On Mattering:
Imagining Alternatives to Extractive Practices a Talk with Anne Riley

Wednesday 9 June 2021
3–3:45 pm (ET)

Drift: Art and Dark Matter Closing Event

Join Anne Riley as she reflects on what matters, on creating art amid a pandemic, and on imagining alternatives to extractive practices.

Riley touches on her work as part of the Drift: Art and Dark Matter residency and exhibition that involved visiting SNOLAB’s deep underground astroparticle physics experiments that are “feeling for” dark matter. The depth and layers of soil and rock blanketing SNOLAB’s underground research facilities are essential for filtering out particles and radiation to aid the direct detection of dark matter. To make energetic space for healing and connecting with human and more than human relations, Riley’s artistic strategies suppress the “background” of colonial “noise” in science and art.

She speaks to dark matter garden, an installation that draws the Drift: Art and Dark Matter exhibition outside of the institution’s walls—and out of institutional exhibition timelines—offering an alternative to the Western ways of thinking about art and science, while engaging viewers in place-based thinking, land sensitivity, and reciprocity. The darkness and softness of soil are vital for plants to take root and sprout. Sign up to save your spot in this free program.

This program is made possible through the generous support of the Brockington Visitorship.
Close-up of Anne Riley's hands holding dirt

Anne Riley, dark matter garden, 2021, dirt. Collection of the artist

Anne Riley's hand touching a big green leaf in a garden.

Anne Riley, dark matter garden (study), 2021, dirt. Photo: Anne Riley


Anne Riley is a multidisciplinary artist living as an uninvited Slavey Dene/German guest from Fort Nelson First Nation on the unceded Territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-waututh Nations. Her work explores different ways of being and becoming, touch, and Indigeneity. Riley received her BFA from the University of Texas at Austin in 2012. She has exhibited both in the United States and Canada. Currently she is working on a public art project commissioned by the City of Vancouver with her collaborator, T’uy’tanat Cease Wyss. Wyss and Riley’s project A Constellation of Remediation consists of Indigenous remediation gardens planted throughout the city, decolonizing and healing the dirt back to soil. The duo was longlisted for the 2021 Sobey Art Award.

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