The weekend was about raising big questions with Critical Mass inviting artist Andrew Maize to bring the community together. Using large letters on aerial text banners, those questions will be raised some 50 ft or so in the air, over the weekend at west beach in Port Hope.
In today’s digital age, our technologies allow us to extend ourselves mentally and physically further and faster than ever before, in a multiplicity of simultaneous extensions. We are becoming increasingly hard-wired and wirelessly (dis)connected, and this rapid momentum is challenging and changing everything at an unprecedented rate. It can feel daunting to stay aloft in this torrent, let alone make art in it. EVERYthing feels precarious. Livelihoods. Ecologies. Identities. Futures. Loosening the grip of the myth of progress, we’re left grasping for language and metaphors to bulwark against the flood.
A simple kite, however, flies not with the wind but in opposition to it. The kite as a technology is considered archaic, unreliable, inefficient and full of risk – a mere child’s toy. People love kites, kites like company and they are good at drawing attention. In order to successfully fly a kite, you must be fully aware of your surroundings and learn to read the wind. Kites do not fly on their own volition, but on the grounds of a tenuous connection, a thin string tethered to some earthbound mass. Us. But what keeps us grounded, and how do we confront an uncertain future and weather unprecedented storms? Kites invite us to extend ourselves, to look up to the sky, to pause, to wonder.
What happens to LANGUAGE when it is suspended in space, experienced physically and in a constant state of motion? How does language change when flown in different spatial/ social/temporal-specific iterations? When we encounter it off-screen? And what emerges when language fails/falls from the sky?
With these questions in mind, Andrew Maize conducted a series of public kite-making, aerial text banner-making and kite flying performances at West Beach that invite the Port Hope community into conversation.
Maize worked with the community to develop a series of words or sentences flown from multiple kites to see what emerges when folks are given the invitation to play with language together and lift it into the sky–collectively fielding simple challenges and raising big questions.
This is a free, family-friendly event, with kite-making materials supplied to make and decorate plastic bag kites on site as well in addition to the large text banners.