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Taking Names 

Trout Lakes
  • Trout Lakes

Crossing paths with a wild animal is a striking experience. Whether it's a raccoon rustling in the shadows of a shed or a deer standing roadside and motionless, there's often a kind of memorable excitement to it.

"When I encounter a wild animal, I never quite know what to do," says D'Arcy Wilson. "It's really uncomfortable and really moving; it's a deep emotion."

Wilson is the current artist-in-residence at Point Pleasant Park's Gatekeeper's Lodge and her project Recalling Your Presence While Calling Your Name takes its inspiration from this uncanny feeling of wild encounter. In broader terms, her work is focused on the expulsion of wildlife due to urbanization in the HRM over the last 250 years. This means plenty of long hours researching development trends and the decline of forested areas, as well as a series of public performance pieces meant to evoke the nuances of our complicated relationship with other animals.

Having already performed a memorial service in the park for the species who have gone extinct in the area, Wilson is now focusing on those species that remain. In a set of performances called Bedtime Stories, she will be leading walks through the park at sundown, stopping periodically to read a selection of species-appropriate tales to the animals (including the work of Boy Scouts of America founder Ernest Thompson Seton and famed children's author Beatrix Potter).

"When I read these stories that are so terribly anthropomorphized to the animals, it's a gesture of kindness and nurturing, and yet the stories are really disconnected and off in a way," Wilson explains. "The real animal gets lost in the representation. By putting these fantasies alongside the reality, I hope that it will totally change the stories."

Recalling Your Presence While Calling Your Name
July 25 and 31 at 8:30pm
Starting at the Tower Road parking lot at Point Pleasant Park, 5178 Point Pleasant Drive
Closing reception
Wednesday, July 31 from 6-8pm, Free
Khyber Centre for the Arts, 1688 Barrington Street

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