Current Residents

Natural and Manufactured Residency 2016 (July-August 15)


Deborah Koenker and Karen Kazmer


Northern Howl: An Installation for Dogs and People


In previous works we have explored notions of storytelling in our practices:

Koenker working with stories and clothing in “Tela de Vida” (Barcelona), and on community-engaged projects in Mexico, and Kazmer collecting stories about significant personal objects for community public art in Vancouver, British Columbia.


During our residency at KIAC we will be developing a collaborative project that will focus on dogs in Dawson City and nearby communities. Dogs genetically embody “the wild” through their ancient bloodline to wolves, acting as connecters between humans and the wildness of the land, historically playing a major role in the settlement of the Yukon, having served as sled dogs during the Klondike Gold Rush, and used by the Tr’ondek Hwëch’in. The concept of “the wild” bears examination as nearly every point on the planet is now “connected”.


A key element of our residency is to collect stories from dog owners/caregivers related to experiences with their dogs through hunting, mushing, unexpected incidents and companionship. Photo documentation of these encounters will be projected in the gallery, together with sound clips of the stories. Fact and fable—myths and tall tales (the “manufactured”) will likely meld in the stories we hear and record. The slippage between memory, history and invention could be provocative, controversial, or hilarious. What makes a compelling story, is it a story that disrupts daily reality to expose subtler truths?  A process of determining not only what stories mean, but why they are meaningful. As Metí writer and University of Guelph Professor Thomas King declared in his 2003 Massey lectures--- published as The Truth About Stories: “the truth about stories is that’s all we are.” King also said that a great way to start a story is: “ you’ll never believe what happened”; we will employ this opener and other strategies with participants.



Deborah Koenker is a Vancouver based artist with interests in writing and curating. Her years as Associate Professor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design have been an integral component of her art practice. A founding member of Malaspina Print Society, she served as first Director of Malaspina Print Workshop.  Koenker utilizes print, drawing, photography and textile in mixed media installations investigating current interests in borders, globalization, migration/immigration and social justice. Her work, represented in numerous public collections, has been exhibited in Canada, Mexico and the USA over the past thirty years. Grapes and Tortillas, a solo exhibition at the Kelowna Art Gallery on migrant Mexican farmworkers, opens this July 15 and runs through October 30.

Karen Kazmer, a practicing visual artist and part time instructor at Emily Carr University of Art and Design, works with a diverse range of materials in sculpture, installations and public art. Recent work encompasses investigations of architectural space, originating from an interest in the body as messenger and the interplay of tension between the tangible and intangible. Her community based work and public art projects seek imagery from public workshops, collaborations and on site activities of people and animals. A recent work, Moving Up, refers to the ways urban animals adapt to their environment. The indigenous beavers can be seen as the designers of this site specific work located on the Spirit Trail in North Vancouver, BC.

Robert and Kevin Yates
Natural and Manufactured Residency 2016 (July-August 15)

Robert and Kevin Yates (b. Owen Sound ON.) are brothers who have collaborated since 2011 and have exhibited there video installation projects in solo exhibitions at Rodman Hall in St. Catharines, Susan Hobbs in Toronto and group shows at The Tom Thompson Art Gallery Owen Sound, and Near North Arts, North Bay. Their projects revolve around themes, of nature/culture; memory/nostalgia, birding/migration, water, natural disasters, which they are currently exploring through a variety techniques that utilize and subvert pattern recognition.  Robert is a video artist and editor living near Montreal, and Kevin lives in Toronto where he is a professor at York University and is represented by the Susan Hobbs Gallery in Toronto.

Project description:

Using Dawson’s historic site Ruby’s as inspiration,  the video/sculpture installation blends and contrasts the obvious signs of the comings and goings of fashion and culture (as markers of the human migration of both persons and tastes over the decades) with that of the migratory birds that have been coming and going from the area for quite possibly millennia.  We seek to call attention to the specificity of Dawson’s location, north and surrounded by a sense of unbridled nature,  using as the nexus the traces of the culturally/commercially distorted representations of nature found in wallpaper reinvigorated with a presence of the living natural world through the reappearance of migratory birds (coming and going from south to north as many of the visitors to the Dawson area and Ruby’s specifically must also travelled). The work itself uses recorded instances of birds arriving and departing from 2 fragments of wallpaper projected into the already established collage of actual wallpaper fragments still hanging from the walls at Ruby’s today.    

Added to cache at Aug 24, 2016 12:08:14
Content not from cache


Klondike Institute of Art & Culture Bag 8000, Dawson, Yukon, YOB 1G0 Canada
Telephone: 1-867-993-5005 Fax: 1-867-993-5838 Email: