Thursday, May 19, 2011

'Singing Condition' and Bolo Give Away

Currently sitting on Darrin's porch drinking coffee and guarding the basket on my bike. 

Darrin's on the second floor so I can watch my bike like a hawk...

It's been so great to finally have nice weather in the peg and be able to bike around, catch some sun and watch the tulips open.

Tulips outside my old house ('Oakwood')

 It's also been an interesting shift from an intensive studio thesis year to being in writing courses for first time again in over a year. I enjoy studio courses the most so I have left all the writing to the end of my degree. My first assignment for my 'Writing About Art' course involved us doing an object/subject analysis of a piece currently in the Winnipeg Art Gallery and we were told to 'put ourselves in it'. I got quite excited about this as the most writing I have tackled in the past year has been artist statements and blog posts. Being an avid blogger on an art/personal blog I have gotten used to relating my own personal experiences to what I see so I was quite excited to have written a more 'formal' piece on contemporary art with a personal spin on it. I was a bit disenchanted upon getting my paper back and was told I may have gotten a bit too personal. For the next assignment I made sure to take myself out of it but have decided that this would be the perfect venue to share my potentially too personal writing assignment - hooray for blogs! So here is my piece on Erika Lincoln's piece the 'Singing Condition'. The show will be on at the WAG until June 12 and I highly recommend you go check it out!

Birds of a Feather:

A Look Into Erika Lincoln’s Sound Art Installation in The WAG’s Bestial Encounters Exhibit


Winnipeg based artist, Erika Lincoln, set out to make a sound art installation with ‘Singing Condition’, that focuses on the adaptability of urban birds in Winnipeg but I think the figures in this piece also draw connections to the tight knit community of musicians and artists who have adapted and made a home here. Lincoln lives in Wolseley and noticed that the birds in her back lane had started to mimic the sounds of car alarms, almost like budgees or parrots mimicking their surroundings.
Entering the Bestial Encounters exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery you instantly sense Lincoln’s installation from the echoes of what sounds like electronic birds chirping. By following these sounds I was led around a corner to twenty bird like creatures standing at eye level interacting with one another while standing in groups of four or five. Each ‘bird’ is made up of a microphone stand equipped with a copper plate, etched with stylized, feather-like designs, a speaker that emits electronic bird sounds, and a mechanical ‘beak’ made of wood similar to drum sticks that opens and closes as its ‘voice box’ sings. The placement of these birds standing and interacting like people, rather than hanging or ‘flying’ from the ceiling, reinforces my view of these sculptures as figures or musicians.
The first thing I thought of when experiencing this piece was the old house I used to live in South Osborne where I too had a backlane and could hear the birds chirping amongst the broken down snowmobiles and cars when I went outside. My roommate at the time was a musician and used our house as a jam space five nights of the week. This was a constant source of amusement as well as annoyance when I was trying to sleep, but made me so aware of the incredibly close knit and supportive music scene in Winnipeg as I am not a musician but a visual artist. Experiencing Lincoln’s piece brings me back to that house we call ‘Oakwood’ (as it resides on Oakwood Avenue) and I imagine Lincoln living there, having these same experiences and these ‘birds’ scattered around the house as she’s building them, mingling and singing as if mimicking the artists and musicians around them.
The curator of the exhibit, Mary Reid, made the same observation about Winnipeg’s collaborative arts community saying in her interview on local radioshow ‘Eat Your Arts and Vegetables’, “I love the way that the artists here are incredibly connected to one another… In Winnipeg I find that people are extremely collaborative, excited about what each other’s doing, [and] wanting to share… I’m also interested in the interdisciplinary nature where you have artists working with dancers, working with composers, working with video artists.”
I feel connected to Erika Lincoln’s ‘Singing Condition’ as the piece makes me think of the incredibly creative home I resided in for my early university years and the little things I will miss about Winnipeg when I move to Montreal in the fall.

My bff Kaja and I checking out the exhibit the other day

I don't think I've mentioned that I'm moving to Montreal yet! That may have been the first debut - I had been holding off until things were more solidified and until I found an apartment but it's been decided for a few months now that I'm moving! I'm moving with the lovely Kaja (featured above) who is an amazing contemporary/jazz dancer. And Darrin got into grad school at Carleton in Ottowa so we can be an hour away from eachother via train and have TWO cities to hang out in! 

Darrin playing with my parent's dogs

All very exciting :) I've never lived in a different city before and with graduation at the end of summer I thought what better time to move to my favourite city? It also helps that the place is busting at the seams with art! Kaja and I are heading out mid summer to look for places and the plan is to move in the fall. I'm really looking forward to all the new experiences and keeping an ongoing log of it here. 

Keeping on with new things - I realized the other day I have never done a Give Away before! I've decided to give away one of my favourite bolo neck ties - it features a close up of the innards of an electronic device which I think is a pretty fun contrast with the idea of a traditional western bolo tie.

Oh right! I've dyed my hair blue! My dad calls it "Robin's Egg Blue" and he shockingly likes it?

I also am so curious to know all about you guys so to enter the give away you must answer the following questions in the comments section of this post!


1. Where are you from and what makes it special to you?
2. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why?
3. What sort of things do you enjoying seeing/reading about most on 'Gillian Giggs'?
* Be sure to leave your name and email or blog at the end of the post so I can contact you to let you know if you've won!

