1 North Square, Cambridge, ON
In knitting, one literally gives one’s time—chronicled in interwoven loops of yarn—to keep someone warm. Hand-knitted sweaters bring us closer to our mothers and grandmothers as we physically carry a document of their love and labour next to our skin, almost like a protective second skin.
Straddling a liminal filmic space between installation, performance-for-video, and a contemporary fairy tale, The Knits introduces an ephemeral and relative notion of time, both in unravelling the threads of generational/familial relationships and in visually combining and subverting technological artifacts of the past and present (picture frame, tv screen and video projection). Along the way, the work tugs at the crossed threads of art versus craft, gendered materiality, and the relationship we have with mother nature and her great divide in Canada.
“The Knits” is a loving and playful homage to the artist’s mother and her chronic affliction of “the knits”.
The artist wishes to acknowledge the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council Media Artists Creation Grant.
Participate in the exhibition!
Submit your wacky, wonderful or just simply beautiful photos of you wearing knitted items that were created by your loved ones. See your photos featured in this exhibition. More information here.
Lisa Birke is an award winning Canadian experimental short film maker who situates between the traditions of painting, digital video and performance art. She has had solo exhibitions across Canada and her short films have been screened at film/video festivals and media centres internationally, including amongst others: Vancouver International Film Festival (Canada), European Film Festival (touring), Athens International Film + Video Festival (USA), InShadow International Festival of Video, Performance and Technologies (Portugal), Cologne OFF X (USA, Israel, India), Cold Cuts Video Festival (Canada), International Short Film Week Regensburg (Germany), SESIFF(Seoul international Extreme-Short Image & Film Festival), POW Fest (USA), and AVIFF (Art Film Festival, Cannes). red carpet was awarded the “Lakehead Juror's Prize” and the “Audience Choice Award” at the Orillia Museum of Art & History in Orillia (Canada) in 2014. The short film Calendar Girls was awarded a “Jury Award for Creative Achievement” at the Arizona International Film Festival (USA), the Jury Award at ForadCamp (Barcelona) and was recently installed at Manif d’/Art (Quebec City Biennale 2017). Birke created projects for CAFKA (Contemporary Art Forum Kitchener and Area), the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery in 2016 and has just completed “The Knits” with the support of an Ontario Arts Council Media Artists Project Creation Grant.
Lisa Birke examines notions of ‘self’ through the lens of gender, bringing the cultural tropes of woman into focus and into question. Filmed unaccompanied in the Canadian landscape, absurd yet insightful performative acts become entangled in nuanced and complex narratives in single and multichannel video works that make reference to art history, mythology and popular culture. Revealing what lies beneath the surface of femininity, her work toys with a conclusion that is problematic, comi-tragic, and most essentially, human.