If you’re thinking about participating, I’m sure you have a lot of questions
What is the "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" project?
I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a two-channel video installation project that seeks to commemorate and memorialize the city of Oshawa’s 150-year history of manufacturing through documenting personal sites of emotional resonance.
Working with a cinematographer, I will be shooting people/locations around the city that capture the personal memories and experiences of people who have been affected negatively by job loss in the manufacturing sector over the past few decades.
What is the goal of the project?
In my work, I have found that even though we all go through it, talking about feelings of grief and loss makes most people uncomfortable, and so we often keep them hidden. Whenever job loss is discussed, the emphasis is almost always placed on the economic impact for a community, and with this project, my aim instead is to tell the story of the emotional impact for Oshawans at a personal, familial and community level.
Why are you doing this project?
Since my mother’s death in 2011, I have been exploring grief and loss more thoroughly in my work, and I am interested in creating opportunities for us to talk more openly about these difficult feelings.
As such, when the Robert McLaughlin Gallery invited me to produce a work about Oshawa, I found myself thinking about how much grief related to job loss there must have been throughout the city’s long industrial history. In the same way that the downtown murals and historical plaques commemorate the important presence of the manufacturing sector, I am inviting Oshawans to reflect on a more challenging aspect of this relationship.
Who can participate in this project?
Many people have told me that everyone in Oshawa has been affected by the manufacturing industries in one way or the other, and I am inviting anyone who is willing to share their story with me to participate.
Maybe you worked in a factory, or maybe a family member or friend did, or maybe you don’t know anyone who ever worked in a factory; all that matters is whether you have a feeling of sadness or grief or loss related to plant closures or layoffs or other manufacturing-related job loss over the past few decades.
How do I get involved?
There are three ways to get involved:
1) You can send me a location in Oshawa that represents a feeling of grief or sadness that you have related to job loss, and you can share as much or as little about the story of that location as you like. I will come out and video record that location to use in the installation.
2) If you are willing to be filmed, you can choose a location in Oshawa that represents a feeling of grief or sadness that you have related to job loss, and I will come out and video record you in your location to use in the installation. I can film all of you, or just a body part (like your feet or your hands) if you prefer. You get to decide.
3) You can share information about this project and this website link with anyone that you think might be willing to help me bring this project to life. You can talk about it, email it to friends and post it on social media.
I'm not sure what you mean by "location," can you explain?
Of course. Our jobs and our incomes can shape our routines, our hobbies and the parts of a city that become familiar to us because we travel past them on our way to and from work. Maybe there’s a park that you drove by every day and you miss seeing it, maybe there’s a convenience store where you used to buy smokes on Tuesdays, or maybe there’s a bar where you went every Friday with your co-workers.
It can be anywhere in Oshawa that used to be a part of your life, and now it’s not because you, or someone in your family, or someone in your community lost their job in the manufacturing or auto industries.
Or it could be somewhere in Oshawa that is still in your life, but you miss the people who are no longer in it because of job loss.
Can I participate and stay anonymous?
Absolutely. If you send me a location in Oshawa to record for the installation, all that will be used will be the location – all of your personal information will be kept confidential.
If you are willing to be filmed in your location, I can film all of you, or just a body part (like your feet or your hands) if you prefer. You get to decide.
When and where will you shoot the actual video?
The locations will be determined by any and all submissions from the public. They can be indoors or outdoors and ideally, they will be publicly accessible. Whenever necessary, we will discuss the project and seek permission before shooting.
For locations where people are also willing to be filmed, we will discuss a day and time that is convenient and book an appointment for us to meet and talk and record the video.
What do I get for participating?
There are no fees for participation. Hopefully, engaging in this project and encouraging more openness around the grief and loss related to the economic changes in Oshawa will be personally meaningful for you.
Okay, I'd like to participate. What's next?
That’s so great! Thank you so much. Contact me here and send me your location and story. If you are willing to be filmed, think about the locations and dates (weekdays or weekends) that would work best for you. I will get in touch with you once I hear from you and we’ll take it from there.
Where will the the project be exhibited?
The video installation will be exhibited at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in downtown Oshawa. The gallery is named for Robert McLaughlin Sr., founder of The McLaughlin Carriage Company, and father of Colonel Robert Sam McLaughlin, first president of General Motors of Canada.
When will the project be exhibited?
In recognition of The Robert McLaughlin Gallery’s 50th anniversary, the work will be exhibited from April 29 – September 17, 2017.
Who is organizing the exhibition?
The exhibition is being co-curated by Linda Jansma, Senior Curator at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery and Toronto-based curator and writer Jayne Wilkinson, who grew up in Oshawa.
Who can attend the exhibition?
The Robert McLaughlin Gallery is dedicated to sharing, exploring and engaging with their communities through the continuing story of modern and contemporary Canadian art, and anyone can visit the gallery and view the exhibition when it opens in 2017.
The RMG is open seven days a week, and it is free to visit with a suggested donation of five dollars that can be made at the reception desk.
Is there something you still need to know?
Thanks for reading all of this. If I haven’t answered your question and you are interested in participating, please feel free to contact me.