lounder and other walkers at the Geary Street Cemetery at 2pm in Dartmouth; (this is the cemetery which overlooks the harbour from the t-intersection of Wyse and Windmill Roads in Dartmouth). The walk will take about an hour, and will finish in the same area. I hear that food will be provided too.

WHAT: GETting Over It #3: Girlface goes for a walk
WHEN: Sunday, May 15th, 2011, 2pm-4pm
WHERE: Dartmouth, meeting at the Geary Street Cemetery

Barbara Lounder is a Nova Scotia artist, currently living in Dartmouth. She has been exhibiting for over twenty years, with her work featured in group and solo shows across Canada, the United States, Poland, Germany and New Zealand. Barbara Lounder’s artwork is in the collections of The Canada Council Art Bank, the Nova Scotia Art Bank, Carleton University, Saint Mary’s University Art Gallery, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. She is the recipient of a number of awards and grants. Currently, she is Dean at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she has been on the teaching staff since 1986.