On June 11th at the Field House, Maddie Leach presented on some of her recent projects including Let Us Keep Together, I was using six watts when you received me, and most recently, 28th October 2834.
Through seemingly ephemeral aesthetic actions, research intensive approaches, and unfolding public dialogue and relations, Leach reveals a search for moments of authenticity in and of a place, as well as her personal process surrounding the development of a rationale about geographic places where in some instances, she knows little about. Maddie’s practice often examines and includes textual and material elements of particular processes — legal documents, maps, artifacts, letters, correspondences — developing her work through questions of materiality, process and public presentation with the aim of adapting and responding to local conditions.
I was interested to hear Maddie discuss the role of “community engaged” projects and the often disparate meanings and expectations surrounding them. It would seem that without a fixed or produced “object”, artists are left to negotiate or prove the ‘community-ness’ of their projects. But as represented in Maddie’s work, genuine ‘community relations’ can be fleeting, and relationships that are developed between, say, artist and cement worker, artist and farmer, or artist and pilot for instance, become incredibly interesting moments of exchange, connection, and communication.
During her project 28th October 2834 in the city of Mandurah, Leach worked with the Pinjarra massacre site, its contested narratives and the ongoing impasse surrounding its naming and memorialization. For this project the conversation and research focused on a large piece of rock marking the massacre site and removal of two contradicting plaques that have been previously attached to it. The noticeable absence of the plaques, and sustained political disagreement around language used to write the plaques became a persistent theme behind the project. 28th October 2834 manifested in two parts: a short film that carefully records the reproduction of a facsimile document on the surface of a large lithographic stone (which can currently be viewed in the CAG reading room); and a newspaper reproduction of the resulting lithograph, printed in the Mandurah Coastal Times. Here is a short video about the project.
Maddie Leach will be in Vancouver for the next month working toward a Vancouver specific project. Keep following the Field House blog for updates..