Tag Archives: imagination and creativity

Electro-Aware Art Wanted for Book on EHS

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS:

Electro-Aware Art Wanted for Book on EHS

“Making the Invisible Visible” 

by Kim Goldberg

May 25, 2014

I am currently seeking “Electro-Aware” visual art for possible inclusion in my Refugium book and website about people living with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), and the perils of Electro-pollution. I am primarily looking for art from people who are electrosensitive. But I will also consider submissions from others who are exploring this topic artistically.

View the online gallery here.

How do we render the invisible world of frequencies into a visual experience? And what would a healthier world look like? 

Portrait on wood 260313 © Eefje van den Hamsvoort

A3 drawing on colored paper © Tom van Campenhout

A3 drawing on colored paper © Tom van Campenhout

What To Submit:

Drawings, paintings, photographs, computerized graphics, collage art, cartoons, graffiti, or any other visual art that you can submit as a .jpg for consideration and possible publication.

I am looking for visual art that explores themes such as: electrosensitivity, electricity, wireless radiation, electro-pollution, frequencies, resonance, our electro-sick civilization, or conversely what the antidote to these problems might look like. I am interested in both the nightmare of electro-pollution, and also the dream/vision of a healthier world. You may submit more than one work of art. If the connection to the topic of electro-pollution is not obvious in your work, you will need to supply that connection in your Artist’s Statement. 

Be as creative as you want! You do not need to be a professional artist to submit work. All artists whose work I use in the book will receive a complimentary copy of Refugium in 2015, along with my heartfelt thanks.

How To Submit:

1. Please email your Electro-Aware visual art as a hi-res .jpg to goldberg@ncf.ca (You may submit more than one work of art.)

2. Please include an Artist’s Statement of 300 words (maximum) about the problem of Electro-pollution and how it relates to your work as an artist. Feel free to describe your own electrosensitivity too.

3. Please attach a photo of yourself that can accompany your Artist’s Statement. Any type of photo is fine—a standard head-shot, zany photo, arty photo. 

4. Please include a sentence in your email stating that you grant me permission to publish your art, your artist’s statement, and your photo in my Refugium book and on my Refugium website under the terms specified in this Call for Submissions.

Response Time: 

I will acknowledge receipt of your submission within three days (unless I am away).

In Fall 2014, I will let you know whether I will be including your art in the book (due out in 2015).

If I use your work and Artist Statement on my Refugium website, I will notify you as soon as it is posted.

Terms and Conditions:

  • Submission of work does not guarantee publication.
  • All artists included in the book will receive a complimentary copy of the book as payment.
  • All artists included will be properly credited and acknowledged in the book.
  • All artists will retain their copyright to their art.
  • All artists, by submitting work to this Call for Submissions, are granting me permission to use their work both in my Refugium book and on my Refugium website (http://electroplague.com), with the artist’s ownership being properly identified and credited in all cases. 

Thank you for living a creative and artistic life! And thank you in advance for whatever Electro-Aware Art you may choose to submit to my Refugium project.

I am very grateful to Dutch artists Eefje van den Hamsvoort and Tom van Campenhout for being the first two artists to agree to participate in this collection of Electro-Aware Art for the Refugium project.

Kim GoldbergKim Goldberg

Nanaimo, BC

 

Dar Churcher – Colwood, BC

By Kim Goldberg

July 17, 2013

Dar Churcher Photo © Kim Goldberg

Dar Churcher
Photo © Kim Goldberg

In 1992, Victoria artist Dar Churcher was poised to expand her successful art career into the international arena when she was stricken with a mysterious ailment. Her worsening symptoms included fatigue, insomnia, extreme headaches, eye pain, and muscular weakness that at times caused her to collapse on the ground with paralyzed legs. 

Thirteen years and many doctors later, Dar finally had a diagnosis: she had Lyme disease. Her doctor estimates she contracted it around 1988 and probably while hiking the woodsy trails of Metchosin, a rural area west of Victoria known by health authorities to be infested with Lyme-infected ticks. 

Dar is also severely electrosensitive—a condition that frequently accompanies Lyme disease. In fact, treatment protocols for Lyme disease place high priority on reducing exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF). 

“People with Lyme disease have compromised nervous systems,” Dar explains. “And mine is shot. I think we are all at risk for electrosensitivity. But those of us already sensitive to something else are the first to react. We are the canaries in the global coal mine.” 

Lyme disease affects the central nervous system and can involve demyelination, not unlike multiple sclerosis in which neurons loose their insulating sheaths. Dar believes this loss of neural insulation leaves her nervous system much more sensitive to external EMF in the same way that improperly shielded wiring is subject to interference from outside signals. 

In Dar’s case, exposure to wireless radiation in particular can instantly trigger a flare-up of her Lyme symptoms, causing her legs to buckle as she falls to the ground and is unable to get up or walk.  

“Because of my hyper-electrosensitivity I loathe going inside any buildings,” Dar tells me as we sit chatting across her kitchen table in her basement suite at her mother’s home in Colwood. 

