Tegan Smith

Tegan Smith

At the Luminous Bodies art residency I will begin work about human presences and Lake Ontario entitled Displacement; Bodies in Water.

Displacement has specific meanings in Chemistry, Social Welfare, Physics, Engineering, Psychoanalysis, Geological Science, Astronomy and Mathematics. I will focus on displacement as measurements of distance and volume. In past work I have used various measuring tools and mapped places as well as all kinds of objects including myself. Similar to Floodgates, a GPS device will guide and measure swims and boat rides where the historical shoreline would have been. I plan to rent a boat, bring my camera and if necessary arrange for a camera operator. At the water’s edge I will be thinking about how to communicate the scale of the lake’s changing volumes and its impact on bodies the size of ours.

This project will continue my practice of tracking things over time and returning to past projects. On my website I post sky and ground photographs from wherever I happen to be standing at noon each solstice and equinox. The Pharaoh’s Forearm and the Kings’s Foot uses parts from undergraduate work for which I measured my body at one inch intervals and drew a pelt-like projection. At Gibraltar Point I will be particularly responding to the insistence of my Floodgates work. Instead of repeating the failed attempt to find farms under floodwater with a more accurate GPS, I will be looking much further back than my own remembrance of watching floodwater encroaching through trees. I will use geography and pre-historical evidence to imagine the people of another place now under water.

My interest in the body and art stems teaching figurative drawing and sculpture, after many years of Women’s Movement activism and studying feminist art history. Recently my work about agency as something humans share with organic and inanimate objects has brought me to New Materialism theory. The Luminous Bodies residency offers the prospect of discussing ideas about human bodies and other matter with fellow artists while being at the water that is the setting for this displacement work.


Tegan Smith completed her MFA at York University after a BFA at the University of Saskatchewan and studies at the Emily Carr College of Art and Design. Since 1997 she has exhibited work in Canada and the United States. She works actively in collectives and artist-run centres, and was a program committee member of AKA Gallery, Saskatoon and a board member of InterAccess, Toronto.