PuSh Blog

Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society

January 30, 2015

Only a Freee Individual Can Create a Free Society, 2015 PuSh Festival
Photo: Courtesy the artist and Zeno X Gallery, Antwerp

I was first aware of Grace Schwindt’s work a few years ago. There was something about her videos, the use of choreography, of working with dancers, the very nature of the costumes and settings in which actions and gestures occurred, that proved compelling. While initially abstract and recalling certain moments in art and performance histories, the narrative suggestions and resonance with real world events and conditions seemed quite special. The opportunity then arose to work together through a mutual friend and professional relationship whereby a group of organizations came together to help commission the ambitious film that is Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society. The partnerships enabled the work to be produced and provided the necessary support for the commission to develop. At that time there developed a trust between organizations and artist based on drawings, diagrams and a script, informed by previous work. It was exciting and dynamic to help new work be made, a key aspect of what we can do.

Collaboration is important not only in the realization of the work but also to its execution. Visually the film itself is vivid, complex and arresting. Its installation at the Contemporary Art Gallery also includes new sculptural pieces that correspond materially and thematically with what is pictured in the film, thereby extending qualities, atmospheres and particular characteristics into the space of the audience. It makes for a rich experience in viewing and apprehending the exhibition as a whole.

Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society
Photo: Courtesy of the artist


Conceptually there is much to consider for the viewer prompting questions pertinent to us all when we think of civic ideals, the societal structures we inhabit, how we as individuals combine to create some form of society, and the models that help us achieve, or rather attempt to achieve this. In a city like Vancouver which is very much in flux and unfolding daily, a young city where the future is being written, then it seems relevant to present such work. Visually too it corresponds with certain practices in here and connects us to elsewhere.

Nigel Prince
Executive Director
Contemporary Art Gallery


Only a Free Individual Can Create a Free Society is a free film installation at the Contemporary Art Gallery from January 23–February 15.