Interviews | August 1, 2022 |

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Image courtesy of Odette Laramee

Interview: Odette Laramee
Luca Curci talks with Odette Laramee during the 15th Edition of VENICE INTERNATIONAL ART FAIR 2022, at Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, and the 4th Edition of LONDON CONTEMPORARY 2022, at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.

Odette Laramee has a great appreciation for exploring stories, across cultures, histories/futures, and media. Her experimental work is created from an extraordinarily surprising medium and celebrates the vastness of being. She presently works on Gabriola Island, on the west coast of Canada. With the experimental video art piece, ‘nameless‘, Laramee asks the question, “What do you see?” She wonders what narratives each viewer, on the four continents the work has been viewed, will create. This ever-renewed curiosity stems from her studies in the area of collective knowledge creation, in every day, the socio/political, and the sublime. As this video enters the realm of contemporary art, she ponders the question of reproduction, “Could individual images be printed on glass or large-scale celluloid sheets with light streaming through?” Future projects include incorporating narrative story-telling into projection mapping, an artist residency building giant puppets -in the community- in Kathmandu, and a dream of creating performance and video in bioluminescence. Laramee appreciates solo endeavour, where her work with words is made both more expansive and profound through the incorporation of image, colour, and light. She also has many years of experience in community-based collective creation. Overall, her body of work incorporates multiple media to explore the powerful medium of creative inquiry.

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Image courtesy of Odette Laramee

Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Odette Laramee – Art, for me, is a way of life. It is a practice which enables me to tease out, and make material, the ephemeral aspects of experience – and then share them with you. The artistic mediums I work in change and coalesce. Organic sources and technologies constantly reconfigure. Yet, the exploration of both my personal pathways to knowing consciousness, and the collective, collaborative, chaotic underpinnings of how we co-create the dynamics of the sublime, are integral to artistic expression. Why? Because I believe that as a collective, we had moved away from attending to, and honouring, multitudes of approaches to knowing ourselves and our worlds. I hope that this image-based work serves to invite the viewer to look for the narrative, to watch a story unfold that is true to their experience – then to realise, that this complex rendering of the story is born from perceptions that are unrelated to the source materials. I find that beautiful. My motivation is a desire for a quantum expansion, of our understanding of that which is real – of what we value, whose insights are included, and how this impacts our actions with regard to the co-creation of our futures.

LC – Which subject are you working on?
OL – Like in the work ‘nameless’, I continue to explore a fusion of forms. In the work under development at present, the intention is to ‘build’ a visceral experience that invites viewers to consider why western literature, and film, often casts young orphan characters as heroes. The title of the proposed work is, ‘Orphan Odyssey’. The format for presentation is integral to the work: imagine, you are lying on a mat surrounded by others. There are images projected on the surfaces of the ceiling which evoke scenes from the lives of characters in narrative fiction and history. The characters are portrayed by puppets (an art form I practise). The puppets are projected into old and new worlds, which are created using contemporary video art techniques such as extreme close-ups that reveal texture and light but not the original form of the objects. In this retelling of our pasts, perhaps there is the possibility to re-envision our futures.

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Image courtesy of Odette Laramee

LC – How is your creative process?
OL – Perhaps the phrase, “wait for it” could describe my creative process. The onset of most of my work involves staying attuned to the moment of intuitive insight, to the object or technique which is to provide that opening for the next journey.

LC – Are your artworks focused on a specific theme?
OL – From as far back as I can remember, my art – and my mind/heart – have always woven and layered a multitude of themes. With the experimental video art piece, ‘nameless’, I ask the question, “What do you see?” I often wonder what narratives each viewer, on the four continents the work has been viewed, will create. My ever-renewed curiosity stems from studies in, and reflection on, collective knowledge creation – in the every day, the socio/political, and the sublime.

LC – Which art themes do you pursue? What is your preferred subject, if there is any?
OL – As this video art piece enters the realm of contemporary art, I ponder the question of reproduction. Could individual images be printed on glass or large-scale celluloid sheets with light streaming through them? How would the themes, and narratives which are created by the viewer, be altered if single images became stationary artworks in public or private domains? What would evolve for the viewer if they were to see the work again and again over time? I also dream of creating performances and video in bioluminescence. Would this be an area of thematic exploration for ITSLIQUID, organic matter manifesting as light, which forms and reforms itself like a ‘symphony in space’ as a result of movement created by an object – perhaps dancers, whose ‘bodies are extended’ in forms that ‘never repeat and continue to develop?

LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the exhibition?
OL – Yes, I agree. What I particularly like is the multifaceted imagery that can be elucidated as a result of your choice to name the group, ITSLIQUID. When I first read about the Venice International Art Fair 2022 (as well as past and upcoming exhibitions) I felt like my body of work had found a home in the primary themes, and through the main sections, LIQUID ROOMS and FUTURE LANDSCAPES. Your endeavour to invite analysis regarding the relationship between body and space, plus your ‘intention to invite a hybridization between aspects of identities, immersive experience, and the complex labyrinths of consciousness’ have resulted in my feeling reinvigorated. You have invoked an appreciation for the power of words to evoke both an open and a specific invitation.

LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
OL – Yes. Here comes the surprise, this contemporary experimental artwork was developed in the spirit of ‘the universe in a single atom’. The video is an animation made entirely from extreme close-up images of 3 large jellyfish. Anything is possible? Everything is possible. Let us celebrate the vastness of being.

LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
OL – The initial invitation to submit work for consideration was so straightforward that I acted immediately. At 6:30 AM I found three images in my computer files, added a digital link to the video, and noted my website. Within three days, I’d received an invitation explaining the criterion and fees, and asking if I would like to move forward.

LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
OL – Yes, the team is very solid, the vision is clear, the curation innovative, and the venues exceptional. The web-based opportunities to have work seen more broadly provide an excellent opportunity for artists. Plus, the network of artists/designers, art administrators, media, and leads in creative communities internationally – who attend the exhibitions, and who access through interviews such as this one – may prove to foster innumerable possibilities for creation, collaboration, and dissemination.

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Image courtesy of Odette Laramee

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