Getting Ripped for the Apocalypse

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In a world gone wrong, laid to waste in violent waves of destruction, what will you do to survive?

Join us in cardiovascular glory as we run, kick and punch our way to a better future.

Getting Ripped for the Apocalypse teaches you workouts for each of the nightmare scenarios that are just around the corner; Nuclear, Zombies, Peak Oil, Climate Crisis, Magnetic Pole Reversal, and so much more.

What are you gonna do when the apocalypse comes for you?

Die in fear in the first days like the sluggish office worker and netflix addict you know you are? Or, you can get ready, get prepped, get ripped for the apocalypse!

COMING SUMMER 2019

 

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PhD Books Folder

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book

I’ve been amassing lovely things to read, and while as my research evolves some of these are no longer directly relevant, many are still useful and interesting, particularly with regards to feminist and economic geographies. Feel free to peruse. This folder is updated monthly-ish.

Doreen Massey, Gillian Rose and Gibson-Graham make up the bulk of the books thus far.

PhD Books Folder (Google Drive link)

PhD Research Proposal

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Draft Research Proposal (2018) 

A person who experienced homelessness as a youth, still tenses their muscles in self-defense as they sleep every night, an embodied habit from sleeping outside for years. A young adult who grew up in multiple foster homes, feels restless in homes, jobs and relationships after a few months because that is the longest they have only ever lived in one place. This phenomenon is what I call the ‘embodiment of transience’, a manifestation of lingering displacement compressed over time and held in the body. I aim to develop this theory in my PhD research, a participant action research project with touring musicians. This work builds on my award-winning MA thesis at York, which examined the embodiment of transience with former youth in care.  

For my PhD research I want to understand what we can learn from musicians in two groups: the more intentionally hyper-mobile touring artist and the precariously transient (musicians struggling in the gig economy (Zendel, 2014)), with the understanding that there can be overlap between and significant differences within individual experiences in these groups. My analytical lens will be using mobilities (Cresswell, 2010), feminist economic geography (Massey, 2012) and critical health geographies (Atkinson, 2013). I am seeking to understand both the negative social, emotional, and physical implications of the long-term effects of transience and hyper-mobility, and ultimately, what can be learned from the hyper-mobile that is beneficial, resilient and innovative.

The primary population I intend to work with is working-class Canadian musicians on tour. As a former Vice-president of a music industry association, Music Yukon, and a musician myself, I understand the particular struggles of Canadian touring musicians in terms of spatiality, embodiment, and power relations. For example, American and European artists have much less distance to cover between venues on tour, while in Canada a 16-hour drive to the next show is just an average cross-country tour. Canadian geography thus produces more travel per show than almost anywhere else in the world.

I want to develop research about the embodiment of transience with musicians that can ultimately  benefit many others who experience transience. I will facilitate focus groups and interviews with co-researcher musicians in Ontario and the Yukon to learn how people care for themselves and their well-being within experiences of (dis)placement, precarity, touring and hyper-mobility. Building on the success of my MA (Merhar, 2017), I will continue to do participant action research, allowing the specific research questions to develop more fully in collaboration with those who have signed on to this project. Beginning with initial interviews, a series of focus groups will be developed, and additional analysis and data from musicians will be collected using audio diaries while on the road while on tour.

This research will be conducted in Whitehorse, Yukon and Toronto, Ontario. I choose these communities to work in as part of my positionality as a white researcher; moreover, these are communities I know, having lived in each city for over a decade. I firmly believe that Northern research must be done by Northerners and Whitehorse is my home. I seek to counter the extractive research industry of southerners entering the north, gaining data, then leaving weeks later with little benefit to struggling communities (Moffitt, Chetwynd & Todd 2015). Toronto is the music capital of Canada, with head offices for FACTOR, SOCAN and innovative arts health initiatives like Artists Health Alliance that can provide potential partnerships, insights, and resources. My goal in all my research is to leave co-researchers in a better place than when I first encountered them by working collaboratively with communities and the power of self-determination (Wilson, 2008).

I choose University of Waterloo’s Faculty of Environment to study at for a number of reasons. I found Dr. Nancy Worth’s research on youth, transitions and becoming theoretically useful in my MA, and contacted her in the summer of 2017 to talk about a potential PhD. Her Gen Y at Home project exploring precarity, autonomy, and housing among GTA millenials is an excellent recent exploration of themes that are very relevant to my framing and understanding of precarity. The Waterloo-Laurier Joint program in Geography also has a number of faculty exploring international migration, transportation, tourism and critical health geographies that can greatly assist in informing a broad and thorough literature review on the embodiment of transience. I appreciate the innovative atmosphere at University of Waterloo, and feel this environment can best support my innovative research.

For my MA, I worked with 15 former youth in care as co-researchers ages 18-29, in Toronto and Whitehorse. The Moving Home Project exploring the embodiment of transience emerging from the child welfare system garnered significant public interest. Co-researchers were on Metro Morning on CBC in Toronto in June 2016, and the project had a total of 4 public art shows sharing the findings and artwork created during our explorations on what sort of people the child welfare system has inadvertently created through repeated moves of home and school. A mini plain-language version of my thesis was created in collaboration with 5 co-researchers, and 500 copies have been distributed, with a second printing forthcoming. I won the Paul Simpson-Housley MA York Geography Thesis Award, and was nominated for the York Thesis Award as well as the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies MA thesis award. I was the best-funded student in the department, having a SSHRC, NSTP, ACUNS Northern Resident Award and 27K in combined external project funding from the Ontario Child and Youth Advocate and Yukon Child and Youth Advocate, the bulk of which was to pay co-researchers an honoraria of $800 each for their contributions.

