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Visiting Artist Lecture Series: Big Rock Candy Mountain's "Edible Editions"

Please join us for the KSMoCA Visiting Artist Lecture Series, which is open to members of the public and students at Dr. MLK Jr School. The lecture will take place in the school library.

For the past 7 years, Hannah Jickling and Helen Reed have been researching taste and flavor with groups of young people in public schools. In their current project, Big Rock Candy Mountain, they have produced several edible artist editions that publicly circulate classroom explorations of taste through the medium of candy.

At these launch events, Hannah & Helen will share some recent editions including QA CHEW’S BUBBLE TROUBLE (2018), a chewing gum developed with a Grade 6/7 class. BUBBLE TROUBLE contains a uniquely abstract blend of both fruity and sweet notes, with some sharp and earthy tones. Students have variously described the flavor as: “Hello Kitty bubble bath,” “pungent,” and “mysterious.” They will also present on their book, Multiple Elementary, which addresses classroom collaborations, participatory practices, adult-child relationships, and taste-making.

Big Rock Candy Mountain is a flavor incubator and taste-making think-tank between Hannah Jickling, Helen Reed and the students at Queen Alexandra Elementary School in East Vancouver, British Columbia/unceded Coast Salish Territories.

The project is comprised of edible editions, workshops, artist invocations, strange conversations, school ground installations and an Instagram conveyor belt of evolving ideas. Rather than investing in a single result, BRCM privileges the school as a kind of candy factory, engaged in a wide range of productive capacities and processes. Here, creative flavour-making, pop art riffs and explorations in kid-defined ‘persuasive’ language intersect with the larger context of economy, labour, taste-as-power and culturally defined objects of desire.

Big Rock Candy Mountain takes its name from the popular folk song that has been rewritten countless times to reflect changing comic utopia. Big Rock Candy Mountain is where we can hear a “buzzin’ of the bees in the peppermint trees, ’round the soda water fountains.” It is also a post-proportionate world where adults and rationality no longer define the rules and limits of what is possible.

Helen Reed and Hannah Jickling have been collaborating since 2006. Their projects take shape as public installations, social situations, and events that circulate as photographs, videos, printed matter, and artists’ multiples. They are currently fascinated with the contact high intrinsic to collaborative research, especially in their recent projects with children. Helen and Hannah have exhibited and performed internationally, with both individual and collaborative work appearing in such venues as: The Portland Art Museum (OR), The Dunlop Art Gallery (SK), Smack Mellon (NY), Doris McCarthy Gallery (ON), The Yukon Arts Centre Gallery (YT), YYZ Artists’ Outlet (ON), Carleton University Art Gallery (ON), Dalhousie University Art Gallery (NS), Bästa Biennalen (SE), The Vancouver Art Gallery (BC), The Power Plant (ON) and Flat Time House’s first issue of NOIT (UK). In Fall 2017 they released Multiple Elementary, a book that explores the elementary school classroom as a site of invention and reception of contemporary art practices, published by YYZBOOKS. Jickling and Reed are recipients of the 2016 Ian Wallace Award for Teaching Excellence (Emily Carr University of Art & Design), a 2017 Mayor’s Arts Award for Emerging Public Art (City of Vancouver) and a 2018 VIVA Award (Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts).