Burrard Inlet Trail Shrine

The Burrard Inlet Trail Shrine is an art installation that represents the intersection of a number of ideas and concepts from this course, through it is centered on 2 major conceptual themes; play and animism.

The inspiration for play comes from the work of Michael Nicoll Yagulanaas. I am also using formal studies of play to inform the work such as Ludology the study of game playing, and play psychology. The second major theme guiding this work, Animism, is inspired by Walter Benjamin’s ideas in Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction where he suggests that both natural and art objects have an aura that radiates from their beauty and authenticity. Benjamin’s ideas that art has ritual, magical, and religious functions combined with an aura stemming from authenticity have some distinct resonance with Animistic spiritual beliefs, rituals, and practice.

In the Burrard Inlet Trail Shrine am using play in a number of contexts: play as in an attitude of whimsy and fun, playing across media, playing outside of what is considered traditional art showing spaces (like a gallery) and how that space interacts with art, playing with the interactivity of audience, playing with collecting, the theatricality of play, playing with preconceived ideas of what art is, and playing outside of my comfort zone by trying new things. I am attempting to create a space that distances itself slightly from reality that evokes fantasy, myth, and ritual that celebrates the aura within both natural and art objects. I have set up the installation on the Burrard Inlet Trail (hence the name.) As a location it appeals to me as the Trail is in both a residential area of the city of Burnaby and in a natural area at the same time. This Trail is also in the vicinity that I call home so it has a certain feel and familiarity to me. In Burrard Inlet Trail Shrine I worked relatively intuitively allowing the process to guide the form of the installation that was anchored in research and inspired by visual images of Japanese Shinto shrines and other animistic nature shrines, the work of Andy Goldsworthy and some imagery from the video game Skyrim. To create the shrine I used a combination of found objects and things that I sculpted. I recreated some small Skyrim inspired objects by sculpting them with clay and painting them. I also displayed some of the items in bowls and glasses that I purchased from a thrift store. In addition I went to the site beforehand, collected some rocks, brought them home and painted them, then re-incorporated them back into the shrine. I am attempting to engage the audience (anyone who happens to walk this trail) into an interactive Seeing or deep observation as inspired by Anne Dillard. I will revisit the shrine every few days for a week or so to see if any interaction or participation happened with the piece. I’m not sure if or when I will take it down or not, I will decide once I see how people have reacted to it and how it reacts to the elements.