Climate change and its myriad effects, the gig economy, housing costs rising much faster than income, there are numerous reasons why precarity, movement, and displacement will be continuing in the future, and why understanding the internal lived experience impacts of long-term hypermobility is needed. My goal in this research is to write a book from my dissertation that can have relevance to other researchers and policy-makers. Many scholars study the effects and experiences of migration, and explore ideas and practices of travel, and better ways to move people through cities. There is a significant lack of research on the long-term consequences of frequent precarity and hyper-mobility at an emotional, relational and lived experience level. I hope to begin to address this gap through this project with my co-researchers. My opening statements in this proposal concerning the embodiment of transience as experienced by the formerly homeless and former youth in care were not just attention-grabbing literary devices. These are real people who struggle to stay in one place and trace this internal struggle to their multi-layered experiences of transience. I am fascinated by this question of how transience lingers and stays in the body, and I hope you see value in it as well. 

Rejection Collage

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rejectioncollage

 

Artist Statement: This piece represents the majority of art in the Yukon, and an innovative way to continue working with and through rejection. Using my last rejection letter from the Advanced Artist Award, and mixed paper acquired at the Visitor’s Centre, this project was created onsite, and speaks for the 70% of Yukon artists whose work does not get funded. Caught in a cycle of paperwork, some projects reapply, and some never end up materializing. Every artist, every human experiences the disappointment of rejection. But we must move forward. This piece meditates on this, simultaneously highlighting all the work that goes on behind the scenes to be order to live and create, and acknowledging all those which do not develop further. By creating this work that is valued at the exact original amount I applied for, this piece becomes conceptual and transforms, exploring the intersection of grants and the creative process, and embodying art’s ability to respond and represent.

This work is priced at $5000, the amount of the grant I was rejected for, and will be submitted yearly to the Yukon Permanent Art Collection Acquisition Call, as the price is part of the concept and life of the work. This piece was originally created in July 2015, as part of the En Pleine Air Festival in Whitehorse, Yukon, put on my Yukon Artists at Work.

Traveling with Nyki

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Nyki Kish is in prison for a crime she claims she didn’t commit. I have worked on and off in jail outreach for years. What the incarcerated often fear most is being forgotten. Nyki was a traveler, and so am I, and one day we had a conversation about me putting her head on a popsicle stick and taking photos of her on my travels, so it would be as if she was still out and about and free in the world. Over the years, I have taken Nyki to several countries and around the North quite a bit. Here is are some of my favourites from Northern Canada and Alaska. The use of a poor image is a conscious one.

This is an ongoing project.

Houseboat Happiness, Yellowknife

Solo Show, Chena Lakes

Solo Show, Chena Lakes

Bison Highway, BC

Sheep Mountain, Kluane Lake

Sheep Mountain, Kluane Lake

Snowmobile Nyki

Snowmobile Nyki

Dyea, Alaska!

Dyea, Alaska!

biggestgoldpan

Largest Goldpan in THE WORLD

Vinyl Tarot

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Listen to awesome records, and figure out your life at the same time. Vinyl Tarot. A working tarot deck made of records. The cover art, artist and specific song unite, creating the coolest deck ever. Music influences our lives in so many ways. Vinyl Tarot is upfront about that influence.

I have made the Major Arcana (22 Cards)*, but I am working on digitizing the deck with it’s own website, and then completing the deck (78 cards total) during an upcoming residency. I plan to perform Vinyl Tarot at select festivals and venues in Western Canada this summer, then pass the deck into the loving hands of Weird Canada!

Check it out

Vinyl Tarot, the working tarot deck out of records

Clockwise, top left; Temperance, Heirophant, Chariot and Magician cards

Vinyl Tarot, the working tarot deck out of records

Clockwise, top left; Hanged Man, Fool, World and Strength cards

Vinyl Tarot, the working tarot deck made of records

Clockwise, top left; Devil, Justice, Hermit and Death cards

Vinyl Tarot, the working tarot deck out of records

Clockwise, top left; Sun, Wheel of Fortune, Star and Moon cards

Vinyl Tarot, the working tarot deck made out of records

Clockwise, top left; Emperor, Tower, Empress and High Priestess cards

Vinyl Tarot, the working tarot deck made out of records

Left; Judgement and Lovers cards

The first performance of this piece was at Dawson City’s Riverside Arts Festival. I’ve done small readings around the North with this piece, and it was in-residence at Rue Studio on Manitoulin island, Ontario, for a year. I’ve created an accompanying booklet that describes the card’s significance, and how to do a simple, 3 card/song Gestalt reading. Each reading takes about 15 minutes, to explain the card, and then listen to the song.

For example, Billy Joel, ‘Only the Good Die Young’ is the Death card. Boney M, ‘Rasputin’ is the Strength card. Prince, ‘You Got the Look’ is the Magician. Tom Waits is Judgement, The Singing Nun is Temperance and the High Priestess is Aretha Franklin.

Check back for more news about this project.

*record selection is minimal in the Yukon, so I need an urban residency to complete Vinyl Tarot