I am transforming a decommissioned Calgary C-Train car into an artwork in the NVRLND Arts Foundation parking lot (https://www.nvrlnd.ca). My artwork seeks to expand upon the liminal shift which occurred in the movement from Graffiti Art to Street Art. This LRT is a stand-in for the N.Y Subway system, the birthplace of Graffiti. Rendered onto plasma torch-cut (by hand) sheets of steel, inserted into the windows are figurative compositions of cross-cultural, ethnically diverse and gender fluid interconnected beings. These figures, based in my Street Art explorations, cross-reference this liminal shift using the object of the subway carriage. I analyze the intrinsic cultural codes of my materials and art making processes in this discourse. The automated flow of the line work of the figures is related to the Surrealist conception of automatism, of allowing the subconscious to guide the hand. It is also based in the fluid line movement a graffiti artist uses in tagging their pseudonym, thereby rendering of a self-portrait of sorts. I redirect and subvert this; the subjective rendering of the name is shifted into an aesthetic which now exemplifies the figure. I further build upon liminality through the transitory aspect of the object itself; a place in-between getting to other places.
The optimal time for viewing this project is in the guise of night. A lighting system is timed to illuminate the torch cut panels to create an experience of the liminal for the viewer. Shadows of the compositions interconnect on the surrounding footprint of the LRT. As the viewer walks through these shadows, they literally become part of the artwork as the shadows are cast upon them. I see this project as the creation of a special intervention to affirm specific meanings, always leaving room for further critique and confirmation. It is about the critical capacity of this process to confirm and interrogate the place-becoming; a dialogic space where the people in place construct meaning.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (November 2020)