INTERTIDAL ZONE

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I've moved to a new place on the Bay of Fundy, and I plan to spend the summer engaging in creative renewal, fishing, swimming and learning from the land and community I'm a part of. I'll also be continuing to work on my Intertidal Cymbal Works project, thanks to Arts Nova Scotia. 

There are also some things coming up:

WORKSHOP

Soundscape July 21 – 23, 2017

I've been involved with the Red Clay and White Rabbit community for some time now, and I'm thrilled to be returning there this summer to offer a workshop on my favourite things: sound and landscape. 

PROJECT

The Beacon Project: Cross Cultural Conversations along The Great Trail (Trans Canada Trail)

I'm part of the Quiver Arts Collective with media artist Ann Verrall and documentary filmmaker Dianne Whalen. We recently received funding from Canada Council for the Arts' New Chapter Program. This series of multi-media creations – Beacons – are centered in Indigenous communities with artists, Elders & Grandmothers, Dianne meets along her journey through the 23,000 km Great Trail (500 Days in the Wild). Instead of passing through, the Beacons provide an opportunity to stay still, go in-depth. Our mandate as a collective is to develop thought provoking media arts based projects that build bridges between diverse cultures. The work focuses on fostering connections, dialogue and understanding between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous artists and communities. We're presently working on a project in Metepenagiag First Nation, New Brunswick with Water Grandmother Cecelia Brooks. We'll also be going to Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan this Fall. Beacon website coming soon. 

RESIDENCY

Flotilla – The 2017 biennial gathering of ARCs, Charlottetown, PEI September 21 – 24, 2017

Leading up to this event, I will be collaborating with an amazing group of artists, all of whom have some connection to White Rabbit Arts. Architect Josh Collins will be spearheading the creation of a floating island in the harbour of Charlottetown, which be an anchor point for a myriad of creative journeys, with curator Zachary Gough at the helm.

CURRENTS

November 2016 - Indigenous Visual and Digital Arts Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts

October 2016 - Elder/Youth Exchange Film Project with Shortworks Productions, Millbrook First Nation

October 11, 2016 - Dimensional Poetry Café: Listening with Lindsay Dobbin, 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. at NSCAD University's Art Bar

September 2016 - The Art of Stillness Residency, Banff Centre for the Arts

August 2016 - White Rabbit Arts, Metamorphosis, Bay of Fundy, NS

July 2016 - LE SITE DU MIEL DE TANK, curated by Maryse Goudreau, Escuminac, Quebec

June 2016 - Songlines / Le Chant Des Pistes Residency, curator Caroline Loncol Daigneault, AdMare centre d’artistes en art actuel des Îles-de-la-Madeleine

 

 

SONGLINES: THE INVISIBLE PATHS

I'm presently on Îles-de-la-Madeleine for Le Chant des pistes / Songlines Residency. For the duration of the residency, I will be witnessing the environment, allowing listening to inform my path. As I make my way, my body and drum will be receptive to the unseen and invisible voices of the landscape — creating multiple resonance points through the archipelago. 

I will be sharing some of my experiences and interactions here: http://www.lindsaydobbin.com/the-drum-is-listening/

Thank you to curator Caroline Loncol Daigneault, Laurène Janowsky and Alphiya Joncas at AdMare centre d’artistes en art actuel des Îles-de-la-Madeleine and all the supporters. 

DRUM VOICES

Almost a year ago I was putting the finishing touches on my project Drum Voices for the Centre for Art Tapes Media Arts Scholarship Program. Since then, I've presented the piece at the CFAT Media Arts Scholarship Screening, the Adäka Cultural Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon and Nocturne: Art at Night in Halifax. 

Drum Voices will be part of an exhibition that's opening at the Dalhousie University Art Gallery this Thursday, January 21. Curated by Will Robinson, Gleaning a Song: The Singing Voice as Artifact in Media Art "is a compilation of CFAT members’ works that distinctly incorporate, explore, conjure, or manipulate the singing voice in “song” as tenor for cultural production, existential memoire, conceptual and technical experimentation, and/or cultural communication. The program includes works by Lindsay Dobbin; Lisa Lipton; Derek Charke, Janice Jackson, and Lukas Pearse; Tom Sherman and Jan Pottie; and Emily Vey Duke & Cooper Battersby."

Find more details here about the other two exhibitions that will be opening at 7 p.m. on January 21: "Why are we saving All these artist publications + Other Galleries stuffs?" and Eyelevel Reshelving Initiative 7.

