On Calgary’s Stephen Avenue, a tourist shopping and businessmen’s lunch destination, there is an oasis hosted within the unnassuming facade of a bank lobby. A queer alchemical garden, the laws of equivalent exchange are exhibited in a continuously running 2-basin fountain. A basket of Himalayan salt lamps in one basin is transmuted and deposited into sparkling crystals on a slumped pair of Wranglers held in the second basin. Several glass terrariums contained within glass-covered plinths throughout the bank’s lobby contain art objects slowly being overtaken by vegetation.
Moving throughout the space is somewhat disorienting, as you are confronted by curtains of hanging plants and imposing, fragmented glaring eyes and hapless smiley faces peering through foliage on paper. Paper taped to paper, arranged in mish-mash amalgamations with utility rope, grommets and carabiners form spiderwebs on the walls. Corroding and precipitating, the fountain-garden mirrors the multi-faceted and make-do exchanges and economies that develop in queer communities and the verdant, vital construction of queer identities under late capitalism.
Sealing the Homunculus was housed in the ATB Artvault and created collaboratively by Brett Bonk, May G N and Sean Michael Taal as part of Sled Island 2018’s Visual Arts Programming.
Image credit: Chelsea Yang-Smith