By Katie Smith
If you’ve ever wanted to see Stephen Harper’s head in a jar, this summer you will have the opportunity to. Well, sort of.
Halifax artist Bonita Hatcher is creating a satirical, political opera featuring Prime Minister Harper and Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, where images of their heads are captured in jars and made to look like they are singing to each other.
The project is based on a technical concept called projection mapping, in which the projection surface becomes a part of the piece itself as the projected imagery is “mapped” or shaped by the features of the surface.
Large jars filled with water that have been dyed with white paint will create an opaque finish that can be used as a canvass on which to project images, Hatcher explained, adding how the shape of the container then shapes the image by allowing it to bend to its contours.
Hatcher said she liked the idea of creating something political that could be spun in a way most people would be able to access on some level.
“I think there is something interesting in the fact that common, ordinary people can clearly see through the layers of official and political antics, while the “elite” seem to be completely unaware of the nonsensical nature of it.”
Hatcher said artists don’t want to make pure political propaganda, but for those who believe it’s an artist’s job to stir up discussion of serious socially conscious topics, it’s sometimes hard to avoid propaganda and that can be frustrating.
“I think sometimes the most effective ways to penetrate social-political topics is via the injection of satire,” she said. “My concepts are more about being a bit cheeky. I wanted this work to be fun to do and fun to watch,” she said.
“In choosing subject matter the already laughable antagonistic relationship between Harper and Trudeau was just ripe, she said, adding the amount of time, money and public debate over the issue of marijuana seems a lot less pressing than many of the urgent social and economical issues facing our country.”
Bonita Hatcher with her shaved beaver. Submitted photo.
Hatcher is no stranger to politically-charged art, having created pieces in the past such as Laid Bare – a shaved taxidermy beaver. This was part of a show curated by Becka Viau, Sovereignty, which focuses on the notion of Canada’s sovereignty.
Viau, who is also the co-coordinator for Art in the Open, thinks Hatcher’s piece is fitting for this year’s festival, considering this year marks 150 years since the Charlottetown Conference.
“Bonita’s installation will bring elements of science-fiction and political satire. As we are celebrating the 1864 conference, a little bit of fun political engagement seems appropriate,” she said. “Her multimedia installations tackle current issues by adding a splash of Comedy to the serious.”
Art in the Open, a festival that highlights Charlottetown’s visual art scene, downtown heritage spaces, exhibition venues and diverse cultural traditions, will take place August 23 from 4 p.m. to midnight. For more information, visit www.artintheopenpei.com.
[Published article can be found here: http://www.buzzon.com/index.php/news-articles/arts/21027-heads-in-jars ]