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Art and food meet in Roy Caussy’s collaborative campfire in Parade Square. Hot dog, anyone?


It's been a long time since Roy Caussy— a NSCAD grad and now Toronto-based artist—has been back in Halifax, which might be why he wants to have dinner with you this Saturday night. Thanks to Nocturne, he's bringing us SMOKELIFE III, an interactive project that he originally presented in 2011, and again last year for Hamilton's two-day Supercrawl.

"I wanted to create a structure where people felt like if they were standing on it they were linked to a different place," says Caussy of the original installment, which consisted of a large geometric structure, a smoke machine and a backstory about an energy vortex. "Then I started realizing that it actually creates these really nice gathering spots for people. It was the same at Supercrawl, whether they participated or not they gravitated to the structure and milled around."

Part of the fun of bringing SMOKELIFE to life again and again is re-imagining all of its working pieces—the lights, the smoke and the structure itself. Caussy says that the temporary nature of Nocturne's tight six-hour window was what's inspired the third installment of the project.

"It's kind of akin to when you are camping and you try to set up a tent and get your fire going so you can eat a meal before it gets too late or too dark," he says of the inspiration for the cook-out vibes of SMOKELIFE III. "And bigger for me was, what's a new way to make smoke instead of using a smoke machine? And I thought a barbecue would be really nice, because of that camp-type scenario."

And if the barbecue's fired up you might as well serve hot dogs, right? Though Caussy says he has "no real goal" for how people should participate in SMOKELIFE III, options include experiencing the smoky structure and some Wayne's World-inspired projections, chowing down on a fresh-off-the-grill dog and enjoying your cook-out company.

"Once food is involved it can really start to blur the lines of where the art is and where it isn't and where you can and can't participate as a viewer," says Caussy. "People love eating and eating together, and in participating with that aspect more people become way more social. Once you start eating you watch people just start communicating."

Saturday, October 18, 6pm-12am, Grand Parade, Barrington at George

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Vol 26, No 21
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