A space to act and interact: the Pit hosts pop-up gallery WHEREABOUTS

While the Pit was recently renovated with the purpose of being a theatrical venue for King’s students, Mollie Cronin and Amanda Shore had something entirely different in mind for the space.
Together, they curated WHEREABOUTS, a highly interactive pop-up gallery, featuring work from both King’s and NSCAD students.
Described as being “about navigation—about movement across boundaries, be they spatial or societal,” WHEREABOUTS feels as though it is stuck in a reality just out of step with our own. The interactive nature of the gallery, combined with a constant murmuring drone provides a responsive platform for the viewer. The lights in the gallery are few, allowing the art take centre stage.
The most obvious piece from the doorway is a freestanding basketball net entitled “No Slam Dunk”, by Maddie McNeely. The netting itself is long and gold, glinting in the spotlight hanging above. A black basketball is placed on the ground a few paces from the net, contained within a square of masking tape on the ground reading, “no slam dunks – no jump shots – no layups – no foul shots.” The simplistic implications of this are clear: you have to take your shot head on.
The source of the ever-present rumble is found with “Them Cattle Those Hills,” a video projection created by Yalista Riden. A black and white loop, images of traffic, a lamp’s glare, and a babbling stream crackle on the screen. The drone plays on, unrelenting in its occupation of the audial space.
By far one of the most expansive pieces in the gallery, “In Search of Miraculous Adventure” by Karina Cope, with Marike Finlay and Elisabeth Bigras, encapsulates a spirit of wanderlust and melancholy. Footage filmed off the coast of Northern British Columbia loops continually, showing the side of a boat as it navigates a lonely ocean. Mist-covered mountains are seen off on the horizon, an intimidating presence. Three sheer fabric screens are set up, staggered one after the other. With each ascending screen, the projection becomes both larger and less focused.
“Variations on Anagnorisis” is an extensive text piece on the wall, a visual expression of philosophical poetry communicating a heightened rawness of being. Highlighting the tipping point of horrific truth in a selection of Greek tragic plays, the passages are desperate and urgent. Disquieting and irreverent, Meg Shields has strung together a string of authenticity.
Perhaps the most contrasting creation in the gallery is “Construction Barrier” by Peter van Gurp.
While it is the brightest piece in the room, the bright orange of the wooden barrier is more foreboding than any of the darker pieces. This sculpture is the first thing you see upon entering, and the last thing you pass before you walk up the stairs to leave. Going against the perceived purpose of the object, this barrier doesn’t physically obstruct access.
While conceptually the gallery felt vague at times, each of the pieces spoke to their individual artistic integrity. The allowance of the viewer to create their own spatial awareness in regards to the gallery is where the true navigation lies—and where the boundaries between artist and audience blur.

By David J. Shuman

David is the current editor-in-chief of The Watch and writes on student issues and events. Find him on Twitter: @DavidJShuman

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