One of Fresh Milk’s resident artists from December, 2014, Barbadian-born, Toronto-based industrial designer and visual artist Kara Springer, shares her final blog post reflecting on her residency and the different ways reorienting herself in Barbados has forced her to consider her practice:
Back in cold Toronto now, it’s bittersweet to reflect on our time in Barbados. It was both nourishing and profoundly productive to have the freedom as well as all of the constraints of our experience there. The constraint of too little time, of learning and relearning the landscape, of moving ourselves and these project materials around, of building under the hot hot sun. In the end it was the uncontrollable elements that became the most interesting part of the experience, and of the work itself.
Six 4 x 4 x 4 ft structures, set in the East coast seascape were violently destroyed overnight (by unknown human hands, a truck). Bound and let float in the sea, another form was taken down by the waves, the pieces violently ripped apart, scattered in the ocean, and then re-collected, reassembled again on the beach. There was something satisfying in connecting the human destruction to that of the sea. It reminded me that we’re built this way – to both build and destroy, to come apart. It was helpful too in offering new directions for me and for my work.
The last images are from our last night at Fresh Milk. The structure is made from those re-collected pieces – with not quite enough time, and not quite enough materials (useless screws, too damaged to be reused), the structure couldn’t quite stand on the uneven ground of this former plantation, now dairy farm and gathering place for artists. Christian steps in so I can at least capture an image of what it might have been. And then as it caves in on itself, I find this other more interesting form, that pushes against my compulsion to be precise and orderly in my making. This residency was in many ways a collection of happy accidents – wrong turns that opened up new and unexpected paths, and constraints that pushed me to think in new ways about freedom.