SCOTTY will present Resting Place, a new site-specific installation by Canadian artist Heather Nicol.
The gallery will be transformed into an ambient listening zone where visitors are invited to relax on soft surfaces and experience a cascade of voices emanating from multiple overhead speakers.
The original audio-score is constructed of dozens of lullabies from many nations, selected from the personal histories of each singer. Layered and overlapping, the collage of songs may create pleasing new harmonies and melodies, while at times the acoustic resonances may feel discordant or incomprehensible, offering a context in which to ask critical questions about cross-cultural encounter, migration, globalization, and national identity. Below these melodic tracks an intermittent low-register audio line will be felt in the body as much a registered with the ears; echoing passing storms, insomnia, and restlessness.
Oversized pillow-forms have been sewn with clothing donated to the Red Cross. Given and acquired with the best of intensions – to help those in need – the overlapping sewn garments mirror the layering of voices; the excess of shirts and skirts may evoke the cycles of consumer spending and our throw-away lifestyles; the bundle-like forms packing and moving. The artist has repurposed only white clothing, reminding her of purity, cleanliness, holiness, bedding, brides, or medical attire.
At Resting Place, the audience navigates an intimate somatic experience – possibly lying down, next to strangers – and are given a visceral opportunity to confront notions of privacy and personal space. In these anxious Neoliberal, xenophobic times of precarious work and uncertain outcomes, allowing oneself the space to daydream or “do nothing” has become scarce and disdained. Listening, gentle surrender and deep listening to the voices of “others” can be situated as acts of defiance.
Heather Nicol is a Toronto based artist whose practice includes sculpture, installation and independent curating. The interface between public and private experience and the relationship of site to the reception of works of art are central to many of her location-dependent interventions. These include large projects in underutilized urban settings, such as the decommissioned Shaw Street School or a closed down factory space(Toronto), historic sites, such as Ontario Place (Toronto), or Chateau de Courances (Milly, France), as well large public atriums, such a Toronto’s rail terminus Union Station, and soaring Brookfield Place, and lower Manhattan's enormous Winter Garden. She completed her honours BFA at The School of Visual Art, her MA in arts education at NYU, (both in New York), and her MFA from OCAD University (Toronto).