10 Questions for Kurtis Lesick
1. What part of the city do you live in and what do you love about it
Capital Hill. I live in a house that was first owned by my great grandaunt. So it’s been in my life the whole of my life. The community has changed a lot, but it is still a community. I live between times here, kind of halfway between the present and my childhood. I can be mowing the lawn and suddenly be transported back to the exact same spot and activity when I was six. The difference is that I would get a quarter for mowing the lawn when I was six….
2. Who inspires you?
I’ve been lucky to have a lot of really strong women in my life. My great grandaunt was one of those. Jane Kelley, a dear, dear mentor of mine who passed away a couple of years ago, is always still close in mind with her generosity, southern hospitality, charm, and “cat-bum lips” of disapproval that worked better than any words ever could. My great friends and artistic role models, Rita McKeough and Barbara Sutherland, are always nearby with advice, well placed questioning, humility, humanity, and a timely scotch or gin martini.
3. What’s the last book you read?
I had completely lost the habit of reading for the longest time. I’ve rejigged that so my research DEMANDS reading, non-stop reading, so I have a lot of books concurrently on the go: Catherine Malabou, The Ontology of the Accident, Avital Ronell, Fighting Theory, Oana Avasilichioaei, Limbinal are currently sitting on top of the pile.
4. What inspires you about the Calgary arts scene?
When I started out in the arts I remember complaining that I knew more artists in any other major city than I did in my own city. I then slowly discovered that half the artists I met in all these other cities were from Calgary. Calgary art treasure Katie Ohie once said: “I travel all over the world to make my art. I LIVE in Calgary.” Calgary is full of artists working at a world class level, but city is their home, not a competitive or performative venue.
5. Do you have a secret talent?
I’d say my biggest talent is that I’m the king of bullshit. I synthesize pretty fast so I can talk on almost any subject by sowing together the little bits I know about other subjects… Actually maybe don’t tell anyone I told you about that.
6. Tell us about your earliest childhood memory
I don’t know if this is the earliest, but it is pretty close, and one I cherish quite a bit: its the memory of my grandmother rubbing vics on my chest, i’m laying sideways on the edge of her bed looking waaaaaaaay up at the light on the ceiling. I think I can remember her bedspread, the curtains, the furniture. I’ve told my mum about that memory and she says I couldn’t have been older than 2.
7. Dog person or cat person
I’m allergic to both, but I’d be more partial to have my eyes swell for a dog than a cat.
8. What’s your next project?
I’m off to Havana to shoot a project on “the singular/plural” intended for the Independent Havana Biennial in May.
9. Where did you go on your last vacation/holiday?
I travel quite a bit for work, so I’m not sure if that counts. The last “holiday” holiday was to Crete this past summer. We had 3 weeks to cover the island including a pilgrimage to the museum and grave site of my favourite author, Nikos Kazantakis.
10. What’s your favourite food?
We have a slightly embarrassing ritual every Saturday of going for Dimsum. The staff of the restaurant knows better what is going on in my life than my own family.
Kurtis Lesick is an artist, writer, researcher, and award-winning creative content specialist. He teaches in the School of Craft and Emerging Media at the Alberta College of Art and Design. His installations, media works, digital performances, and cross-media collaborations draw heavily on his experience in archaeology, anthropology and philosophy, as well as both his love and disdain for technology.
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