all the things in the room
Offsite at the Museum of Vancouver
Unfolding over a two-month period in fall 2019, all the things in the room was a series of artist-led workshops held weekly at the Museum of Vancouver (MOV). Organized by artist Elisa Ferrari in collaboration with Jane Ellison, Megan Hepburn and Tiziana La Melia, the project invited participants of varying ages to experience select artifacts from the MOV collection through a range of sensory encounters.
In a process that sought to question the “official” historical and colonial narratives projected onto everyday objects as they enter institutional collections, participants were guided through interactions with artifacts rooted in sound, smell, movement, and extra-sensory perception. Each workshop engaged objects on an intuitive level—as catalysts to activate memories, create connections and complicate known histories—rather than as repositories of institutional knowledge.
Working beyond the contexts of traditional museum engagement, the project reflected on the complex entanglements–material, personal, relational–embodied by any given object, multiplicities routinely flattened in service of institutional authority. This workshop series considered what might be accomplished through vibratory or olfactory modes of engagement, meeting objects and one another outside the frame of the museological.
The Museum of Vancouver is located on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ First Nations, at the site of the ancestral Village of Sen̓áḵw, neighbouring the current Sḵwx̱wú7mesh reserve of the same name.
This project was a partnership between the Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG), the Museum of Vancouver (MOV), and the South Granville Senior Centre (SGSC) and was initiated by CAG Curator of Learning and Public Engagement Danielle Green and past CAG Curator Kimberly Phillps. The project was funded by the Canada Council for the Arts with additional support received from Nada Vuksic, Bruce M. Wright, David Lemon and The Hamber Foundation.
Elisa Ferrari’s interdisciplinary practice and collaborations are concerned with memory formation, idleness, sonic sediments, translingual ecologies, somatic interrogations, and the infrasonic. She primarily works with sound and text, through publication, performance and installation. Her projects often stem from considerations of place with particular attention to the repercussions of extractive economies. She co-hosts Soundscape on Vancouver coop-radio and (occasionally) organizes events and other happenings. She was born in Brescia and grew up in Val Trompia, Italy. She is an uninvited guest on unceded xʷməθkʷəy̍əm, Skwxwú7mesh and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ territories where she has lived and worked since 2009.
Jane Ellison is a dancer, teacher and artist focused in embodied anatomy and somatic practices. Since 1975 Ellison has led movement classes and workshops and collaborated in performance art works. Her cross-disciplinary work emerges from her long involvement with the Vancouver artist-run centre, Western Front, a locus that has acted as studio space, gallery, dance studio and home to artists. Between 1990 and 2008 her position on faculty at Studio 58, Langara College’s theatre school, provided another platform for her research into the relationships between movement, art, performance and life.
Megan Hepburn is an artist living in Vancouver, the unceded territories of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), Stó:lō and Səlí̓lwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and xwməθkwəyə̓ m (Musqueam) Nations. Her practice is based in painting and perfumery, and her work has shown across Canada and in Europe for the past decade. Recent exhibitions include contributions to The Pandemic is a Portal at SFU Galleries and Passing Through Smoke, at CSA Space, Vancouver. Hepburn started the botanical perfume line Cracher Dans La Soupe Parfum in 2018 and is currently working through experimental mixed media practices combining the worlds of scent, textiles, painting, ceramics and pharmakeia.
Tiziana La Melia considers how thought and observation assume form across mediums and experience—exploring narrative, both the mending kind as well as the fantastical. Paintings and poems are the result of long-term, collaborative investigations of desire, gender, architecture, painting, ecology, place, and memory. Recent work is based on an adaptation of The Simple Life, a drama between mice, that takes the form of a digital video, book, drawings, collage, and sculpture. Forthcoming from Archive Books (Berlin/Milan) is a book of selected and new writing in English and translated into Italian. Solo and group exhibitions include those at Mercer Union (Toronto), the Vancouver Art Gallery, Oakville Galleries, Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff), Damien and the Love Guru (Brussels), Unit 17 (Vancouver), and Galerie Anne Barrault (Paris). Tiziana was the national winner of the 2014 RBC Canadian Painting Competition.