Jen Rae

Awaken! Flag (2012)
Flocked wall installation – Digitally-altered QR Code
The Métis (pron. may-tee) people of Canada are one of three recognised Aboriginal groups, the others being the Inuit and First Nations.  During the North American fur trade peak in the 18th and 19th centuries, the British, Scottish and French-Canadian fur traders married Inuit and First Nations women. Their children and future generations were exposed to both Catholic and Indigenous belief systems as well as English, French and First Nations languages, resulting in a new distinct Aboriginal people in Canada.  Due to their understanding of both societies and customs, the Métis helped bridge cultural gaps, while developing their own distinct language and culture.  They played a vital role in Canadian history and the success of the western fur trade due to their skills as voyageurs, buffalo hunters and interpreters, along with their knowledge of the Canadian landscape and climate.  The Métis have two flags, one red and one blue.  Emblazoned on both is the infinity symbol, representing the joining of two cultures that will live on forever and the ‘quadrille’, a traditional Métis dance where the dancers move in a figure eight.

Awaken! Flag explores the counterbalance of intermediary exchange between two disparate points through Jakob von Uexkull’s notion of the umwelt (objective/outer world) and the innenvelt (subjective/inner world.  Applied to object hyperlinking (the interactivity between the image-object and the virtual) through the use QR Code technology, only those with technical know-how or willingness to engage with the technology can access the content embedded in the code.  This in turn references the content of the artwork, which draws parallels between artists as translators and my own heritage as a descendant of Louis Riel (1844 – 1885), the political and spiritual leader of the Métis people.

QR Code Reader/Scanner Instructions
Requirements:  Smartphone or tablet equipped with a camera, Internet access and QR Code application
1.     Download a free QR Code Reader application (e.g. Qrafter, Red Laser, QR Droid, etc.)
2.     Launch application.  Your camera will be activated with an on-screed framing guide.
3.     Line up the camera on your device with the Awaken! Flag.  Hold it steady until the app can read the code.
4.     For best results, aim your device squarely at the code, and not at an angle.  Try to minimize any glare from stray light sources.

A special thank you to Roger Beattie for project assistance.

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About : 

Jen Rae is an interdisciplinary artist, cultural producer and researcher from Canada, practicing in Melbourne since 2008. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (2003) and a Masters of Art: Art in Public Space (2009). Jen has exhibited in the USA, Canada and Australia and is the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including the RMIT Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship Award (2010). She is currently a PhD candidate in the Art & Environmental Sustainability Research Cluster at RMIT University and a fellow at The Centre for Sustainability Leadership and the School for Social Entrepreneurs. Jen is also the Producer of TippingPoint Canada, (date to be confirmed), in Banff, Canada.

Jen’s practice-led research explores cultural adaptation to climate change and related environmental issues. She investigates the ways in which artist-led ecological projects can more effectively engage with the public by working in collaboration with other disciplines in the identification and communication of environmental concerns. Her work also employs methods to reduce the environmental impact of creating such works and is continually looking for innovative ways reduce to her ecological footprint in the studio and through production.

CV :

2013  Ph.D. – Fine Art, Art & Environmental Sustainability, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
2010  School for Social Entrepreneurs Fellowship, School for Social Entrepreneurs, Melbourne, Australia
2009  Centre for Sustainable Leadership Fellowship, Melbourne, Australia Master of Arts in Public Space with Distinction, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia 
2006/7 Aboriginal Visual Arts Work Study (internship), The Banff Centre, Banff, Alberta, Canada 
2004  Master of Studio Arts program (1st year), Concordia University, Montreal, Canada 
2003  Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada 
2001  Fine Arts Diploma, First Class Standing, Grant MacEwan University (College), Edmonton, Canada 
1997 - 99  Bachelor of Arts transfer program (2 years), Grant MacEwan University (College), Edmonton, Canada

2010 ARENA, (Curator) City Square, Melbourne, Australia – Featuring 5 artists for the 7,000 Oaks Festival
2009 ORGANIC MINIMALISM: NEW BODIES OF KNOWLEDGE, LA Artcore Brewery Annex Space, Los Angeles, USA (7 Canadian artists), Curator: Carrie Paterson 
2008 STONE IN WATER CONTINUUM: CRIMSON MANDALA, RMIT Spiritual Courtyard, Melbourne, Australia (commissioned public artwork and intervention by RMIT University, Design and Research Institute)
THE NOTION OF HUMAN MOVEMENT, Bourke Place, Melbourne, Australia (commissioned public artwork ‘WINNER’ in collaboration with Danielle Karalus), Curator: Kim De Kretser ěk'ō drum, public art performance walk, Melbourne CBD to Port Melbourne IMPROBABLE/IMPOSSIBLE, Shed 9, Central Pier- The Docklands, Melbourne, C.E.R.E.S. – ‘the other side of OUT’, temporal public artwork Brunswick, Australia 
FICTION, The Other Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff, Canada, (12 Aboriginal artists), Curator: Frank Shebageget with Edward Poitras and Ryan Rice
2007 EN RUPTURE DE BAN – AT ODDS WITH AUTHORITY, Environmental Design Gallery, Calgary, Canada Curators: Catherine Hamel and Marjan Eggermont (group) 
2006 AN INSTANCE OF THIS, The Other Gallery, The Banff Centre, Banff, Canada A collaborative video/performance/installation with artist Radha Chandrashekaran 
AFTER BURN, (Curator), The Other Gallery, Banff, Alberta, Canada - Featuring artists Trees DeMits and    Marnix Hoys (Belgium) 
REWIND, (Curator), Harcourt House Art Gallery, Edmonton, Canada Featuring artist Bonnie Baxter 
2005 BURLS & BUNDLES, Harcourt House Gallery, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (solo) 
2004 DRAWING OUT, Bourget Gallery, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (3 artists) 
MERVIELLE du MOMENT, Bourget Gallery, Montreal, Quebec, Canada (group)

Current Professional Activities
Producer, TippingPoint Canada (The Banff Centre, proposed for 2012) TippingPoint Canada is an international projected of TippingPoint UK which brings together, by invitation, professional scientists (physical and social), artists (performing and visual) and others for a 3 day intensive workshop to explore the ways we can adapt to and mitigate functionally, culturally and socially to the impacts of climate change. Director and Co-founder, The Riparian Project The Riparian Project is a public art initiative that aims to influence a shift in grazing practices in Victoria to improve river health. The interdisciplinary team includes waterways engineer Amanda Wealands and environmental lawyer Nicola Rivers. In 2010, The Riparian Project was awarded the first prize in the 2010 RMIT University Social Enterprise SEED grants.

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