The Idea

Last year I set out to “unsettle” myself by planning to live in a tiny house on wheels on land I did not own. My core thesis was that how we regulate land regulates ourselves. I wanted to explore this idea through site specific installations and intentional living practices producing a body of works at the end of the 5 years as well as a collection of personal reflections on the experience.

I have had to shift this whole project, however, learning that it was not possible to build a tiny house on wheels under current regulations. I won’t go into the details, but at this point living in a tiny house on wheels on land I don’t own, is just not possible.

So, instead I am living in a tiny cabin in the woods on land I share.

This summer I bought a ½ acre in Woodridge. On this land there was a hunting shed and work space. Over the last three months I have worked to renovate the shed into a tiny cabin, and the workspace part of the structure I am turning into an unheated studio.

My intention is to cultivate a seasonal studio practice where over the winter months I move my work indoors, spending time in reading, writing, sketching and dreaming. In the warmer months I move my practice into the studio where I am able to produce the work I have mentally cultivated over the winter.

Like my original intentions, I am exploring my relationship to land, to self and to community. I am interested in how my relationships to each of them have been shaped by exploitative colonial and capitalist power structures and whether I can divest myself of these and the privilege that comes from being a white American.

By taking on the work of disrupting convenience in my daily life and cultivating a seasonal life, I am hoping to surface the ways these colonial and capitalist structures are present in how I live. I am widening my circle of community to include the soil, the elements, the fungi and bacteria, the plants, insects and animals who cross my path, as well as the humans who are a part of my life.

I am uncertain what this body of work will look like. Currently I am moving towards a clay practice that is ephemeral, a print practice that is illustrative, and a photography practice that is documentary.

As uncertain as I am, and as unsettling as this past year has been, I am, nevertheless, looking forward to the work ahead of me.


By alexandraross

I am a contemporary artist in rural Manitoba.


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