Landing Gear

by Mindy on September 3, 2013

I’m proud to announce the opening of “Landing Gear“, an interactive multimedia installation about early motherhood that will be showing at the Arcadia Gallery in downtown Toronto, 680 Queens Quay West, from September 28-October 6, with the opening reception on September 29th from 3-6pm. (see theĀ Events page for more details).

Way back this past winter, I ran a series of workshops for a mostly new group of mothers at the Harbourfront Community Centre (HCC), with the same fabulous team of associate artists that I worked with last year: Cathy Nosaty and Lisa Pijuan-Nomura, and scholar May Friedman. We started from scratch this time–no theme, just artistic explorations based on questions that grew out of this specific group. Each week we worked in different mediums, using writing, collage, music, photography and interviewing to see what would emerge. The group was diverse both in age and background, but the questions that we kept coming back to were about change: how our lives and our identities were transformed when we landed in this place I call Motherland. We explored questions of “before and after” on many different topics, and toward the end of the workshops, I hit on an activity that led directly to what has become the final installation.

I asked the mothers to dig into their closets. What did they used to wear before they became mothers that they still hang on to, and what do they wear the most now? What are the stories behind these pieces of clothing and accessories and what does it say about what has changed and how they feel about those changes? We interviewed and recorded each other, and I photographed the individual clothing using a flat bed scanner, a technique I’ve used before (it creates some cool effects). Some of us went out and interviewed other mothers as well. We also had a lot of discussions around travel and the Motherland metaphor in the group, and I began envisioning presenting all of the material and stories we were gathering in an antique wardrobe trunk (one of those old wonderful trunks with drawers and hangers).

I’ve spent the last five months synthesizing all of the material, and I’m still working furiously on everything, but I can’t wait to see it come to life. “Landing Gear” combines documentary audio, photos on fabric, writing, and collage into an interactive installation that indeed has a cool, old, now refurbished wardrobe trunk as its centrepiece. Viewers are invited to explore our stories and mothers can contribute their own responses to the evolving installation, both in person and online.

I hope you will join us and help spread the word. Meanwhile, for all of the mothers out there who can’t make it to the exhibition, I’d love to hear your stories so we can add them to the piece.

In the comments below, tell us when you entered Motherland, and about a specific item from your closet that you either left behind when you landed, or that you started wearing all the time after you got here. Are there stories behind these items? What does it say about what changed when you became a mother and how you felt about those changes?

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