Author: rcevansmith

Evan’s Cottage – Blog Post 2

Like most East coast cottages situated near the ocean (lakes are different as they’re usually winterproofed), my cottage is used solely for the warmer months welcoming many, and in turn disables almost all bodies from interacting with it during colder times. Exceptions come in the form of the caretakers of the property (my dad and uncle) who venture down the snow packed dirt road to check on damages incurred from storm surges, which are notorious in our area of the Northumberland Strait. An exception to the exception would be when I want to photograph the destruction on the pervading long grass and beaches. It goes without saying that a space intended for summer use can fully transform during winter, as bodies who once occupied it leave to await for the season to change before returning, just as the cottage itself waits  – isolated, dark and lonely. This personification that occurs with many spaces often rests in conjunction with the bodies that populate it. In this case, friends, family, pets and neighbours all compliment and complicate its “personality” by mixing multiple bodies together in this singular space, thereby stirring its metaphorical pot. The space itself remains objective and stagnate (unlike Smart House), but the factors interacting with it, combined with its physicality, produce and contribute to the experience as a whole. As previously stated, the weather is an important element of this space and greatly influences how bodies interact with it. It takes on a duality common in humans which on one hand is welcoming, positive and “warm”, but can shift to become unfavourable, detached and “cold”. The latter leads to an area that has no place for its intended activities; be it a bonfire, deck lounging, bird watching, soccer, fetch or experiencing the novelty of being warm in the Maritimes. Though it’s normal for the properties in the area to be vacant for winter, it can be especially dangerous when a storm surge occurs, then there is virtually no safe area to interact with the space, inside and out – due to flooding (see video).

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Upon visiting my cottage in December this past year, it was a very different reality from being there only 4 months earlier. Interacting with the space as it was was difficult to do in my traditional way, the -30 degree weather coupled with rough winds and near-frozen water made something like swimming impossible, an activity usually enjoyable in warm temperatures. I was forced to interact with the space in new ways which were not as fun, physical or generally stimulating as they usually are. Walking around as a rigid, slow entity was close to the opposite way I’d spend a summer day there, and taking my hands out of my mittens only to take a photo was very much unlike my finger being constantly on the shutter if it were warm. By taking photographs, I captured the semi-frozen state of the area as a way of subconsciously memorializing the experience, reminding myself not to take my time spent there during summer for granted. 

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http://tinypic.com/r/2qwo1o9/8

*Video taken from the cottage deck in late March 2014, as thawing began

*Photos taken in December of 2014 (excuse my slanted horizon line on pic 2)

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First blog post

1. Hello! My name is Evan! I was born and raised in Moncton, New Brunswick, home of the world renown Magnetic Hill. I grew up playing lots of sports though nowadays the only sport I’m playing is Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2 on N64. Come high school, sports became irrelevant, as art, visual culture and more specifically photography dominated my interests. I study photography here at ConU and am enjoying it thoroughly.

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2. For the most part you can usually find me at home reading articles on the world wide web, leafing through photo books, torrenting, watching movies, taking photos around the neighbourhood, playing Mario Kart with my roomies or pretending to help my girlfriend make supper/chasing her pet bunny.

3. For this class I aim to gain knowledge and understand how different bodies in different spaces relate (or don’t relate) and to explore how these ideas can expand my artistic practice in a specifically original documentary and/or observational style.

4. My cottage is situated on the coastline, about 30 feet from the beach, on the Northumberland Straight in between PEI and New Brunswick. It’s a spot my parents have owned since 1987 and we’ve spent much of our summers there playing bocci, whiffle ball, soccer, drinking beer, playing tunes, dancing, shooting off fireworks and hosting many bonfires. It’s a very relaxing and funny place to be, as bodies come and go, the space doesn’t seem to lose its essence, but rather its aesthetic make up over time. The only bodies excluded from this space are those that do not aim to keep the space positive and peaceful, as well as my mother’s strict “No Jerks” policy, which I guess means people who she deems to be inappropriate for the space.

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5.

– not responding to emails
– giving long breaks
– giving short breaks
-not making in class-content (slides) available
– being unapproachable

– using free/cheap texts
– group work
– testing knowledge not memory
– allowing for class discussion
– using the internet