Living Things Festival in Kelowna adapts to the pandemic

Showcasing art in pandemic

Sarita Patel

Living Things Festival may have downsized and adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they’re still providing residents with an art show this winter.

The Collective Body is currently on display outside of the Rotary Centre for the Arts every evening from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. The piece is a collection of solo art projects by 50 artists from across North America intertwined into a piece about the human body.

Artists were asked to film themselves due to COVID-19 restrictions and create three items for the exhibit. The installation was created by Aleksandra Dulic, Miles Thorogood, Andrew Stauffer, Lin Snelling and Neil Cadger.

The team hooked up three computers to three projectors inside the centre and added vinyl to the windows where the images are being shown to the public outside in a COVID-friendly way.

“This is an extremely complex affair,” says Neil Cadger, Living Things Festival artistic director. “There are basically nine frames so the possibilities of combinations are exponential - you can get so much from the materials.”

The visuals and music are on separate tracks allowing the eyes of the beholder a chance to cultivate their own meaning behind the piece.

“An hour from now or tomorrow for example you might see the same video but hear a different part of the sound, so it’s up to the viewer to decide what fits and what doesn’t,” said Stauffer, the sound arrangement director for the display.

Stauffer worked with a range of instruments from saxophones, trumpets and vocalists but he has a fun challenge working with less known ones like the erhu, and his favourite, a hurdy-gurdy.

The festival has funding from the City of Kelowna, Heritage Canada and Cadger said they felt obligated to support those who have been deeply impacted by the pandemic.

Many kids are enjoying the piece naming all the body parts while the music attracts those on their evening stroll.

“Art stops you, it doesn’t move you, it stops you,” explains Cadger on why art is so important. “It interrupts your day and offers you a sort of relief of all of the things in your own life that is going on.”

“It allows us to feel, it allows us to share stories with each other and connect in that way,” adds Stauffer.

The second event hosted by Living Things Festival will be "Objects in Motion," which is a selection of short animated films for a mature audience. The two-night showcase will be streamed live and tickets can be found here.

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