Finally, I've decided to make Drum Voices available on my Bandcamp for purchase

PROCESS

I'm at the beginning of a new creative journey. Thanks to the support of Arts Nova Scotia and the Canada Council for the Arts, I will be focussing on my research and practice for the next year, creating a new body of work. My intention is to continue my explorations in drumming, taking it to origin-al sources, inside and outside myself.

My process began at Blue Raven Farm on the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia. Home to eleven Norwegian Fjord Horses, I researched equine communication and rhythms. My youth years were spent on the back of a horse, and when I began drumming in my late teens, the rhythms I instinctively played were horse rhythms. Still to this day, it's a natural impulse. Studying horses is a way for me to return to my rhythmic roots, which extends beyond my life into the life of my ancestors, who were horse people.

Studying horse rhythms and their relationship to the landscape is revealing a whole new world of drumming. One that is before the drum. One that thinks of the Earth as a drum — a unified sound.

In the new year, I will be continuing my research as well as beginning studies with the Deep Listening Institute. Created by composer Pauline Oliveros, Deep Listening "explores the difference between the involuntary nature of hearing and the voluntary, selective nature – exclusive and inclusive -- of listening.  The practice includes bodywork, sonic meditations, interactive performance, listening to the sounds of daily life, nature, one’s own thoughts, imagination and dreams, and listening to listening itself." I'm thrilled to be participating in their program. 

That's all for now. Happy solstice, dark reflections, seed planting. 


ALTERNATIVE MODES OF TRANSPORTATION

As I prepare for a journey, I've been thinking a lot about transportation. Like, how am I going to move through the landscape, other than with my body? I have, of course, looked into the tried and true modes of transportation in contemporary North America: trains, buses, planes, cars, trucks, vans, and so on. They're convenient and easy to find, as a lot of our infrastructure is built around them. But I desire a departure from the norm for my journey. So, I'm considering alternatives.

When I ask myself, Lindsay, how would you like to move through the landscape, some key ideas arise: 

  • Off the beaten path. I don't want to always travel the normal routes. I'd like to be able to move through the forest, the water, the sky. And sometimes, maybe, go underground?
  • Independence. I'd like to be able to change direction or stop and investigate something at a moments notice.
  • Slow. I want to move slow. At nature's pace. I'm interested in what becomes possible when you enter a slower pace of time. Can you imagine how different our society would be if we still did everything with horses? Ironically, I think we'd have more time even though we'd be moving slower.
  • A beating heart. Yes, I said it. I'd like my vehicle to have a beating heart. I mean that literally, as in the vehicle could be an animal. But I also mean it metaphorically — vehicles that move because of natural forces like wind and water (or my own body's physical exertion) channel nature's beating heart. Or something like that.
  • No break-downs. Only emotional ones. Things without motors and electronics don't really break-down. And if something does go wrong, there usually is a solution you can find by relying on yourself, others and nature. 
  • Companionship. Sure, motor vehicles are companions. But I desire a deep relationship with my transportation mode — a relationship based on two-way communication, trust and respect. Something that develops over time. 
  • Will. I'd like for my vehicle to have its own will and/or move due to naturally occurring phenomenon such as wind and water, and including magic. 

Perhaps my body is the best option. But here are some other ideas that (mostly) fit.

Animals. One of my earliest memories is sitting on the back of a moving elephant. I don't recall any visuals though, just the feeling of the large animal's gentle sway underneath me. 

Boats. Found throughout the world in many forms, I think human- and/or wind- powered boats are one of the most beautiful things humankind has created.

Airships (or the plane in Fly Away Home). Other than finding a way to transform into an eagle (or ascend), airships - including the DIY situation of attaching helium balloons to a lawn chair - are the way to go here. I included the trailer for The White Diamond, one of my favourite films. 

Magic. This is the category that I'm most inspired by. These modes of transportation are one-of-a-kind and usually part of a hero's journey. None to be found on Kijiji. 

And, of course, considering magic forms of transportation leads into a whole arena of possibilities for metaphysical travel such as dreaming. But I'll leave that for another time. 

