More Often Than Always, Less Often Than Never


by hannah_g

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hannah_g, Prongoose

No. 00014
Concerning: In The Pink (Gordon Lebredt)

Gordon Lebredt, In The Pink

Mr. Lebredt's thick, pink line encircling the gallery has a property which is not described in his accompanying text. I am sure, since we are at the end of this exhibition, he will forgive my indiscretion here.

You will no doubt have felt the power of his pink line. One feels enclosed, embraced, accepted; all of the art works are solidly connected by it. As you may have read, the curators' teasingly refer to this line as 'cosmically' unifying the exhibition. This unification is, of course, no accident.

Each of the selected artists were required to pluck several of their nasal hairs and carefully dispatch them to Mr. Higashino [1]. Mr. Higashino then glued them into his own nostrils where they remained for several weeks. During this time, Mr. Higashino concentrated upon identifying and unifying the different scents he detected upon the artists' respective hairs. Only when he had harmonised their odours and amplified them by 942% did he remove them and some of his own. He then bound them at one end and secured them into the shaft of a thin paintbrush. This brush was sent to the Richmond Art Gallery, B.C. and was used by Mr. Jarvis and Mr. Hiebert to paint Mr. Lebredt's pink line. This took quite a long time as you can imagine.

You might have noticed when first entering the gallery a faint but distinct odour. It is the scent of the unification of the exhibition, More Often Than Always, Less Often Than Never, of artists and art.

[1] Please see booklet no. 00020 for further information about Mr. Higashino's nasal hair.

No. 00015
Concerning: Nuage Blanc, Nuage Noir (François Mathieu)

François Mathieu, Nuage Blanc, Nuage Noir

It was a glaciologist who first realized it is possible to capture a cloud. He observed that cloud formations share similarities with glacial formations and by coating one in the other, i.e. spraying a cloud with the mist of a melted glacier, it is possible to give it a crisp coat which facilitates its capture.

The best material for capturing a cloud is prongoose hide. These rare, elusive animals are at home on land, water, and in the air. Thankfully there are several very old prongoose hides available to cloud catchers, one of which you can see in this exhibition. You will be relieved to know no prongoose has been trapped or killed within living memory.

A prongoose is the result of an unlikely marriage between a species of antelope called a Pronghorn and the common Canada Goose. It is extremely fast in all elements and undertakes long journeys to mate, visit feeding grounds, and to die at the Prongoose Graveyard far north in the Arctic. Its migratory routes range all over the world in a complex pattern that is not fully understood. This extensive journeying has led to it being part of many different peoples' folklore and mythology, in all of which he or she is a harbinger of change, a bringer of mischief, and a symbol of gentle courage.

A cloud is captured thus: after being sprayed with glacial mist from (usually) a remote-controlled air craft, the cloud begins a slow descent. This gives the catchers time to position themselves underneath it with their prongoose hide. They might remind you of firemen and women holding taut a strong sheet for people escaping from a house fire to jump onto. When the cloud is captured it is placed in an insulated chest and is transported to whomever needs it: scientists, sporting events, barbeques, etc.

When releasing a cloud, one is strongly advised to wear custom made boots (which can also be seen in this exhibition). Despite being complicated to put on, the boots ensure that one is not shot into the air when, after its glacial coating is shed and the prongoose hide is momentarily held by the captors, the cloud heads up into the sky at enormous speed. The boots also prevent one's feet from getting crushed by the extremely heavy glacial water.

[1] The 'cloud' in this exhibition is representative only. It is not a real could.

No. 00016
Concerning: Lettres à Monique / Letters to Monique
(Anne-Marie Proulx)

Anne-Marie Proulx, Lettres à Monique / Letters to Monique

I fell in love with Monique Allard. There was nothing else to do. My mother had, my grandmother, my great grandmother; it was just something we did. Just as you might expect to grow breasts or become taller, I understood that, as well as these things, I would fall in love with Monique Allard. In some respects I am lucky. I live in Canada so stand a good chance of not getting murdered for this love. And being forewarned is forearmed, I suppose. But then again perhaps I am not so lucky, for every relationship, encounter, and flirtation was only preparation for her. I could never decide if it was better to abandon myself to a lover and learn all I could so as to impress Monique, or to abstain and simply read about sex and relationships so that I might be a full mind set in an aching body to be broken by her alone. Both, I admit, are a little creepy, but perhaps you can sympathise with my dilemma. Of course I went through a phase in which I was determined not to fall for her. I simply wouldn't do it, thank you but no, absolutely not. However, after a few weeks this stance wilted. I found myself scowling at any woman I didn't know, and proffering only aloof iciness when meeting new people. It was a tiring and unpleasant attitude that made me a stranger to myself.

My mother changed her name to Monique Allard in a perverse attempt to eschew the curse or condition or fate or whatever you think we should call it. She had been reading stacks of self-help books and all seemed to say, at one point or another, that one must love oneself in order to be free/content/happy/able to fulfil one's true potential. Grandma was bemused at this change of name but she was certainly not bemused when mother married the day after she was legal in another attempt to sidestep the inevitable. In fact, grandma couldn't decide if she thought it brave, foolhardy or sensible of her daughter.

