Carmela Laganse was born and raised in Winnipeg and currently resides in Regina with her family. With a BFA from the University of Manitoba and an MFA from Ohio University, Carmela has worked and taught in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Her most recent work, collectively called Gag, is reminiscent of domestic furniture and fixtures of the 1950s and reflects her personal struggle with the ridiculousness of first world “problems”. They can be seen in the group show Vessels, Flasks, Bottles & Basins at the Strathcona County Gallery @501 in Sherwood Park, Alberta until April 22nd. She has also exhibited nationally and internationally including recent group shows at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto and the Redux Contemporary Art Center in South Carolina. She is represented by St. Paul West.
When we were living in Montreal it was Craigslist, in Barcelona it was Loquo. The online classifieds choice for the Prairies seems to be Kijiji and/or Used Regina. I’ll typically search for materials I may need, but lately the various dogs and cats that are listed in the buy and sell or “free stuff” have distracted me. Today, it seems that people from Regina are giving away seven-times more dogs than cats, and in Calgary there seems to be more give-away cats. Our transience is certainly reason enough not to have a pet; however, I insist on torturing my son and myself by looking at the photos and reading the stories.
2. Le Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature
The Hunting and Nature Museum in Paris is filled with objects relating to man’s relationship with animals, including weapons, artworks (both contemporary and historic), and mounted animals. It is a visually and mentally engaging collection that continues to propose questions relating to museology and our relationship to nature, food, and animals. The museum is housed in a historic mansion, furnished and embellished with ornate fixtures, window-dressings, and tapestries. It is the antithesis of the “white box”, so how odd and refreshing it is to see a Mark Dion installation contextualized by a selection of dog collars and unicorn droppings!
3. The Pixies
The first cassette I bought for my first car (1980 Buick Century Coupe) was Come On Pilgrim. In grad school I listened to Here Comes Your Man – repeatedly – as I made twenty copies of an essay about Fight Club to hand out as a class reading. Over twenty years later, Where is My Mind is known to my son as the milk commercial. It is the song for a TV ad produced by the dairy farmers of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The Pixies have been a constant presence in my personal soundtrack.
I finally got to see the Pixies live in Saskatoon last year. In addition to their set being everything I know their music to be – iconoclastic punk/pop flowing between chaos, containment, and tension – I was aware that their reunion and second tour was motivated by their respective financial needs. We were in the first row of the balcony when they launched into Debaser and the energy in the room spilled over. I thought it amazing that this middle-aged quartet could elevate this mass of people to euphoria while paying off the mortgage, bills and new vinyl siding for the house. My current interest in the Pixies indicates that:
a) I continue to love their music.
b) I am happy that they are financially benefiting from their artistic practice.
c) I am almost middle aged.
4. Eye Writer Project
My mom, now retired, was a case coordinator for children with special needs and would often acquire the services of art and music therapists for the kids. Particularly unresponsive children usually responded and would, in some way, engage after a few sessions. She appreciated how art could stimulate the children and contribute to their quality of life. Developed by Free Art and Technology (FAT), openFrameworks, Graffiti Resarch Lab, and Temptone (an LA graffiti artist, writer, and activist), the Eye Writer is an open source eye-tracking system to allow people to draw with their eye movements. The primary motivation for this project was to enable Temptone, who is paralyzed as a result of ALS, to draw again. DIY instructions are available on their site for both the glasses and software, and are constantly being improved and shared.
My son and I love reading the web comic AxeCop. In its infancy, the story was written by a five year old and illustrated by his twenty-nine year old brother (Malachai and Ethan Nicolle). Characters include: FluteCop, Uni-Baby, and Dr. McNinja. On the website, you can direct your questions to AxeCop personally. His response is in comic form in the section titled “Ask AxeCop”.
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