Phantom Wing: Ghosts, Art and Story

Source: Caitlind rc Brown

Houses are not haunted. We are haunted, and regardless of the architecture with which we surround ourselves, our ghosts stay with us until we ourselves are ghosts.
                                                                                                       ---DEAN KOONTZ, Velocity

Things that we don't want to acknowledge or can't bare to face; we push them away. Preferring to create a new, happier (but false) replacement story. An easier-to-take version. Stories that help us cope and that we believe will take away suffering. "I'm over it" or "it was them, not me" or  "outta' site, outta' mind" or "I'll be fine, just let it go".  I know now, that every time I try to ignore a story and refuse to face it, I create a ghost. And it haunts me. And the suffering is greater than had I just faced the pain in the first place. 

An art installation/performance/ exhibition, just finished in Calgary.  Phantom Wing is part of a recent trend of artists taking over pre-demolition spaces and transforming them into temporary, usually participatory, art installations. Then they, and the building they are in, disappear forever. What struck me about Phantom Wing was the locale, a 1960's addition on the historic sandstone King Edward school. 

Source: Amy Jo Espetveidt

Phantom Wing artists were invited into the school to explore and choose an installation space. An Alladian's Cave of stories, most of the artworks were created using remnants of the physical building. Leslie and Chris Bell had been collecting fire bells over several years. Inspired by some they reclaimed from the school itself, the couple re-purposed over fifty bells to create a hand-powered sound installation. Visitors could pull ropes hanging from the ceiling to make the bells clang into each other and resonate, eerily, throughout the space.

Source: Caitlind rc Brown

Guy Gardner and Sian Ramsden reinvented the ubiquitous and utilitarian school locker. They created metal Japanese fans cascading into the space of the hallway and floating effortlessly above us as we walked. On the Phantom Wing blog, Andrea Williamson writes, "as sensing creatures, our spaces shape our minds as much as our minds construct our spaces." She goes on to talk about how art installations like this force viewers to change their behaviour, their movements and therefore become conscious of their bodies.  By altering the physical dwelling, Phantom Wing forces awareness about physicality and the senses. And in that physical awareness a journey into the unconscious cannot help but to begin. That is why I love Art. It has the power to move us out of the "neat little dwelling" or "
the architecture we surround ourselves with"-- out of the safety of our false, but happy stories-- and into an exorcism of the ghosts within us.

"The unconscious sends all sorts of vapors. odd beings. terrors, and deluding images up into the mind – whether in dream, broad daylight, or insanity; for the human kingdom, beneath the floor of the comparatively neat little dwelling that we call our consciousness, goes down into unsuspected Aladdin caves. There not only jewels but also dangerous jinn abide: the inconvenient or resisted psychological powers that we have not thought or dared integrate into our lives."

                                                    ---Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is wonderful. I shared it on my facebook page! I too, think a lot about "letting things go," and I love the idea of creating ghosts. Thank you! Jodi Latremouille

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