In collaboration with the UBC Film Society, the Belkin presents a short program of films selected by Holly Schmidt that resonate with Vegetal Encounters, her slow residency in the gallery’s Outdoor Art Program. The selected films, Wild Relatives, Fordlandia and Indigenous Plant Diva, engage in multiform ways with questions of presentness, biodiversity and learning from the relationships between human and non-human beings. Taking place at UBC’s Normand Bouchard Memorial Theatre (The Norm) in UBC Life Building, this screening is free but space is limited; to register, email us at email@example.com with your name, age and number of guests. Proof of vaccination will be required.
Prior to the film screening at The Norm, join us for an online poetry reading at 4 pm with Dallas Hunt as part of the UBC Reads Sustainability series. Hunt, a poet, professor and member of Wapsewsipi (Swan River First Nation), will read from his recently published collection of poetry Creeland. For details and to register, visit the event page.
Holly Schmidt’s Vegetal Encounters plays out along a series of pulses. Weather shifts, seasons change and a world of plants, insects and fungi grows in kind, transforming in small surges. Mirrored by the short, poetic beats in the clerestory windows, and using a gradual succession planting model to generate biodiversity, the Fireweed Fields meadow is at once a site for artistic, scientific and literary conversations. Inviting reflection across disciplines and engagement between human and non-human actors, the meadow creates a space for discursive learning and the making of meaningful connections.
Kamala Todd’s portrayal of T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss in Indigenous Plant Diva evokes a closeness that eases in throughout the film’s nine-minute run. It is at once a story of intergenerational learning and a love letter to the plants of Vancouver and the lessons that emerge from careful listening. Melanie Smith’s Fordlandia invokes what she describes as a horizontality between the animal, human and machine worlds.1 She takes an intimate approach, cross-cutting close-up shots of animals moving through their worlds with relics of twentieth-century Fordist production. In interspersing these converging moments with wide shots of the surrounding rainforest, Smith emphasizes an evocative relationship between the part and the whole, noting that “it’s all macro or micro, there’s no in-between.”2 In Wild Relatives, Jumana Manna situates seed banks as modernist projects whose modes of operation are defined by both preservation and erasure.3 The banks, dedicated to the preservation and circulation of enhanced seeds, function at the expense of landraces and the “wild relatives” from which landraces develop.4 Questions of biodiversity, relationality and the complicity of capitalism and colonialism in perpetuating the climate crisis subtend the dialogue between them, while also creating interstices for growth and renewal.
Vegetal Encounters is Holly Schmidt’s three-year residency with the Outdoor Art Program at UBC. Through this residency, Schmidt has been creatively engaging with plant life as a significant source of life, connection and learning.[more]
Fireweed Fields transforms a UBC lawn site into a fireweed meadow, encouraging increased biodiversity through gradual succession as a metaphor for the resurgence of life after a crisis. This installation acknowledges the global climate emergency: by tearing through the fabric of maintained lawns and colonial ideals, it plants the initial seeds for change and catalyzes dialogue, creative experimentation, and new biodiversity research and learning opportunities.[more]
As part of Holly Schmidt’s Fireweed Fields and her three-year residency at UBC, the artist presents Forecast (2019/Fall 2022-Winter 2023), the latest in a series of short poetic texts using the language of weather reporting to speculate on collective responses to environmental changes.[more]
Organized by the UBC Sustainability Initiative as part of the UBC Reads Sustainability series, join us for an online reading by Dallas Hunt from CREELAND, a collection of poetry concerned with connections to home and language - even from great distances - and the power of these connections as part of a process of creating, living and flourishing. A discussion moderated by Esmé Decker and an audience Q&A will follow.[more]
At the Belkin, we often receive questions about the University’s Outdoor Art Collection and what is involved with commissioning, acquiring or accepting donations. Responding to this growing interest, we issue annual outdoor art newsletters to share updates and backstory information about what is involved with curating, stewarding and activating the collection. These newsletters also offer a forum for the Belkin’s curatorial team to share their research and insights about art in public space.[more]
On Sunday, June 20, the summer solstice, we will project Jumana Manna’s film Wild Relatives (64 minutes, 2018) on the Belkin's Outdoor Screen located on the exterior of the gallery's wall along Main Mall, in a conversation across media with Holly Schmidt’s Fireweed Fields. The strange, spasmodic course of space and time in recent months has been mitigated by little other than the changes in seasons, the rhythms of nature, and the communal spaces offered by the outdoors. Seasonal and celestial markers such as that of the solstice bring this collective orientation upward and outward into marked relief. Wild Relatives will screen first at 11 am and then on each odd hour with the last screening at 7 pm.[more]
As part of Holly Schmidt's Vegetal Encounters residency, the artist has collaborated with Lecturer Bill Pechet and students from UBC’s Environmental Design (ENDS) program, in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture to explore the potential for a mobile structure to support residency programming on campus.[more]
The Belkin’s Lorna Brown talks with artist in residence Holly Schmidt about her practice and its relationship to care, distance and embodiment in this very particular historical moment.[more]
Students from UBC’s Department of Biology practice botanical drawing – and immersive observation – with artist in residence Holly Schmidt.[more]