See you later. This is what some of us like to say when we don’t know when we will see someone, what we say when we have every intention of meeting again, but may not. This is what I say when traveling back and forth, between spaces of comfort, in-between people of vulnerability, people who’ve asked me to say goodbye, when I cannot.
I’m writing you a letter to say, I am leaving you, but I hope to see you again.
On May 30, 2016, I will set out on a motorcycle journey from Vancouver, BC to Milton, Florida. I will end my trip by mid-August. During my traveling residency, I will be hosted by friends and friends of friends, camp, and stay in motels.
This website is a terrain for process, iteration, and form. Letters, Images, Screens, and Terrains are sites on a map offered as a log for interpretation. On this journey, through these sites, I hope to consider allegory alongside the real, intimate experiences amid imagination, the connotations of residency, and the interrogation of privilege and space from the perspective of what it means for a woman to travel mostly on her own across two countries in two months in 2016. I am gripped for the surprises that may reveal none of these things, and everything but.
Before I arrived to Canada in 2011, I was sitting in a small house in Florida, contemplating a letter of intent. I wrote to a committee of unknown artists, who were also academics, asking them to consider me and my work so that I might get funding for a graduate program in art.
In my heart, I was begging them to save me, but on paper, I told them the ways I was qualified as a photographer, as an artist. It wasn’t the last letter I would write to an unknown audience asking them to see something not yet visible. I continued to write about my experience in a similar epistolary form when addressing colleagues, readers, and publics. I have read that, as a writer, you must tell the truth. You must have a connection to what you are saying. I had been looking for an intimate connection that had been missing, and with this intention, I found a community of gracious people willing to hear me, and see my work. These people came to know me. I’m writing you now, to say that I am leaving, but I am taking you with me.
Some of us have a list, a list of events that have occurred in our lives. We think through them at pivotal times and contemplate what it means to have gone through the life events that we have, when we have. Some of us ask ourselves, why do I get to be here?
In the past five years, I have seen my way through a Masters program, the end of a marriage, the beginning of a teaching career, and the loss of a parent. I have found sites to exhibit my work and others’ works, have sought out venues to write, and have had the privilege of being surrounded by an empathic group of people. Some of whom I love, some of whom I call friends.
The list becomes a way to see, a way to report, and a way to listen. Sometimes the list is bullshit. Sometimes, the list does not make sense. Sometimes, the list is abstract. But some of us try to make sense of it no matter how disparate the collections of events may appear.
In September of 2014, Dad was diagnosed with stage four cancer, he died in January 2015. In his final days, we sat together, looked over maps, and I wrote down his stories. Before he passed away, he sold his motorcycle, and made sure I had one of my own. In May of 2015, Mom and I traveled back to Vancouver, BC (where I’d been living since 2011) from Milton, Florida (my hometown). We loaded the motorcycle into the back of a red pickup truck along with objects from my past. We wrapped each parcel tightly inside its own blue tarp, bound by duct tape. After Mom delivered me back to the city, she drove herself back to Florida in an empty truck.
The action, the vehicle, the blue tarps, the objects, and the experience became the artwork. Iterations of this worn-blue tarp, objects from my personal life, found objects, and an archive of snapshots were exhibited in the solo exhibition called Travel Back To Blue (Gallery 295, Vancouver, British Columbia, October-December, 2015). The exhibition became form.
Travel Back To Blue / Residency is an expansion of Travel Back To Blue, 2015, and is born out of my research at Rubber Pencil Residency based out of Vancouver, BC. The project will continue as a publication.
To mark the launch of this trip, and raise support for the project, Rubber Pencil Residency has curated Intimate & Immense / Travel Back To Blue / Part II, a solo exhibit of my works and some of my possessions (Red Gate Arts Society, Vancouver, May 17, 2016).
I look forward to corresponding with you.
p.s. incase you don’t know me, feel free to visit feliciaegail.us