Top. Elvia Wilk (Berlin, Germany). Berlin-based American writer and artist Elvia Wilk arrived on Rabbit Island on June 7th as the season’s first artist in residence. She had prepared to spend over two weeks living alone in the island’s three-sided shelter exploring themes of isolation, connection, and the relationship between physical and virtual space through text-based works including essays and poems. After 7 days, however, high winds, low temperatures and intermittent rain left her no choice but to abandon early to the mainland. This was an unexpected hand dealt by Mother Nature, but such is life on Lake Superior. Regardless, we’re looking forward to an exhibition of her work at the 2014 residency show opening on August 18th at the DeVos Art Museum, alongside the works of the summer’s five other residents.
Middle. Nich Hance McElroy (Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada): Nich arrived on Rabbit Island on June 21st and has been residing there since, with the exception of two days on the mainland to resupply. He intends to depart sometime before July 20th to face the significant task of developing and curating images from the many sheets of film he has taken in residence. His first two weeks were experienced completely solo with the exception of one visit from a local fisherman bearing a coho salmon and six pack of beer. The latter portion of his stay, beginning on the 9th of July, overlaps with the artists from the collaborative group, Waboozaki (below). Nich’s residency application proposed the documentation of movements and migrations of people, nature and objects on and between the mainland and island. This photo shows him touching base on a calm day just before making the four mile crossing back to the island in a twelve foot aluminum boat loaded with large format camera equipment.
Bottom. The collaborative group, Waboozaki: Dr. Dylan Miner (East Lansing, Michigan), Dr. Julie Nagam (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), Dr. Nicholas Brown (Iowa City, Iowa), and Suzanne Morrissette (Toronto, Ontario, Canada). This group of four artists and faculty members from universities in Ontario, Michigan and Iowa, arrived on Rabbit Island on July 9th and will be in residence until July 16th pursuing various projects related to their individual fields of study and shared indigenous heritage.
Nagam’s research interests, for example, include a (re)mapping of the colonial state through creative interventions within concepts of native space. Her areas of interest are cultural geography (urban, rural and remote space), Indigenous critical theory, cultural and performance theory and Indigenous digital and new media. Her creative practices include working in mixed media, such as drawing, photography, painting, sound, projections, and new and digital media.
Miner is an artist, activist, historian and curator. Currently he is an Associate Professor at Michigan State University, where he coordinates a new Indigenous Contemporary Art Initiative and is adjunct curator of Indigenous Art at the MSU Museum. He is pursuing two ideas. The first is described as ‘Michif-Michin’ (The People, The Medicine) which deals with traditional medicines and knowledge of the natural world. The second is 'The Silence of Sovereignty’, dealing with Indigenous political issues.
Morrissette is an artist and writer from Winnipeg Manitoba, who is currently based out of Toronto, Ontario where she studies in a PhD program at York University. She has been exploring Rabbit Island and gathering audio using custom underwater contact microphones designed and built with a collaborator specifically for the residency.
Brown has become interested in the historic L'Anse to Lac Vieux Desert Trail (http://www.lvdtribal.com/trail.html), which was used for centuries (until the 1940s) by the Anishinaabe. His investigations may result in some extended backpacking and kayaking across the Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, literally connecting the island to the historic trail.
Additional research that the collaborative has been compiling, including historical maps of the Rabbit Island region, can be found here: http://ni-aazhawaam-minis.tumblr.com
Information about the Rabbit Island 2014 Residency Exhibition at the DeVos Art Musuem, August 15th - September 28th, 2014.