For its 10th edition, the Fieldworks installation ‘gallery’ on Old Brooke Road southeast of Maberly decided to explore the world of sound, adding six new interactive installations by artists Jesse Stewart & Matt Edwards, Hilary Martin & Ranjit Bhatnagar, Annette Hegel & Deborah Margo, Matt Rogalsky & Laura Cameron, Doug Van Nort and Nicola Oddy.
“We’d like to begin by acknowledging that this is on traditional Algonquin land,” said Susie Osler, one of the original four collective members in her opening remarks. “And we pay homage to one of the four Algonquin elements, the air, with sonic representations.”
As such, this year’s edition is entitled Soundwork — An exploration of sound in art.
For those unfamiliar with the Fieldworks concept, it’s essentially an ‘art walk’ consisting of various ‘permanent’ installations, augmented with yearly theme shows such as this year’s Soundwork.
It was begun 10 years ago by Osler, her brother Chris Osler, Erin Robertson and Chris Grosset and since 2008 it has been funded by the Ontario Arts Council and donations “of any size” by visitors and supporters. They’ve also received support from businesses in the area including Tackaberry Construction, who donated stone for one of this year’s installations. It’s open to the public all year round free of charge.
“It’s important that it’s free and generally accessible so that people can wander around and be surprised,” Osler said. “We’re not looking to grow and grow and grow.
“It’s a gift to the public that grew out of the ’70s land art movement . . . only different.”
They encourage people to come and have a picnic with their family.
“It’s an interesting public space that happens to be on private property,” she said.
Osler is particularly pleased to have attracted “artists who are highly regarded in their field” this year and for the unique pieces they’ve designed as “site specific” just for this venue.
For example, Hegel and Margo, inspired by the “1,200 kinds of bees in Ontario” created an interactive walk through bumble bee nectar pods while solar powered audio players generate a variety of bee sounds.
“It’s based on the flight path of these bees and features local bee sounds,” Hegel said. “It will change through the summer as we collect sounds from bees visiting the installation.
And then there’s Singwalk!, a project designed by music therapist Nicola Oddy to express her love of interacting with the environment through her voice. Participants are invited to stroll along a predetermined path stopping at various points to listen to the sounds around them and interact with the environment by singing suggested notes like an octave (like some-where [over the rainbow]) and a perfect fifth (twinkle-twinkle [little star]).