“walkin’ with robinson” at AdMare Centre d’artistes en art actuel des-Iles-de-la-Madeleine

October 27, 2021


To view more of the project click on facebook page link above.

“walkin’ with robinson” at AdMare Art Actuel

The Magdalen Islands – far flung from the festering pavement of Montreal’s streets. I have yet to travel to this Island, but even in advance of my departure a sensation of return haunts me. As a young child I lived in a small, accessible only by boat, mining town located on the northern tip of Vancouver Island. Memories from this time stir in me. The sharp bite of the salt air, the cold hunger of the wind, and the hovering ghost of my inconsequential child body, perched on a rock, thin arms wrapped around bony knees, eyes facing the waves as they break upon the shore over and over and over again.

We all have our islands. Those places we hold in our memories seen through mist and semi-darkness, never quite becoming real. And what do they tell us? And what can we give them? Does the wind carry a song?

Imagine, there is a walking figure. A solitary walking figure holding a song. The song is fragmented, broken, taken from the shared pen of the poet Leonard Cohen and the songwriter Sharon Robinson. The song’s lyrics lament our loss of innocence and bemoan the condition of a world already and forever closed against us. The words of the lyrics are inked over an old brown cardboard sign and the solitary walking figure wears the sign, like a shield, like a protective garment, like a talisman invoking if not magic then at least a lover’s curse. The walking figure is not a child, the walking figure is no longer a child.

I would like to thank Colette Chose, Laurene Janowsky, Yoanis Menge, Galadriel Avon and everyone at Admare Art Actuel who made this residency such a transformative experience. My thanks also go to the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for their precious support. And Josianne Poirier you were not only a wonderful housemate, you also infiltrated this project with the generosity of the sea… gentle and forever present for my rambling thoughts and musings. And lastly I have to thank my family and friends who ushered this reluctant traveler out the door. And J.J. Lokshtanov, you remain my salt. I thank you all.”

karen elaine spencer, “walkin’ with robinson,” 2021. Project realized while in residency at AdMare Centre d’artistes en art actuel des Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Lyric on cardboard from the song “Everybody Knows,” a collaboration between Sharon Robinson and Leonard Cohen.


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