Do you want to take the short-cut or the long-cut?
PA System’s Do you want to take the short-cut or the long-cut? is part of an ongoing collection of works about land: human use and relationship to land, places of shared experience and memory, complex and conflicting societal relationships to resource exploitation and industry, ideas of development, commons, nations, rights, and the experience of snow and ice as land. The thinking behind the work has been percolating and mind-mapped over the past ten years, as personal understandings of cold, land, and ways of life have grown from cherished time spent in Inuit Nunangat (Inuit homeland in the Canadian arctic) creating collaborative and community art projects, primarily their ongoing project with Kinngait youth, Embassy of Imagination.
PA System’s work employs visual metaphor, for instance, adapting forms of ancient documents. They have used personally collected materials both raw and man-made, originating from the places that the work references, including iron ore mined from north Baffin Island.
Several works depict ephemeral wind-blown snow-forms that are both beautiful and a tool for navigation in the North. The varied processes involved in these works naturally have a strong visual connection: the fine ridges of layered 3D-printing, the detailed and linear carving for hand-printed linocut work, and the natural process of wind chiseling the original snow-forms. Depicting these snow-forms has intimate and broad meaning. It is a personal and tedious process that supports reminiscing, missing a place, preserving the elapsed moment. The work also reflects on the precarity of the climate and by extension the threat to mobility as it is tied to the ice and weather.
PA System (Alexa Hatanaka and Patrick Thompson) create public artwork and work in textile, printmaking, painting, and video. They exhibit in institutions internationally, such as the Canada House in London, the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona and the Art Gallery of Ontario. PA System’s recent work is informed by their time spent over the past six years in Kinngait (Cape Dorset, Nunavut), where their ongoing project Embassy of Imagination (EOI) is based. EOI is a visual art and social practice working with and for Kinngait youth. EOI animates yearly art workshops, and creates collaborative community art projects, including public murals, performances, and exhibitions, within Kinngait, across Canada and internationally. PA System and EOI are creating a new work for the forthcoming Toronto Biennial of Art.