Emily Neufeld, Artist – Vancouver

Emily Neufeld was born in Alberta, on Treaty 6 and 7 land, and now lives and works on the unceded territory of the Squamish, T’seil Waututh and Musqueum in North Vancouver. Her practice investigates place and how humans change and are changed by the surrounding environment, and the layers of memory and psychic history that accumulate in our material world. In addition to collaborative projects with other artists, her recent solo exhibitions include Before Demolition at the Burrard Arts Foundation, and Picture Window at the Vancouver Heritage Foundation, and a large-scale billboard on the CBC Wall in downtown Vancouver. She received her BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2013. Her installation Before Demolition: Tides in an abandoned home in Cheticamp, NS is opening today and will continue until June 15 with documentation on display at Eyelevel Artist-Run Centre & Bookstore in Halifax.

  1. Co-ops

I often find myself at a loss to reconcile my skepticism of neo-liberal capitalism with the fact that, in order to participate in culture at large, this system seems impossible to escape. The idea of workers co-ops has been a source of inspiration because they offer a way to join the economy without participating in some of capitalism’s more blatantly dehumanizing features. With that in mind, I’m part of a small group that is founding Vancouver’s first artist’s co-op. Of course, nothing is perfect, but helping build the co-op is easing the sense of frustration and powerlessness that I usually feel when I contemplate how my life intersects with the dominant economic and political systems.

  1. Oscillating multi-tools

My artistic practice is often based on dismantling homes with surgical (or what I wish could be surgical) precision. The reciprocating saw has been my tool of choice until a few weeks ago, when the oscillating multi-tool dropped into my life like manna from heaven. It’s small, relatively quiet, and the replaceable blades cut through just about any construction material like warm butter. It’s hard to overstate the joy that fills my heart at finding just the right tool.

  1. Podcasts

I spend a lot of time doing physical work, whether in the studio, the kitchen, or the garden. Podcasts allow me to make double-use of that time, getting educated or inspired while I complete important (yet often boring) tasks. My all-time favourites are Still Processing, On Being, The New Yorker Short Fiction podcast, and Canadaland. Headlines and hourly news are fine for a start, but taking a deep dive into a few topics gives me so much more context and understanding than I could otherwise find.

  1. Jeremy Dutcher

Travelling to the east coast this week seemed like the perfect time to re-acquaint myself with Dutcher’s haunting music. An acclaimed Wolastoqiyik opera singer, his debut album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa won the Polaris Prize and a Juno Award. His combination of archived recordings of Maliseet songs with the western Classical tradition is a kind of magic alchemy that gives me goosebumps. It’s beautiful and powerful, and draws me through time and history. It’s a way to access the more emotional or intuitive aspects of my own attempts to play my part in reconciliation, but mostly it’s just a damn good album.

  1. Community sharing gardens

There’s nothing like getting your hands and knees dirty with your neighbours. Since moving to North Vancouver eight years ago I’ve helped build a few different community gardens and the process has brought me many good friends and fun times. And let’s face it: few joys can rival the taste of a ripe, sun-warmed tomato straight off the vine.