“There are few people I know who actually collapse [when exposed to wireless radiation]. But that’s what happens to me,” she explains. “It has happened to me in the bank, the bakery, at the vet’s, the post office. I have had to crawl out of so many buildings I can’t count them all.” 

Dar in her studio working on The Snail Choja sculpture
Photo © Ray St. Arnaud
http://www.raymondstarnaud.com/

Every wall and surface in her apartment is filled with her stunning sculptures from her once-thriving career as a sculptor and private art teacher. Her best-known work is her interactive installation piece “Just Imagine”, an enormous walk-in book that was exhibited years ago at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. 

But that career is now permanently on hold—“sabotaged” Dar says by Lyme disease and electrosensitivity. 

Dar enjoys a quiet moment in her lush backyard Photo © Kim Goldberg

Dar enjoys a quiet moment in her lush backyard
Photo © Kim Goldberg

Dar now spends much of her time confined to a wheelchair. Yet she is able to walk short distances when out in nature, away from wireless radiation and other sources of EMF. 

“When I distance myself from the built-up area of my home and drive into the country, I can, on good days, make it around a small park,” she says. “And when I am by the water—a beach, a lake—my muscles relax and I feel much better.” 

For many electrosensitive people, their home is their only true sanctuary. But when electrosensitivity has left someone too impoverished to continue working, then ‘home’ is wherever that person is lucky enough to find affordable rent. 

Dar’s basement apartment is located near two FM towers and one cell tower. And despite the semi-rural appearance of Colwood, there are more than 70 towers and cell masts within a 5-kilometer radius of her home, according to Industry Canada’s website. 

“These radio emissions place a great stress on my body,” she tells me. “I desperately need to live in a location where electro-smog is non-existent so that my sleep will improve, my energy levels will increase and I can start to heal and recover my health.” 

But Dar’s current rent of $400/month, paid for with her monthly disability cheque, makes moving unlikely. Besides which, she is also the caregiver for her 91-year-old mother who comes home on weekends. 

“Even though my house is not my refuge, it’s the best I can do under the circumstances,” she explains with surprising cheerfulness. 

Despite her 20-year ordeal, Dar has somehow managed to retain an optimistic outlook and a keen interest in the world around her. She asks me about my own book Red Zone, for which I wandered Nanaimo’s homeless community for three years, recording in poetry all that I witnessed. 

“How did they respond to you?” she asks eagerly. “And what made you want to do the book?” 

The Blue-Eyed Hare & The Beekeeper Photo © Bob Matheson

The Blue-Eyed Hare & The Beekeeper
by Dar Churcher
Photo © Bob Matheson

Her eyes sparkle as she takes me through the rooms of her home, describing with much enthusiasm the story behind every sculpture in her multi-year and unfinished “Transformations” project. Each sculpture captures a moment in a folktale of human transformation—a girl becomes a blue-eyed hare and then human again, an ardent suitor becomes a flower to be picked by his beloved, a snail becomes a man while bowed in prayer.  

“My overall goal with this project has been to reflect common threads of human need, desire, goodness and virtue,” Dar explains. “These traits are found in every culture throughout the world. They help define and unite humanity. Without their expression, we would degenerate and devolve.” 

Princess Fleur-De-Lis & The Rooted Lover Photo © Bob Matheson

Princess Fleur-De-Lis & The Rooted Lover
by Dar Churcher
Photo © Bob Matheson

As an artist, Dar is every bit as fascinated by the creative process of others as by her own. But due to her circumstance, she seldom goes out in public and rarely has visitors, so she has little opportunity for creative co-mingling. 

“From my isolated cocoon, my computer is an umbilical cord to the outside world,” she explains. Yet even the computer is problematic because of its EMF and also her sensitivity to light. The blinds on every window in her basement suite are closed for the sunny afternoon of our visit on the summer solstice. 

The Snail Choja Photo © Dar Churcher

The Snail Choja (work in progress)
by Dar Churcher
Photo © Dar Churcher

We move outside to take some photos in her patio garden and her lush, tree-lined backyard. But the ambient radiation from the neighbourhood is higher outside. And, combined with the sunlight and the stress of our prolonged conversation, it is all too much. By the time I take the last photo, her legs buckle and she must crawl on her hands and knees across her yard to reach her door. 

I am dumbstruck by the swiftness of her demise. One moment she is standing, the next she’s on the ground, and the moment after that she’s crawling—as though all people get around this way. 

Yet I also have to marvel at such determination and resiliency. And although I don’t quite have the words to put it all together, I know that somehow her passion for those folktales of transformation is also now fuelling her well-practiced and rhythmic crawl across the grass. 

Copyright © Kim Goldberg, 2013

(Dar Churcher’s story will be included in Kim Goldberg’s forthcoming book REFUGIUM: Wi-Fi Exiles and the Coming Electroplague, due out in 2015. Read more people’s stories here. Visit Dar’s website at: http://www.darchurcher.com.)