"My grandfather died this Spring. Despite the fact that he left us nothing, we spent hours cleaning out his ‘estate’ - this installation is comprised of a selection of his things.
They bought the house in 1967 in what they now call 'East Chinatown'; he barely left it towards the end.
I always thought he'd go by burning the house down: he'd fall asleep with a lit cigarette and the TV blaring. When he first immigrated and was living in Sudbury, his neighbour--a widow with three children--snapped one day and lit their shared house on fire; he lost the few things he had.
His story is not unlike others; like others, leaves a light mark. In Ban en Banlieue (2015) Bhanu Kapil writes:
'As the text of a present moves so rapidly it cannot be written. This is why immigrants don't write many novels, only emigrants do. I write to you at night, for example, when even my body is hidden from view.’"
Photo credit: Art Spin
Site-specific installation created for a storage locker as part of Holding Patterns
Planet Storage, Toronto
Curated by Art Spin
It wasn't the fire is an array of things that my late grandfather surrounded himself with, living on his own in what had been the family home. The materials include:
About 100 VHS tapes
About 50 cassette tapes
LCD TV in pillow packaging
Folding lawn chair
Cassette player (doesn't work)
3 small orange trees
Dozens of white t-shirts
Dozens of ball caps
Industrial-sized thread spools
Calendar pages with calligraphy
Figurines of fishermen
Joss incense sticks
Phone numbers sheet
Blanket with phone numbers sheet
Chinese scenic landmark tourist prints
It wasn't the fire