Drum that sings land songs, Peter Morin, 2005
Inspired and creatively distracted by the Summerian myth of the planet Nibiru and the return of its inhabiting Annunaki people, Open Space activated a community-oriented space exploring the act of hosting. Through a series of Circle Ceremonies and a participatory exhibition, the HomeStay project launched stories of hosting and revisited the etiquettes of being a guest on the territories of the Coast Salish Nation.
Building on the local practice of hosting international “homestay” students in one’s home while they attend local schools, Open Space developed a forum to explore this mode of cultural and economic exchange. This custom formed the framework for the Welcome Back Ye Annunaki exhibition. Open Space also incorporated a public call for submissions of proposals that imagined the scenario of hosting ancient visitors returning to earth after a 3,600-year journey.
Four Circle Ceremonies invited interested members of the Victoria community to come together with open minds to respectfully address the issues of hosting and being a guest in the context of Victoria, BC, in the year 2012. Kwakwaka'wakw Elder Gerry Ambers led all four Circles each in collaboration with a guest curator, inviting members of their respective communities to meet and speak their personal truths and share perspectives on hosting and being a guest.
The First Circle was held on Saturday, June 9, from at Open Space. It took place within and around the new work by artist Emilio Portal (Victoria, BC) islands: an installation that is dedicated to the spirit of Lekwungen. The Circle was guided by Tahltan curator Peter Morin’s (Victoria, BC) question “What does it mean to be a guest on traditional territory of Lekwungen people?”
The Second Circle was lead by Gerry Ambers and co-curated by Doug Jarvis (Victoria) and was held on Sunday, September 23, 2012, and explored the question "How do we acknowledge our ancestry?"
The Third Circle was co-curated by Gerry Ambers and Zoë Kreye (Vancouver/Berlin), who was also the artist-in-residence this fall at Camosun College. Zoë Kreye is considering how home stay can be “an invitation of the heart.” She is exploring the dynamics of how we let people come close to us, and make deeper connections where people inhabit each others most vulnerable interior selves.
The Fourth Circle, Getting to Know the Unknown, was co-hosted by Gerry Ambers and Ted Hiebert (Seattle, co-curator of Welcome Back Ye Annunaki with Doug Jarvis) on Saturday, December 15, 2012, starting at 6 p.m.
The HomeStay project, with its other-worldly intentions, exercised Open Space’s mandate to develop new ways of engaging diverse audiences in life-changing and thought-shifting practices around the development, presentation, and dissemination of contemporary arts and culture. Please join us in this community engaged action to explore and inhabit what it means to be guests in Victoria, BC, in 2012.