We first started to explore the ideas of what a contemporary Scarecrow might be when we stayed a couple of weeks on Christian Island, the Beausoleil Reserve of the Anishinaabe (Ojibwe) which rests in the southern tip of Georgian Bay.
In keeping with the development of a structural continuity of integrating repetitive form that could be applied and adapted, like the tents in The Encampment, we worked with the idea of a quadruped.
Since we were preparing a model for what would be the structure we would use in Queens NYC at our residency in August 2012, we wanted to define the sense of the structural space.
We started to think about the creative process we would ask person to par
ticipate in and the areas of focus. Keep in mind that during the process of creating a scarecrow, we would be asking participants to metaphorically “stand at the threshold” between their pre
vious way of seeing themselves and community, and a new way, which would be strengthened by becoming more grounded in the stories, legends and history of one’s community through the creation of an effigy that would protect the zeitgeist or energy of that community in the years to come.
Participants will be involved with the creation of a:
‘Vision Bundle’ (an assemblage that represents the invention, discovery and/or artistry by the individual from Queen’s history)
‘Life Mound‘ (an assemblage that
represents the life passage of the above individual).
Below is a video we made on Christian Island located in Beausoleil First Nation on Georgian Bay, Ontario. Jenny-Anne researched the history around Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914). He was a Danish American social reformer, “muckraking” journalist and social documentary photographer. When he came to the US, he settled in Queens. He is known for using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City; those impoverished New Yorkers were the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He endorsed the implementation of “model tenements” in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. Additionally, as one of the most famous proponents of the newly practicable casual photography, he is considered one of the fathers of photography due to his discovery of the use of flash in photography. While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their traditionalism to middle class ridicule.