I have been trying hard to remember where I first met Wednesday Lupypciw. Blurring through the fog is a series of lecture rooms, window spaces, studio dance parties, and conference halls spanning the geographic vastness of Edmonton, Lethbridge, Banff, and Red Deer. We respectively navigated across contemporary art, media arts, performance, and craft circles. It was never a smooth navigation, with territories being guarded all along the way, but somewhere in some dive, diner, or bar, fitting in and not fitting in, we bumped into each other and must have sustained a conversation. We’ve since collaborated on several projects, but sometimes you just can’t remember where you meet your collaborators—especially when your paths move infinitely in and out over professional practices and personal friendships. But maybe this is where we begin.
Lineage becomes ultra important when trying to define one’s space. To those who care, we are trying to define who came before us, to find solace in knowing somebody created this space where no space existed before. This space is an ideology as much as it is geography. The history of radical crafts and feminism in Alberta is a space that does not take up very much room in the collective consciousness.
In Hot Topic vs. Wednesday Lupypciw, the second show I ever curated, Wednesday was already asking all the deep questions, such as: What can be discovered from imitating the past, especially if we are aware of its limitations? For the exhibition, which consisted of a wall of portraits by artist Kirsten McCrea featuring queer and feminist heroes as named in the song “Hot Topic” by electro-rockers La Tigre, Wednesday hand wove several large beige wall hangings that harkened back to the beige decades where bold, vaginal-inspired craft was grassroots subversion. Complicating feminism into a multiplicity of feminism(s), Wednesday was searching for her own lineage in traditional craft histories amidst our contemporary and pseudo post-feminism(s) of kitsch and fashion.
Now, she is continuing her own account of the beige decade by revisiting 1975 with an epic re-enactment of the inaugural Hand Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers of Alberta in Red Deer. The video performance is a re-appropriation as much as it is a re-imagination. As a chant, an ode, and an action to recite over and over again, the energies of the past are transmuted beyond nostalgia. This recitation of 1975 and of Loom Music, the hand-sewn journal documenting the group’s on-goings, marks a present-day acknowledgement of becoming and transference. The two realities dovetail into one, between past and present, screen and body, performer and audience, and founders and finders.