ANNOUNCING: Alex Balkam as 2017 RBC Emerging Artist

ANNOUNCING: Alex Balkam as 2017 RBC Emerging Artist

Nocturne is proud to partner with RBC Royal Bank every year to bring our festival to life! Part of this partnership has grown into a way to further highlight the work of emerging artists in Halifax with the RBC Emerging Artist program. Every year, Nocturne organizers and RBC partners select one artist from our chosen Beacon Artists to highlight as the RBC Emerging Artist. This year, Alex Balkam has been selected as our 2017 RBC Emerging Artist. We asked Andrew Coll, artist and member of the Nocturne Programming Committee to sit down with Alex and chat about his practice and in 2017 Nocturne Beacon Project. 

AC: So to start off, Alex, can you tell us a bit about your background and artistic practice? 

AB: So far as an artist I basically have one place that I return to over and over again looking for indications about what kind of art to create. I return to a place where I grew up, and try to interpret that environment in new ways, but also with continuity. So far, I have enjoyed this kind of limitation of working with a specific place. 

AC: Your project this year is Folded River. I, for one, am very excited to see it! What can you tell folks about it?

AB: With Folded River I wanted to create a film that was very simple in its presentation, but inside of that simplicity allowed for much deeper interpretation. I try to force myself to create work that can be understood immediately and equally by any viewer, there is no book or artist you will have had to study first before you could understand the film. So, in a manner it is the same for everyone, but inside of that simplicity the truth is it is infinitely variable and everyone’s experience will be unique. 

Folded River continues on a path of exploring a specific place and trying to understand deeper phenomena such as time through those studies of place. It presents the perspective of an empty canoe that is left to float down a river without any human being at the helm. I think part of me is interested in that idea too - preparing for a possible future without human perspective at the centre of everything. Part of that proposition is as much about looking backwards to the past as it is about thinking about possible futures.

AC: What inspires you to create?

AB: I think being able to create art means there is a freedom you keep inside of yourself that allows you to feel very much alive and participating. In terms of what inspires me I think there is a continual desire to reconcile myself with life and time and nature, and then to share what I have learned or felt with other people.

AC: How have you been involved with Nocturne in the past?

AB: Speed-walking down the street trying to experience everything it has to offer.

AC: How do you feel about being selected as this year's RBC Emerging Artist?

AB: I am really happy to be selected, it is always great to have your art acknowledged and to have other people feel strongly about it. Sometimes it is impossible to get outside of how you feel about the work yourself, so it helps seeing other people like it.

AC: Are you working on or planning any other projects right now?

AB: Thinking a lot about trees right now, taking a break from rivers.

AC: Anything else you'd like to say?

AB: Thanks!

Alex Balkam's Beacon Project, Folded River, can be seen on Nocturne (October 14th, 6PM-MIDNIGHT) at Common Roots Urban Farm