Jay White, Sessional Instructor and Masters Student, Emily Carr University of Art + Design
Coyote Walk uses smartphone technologies to allow participants to track and document the passage of a walker as he passes through urban areas.The walk is guided by rules that dictate the three-day project will end if the walker gets too close to other humans. This leads participants to follow the walker into remote or overlooked urban sites, and to engage with the nocturnal geography of the city. The first walk took place in Vancouver in November 2013, and the second walk will take place in March 2014, in collaboration with the Stanley Park Ecological Society and an acoustic ecologist. The rules of the walk require that the participants, who act as pseudo-scientific animal trackers, maintain a respectful distance from the performer-walker. The walker therefore dwells at the limits of consumer-grade photographic technology, at a point where forms become less recognizable, or where the subject completely fades into a more-than-human landscape. By connecting interhuman surveillance practices and scientific research methods of tracking and photographing other species, the project questions human / animal hierarchies, and wonders at the ethics of the relationships sustained by these hierarchies.
Coyote Walk further considers the territories of urban wildlife that overlap, intersect with, and dwell in the interstices between human sites of activity.The symposium exhibition of Coyote Walk will present photographs, sound recordings and written documents that resulted from the walks. The interactions with coyotes in the first iteration of the walk raise the possibility that participatory physical activities such as these might act as a psychophysical and non-hierarchical form of interspecies engagement and inquiry.
Jay White draws from multi-day, process-based walking and camping activities to explore and imagine new relationships between human and other-than-human entities. He employs narrative and participatory strategies to translate these ephemeral experiences into material installations and video works, in the hopes of enlivening and animating objects and beings.
White’s work has shown worldwide and his films have won various awards internationally, including Best Animated Short at the Worldwide Animation Festival (2010), and a longlist entry for Academy Award nomination. His work has exhibited at the Emily Carr Concourse Gallery (2013), Yukon Arts Centre Gallery (2013), the National Arts Centre (2013) the University of Glasgow (2011), PuSH Festival Vancouver (2011), and ODD Gallery Dawson City (2008). White is Sessional Faculty at Emily Carr University, where he is also a candidate to receive a Masters of Applied Arts in Fall 2014.