Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir: Borderline Human
October 10 – 18, 2019
Hess Gallery, Level 6, Centre for the Arts
October 18: Borderline Human Performance, 7 – 9 pm
Icelandic artist Gunnhilder Hauksdóttir’s Borderline Human combines elements from across visual art, dance, theatre, music, and new media and will include drawings, video, sound, and performance.
Welcome to the uLethbridge Art Gallery. As you can see, we aren’t presenting a regular exhibition in September and October. Instead, our Hess Gallery, is a space where artists are working and visitors are invited to see and participate in this process. For this last component of our experimental use of the gallery space, you can see what happens when an artist and a curator work with a team of monkey scientists. There is a staff person on hand to assist if you want to play on the ropes or ask questions. Before swinging on the ropes, you will need to sign a waiver. Otherwise feel free to explore what it means to be human with Icelandic artist Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir.
Borderline Human arises from a long-term research partnership between Hauksdóttir, uLethbridge Art Gallery, and Level 2: Lichen Lab, a research team at the University of Lethbridge. Beginning in 2017, Hauksdóttir has worked with Josephine Mills (Director/Curator, uLethbridge Art Gallery), Louise Barrett (Canada Research Chair in Cognition Evolution and Behaviour), and Miranda Lucas (PhD student in Evolution and Behaviour) to develop this new body of work. The project invites visitors and participants to consider the definition of the term “human” and to question the border between human and non-human beings. Hauksdóttir developed this new body of work that builds on her 2018 research trip to South Africa with the Barrett Henzi lab, a team of behavioural scientists from uLethbridge who study vervet monkeys.
This project is inspired by thinking about art galleries as social spaces and by trying to understand what is involved when people truly engage with contemporary art. As cognitive scientist and philosopher Alva Noë says: Art is a strange tool. By this he means that art is a means to engage with the activities and technologies that organize human life and so come to understand how these forms of organization work. A work of art thus makes the familiar strange, giving rise to a new perspective on human activities: like philosophy, art “discloses ourselves to ourselves.” For those interested in promoting engagement with art, and for artists who are interested in engaging audiences with the social issues that form their subject matter, the ability to more effectively harness the power of the strange tools they create—to raise awareness in ways that may lead to further action on the part of their audience—is an attractive proposition.
On Oct 18, 7 – 9 pm, there will be a final performance that includes the artist, students, and dancer Gianna Varcirca. Admission is free. Everyone welcome.
– Josephine Mills, Director
Hauksdóttir is an Icelandic artist living in Reykjavik, Iceland and in Berlin, Germany who has a substantial international career. Hauksdóttir collaborates with dancers and musicians and her work combines audio, video, sculpture, drawing, and performance. A key element in Hauksdóttir’s work is that she works in-depth with local audiences who participate in workshops and are part of the performances.