Everyday Life: Projects by SASAH First & Second Year Students
November 26-December 5, 2020
Satellite Project Space
Gallery hours: Wednesday-Friday 2:00-7:00pm, Saturday 12:00-5:00pm
Virtual Reception: Thursday December 3, 6:30-8:00pm
Join zoom meeting: https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/j/92727588830
The concept of the everyday has compelling resonances in the humanities that emphasize the importance of time spent, of understanding our lives as lived incrementally, and of slowing down – to pay attention. Yet, in our current period, the idea of attending to events that continue day upon day
instills in many of us troubling uncertainty.
Two projects by groups of SASAH students speak together to complicate ideas of the everyday and about pandemics. Offering new insights and thoughtful questions, they ultimately provide opportunities that help us productively imagine other days and other places.
SASAH First Years: “The 1918-19 Pandemic Project”
A pandemic does not take place in a vacuum: neither the 1918-1919 one nor the 2020 covid pandemic. As a result, our class chose to investigate the 1918-1919 pandemic in conjunction with other aspects of society: Indigenous peoples, soldiers, women, health-workers, black communities (especially in the USA), anti-maskers, etc. The students did archival research and then produced their results in whatever creative form they wished.
In many instances the parallels with our current situation are self-evident. One of the results of the investigations is an awareness of the interconnectedness of events in our society – a century ago, just as now. Another of the positive aspects of delving into the past is that one discovers that few events, even calamities, ever happen for the very first time. The timeline of humanity is long indeed. Terrible as the 1918-1919 pandemic was, the world passed through it and then continued forward. Surely, we will too.
SASAH Second Years: “The Coves Project and Other Community Practices”
This semester, second year students were tasked with a deliberately open-ended “Everyday Life Project.” Their assignment: to commit to a weekly practice with the goal of shifting their habits of attention. Beyond this minimal directive, the only guideline given to students was to try to forge new connections between their daily lives and lives beyond their own. Such a guideline poses particular challenges in the context of a global pandemic, but the class has proved remarkably resourceful in creating community under constrained conditions. Three students featured in this exhibition, Bridget Koza, Azadeh Odlin, and Sophie Wu, anchored their projects in an area of London called “The Coves,” a tangled network of ponds, ravines, and trails that once served as a runoff for a paint factory. Within walking distance of the city centre, the Coves is a wilderness hiding in plain sight. We found an ideal guide through this unique ecosystem in Michelle Wilson, a PhD candidate in Visual Arts who will incorporate these students’ work into a large-scale Coves community art project. Under Michelle’s guidance students became intimate with the Coves through a variety of hands-on practices: mapping trails, collecting and identifying plant specimens, picking up trash, harvesting and processing natural clay, and using phytoremediation techniques to clean up polluted soil, air and water. Other students, such as Shai Butler, took a more introspective approach to their everyday life projects, exploring the potential for contemplative practices to extend into processes of community-building.
Video of SASAH First Years: “The 1918-19 Pandemic Project”: https://youtu.be/bDsauWJ64yI
Video of SASAH Second Years: “The Coves Project and Other Community Practices”: https://youtu.be/ghXNks7-l00