Collaboration Update #6


As part of our back and forth exchange of ideas and works, I wrote an audio poem in response to Jon’s drawing, Improvised Kites. Below is the text for that poem.

responding to Improvised Kites


Collaboration Update #5


like a bird, heard

like a bird, heard is an experiment that I wanted to try, using a Zoom chat with Jon as material for creating a poem. I started out thinking that maybe I’d write a haiku, in response to Jon’s A Freeform Haiku but in the process of working with the Zoom footage, that’s not what surfaced. Instead, the experiment led to this rather quirky poetic play … a one minute video that speaks a bit about our collaborative process of being in conversation, of listening, of responding, and of having some fun.


White blossoms against a blue sky, with the words A Freeform Haiku
Whoe'er wrote the rules is probably long deceased and won't care if I knowingly break or just never knew them
A Freeform Haiku

Collaboration Update #4


illustration of 3 people flying kites that are charmingly made up of a stop sign, a pair of pants and a fed ex shipping box.


'I always say that I can't draw' Baco's response to Jon's 'inept paper dolls'.
I always say that I can’t draw — but isn’t drawing just a moving line?

I enjoyed spending some quiet, reflective time with the image, inept paper dolls, that Jon sent to me. And that led to this response piece called, I always say that I can’t draw—but isn’t drawing just a moving line?

Although I mailed the actual piece to Jon, I also sent him photographs of the accordion folded bookwork and the text for the poem via email, since I wasn’t sure how long it would take before he’d receive the physical piece.

The following is the text written on the pages of the bookwork.

I always say
that I can’t
draw —
but isn’t
just a moving


rough cut
and shadow folds

not quite
hand in hand

but definitely
in proximity.



through neighbourhoods
and interior spaces —

not rooms, per say
but imaginings

that hover
in the body.


as I enlarge
the image

I feel a whispering
in my lungs

each cut out

a silent


bend marks
where fingers held

while scissors cut
this walking

through nights
& shadowy dreams —

are these cut outs


I’m curious about
the word, “inept”

on the photo’s label —
it makes me think

of the word

silkscreened by Katarina
on the front of

a used
orange-ish t-shirt.


clothes found at a church
rummage sale

made anew and
sold to fellow artists.

she wondered who
if anyone

would buy that shirt.
yup, it was me

who proudly wore
“inadequate” for years.

Collaboration Update #3


A photograph of glacial ice that I took at Athabasca Glacier

still, not still

In one of our back and forth exchanges, Jon sent me a photograph that he took in a hotel in Wakayama, Japan. “The room only had one little window and it opened to a 1 foot gap between my hotel and the adjacent building,” he said, “so the decorator installed a lightbox with a beautiful beach and mountain scene… it felt like a cheesy but effective workaround.” Then he asked, “if you had to spend 2 weeks in a room with no windows, what would your lightbox scene be?” 

Two images came to mind, almost immediately. The first was a photograph of Takakkaw Falls — which has always felt like a powerful, spiritual place to me. But it was the second image, that I knew was the one I’d want to have in that room with me. 

still, not still is a composite of two images that I’ve worked with separately, in the past — a photograph of glacial ice that I took at Athabasca Glacier and an old photograph from the Meiji Era, of a young woman riding a stuffed crane. In response to Jon’s question, I saw these images in my mind as one … as a lingering … as something still in me, unfinished … and I found myself wondering, if I closed my eyes, would a story come to the page or off my tongue, from this still, not still image? Maybe, when falling asleep in that room with this image, some bits of the story might surface from the dreams of night.  


“Hi Baco, I liked what you were saying about adaptable spaces, and the imperative to be responsive to changing situations. I think a lot about this sort of thing when it comes to our JC ancestors having to uproot and build new lives, reinvent themselves with new jobs, communities, civic identities.

This video shows a rough 3D scan of my home workspace. I was setting up a 3D scanner at Christmastime and this was a test… it is terribly inaccurate but aesthetically I enjoy how it looks. Depending on my frame of mind it looks either like a scene of destruction, or alternatively a space that is malleable like putty, able to be reconfigured into something new as needed.”

Collaboration Update #2


“sweet brine” Baco Ohama


Hi Baco,

thanks for the photo of your preserved carrots and wasabi in the mason jar, I’m very
excited for your pickling experiments. I love this sort of investigation as a way into other
ideas…I revel in the detours, the risk taking, the meanders. Your description prompted the attached intervention with a found connect the dots game. Celebrating the indirect,
unorthodox, elliptical, often backwards routes we sometimes take when we do what we do.

Connect-the-dots Pickling Jar

Collaboration Update #1


‘Ohhh, furo’
Mason jar with sprouts

Hi Baco, thanks for the image and text you sent me. It got me thinking. Recently I was given a great book called “Our Edible Roots; The Japanese Canadian Kitchen Garden” published by Tonari Gumi of Vancouver, along with a little starter kit for growing sprouts at home. I’ve never grown anything before. Like you, I live in a highrise building, so the countertop mason jar garden seemed like a good way to start. Five days later I had delicious alfalfa sprouts and it felt a bit like magic. I quickly got into it with fervor, upgrading my straining screens and sewing a little fabric shade cover for the jar. Like most artists, I’ve encountered lot of pandemic-related challenges in the studio, project after project has hit brick walls that seemed to bar me from the finish lines. While languishing indoors to wait out pandemic lockdowns and avoid inclement weather, I felt like my life was slightly on hold. But my new hobby; my little sprout garden, has become something of an antidote, one that comes with a daily feeling of accomplishment. I marvel at the way these little seeds sit dormant for months on end, but when the moment is right, when favourable conditions present themselves, they spring to life. I am taking a cue from them and hibernating a little. I am taking a pause to think, plan, reflect. For the moment, until the long-term projects can ramp up again, I bide my time working my way through the stack of unread Artforum magazines that have accrued over the years, and coaxing seeds into sprouts.