Sylvie Fortin

Arts Professional
Artist in Residence, 2019

A person holding a book in front of a bookshelf.

Artist Statement

My practice is driven by a commitment to configure an “otherwise.” It is informed by fearless investigation, wanderings across territories and disciplines, a commitment to the beauty of equity, vulnerability, and play. As a result, my work has developed eccentrically by connecting “peripheries.”

I recently embarked on long-term, experimental curatorial research into the contemporary currencies of hospitality. My methodology enacts a commitment to kinopolitics: the project is developed through a sequence of residencies. With hospitality as its condition of production, I am pursuing outcomes that will give form to a being-together-otherwise.

I’m also committed to the unfulfilled potential of critical curating. Despite the initial emancipatory promise of curating in the early 1990s, the practice was quickly corralled (today, one is either institutionally affiliated, precariously “independent,” or academically engaged in curatorial studies). Informed by Fred Moten’s “undercommons,” I am experimenting with alternatives to these orthodoxies, working with diverse assemblies connected across geopolities.

While at Headlands

While at Headlands Center for the Arts, I will explore the relationship between habitat and hospitality. I couldn’t dream of a better context than the center and its Marin Headlands Park Partners to undertake this essential component of my ongoing research into the currencies of hospitality.

Between walks, hikes, and swims; conversations with scientists and fellow residents; reading and field work, I will explore how hospitality—as concept and metaphor—shapes our contemporary approach to biodiversity and the work of conservation, sanctuary, stewardship, rehabilitation, and conversion. Words and concepts powerfully, if often unconsciously, shape the horizon of our thoughts and actions—the field of the possible. How does hospitality inform research, its questions and protocols, when terms like foreign, native, migratory, invasive, and parasitic are deployed in ecology? To what effects? Can a commitment to unconditional hospitality open onto exciting experiments, unexpected narratives, and new forms of being-together-otherwise?

Artist headshot by C. Daniel Dawson