Residing outside of time

A wild, wild blizzard howls outside, whipping against the large windows of the residency apartment at Sporobole. It is the very snowy, brand new year and what feels like the real beginning of this residency, in terms of being “in residence”.

The artists’ residence kitchen at Sporobole.

When I arrived earlier for my first night here, just after the notorious “bomb cyclone” had hit, the apartment was cold and uninhabited since the holidays are just now wrapping up and everyone has been away holidaying. My first activity was to settle in and quickly familiarize myself with the locations of things: thermostat, lights, utensils, garbage bags — basic living requirements — and then hunker down for the night, snowed in tight to this new (for now, isolated) territory.

Main living space at the artists’ residence.

Artists often thrive on forcing themselves outside of comfort zones, into isolation, disrupting normalcy, stepping around routines and in this way, fast-forwarding new creative discoveries. This is part of the work of being in residence, away somewhere outside of time. This privilege is also a commitment: to land in a temporary reality and perform in situ quickly. For me, this landing will occur once a week almost every week, with more concentrated or more sparse periods in between.

My partner accompanied me for this first overnight trip since I thought I would otherwise be totally alone in this large, shut-down building for the night, but we weren’t alone for long! To my surprise, another resident arrived just before midnight, exhausted and blustering in with the madly swirling snow. Magdalena (Maggie) Molinari, a lovely Argentinian artist who translates sound into light, will be my co-resident for the next two months. We quickly got to know each other over breakfast next morning, meeting each other for real while still bedraggled and in pyjamas. I wonder what bacterial metabolism recorded into sound translated into light might look like? I can’t help but imagine new (tiny) collaborations with every interesting artist or researcher I meet. Her husband will join her at the residence for two weeks, starting mid-month or thereabouts.

Next week, another new resident will also arrive for a three-week period: Montreal-based artist, Vicky Sabourin. And so, the three/four of us will share this two-bedroom residence, timing our arrivals and departures to make space for each of our “outside of time” travels.