human sized rabbit trap.
This work is a large sculptural installation which focused around the theme of safe spaces and inclusion within the Halifax community. It was commissioned for the 250 Year Celebration of the Halifax Commons by the Friends of the Commons. The work is a human sized rabbit trap. The focus of this piece is on what a person might trade or forfeit to feel safe within public space. By day, the Commons exists as a useful and versatile space in the heart of the city for Halifax residents. However, by night, it has a dark and looming quality about it which exists through a contemporary history of violence. For a personal example, when I moved to Halifax, I had been cautioned several times against walking alone or otherwise through the Commons at night. Most people have been warned, with little explanation of this history of violence. This piece is focused on pointing out that safety is in part something created within the individual but also the greater community. What determines safety within a particular time and space is reliant on gender, class, and race. The intention of the piece is to illuminate the transaction each person makes for their own comfort and safety. It acts as a reminder that it is a choice made individually and communally, by both our discussion and silence on the topic.
There is an othering that happens continually in communities. To be a part of a community, a person must abide and hold certain moral and social beliefs. If a person does not subscribe to the particular ideologies of the community, they are excluded, or even may be labelled a threat. Othering can take many forms: the otherness of night, and of public domain is a strong example. Part of feeling safe is feeling like you belong. It is hoping, but also assuming that no harm will happen to you if you continue to be as you are. That is a right we should all have, and this art piece was implemented as a reminder of that for our public spaces. Part of a public space is entering a dialogue about who a public is considered to be, & who and what a public space is for. Otherness is a feeling that spites what is not you, but we all deserve to feel safe and included. It serves to question, what would make a person feel so unsafe, and unheard in the world to inspire violence?