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Park Songs

This weekend  in Kingston’s Belle Park (Aug 26 and 27th at 4 pm) I’ll be performing some brand news songs as part of UNEARTHED, a series of artistic installations / conversations / experiments seeking to reveal or imagine some of the stories of Belle Park.

For the past 2 years, I’ve been working on my MA in Cultural Studies at Queen’s.  I’ve been using songwriting as a “Research Creation”  (grad school talk for making art:) method.  I”ll share more about my MA thesis project here soon….but in the meantime, this “Park Songs” project (undertaken as a research fellow with the Belle Park Project) has been a wonderful creative opportunity to spend time outdoors this summer, and to take a break from some of the thicker writing and research for my thesis.  

Here’s a little write up about Park Songs…

Inspired by the complex intersections of geographic, social, historic, human, and more-than-human life narratives that reside within the urban greenspace now known as Belle Park, Park Songs asks how songwriting can bring both researcher and audience into greater presence with the layers of time and life-worlds contained in the land.

Using a somatic research method I call walkingsingingthinking, I have composed a short cycle of interconnected songs, organized around each of four historical worlds within the Belle Park site: The Wetland, The Dump, The Golf Course and The Urban Park.  Responding to research materials and the practice of walking as a tool for gathering sensory information, the songs take perspectives from some of the site’s more-than-human beings… beavers, poplar trees, plants, birds and fish…The project culminates in a live concert performance in the park, where I’ll give voice to some of the histories, life-worlds and meanings that live today in Belle Park.    

You can catch me at 4 pm both Saturday and Sunday; meet at around 3 pm near the Belle Park entrance on Montreal St. But my songs are just one part of the site art-activation that begins this week. 

Here’s some more about the larger project:

Curated by Erin Sutherland, Dorit Naaman, and Laura Murray, Unearthed is a series of artistic installations/conversations/experiments seeking to reveal or imagine some of the stories of Belle Park. From August 26-30 2023, six artists will bring diverse perspectives to connect the history of the park with contemporary social and environmental concerns and experiences. They will help us think about way-finding, home, identity, play, plants, and the land we stand on. Unearthed is a walk in the park with a twist. 

Artists Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Vince Ha, Noah Scheinman, Elyse Longair and Evalyn Parry will activate spaces in Belle Park on various days throughout the week through music, performance, geocaching, and temporary installations. An exhibition at the Art & Media Lab at the Isabel Bader Centre will run concurrently, showing work by Jung-Ah Kim, Elyse Longair, and Vince Ha. Together, the art in the gallery and in the park will suggest ways of engaging with this rich space with an uncertain future.