Hand embroidered patches

Ship of Fools Project. 2014 

Embroidery, paint, jute, canvas.

The Hare Hides in the Thicket/Pearls of Wisdom

Ship of Fools Project, 2014

Acrylic on oyster shell

The Ship of Fools Project is an installation on a sailboat.

The Ship of Fools Project incorporates painting, drawing, sculpture and textile art as an exercise in multi-disciplinary visual practices.It also employs the strategies and techniques of poetry to cohere these visual practices into an artistic practice of interdisciplinarity. These creative and expressive elements work together to reveal Janisse-Barlow's relationship—through familial history, personal practices, and methods of creating artwork— to the Foucauldian notions of countersite/heterotopia. The boat is a purposeful receptacle for the artwork in that its definable location is slippery, tackable and temporary. It is a countersite/heterotopia because it surrenders itself to the water, making no permanent relationships, allowing for an unstable and mysterious location. The Ship of Fools Project is an artwork that incorporates haptic, non-linear and anarchic methods (smooth) and places them in an environment that only understands in part how to support these methods (striated). The installation is a loophole, an arrow slit in the wall, an evasion of the striated, which purposefully functions as a receptacle for the lessons learned in the smooth, in the poetic. The boat in this project acts as a site for play, experimentation, joy, confusion, ceremony, failure, shamanism, nonsensicality and whimsy —all important meanders in Janisse-Barlow's artistic production—and incorporates these elements into a large visual poem rendered on the sails, hull and interior of the boat. As a whole, the installation attempts to clarify and claim the creation of countersite/heterotopia as an artistic method. The Ship of Fools Project depicts the ‘view from here’ as it takes shape, for the sake of clarification but more importantly as a claiming of practice.

Detail

Hetertopia Seeking Burgee, Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Acrylic and embroidery on Canvas

The Ship of Fools  Project hopes that the ‘view from here’— the meditations on artistic vocationality and artistic methodology from the perspective of an artist (a relation to the smooth, the heterotopic, the countersite)—may contribute to current discourse in the areas of arts education and artistic practice. It is hoped that over time there will become less of a need to create countersites and hidden architectures for the artist’s work as our models of collecting and verifying knowledge shift and change; but, in the meantime, the Ship of Fools Project insists upon a particular non-linear style of studio practice not being lost, that the “police do not take the place of pirates” (Foucault, “Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias” 27), and that there does exist safe harbour for artists engaged in similar lateral processes, even if we have to build our own damn house—or boat—in order to foster the proper environment for our work.

Taking Comfort/Pearls of Wisdom

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Acrylic on oyster shell

The Hidden Pheasants Speak

Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic on sail.

Primarily, the material aspects of the Ship of Fools Project include: the carving of a figurehead out of marine foam, painting on the 22-foot main sail with non-linear visual poems, the invention and visual rendering of a flagging system created on the jib and as flags on the boat, the invitation and inclusion of the names of the ‘ship crew’ rendered in embroidered patches backed with encomia, a collection of paintings on oyster shells housed in the berth, which culminated as a performative anchoring of the work on a mooring ball at the National Yacht Club, situated in between the Island Airport and Ontario Place, as well as an official sail in the Detroit/Windsor area for Media City Film Festival. This project is multi-disciplinary but also considers the challenge of interdisciplinarity as it strives to find a way to balance a creative writing practice with a rich and multi-pronged visual practice—without resorting to simple presentations of images and text. The Ship of Fools Project is a visual poem, as well as an act of story telling, which collects imagery from the research of the project and allows for these images to respond to each other. At times they collide, or even contradict each other, creating a palimpsest not unlike the way barnacles overtake the objects that come in contact with the sea. It is difficult to say that the formal aspects of this project are simply visual and written, as the layering of each image, along with the application of poetry— or poetics—renders the Ship of Fools Project as a multi-sensory, performative, submersive work that blurs the boundaries of each element used in its creation. In this sense, it has become difficult to section off the disciplinary concerns that make this work interdisciplinary. All artforms strive towards an explication of the liminal. They reach in the same direction in tandem, and have the same aim. Their palimpsest and proclivity towards intertextuality creates a sought after confusion. 

Sail Detail

The Stolen Vase

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Acrylic on sail

Sail Detail

Reeboks Walking on a Dramatic Night

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic and graffiti marker on sail

Sail Detail

Vocationality/The Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic and sharpie on sail

Sail Detail

Vocationality. The Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic and sharpie on sail

First staging

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic, sharpie and graffiti pen on sailcloth

First staging

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic, sharpie and graffiti pen on sailcloth

Doing is Thinking/Pearls of Wisdom

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic on oyster shell

Hetertopia Seeking Burgee

Ship of Fools Project. 2014.

Acrylic and embroidery  on Canvas

Installation View

Pearls of Wisdom/The Ship of Fools. 2014

Acrylic on oyster shell

Installation View

Pearls of Wisdom/The Ship of Fools. 2014

Acrylic on oyster shell

Fitting the figurehead

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Acrylic on sculpted foam

Sculpting  the figurehead

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Preparation for sail, NYC

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Rigging for first sail 

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

First sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Musician and captain Andrew Barlow

Installation View

Pearls of Wisdom/The Ship of Fools. 2014

Acrylic on oyster shell

Fitting the figurehead

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Acrylic on sculpted foam

Media City sail

Filmmaker Brandon Walley

The Ship of Fools Project

 Windsor/Detroit. 2014

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project.

Super 8 Footage

courtesy of Brandon Walley

Windsor/Detroit. 2014

Media City sail

Artist/Filmmaker Nazli Dincel and friend

 The Ship of Fools Project

Windsor/Detroit 2014

Media City sail

Artist/Filmmaker Vincent Grenier

 The Ship of Fools Project 

Windsor/Detroit 2014

Detail

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Media City sail

Artist/Filmmaker Henry Hills

 The Ship of Fools Project.

Windsor/Detroit 2014

Detail

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Detail

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Media City sail

.Artist Frances Barber

 The Ship of Fools Project.

Windsor/Detroit 2014

Detail

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Media City sail

Film maker Brandon Walley

The Ship of Fools Project

Windsor/Detroit. 2014

Detail

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

Poster

Media City sail

The Ship of Fools Project. 2014

MELANIE JANISSE-BARLOW 

paintings and projects

WINDSOR

unit 1

121 University Ave W

Windsor, CANADA 

N9A 5P4

TORONTO

1 Stadium Rd

Toronto, CANADA 

M5V 3H4

DETROIT

#111 535 Griswold St

Detroit, MI

48226

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