DRUM VOICES AT NOCTURNE

Now that Nocturne is complete, I wanted to take a few moments to thank the people that helped bring my project, Drum Voices, to life: Curator Rose Zack and the entire Nocturne team, Jaime MacLellan at HRM, Tom, Jesse, Kristy and Keith at the Centre for Art Tapes, Alex, Selene and Zeus at Little Foot Yurts, volunteers Sophie, Lizzy, Rachel, Catie and Eli, my CFAT Media Arts Scholarship mentors Andy, Lukas and Becka, as well as all the scholars. And a final thank you to those of you who made the long journey to the Dartmouth Commons to experience Drum Voices. I hope it was a reflective experience for many. Here's what the Herald had to say about it: 

The beauty in Nocturne is the one unexpected thing, the one moment of magic. For me, it was tramping all over downtown Dartmouth in the spooky dark to finally find Lindsay Dobbin’s Drum Voices, a glowing yurt on top of the highest hill of the Dartmouth Common. With primal soulful sounds and a view both across to the city lights and up to the open sky, it was a sublime experience. And, in fact, it was well-marked in a zigzagging goat trail of solar lights if you came at it the right way.

I helped Alex at Little Foot Yurts take the yurt down on Sunday, and we treated the poles with linseed oil before storing them away for the winter. I feel a resonance with this, as Drum Voices was my last project scheduled in a very busy, fulfilling past year in my creative life. I have no major production deadlines for the next number of months, which affords me the time and space to return to the necessary and fulfilling process of exploring, reflecting, gathering and playing easily in the deep. I look forward to sharing what emerges. 

CBC ARTS

Halifax-based filmmaker Marcia Connolly created a beautiful short film for the CBC about my water drumming explorations on the Bay of Fundy. It features my Body Sail sculpture as well as sound I captured from my Intertidal Cymbal Works and Water Drumming. The film will air this Sunday on CBC's Exhibitionists a new show that "features Canadian artists, both emerging and established, as they reshape our country's artistic landscape." But you can watch it now, below! Or directly on the CBC website, here.

Thank you to White Rabbit Arts for your support and for selecting me as one of this year's Ballast Artists. Thank you to everyone who participated in the filming of this piece. And thank you Marcia for creating such a thoughtful and stunning film. 

NOCTURNE

Nocturne: Art at Night is soon! Saturday, October 17 from 6 p.m. to midnight, to be exact. I had the pleasure of collaborating with Sarah Burwash on Gates for Sojourn last year in the Public Gardens. This year, I'm presenting my sound piece Drum Voices in the Dartmouth Commons. 

Drum Voices is a sound piece that transports the drum to a place before time. By recording a single strike of a deer-hide frame drum and then using simple audio processing techniques, artist Lindsay Dobbin journeyed to the heart of a drum to find a hidden choir that speaks to our origins. Both terrestrial and alien sounding, the voices have been arranged to unfold as a mantra – an eternal song of slow and rhythmic chanting – creating an evocative environment for deep listening. For Nocturne, the sound piece will be situated within the drum-shaped structure of a yurt – reflecting the drum visually and sonically, and also engaging in dialogue with the landscape. Drum Voices is presented in partnership with the Centre for Art Tapes. 

I created Drum Voices while participating in the Centre for Art Tapes Media Arts Scholarship Program and with support from Arts Nova Scotia. The Facebook event is here.

TWO FULL MOONS

Last night I went to the Herring Cove look-off near Halifax to burn old journals. Since the beginning of September, I've been purging in all sorts of ways, including getting rid of some material possessions. I've burned journals once before days prior to leaving on a great adventure to the Yukon. The journals I burned last night were filled with writing and drawings from that time. And some time after. 

As the pile of books turned to ash, I looked to the sky where the half-moon was finally rising and realized all the information recorded on those pages could still be accessed, it was just the container that was being removed. 

A week prior I was at the same look-off, with many other people, to witness the lunar eclipse. There were nearly one hundred bodies around, and three fires. The coastline was full of silhouetted groups cuddled into granite boulders, looking at the sky. I arrived at 7 p.m. to see the moon rise, and stayed with three of my friends, two of whom I randomly ran into there, until 2 a.m. Most people left when the moon was in the Earth's shadow, but we stayed until the end of the eclipse, when the moon was white again, alit by the sun.

How amazing it was to witness the moon go through a full months cycle in the span of six hours. Full. To half. To new. To half. To full. 

A few years ago I had dreams about two full moons. I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis, and I never understood the meaning of those dreams at the time. They left me questioning. Maybe that was the point. But unable to intuitively sort them out, I asked friends about their possible meaning, and even once (or five times) Googled "dreams about two full moons." Everything that came back didn't resonate. Only now, three years later, do I understand the significance and meaning. 

