2019 Theme: SCAFFOLD

Posted on April 28th, 2019
by Nocturne

SCAFFOLD: Curated by Tori Fleming

The Halifax Regional Municipality is a city in transition. The past few years have seen the rapid upward expansion of the downtown core, the loss of some beloved historic spaces, and the addition of some less-loved new ones. Often, the structures designed to temporarily hold up the active assembly and disassembly of our infrastructure create a new version of our city - adding detours to our commutes, turning walking routes into a series of scaffolding tunnels, and speckling our skyline with cranes. Structural changes can often add accessibility barriers to citizens and change our physical interactions with our public spaces. This state of flux has led to mixed emotions: apprehension for the future of our city and nostalgia for our past.

With the increasingly visible effects of climate change, the very geography of our world is shifting. The current climate of political anxiety and the looming threat of global warming can make the task of building safe, accessible, sustainable spaces seem nearly impossible. But what if the stakes were just a little lower? When a structure is temporary, is it allowed to be absurd, impractical, and high-maintenance? A lack of commitment or permanence grants us the space to explore our own limitations and values. Nothing can be so bad or so great, for this too shall pass.

Beyond our physical structures, the HRM’s population is also fluid. The echoes of this transient harbour town’s history can still be felt today in the waves of population that come and go throughout the year. Whether it’s the downtown core being overwhelmed by the unloading of cruise ships or the boom in culture on the Halifax peninsula as the University school year begins in September, the community often feels like an expanding and contracting body. Perhaps that signature East Coast hospitality comes from a need to fast-forward through pleasantries to real friendship, so we may hold it for as long as it lasts.

For centuries, populations have been passing through or settling here in K’jipuktuk on the unceded land of the Mi’kmaq people. Colonialism brought to K’jipuktuk new social structures and building practices based in white supremacy, the damage of which caused permanent changes to the land and people. Much of these colonial structures remain deeply built into our society and unexamined today; the majority of the weight and labour of truth and reconciliation and anti-oppression work has been and continues to be held by BIPOC+ communities.

Scaffold asks artists to explore how temporary structures can be used to make a larger commentary on the social, physical, and political structures that shape our lives. Who decides the purpose, form, and design of our physical spaces? Who dictates the rules of how we behave within those spaces? We seek to question the power structures within the existence of our public spaces and examine accessibility and ownership. We invite artists to use humour, absurdity, and the unexpected to transform our streets into a new city. For one night only we present your vision of K'jipuktuk/Halifax. How bad could it go? It’s gone tomorrow.

2019 Festival Lineup

Tough Guy Mountain
Nathalie Quagliotto
Caroline Monnet
Kastor and Pollux
Jonathan Monaghan

Chris Foster
Ryan Henwood, Claire Bennet & Polaris Choir
NAT Chantel
Louis-Charles Dionne
Camila Salcedo
Anne Macmillan
Passage Studio: Thomas Evans & Jonathan Mandeville
Collectif HAT
Anke Fox & Leif Peter Fuches
Jason Skinner
Ursula Handleigh
Marla Benton & Andrea Puskar
Brandon Auger
Margarita Fainshtein
Clark Biesele
Scott Sharplin & Suzi Oram Aylward

GLAM Collective
Kate MacDonald + Kordeena Clayton
AFCOOP Live Projections
Alison Uhma - Artist Swap with Lumière Cape Breton
Chudi Harris
Nocturne NOISEmakers