In 2013, I created a piece informed by this Lew Welch poem. I recently (2019) decided to revisit his words for a reinterpretation and as an entry point into a completely new series of work to be composed on different land masses. Here’s some documentation of a first circle a hundred feet round drawn with wild bird seeds sourced and executed in Vancouver, BC on May 3, 2019. I arrived in Vancouver on a ship and had less than 24 hours before I’d depart also on a ship. I had found a place to purchase local wild bird seeds and had a few sites marked on the map as possibilities for the 100’ circle. The sites were chosen because on the map they appeared as green spaces. The first two locations didn’t work, and time was running out as I made my way to Vanier Park. Luckily I found an area of the park that was perfect, for no other reason than there were some pretty wild flowers there already, the space was the right size, geese were all around and would certainly appreciate the seeds, and only a few hours before the sun would be replaced by the night sky.
I was able to watch a few geese head toward the circle, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay long enough to see what I imagined happening.
What I found out later was that the park use to be called Sen’ákw – a once Salish village – “a place of gathering, culture, spirituality, and governance”. It was strange that I was magnetically drawn to such a site embraced by the history of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-waututh people, who were forceable removed from their homes and required to live on small reserves under the control of the federal government between 1886 and 1902.
Remove the circle and what do you find?
composed and performed by Helga Fassonaki
photo documentation by Bradford Bailey