This past Saturday DHC/ART Education hosted its bi-annual open house in conjunction with the exhibitions L’OFFRE and Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours. For this occasion, we offered guided visits as well as the workshop Home Canning to the general public. Raphaëlle de Groot, who created Home Canning in collaboration with DHC/ART Education, was present via Skype to help us facilitate the workshop and meet with the participants.
Over the years, Raphaëlle has developed a relational practice that invites us to reconsider the status of objects surrounding us by asking us to perform simple gestures: gathering, collecting, observing, describing and assembling. In doing so, she asks us to slow down, to share, and to look with a renewed attention.
During Home Canning, participants are invited to gather objects found in their homes, schools, workplaces and community centres or on the streets of their cities. These things are brought to DHC/ART, put together, evaluated collectively and become the base material for an act of artistic canning. They are selected, paired with other objects from our collection and put together in cans that are then sealed, weighed and labeled. These cans are to be offered to the next participants of the workshop. In return, each small group who takes part in the workshop can leave with a can created by a previous group.
During the open house, Raphaëlle vas virtually present via Skype from Italy and provided us with another kind of presence. We received a package from her for the event, wherein she had gathered some objects destined to be shared on Saturday’s workshop. Studied together, they appeared like delicate fragments of her daily life in Italy.
Discussions between participants during the open house revealed the diverse ways in which we can relate to objects. Some were brought as precious souvenirs or remnants of past lives, and allowed participants to share stories and imagine alternate narratives. Other things were initially debris, but were transformed into small treasures after careful consideration.
Any group of ten people or more can reserve a guided visit and combine it with a workshop facilitated by DHC/ART educators. All activities are free. On March 11, the final day of the exhibitions L’OFFRE and Bill Viola: Naissance à rebours, DHC/ART Education will host the Happening, an event to celebrate the end of the workshop. During the Happening, participants can take part in a festive iteration of the Home Canning workshop.
Thanks to Raphaëlle de Groot and to all those who participated!
Photo credit: Daniel Fiset and Marie-Hélène Lemaire