Girl Gang Dance Party

Girl Gang Dance Party was a site-specific installation with melinda topilko and assisted by Misery Fields Britton for Phantom Wing, a pre-demolition project at King Edward School in Calgary, in the girl’s washroom of the 1960’s wing of the school. In 2014, we participated (as GGDP) in Plug In ICA’s Summer Institute, whose theme was feminist description.

“This room has been no doubt the site of many torrential nosebleeds, sob-fests, test sites for a girl’s “look”, a place to hide from the school bully or gym class, sneak a cigarette, lend a tampon to a friend who is all out of pocket change, a place to hang out by the counters with intimidating girl gang friends, and a place to scratch secret crushes onto the stall doors. This is a cathartic goodbye to not just the physical building but the imagined place fraught with bizarre histories and private events. Attendees were invited to cry in a private stall, place a confession in the “oracle”, take a selfie with a provided camera, be inspired, nostalgic or disgusted, and dance (or not dance) to records in the space. Our Tumblr page continues to establish GGDP as not only a one-time event, but an ethos and benevolent organization located on Girls’ Paradise Island.”

I’ll Cry If I Want To

I’ll Cry If I Want To was the thesis exhibition for my MFA, and took place in June of 2014, in the collection wing of University of Manitoba’s School of Art Gallery. The exhibition consisted of an installation of found/collected objects, embroidered “selfies”, diary excerpts, drawings, a collection of extremely personal narrative video works, other things made especially for the show sprinkled here and there, and finally, a personal zine intended to replace the didactic panel and create a parallel text that the viewer could take home with them and share.

I consider the work a cathartic farewell to girlhood, or at least, the idea of the line between girlhood and adulthood. As a kid, I had all these expectations for what adulthood would be like, and I find myself still clinging to them even now. Besides others’ expectations, for example, I never thought I would have kids, and I never will; I did think I would be confident, assertive, much taller, and be able to give the air that I knew what I was doing. I would be a social butterfly, and go to all kinds of parties. Instead, I’m still thinking about childhood bullies and events, for instance, slamming my thumb in the car door and getting to miss piano lessons, or that boy in school hollowing out a battery with my scissors. So while this is probably all related to anxiety, I hope that it brings to mind the larger notion of what it means to be an adult, especially an adult woman, and the flawed nature of that expectation.

Thank you to Nelson Milum for your technical support.

Studio Experiments

Studio experiments during my MFA,some of which filtered into I’ll Cry If I Want To.

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