In the dreams, I'd look to the sky, see one full moon, but then it'd split into two full moons. Here's one of those dreams:

I'm home. Not a home I recognize, but I feel like I'm home. Near a coast. A hill. Old farm houses. It's night time. I'm walking up a road. I look to the sky to see the full moon. I recognize myself. The moon begins blinking. White to red. Then, like a cell, it divides into two full moons. I've seen this before, I say. And from in between them swirl out Northern Lights. 

I once heard that our subconscious mind is three years ahead of our conscious mind. While I don't think these things work in a linear fashion, I have witnessed the phenomenon of a vision saturating my waking and dreaming life and then materializing within a few years. In the case of the two full moons, I realized just a week ago that the dream was a representation of a lunar eclipse cycle, where two full moons are revealed in one night, one process. 

But the meaning extends deeper than that. This lunar eclipse was powerful and, for me, represents a turning point, a shift, a new beginning in my life. Something is being born. I don't know what it is exactly yet, but this desire to purge is really about opening up space for what is to come. 

Northern Lights?

A few weeks ago I sat at the beach with a friend, and she told me about the concept of automatic shifting in osteopathy. What I gathered from her simplified-for-me description was that the body has natural organizing fulcrums, forces that inform the architecture of tissue throughout life. Automatic shifting takes place when an osteopathy client is supported in deeply encountering these potent anchor points and, sometimes-but-not-all-times, they shift in response to this inhabited awareness — hence changing how things are organized in the body from there on out. I think this idea is applicable to every aspect of being, not just the physical, as I have been experiencing it emotionally and spiritually as well. 

Let me explain.

These past few years have been chalked full of spiralling-backward-journeys to personal histories and old patterns. These encounters, which seemed to culminate this year, allowed me to set foot in some deep, internal architecture. But once I entered the house, things began to shift. The structure was familiar, comfortable, but no longer inhabitable. For so long it informed my journey, but I had somehow connected with an alternative vision, a future that I could feel echoing backward, that didn't fit in this space. The house was no longer supportive of me and the ways I desired to grow.

The awareness and acceptance of this led to a dismantling process, which was a tumultuous ride in the beginning. Like throwing your body down a waterfall. But I have noted how calm some waters can be immediately after a waterfall.

A few months ago, while up North in the Yukon, I had a dream about crossing a river, leaving behind structures of various sorts. Down the river my name was being called, and I could faintly see structures there. The dream ended with me between these two places, the liminal zone.

I told my friend about the dream, and she said, "That's automatic shifting!" It's also what physicist Fritjof Capra calls the bifurcation point:

“…When the flow of energy increases, the system may encounter a point of instability, known as a “bifurcation point,” at which it can branch off into an entirely new state where new structures and new forms of order may emerge…This spontaneous emergence of order at critical points of instability is one of the most important concepts of the new understanding of life. It is…often referred to simply as “emergence.” It has been recognized as the dynamic origin of development, learning and evolution. In other words, creativity—-the generation of new forms—-is a key property of all living systems. And since emergence is an integral part of the dynamics of open systems, we reach the important conclusion that open systems develop and evolve. Life constantly reaches out into novelty.”

Another friend wrote me an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, sharing a dream she had with me in it. It involved labradorite and me picking a monarch butterfly from a treasure box. Labradorite are the Aurora in stone — solid but alive through movement and light. The monarch butterfly represents lightness, migration, ally-ship with the plant world and, of course, transformation. Interestingly, when a caterpillar begins transforming into a butterfly, it's body first resists. The new cells emerging are so different from caterpillar cells that its immune system fights them. But the cells continue to appear, forming their own resonating clusters, and, eventually, they reach a point where there is no turning back. I certainly have experienced the confusion and resistance that comes when things begin shifting, dismantling. The onset is difficult. I don't know a single person who is a stranger to that.

But the clutter has cleared, and I am resonating more and more with the new, mysterious vision. The amount of alignment and serendipity in my life is increasing, propelling me through the water. 

So, 

I'm making space for what is emerging — a thing I can't articulate, but that I can feel as significantly and mysteriously as the Northern Lights. I've reached the point where there is no turning back from this journey. I've let go of the old house. And I'm on the river, between two full moons, following what's calling my name.