Ursula Johnson: hide

hide 1 (hīd)
v.tr.
1. To put or keep out of sight or away from notice.
2. To prevent the disclosure or recognition of; conceal.
3. To cut off from sight; cover up.
4. To avert (one's gaze), especially in shame or grief.

v.intr.
1. To keep oneself out of sight or notice.
2. To seek refuge or respite.

hide 2  (hīd)
n.
The skin of an animal, especially the thick tough skin or pelt of a large animal.

hide 3  (hīd)
n.
An old English measure of land, usually the amount held adequate for one free family and its dependents.

Presented as part of the exhibition I've Only Known My Own, Ursula Johnson's new performance hide uses traditional leather tanning processes to explore how material knowledge is transmitted from place to place, and from body to body. Here, the body in question could be that of the animal (its material qualities determining specific processes), or that of a body-of-knowledge generated through the performance task. Johnson will bring a number of props with her that will echo customary Indigenous tools used for fleshing and scraping a hide and will commence scraping a hid onsite at the gallery. A large piece of synthetic machine-fabricated "faux fur" will substitute for the organic animal hide. 

Johnson’s past performances have used traditional Mi’kmaw basket weaving techniques to trace and extrapolate indigenous bodies’ presence within and resistance to legacies of colonial legislation and control, interrogating (outdated) ethnographic and anthropological approaches to understanding indigenous cultural practices.