knowing more then we can tell. by Courtney Chetwynd

Headed to Edmonton tomorrow to participate in this panel at the University of Alberta: 

I hope to voice some considerations on what it means, from my experiences of home, to undertake research  from an ethical Northern driven perspective, and talk about responsibility to the space in which you are working. Art and design needs to go beyond the limitations as 'objects', and move towards being active in place. To me this means a responsibility in thinking about our connections as part of place, not something we are separate from.


Growing up in the North taught me about following patterns, the importance of relationships, and an understanding of integrated and rooted knowledge.  I struggle with how tacit Northern knowledge can be understood by someone who has not spent time living, listening, and receiving the teachings embedded here. It is not something that is instantly attained, and I think that working without it is the same thing that contributes to the North's stereotypical regional identity and so-called solutions that just end up causing more problems and conflict (for example, cultural stratification). Completely disregarding the cultural context of where you are is dangerous. 

Things here are not always so explicit, the North's complexities cannot be known through reading, or gained through intellectual scholarship, but by listening, receiving, spending time on the land and with others. It means taking the time and care to do this, rather then rushed box-ticking exercises that are trendily deemed collaborative.  It means transcending yourself and submitting to standards that may be different from what you know. It means re-thinking the usual Euro-Western definition of sustainability. 

There is great potential in art and design to hold the space for and encourage dialogues around cultural and local identity and empower through projects that acknowledge and include personal histories and rich plural perspective. I wonder, how can art and design be guided by these ways of thinking through problems and help us communicate and gain understanding that lead to better, more effective solutions?



talking back (uttering nordicity) by Courtney Chetwynd

Big throbbing heart. Sincerity. Expansive haunting love.
Is it possible to see, feel and hear a Northern identity? I just listened to this program that Janna Graham has curated on the North, for the Cross Waves series with New Adventures in Sound Art (NAISA). Not playing along with southern demands and misconceptions, or common cliche, I think it is so important for Northern voices to speak for themselves. Returning from the frenetic activity of London and admittedly feeling a bit anti-climatic as I acclimatize; remember not to surface too quickly, sort of like dealing with a decompression sickness, the bends. Hearing the North's many tongues served as a gentle reminder of the magnetism and power of my home. Thanks for doing such a solid job to honour this place, Janna. Happy to be included as one of these murmurs, to capture the bodily sounds of many of my intimate Northern relationships, and explore a central theme in my practice, reciprocity.

You can listen to the program here:

...and find out some more info on the series and participating artists here:

The arctic circle
is a threshold
in the mind,
not its circumference.

North is
where all parallels
to open out.
— Henry Beissel, Cantos North

London Exhibition! by Courtney Chetwynd

Orbits and Occults at the Gerald Moore Gallery

Spending time prepping in the studio and getting packed for this show. I'll be performing for the duration of the private viewing (2-4pm) on Saturday, March 14th, and giving an artist talk/workshop on Monday, March 17th. So very grateful to be invited by the wonderful, Amy Ash. She has curated quite the show, and happy to be a part. Gratitiude for Canada Council for the Arts travel grant support to allow me fly across the ocean for this exhibition. Being able to actively install my work is such an important part of my practice. I create work that responds to a space, rather then singular objects - and to be there to do this in the flesh, is key.
...also looking forward to some respite from this frigid winter weather (and a proper pint)!


For the land by Courtney Chetwynd

(Frack off) 

I'll be away in the UK, (which, by the way is set to ban fracking in 40% of shale areas in England, and it is indefinitely banned within Scotland), but this rad event will be going on in Yellowknife that you should check out and support if you can.  Please consider signing the petition to urge the Government of the Northwest Territories to put a moratorium on horizontal hydraulic fracturing until a comprehensive and transparent public review of the cumulative environmental, social, and economic risks and benefits of the process is complete. We have an obligation to protect the land.

FOR THE LAND: Northern Artists Against Fracking; will be March 14th @8pm in Yellowknife, NT and will feature Northern artists, speakers, and musicians. 






I'll be donating this little geode drawing made with homemade lump charcoal, ink, and gold leaf.