Hamsterley Farm Water Tower
By Lucien Durey
For Hamsterley Farm Water Tower, Lucien Durey turned a Hamsterley Farm strawberry jam tin, which he found in Saskatoon, into a crude pinhole camera, using a sewing needle to poke a small hole into the face of the tin. With the homemade camera and 4” x 5” film, the artist travelled to Saanich, British Columbia, to document the jam tin’s referenced site—the farm’s water tower is now preserved as a recognized heritage structure—in an attempt to reveal something of the object to itself. Seemingly “personal” to the camera, can these photographs somehow convey the relational energies that exist between the antique tin and its documented site of origin?
The variety of media approaches that constitute Durey’s work often begin with a performative engagement with found objects and ephemera. He is attracted to things that have the potential to be overlooked—quietly emotional things—discarded, forgotten, or revealed through searching. Durey considers his object collecting to be informed by a subjective queer experience—one of simultaneous attraction and repulsion that encompasses the sense that what we find exciting or sensuous can also embarrass us or expose us to harm. Further to this, Durey is interested in the theme of compensation, that is, the emotional motivation for gestures, particularly as it relates to human investment in contemporary mythological figures and their representations and to the collection of symbolic and totemic objects.