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From Drain, a refereed online journal published biannually

Celina Jeffery is an art historian, with a broad interest in cross-cultural interactions, new media and curatorial practice, and
has a Ph.D. in Art History and Theory from the University of Essex, and is Assistant Professor of Art History and Theory at the University of Ottawa.
She co-edited Global and Local Art Histories with Gregory Minissale, CSP, 2007. She is a co-founder and editor of Drain Magazine, A Journal of Contemporary Art and Culture.


I Am Not Here: Identifying Contemplation in the Cool Spaces of Contemporary Art
By Celina Jeffery

Without leaving his door He knows all the ways of heaven For the further one travels The less one knows
Therefore the Sage arrives without going, Sees all without looking, Does nothing, yet achieves everything.

Daodejing, 47 (Waley 1934: 200)

Bridging the deluge of Polidori’s images and the uncanny tranquility of Cape’s waterlines is Anne Katrine Senstad’s site-specific earth project,
The Sugarcane Labyrinth, 2009. Senstad first responded to ideas of recovery in post-Katrina New Orleans with the The Light House, created for
KK Projects (December 2007 to March 2008). In an abandoned and derelict home in the St. Roch neighbourhood, Senstad punctuated the debris
with industrial office lights. They create unusual formal interactions amidst the chaos, glowing to reveal the nuances of the personal remains: toys and
sections of furniture that once ‘lived’ in the space. As the daylight changes into night, the light becomes the only living presence in the
house, acting as a shrine in which we experience a “sublime sacred space.”[16] In The Sugarcane Labyrinth Senstad continues this theme of
reverence by developing a one-acre sugarcane labyrinth on a farm in Theriot, Louisiana. The Labyrinth engages with local farming strategies
in an act of sustainability, purifying the excessive salt in the soil which has been caused by erosion. Yet it also signifies a spiritual ‘path’ in
which one is invited to become lost in the landscape. As in wu-wei, we yield to fluid channels to find consolation in our constant sense
of placelessness, a connection that Max Carfard established in the previous essay Deep Play,All of our experience is
this turning back and forth of the inner and outer, exploring regions that are both inner and outer, and neither inner nor
outer, and everywhere in between.

In dialogue with the Labyrinth, Senstad is creating a pink ribbon outline of a Katrina damaged former home in the
Lower Ninth Ward which acts as a living memorial: signaling both reflection and recovery For Cape and Senstad
then, the reclaiming of water and its signs: waterlines and labyrinthine marshes, are used to stimulate
a tranquil meditation on loss, history and atonement.


 ©2007 - anne katrine senstad - all rights reserved
all art/photography on this site is copyrighted material.