The giveaway will end in exactly one week so by 3pm (Winnipeg time) next Thursday May 26th. I will be drawing out of a hat and announcing the winner later that day - I will then contact you for your shipping address :)

And lastly, Kara and I just finished taking down the GORGE show at the Edge last night so I just wanted to share our interview with Derek Brueckner and Aleem Khan from the radioshow Eat Your Arts and Vegetables last week - to listen click here

Hope you all have a wonderful week and I can't wait to hear the responses for the give away!


  1. 1. I’m born and raised in Winnipeg. I love it because it is home. I love the friendly people. I love the culture – the live music, the festivals, the art. I love the sunshine. I love the nearby lakes. I love the skies.
    2. I guess it depends on what day you ask me. Today I’m happy here.
    3. Your “personal stories.” But also hearing about different art projects around the city. And seeing photos of Toulouse sitting like a person.

  2. 1. I am from Winnipeg. It has my heart, since it is where I've grown up. Friends and family are here. It's size is great, but I feel that this city is emblematic of the inconsistencies that make us human - we neglect our better judgement for short-term gain; we hold on to nostalgia and let it run our lives; we have so much potential. I feel sometimes if I can get the city to work, somehow I and a host of others will get fixed too.
    2. As much as I love Winnipeg, I also enjoy Chicago. Art, architecture, eclectic neighbourhoods, large parks all appeal to me. Also, Wilco, Andrew Bird and Frank Lloyd Wright all hail from there...and Home Alone was based there.
    3. I love the layout, it looks great. As for content, I enjoy the notices of shows coming and seeing what you are doing as it unfolds. There is a good balance of diary and documentary - you're not just 'LiveJournalling' a blog, but you're informing too.

  3. 1. I guess I am from Winnipeg but I was born somewhere else. What makes it special? Have you been to the forks?
    2. New York.
    3. Your crazy and ever-complicated life.

  4. 1. I'm originally from Grande Cache, AB but now living in Vancouver for the last ten years. I consider this "home" even though it is not where I am originally from. Grande Cache is a great place to visit, but not so great to live in if you are any kind of "different". Vancouver has always felt like home - the weather is mostly fantastic (I'd take rain over -30 any day), the city itself is big without sprawling and it's easy to get away without having to go too far.

    2. Finland. I've had a crush on Finland for a few years. I long to sit in a sauna and drink beer and talk about sisu.

    3. I love all the art stuff. I follow a lot of blogs but a lot of them tend to be more... how can I say this... crafty rather than arty (haha oh let's not get into art vs craft). I feel like your blog introduces me to artists I've never had the chance to hear of and that is more exciting to me than a DIY about how to glue buttons onto your shoes. ;)

  5. 1. I'm from Winnipeg and I love it. I love the music scene with all of its festivals and local artists. I love the closeness to the lakes and I love all of the seasons. Mostly I love the people.
    2. Well I don't know about living anywhere for too long so it's a big range of different places I'd like to live. But I'm moving to Montreal!!
    3. You're blog rocks! I always learn new and interesting things about art from it and I love the pictures.

  6. 1) I am from Winnipeg, best city in the world. bam. I loveee lots of things mostly in regards to the pride of the many different types of people who share so many similar things: eclectic live music, tasty food (we eat out more than anyone else!), diverse art, appreciation for outdoor things (despite cold/ rain/ snow/ skeeters). In addition, the immense gusto which we will take to defend our city from any and all outside haters. (I have an ongoing debate with hank from LA against whom I claim we have wayyy better weather. and sun. all the time... except today...)

    2) Living anywhere... its tough. To try: Victoria, Portland, SanFrancisco, Sydney. But probably back to Winnipeg later on!

    3)Blog = rad. I enjoy hearing about different events that you are going to in the citay, seeing arty photos of your new hair colours, and hearing you personal take on things far and wide.

  7. 1. I am born and raised in Winnipeg in the same house! I love living here for a few reasons. One is that I'm lucky to have my whole immediate family in Winnipeg and most of my extended relatives and nonrelatives, too. I love my cabin at Victoria Beach, only 1.5 hrs away from Winnipeg, and this is where my family congregates. I love my friends! All the people in Winnipeg are great. We also have a great music and arts scene that I am appreciating more every year in different genres!
    2. Hmm.. I like Winnipeg, so ideally i'll end up here. But I would also like to live someplace in India for awhile. Cuzco, Peru, is pretty awesome..
    4. I love this blog! The first blog I ever subscribed to. I have enjoyed seeing how your art has progressed over the years and how you've grown into yourself, Gill. And I'm really looking forward to reading your updates from Montreal!

  8. 1. i too am from winnipeg. i freaking love it. winnipeg has such a special energy to it, and the sense of community in this place is unparalleled (to me at least) i love leaving my apartment on a beautiful summer morning and traipsing about, running into family and friends... old and new.. it's a beautiful place.
    2. i've been doing 'extended visits' to the west coast for the past few years, and now that i'm in vancouver for a few months, i'm thinking that this really could be a place for me. but at the same time, winnipeg is so special... i can AFFORD to go away for a few months and still have an incredible apartment waiting for me.. i'm really attracted to the (for now) decent cost of living that winnipeg has to offer.
    **edit... after re-reading this... i feel like i am winnipeg's overbearing stage mom. it is now obvious to me that i will never escape.
    3. i love this blog because no matter where either of us are, i always know what YOU are up to. ~*i'm always watching u*~ also i really like the tangents i find myself on after reading your blog... searching an artist or a song you mention always leads me onto a ... magic internet carpet ride.