Grandma didn't meet Monique until she was in her 50s. So it would've, she told me, have been an awfully long time to spend without a companion as her own mother had. Believing honesty to be the best policy, she'd explained the situation to grandpa before they married. He was a sweet and practical man. He told her he'd probably die young anyway so why don't they give it a shot, what the hell? So they did, and enjoyed a happy marriage as friends and occasional lovers. Grandpa died a little later than he expected, aged 54. His devotion to whiskey sours and Lucky Strikes were not, to everyone's surprise, the cause. He was killed in a car accident which also resulted in the death of the other driver, a Mr. Joseph Allard. That was how Monique and grandma met: two grieving widows.

Whereas grandma's love affair began rather conveniently, mother's did not. Unlike grandma she never mentioned this inevitability to her husband. Dad didn't even know she knew anyone called Monique. Poor dad. His poor, poor heart. He loved mum unconditionally, loved her with everything he had to love with since their first kiss. I still don't know what could make him feel better. She'd been seeing Monique for over a year when he found out. He asked mum to leave and never come back, which she did. I was 8 and stayed with him. It was via this misery that I learnt about Monique Allard. Grandma told me once when she took me to the park. Dad doesn't know and hopefully never will.

Strangely, Monique Allard never knows that she will fall in love with us. She is always surprised if not delighted. The love is so ripe and precious and real and joyful that Monique is as powerless as we are to resist it.

So. I suppose it's my turn to tell. My Monique. She was in a relationship. She initiated. I refused her advances until she left her girlfriend which I still feel guilty about - I know the awfulness of losing her - but also detached - it couldn't have gone any other way after all. We spent less than a year together but I tumbled head to her heels and she duly tumbled back. She lit a lamp within me that had such a fierce flame it still illuminates me albeit less brightly each year and the helpless, grief stricken shadows it casts grow longer and longer. Just as it happened to my great grandmother, it happened to me. Monique left. She left great grandma for a man and she left me for a job. How modern. She would, I know, like to shift our love into friendship. I am incapable of doing this. Try as I might, I cannot fall out of love with her. So I will fall out of touch. If she lets me. If she lets me.

No. 00017
Concerning: Hi Ball (Arjuna Neuman)

Arjuna Neuman, Hi Ball


When a plant is administered significant amounts of helium it becomes an agent of the future. By which we mean that it contains the possibility for imparting information about future events.


All plants have a terrible desire to propel themselves up and up and up. They strain and squeak, they quiver to do so. Ascent is an expression of their soul. When this ascent is accelerated a chemical and multi-dimensional reaction takes place which can only be fully exploited when said plant's roots are exposed. The ascent can be accelerated by throwing, holding it above one's head, etc. but, importantly, the plant must not be lowered again or the whole process is made void. Thus when the plant is in the ascendant it has access to the future for it is growing ahead of itself at great rapidity.

My dear fellow, you might ask, how on earth can we be privy to the plant's visions? This is where helium is of the utmost importance. Helium, when contained in a light vessel such as a balloon, causes said vessel to defy gravity and float upward. Therefore, attaching a plant to a helium balloon is a simple means to achieve relatively unimpeded ascent. Now, and here we enter deeper science, administering a miniscule supply of helium intravenously to the plant during its ascent enables the plant to give voice to its visions. These may be recorded on a small device attached to the balloon. Many of us have observed with amusement a person inhale the contents of a helium balloon and proceed to talk in a high pitched voice. I need not go into the reasons for this with such a learned reader as yourself. Unsurprisingly, helium effects a plant in a similar manner. Of course a plant does not have vocal chords but it does have physiological features that vibrate and produce a sound, or voice if you will, too low for human ears to discern. This sound can be accessed though. Recall summertime and the fun that can be had when a blade of grass is held between hands and blown upon - a farcical squeak can be heard! What in fact you are hearing is the death song of the plucked blade being amplified by the cheeks and breath of the blower. The administration of helium, therefore, raises the plant's 'voice' to an audible pitch. There has already been extensive research into the language of flowers and plants. We are currently compiling a Plant/English dictionary.


Naturally the information a plant seeks will be rather different from what a human being might desire. However, in this early, pioneering stage plants can give us the succulent basics. Further along this research path we shall be using plants that we have genetically modified to increase their perceptive ability and curiosity capacity. This is currently at a delicate stage so I will not divulge any more. Suffice to say, yes, there is plant life in the future and a great deal of it is unflinchingly green.

No. 00018
Concerning: The East-West Pataphysian Donnation-3 (Chikako Mari Mori & Boris Nieslony)

Chikako Mari Mori & Boris Nieslony, The East-West Pataphysian Donnation-3

When you have a conversation with either professor, what they say makes sense. Plausible, lucid, at times even elegant, their respective lectures are well attended, their dinner table never deserted. However, when they put pen to paper or when the printer prints their writing, a change occurs. The text becomes difficult to understand, the subjects they describe become impenetrable without a good supply of strong coffee and an even better supply of time. Neither professor can understand the change although even they are not aware of quite how radical the difference is between listening to and reading them.

Both professors have secretaries who happen to be from the same city block. In this block, about twenty five years ago there was a community centre (its funding, incidentally, was cut last year). The centre provided free workshops to children, many of which were for arts and crafts. The two secretaries regularly attended these workshops and picked up all manner of skills including paper-making. Both children were found to be very adept at paper-making and the teacher gave them extra lessons (for which she did not get paid) and their skill became very impressive. However, it was soon discovered that when their paper was written upon the words weren't always the words one thought one had written. When they asked their teacher about this she pursed her lips and sighed. She explained that every generation of paper-makers produces one or two who put too much energy into the process. Naturally this interferes with the paper's equilibrium and creates a fibrous flux which affects any ink placed on it. It was a shame but the boys should do the honourable thing and stop making paper. But neither boy felt particularly honourable. They recognized their skill could provide them with a reasonable income, so they continued to make paper over the following years and garnered a satisfying supplement to their pocket money.

The boys grew up, left their homes and travelled in different directions but coincidentally got jobs as secretaries to professors. When these professors learnt of the boys' skill both insisted that they should make all their paper, and paid them generously to do so. One professor believed it was an important way of keeping a dying tradition alive. The other just thought it was cool. Neither anticipated the impact the paper would have on their respective careers. The more difficult their texts were to penetrate the more respect and esteem they were given. Their status increased considerably until it was clear that a collaboration between them would be an essential contribution to science. Part of this collaboration is exhibited here for your admiration / confusion.

Each secretary is on a permanent and exclusive contract with their respective professor.

No. 00020
Concerning: Hydroponic Nosehair (Tetsushi Higashino)

Tetsushi Higashino, Hydroponic Nosehair

Why is it of interest to see if Mr. Higashino can make his nose hair grow? Dear visitor, you are surrounded by its implications. I will not get ahead of myself though. Firstly: the properties of Mr. Higashino's nasal hair...

Just as European or North American altitudes affect the flora and fauna that inhabit them, Japan's altitudes also effect that which grows in them. However, Japan's altitudes have experienced less mobility within them than others, that is, there has been less flight and therefore less disruption. An altitude in Japan is rather more sure of itself than an altitude in British Columbia, for example. The Japanese altitude has absorbed the breath of the land and its living creatures for many thousands of years without interruption and although it has not been unaffected by advances in industry and transport, it was, until recently, to a much lesser degree than elsewhere.

There are two or three areas of special scientific interest in Japan that have been designated as such because of the unique effects of the altitude on the people inhabiting them. Mr. Higashino lives in one of these areas. It has been observed and recorded that the people in this region have an excellent sense of smell and, moreover, can conjure a scent at will and experience it as if it were actually present. This, it is conjectured, is why they are a peculiarly nostalgic people for it is well known that smells and odors have powerful mnemonic effects. Perhaps more strange is not only can they conjure a scent to smell for themselves but they can impart this scent so other people may smell it too. This is done by plucking a nose hair during a scent recollection and giving it to someone else to sniff. Another method is to directly sniff the recollector's nostrils but this is strictly reserved for family members and very close friends. A valued and treasured gift is of a nasal hair saturated with the scent of a shared occasion. These are presented in boxes made from folded rice paper.

If Mr. Higashino succeeds in growing his nose hair outside of his nose, he will expand the use of olfactory mnemonics. As such, one might receive a bouquet of nasal hair after a wonderful meal or holiday, each scent holding a special moment that can be relived simply by breathing in deeply. The implications of this are profound and probably lucrative.

No. 00022
Concerning: 39 bpm (Julie Gendron & Emma Hendrix)

Julie Gendron & Emma Hendrix, 39 bpm

A tumble dryer issues the steady, low, hum of domesticity, of the not-far-off pleasure of clean clothes that, although lacking the superb freshness of their line-dried counterparts, are nonetheless dry and born again for the wearer. Fresh air may impart crispness, the sun may linger in the mesh of threads, but a tumble dryer leaves intact the comforting worn-once feeling of a garment.

But, I digress.

The tumble dryer in the gallery has the wisdom of a mute washer woman. This dryer can tell you things you don't want to know about yourself. It can find lost things for you. It can show you your past, guess your future. It can tell you your lover's secrets, solve long forgotten murders.

All you need do is place in its drum items related to your question, your curiosity. The sock of your husband and the gardener's trowl; a stone from a haunted house and flowers from the cemetery; your favorite scarf, an atlas, and dog biscuits. Close the door, set the dial, sit atop the machine, and press 'start.'

Just as only a few people can read the stars or a cup of tea leaves, there are few who can read a tumble dryer's load. He or she will sit by the dryer and listen to the objects clack and knock against the rotating drum and each other. The sounds tell him things.

Before the cycle finishes, he will push the machine forward, tilting it so the door is angled towards the floor. At his signal you must stand to the side and fling open the door. The objects and clothes will spiral out and slide across the linoleum or painted concrete. The Tumble Reader will observe this closely: it is giving him insights, information which he must weave with the preceding sounds and the final resting place of your things. He will take your seat atop the dryer and cogitate, staring at the dot to dot of stuff.

When he's ready he will gesture for you to sit next to him. He will tell you what he sees.