CAFKA 23: One thousand, one hundred - Kandis Friesen | June 3 - July 22, 2023

room 3 ECHOES



2023, site-specific installation with sound, sculpture, and artist text

ARTIST TEXT — The artist has written an essay about the trees and their monumentality. You can pick up a print version at the two tree locations (Conrad Grebel College & MCC Ontario) during office hours, or download the text here:

INSTRUCTIONS — The three sites on the map are all part of the installation. The two tree sites hold a sound installation: a 45’00 field recording of sunrise at the ancient Khortitsa oak tree in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine this spring. The audio will play automatically when you enter the circle on the map. Use headphones for a more immersive auditory experience. The third site is a billboard installation, which holds no sound installation; here, you can listen to the sounds surrounding the billboard sculpture. You can visit one or all of the locations, in any order.

LOCATIONS — The installation is comprised of a sculptural billboard in Waterloo Park, and two virtual sound installations at Khortitsa oak trees growing in the Waterloo region: - SITE 1 (TREE with SOUND) - CONRAD GREBEL COLLEGE (140 Westmount Rd N, Waterloo, ON) - SITE 2 (BILLBOARD with no SOUND) - WATERLOO PARK (near Westmount Rd entrance, west of the Bandshell) - SITE 3 (TREE WITH SOUND) - MCC ONTARIO (50 Kent Ave Unit 203, Kitchener, ON)

ACCESSIBILITY — Information for each site is listed at the end of this page, and in the description of each site.

PROJECT DESCRIPTION — One thousand, one hundred is an installation in sculpture and sound, triangulating a series of trees and their monumental forms. The work is grafted onto the Ukrainian / Russian Empire Mennonite practice of visiting the ancient Khortitsa oak tree in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, and planting its acorns in the diaspora: a slowly growing and dispersed installation of oaks around the world. Like many immigrant-settler communities, Ukrainian Mennonites often emphasize historic hardship as a way of obfuscating colonial alliances, and Mennonite narratives hold both a beautiful relationship to diaspora and a deep denial of collusion with empire, whether Russian or British/Canadian. The planting of these acorns is a poetic and material gesture that holds these things close together. This installation triangulates these trees-as-monuments in southern Ontario and southern Ukraine, marking the diasporic oaks through disrupting the narratives that accompany them. The acts of visiting and listening are central to the work.

OAK TREE SOUND INSTALLATIONS — The sound installation is virtually installed at two local Khortitsa oak trees, with a suggested listening time at sunrise, though you can visit at any time of day. Unfolding over 45’00, the ambient recording is an invitation to visit the trees as a listening session, listening to the recording and to the site around the tree. Both trees feature the same stereo field recording of an April morning sunrise at the ancient oak tree in the Khortitsa suburb of Zaporizhzhia, a time that is usually quiet except for blastingly bright birdsong. This recording begins at 5:30 am, with dozens of birds and their songs and signals sounding alongside the active hum of traffic, with trucks already on the road after the nightly 5am curfew, the war conditioning daily rhythms in subtle and constant ways.

BILLBOARD SCULPTURE — Located in Waterloo Park just west of the Bandshell, the sculptural billboard holds a close-up image of the the nine-hundred-year-old oak, which is slowly drowning due to the water table rise from a nearby hydroelectric dam, built during the first Stalinist five year plan in 1932. In an effort to save the tree in the 1990s, the city of Zaporizhzhia erected metal poles, flags, and ropes, evoking a ships masts, creating the strange image of an ancient tree dressed up as a ship, slowly drowning on dry land. The billboard’s photograph crops out this monumental scaffolding, and focuses instead on the wire wrapped around its branches, and the concrete pushed into its broken limbs — attempts at holding its disintegrating body together, into some kind of maintained whole. The billboard faces Laurel Creek, part of the watershed of the Grand River, echoing the ancient tree’s location next to Upper Khortitsa Creek, that flows into the Dnipro just before the dam. The billboard’s sculptural form draws from the dam itself, designed by constructivist architects Kolli and Vesnin, and built with expertise from Canada and US engineers, who had just built massive colonial dam projects in Turtle Island before traveling to southern Ukraine.


Sound & Sculptural Installation, Text, and Design: Kandis Friesen

Audio Recording: Maryna Svyrydova

Production & Support: Caitlin Sutherland, Marilyn Adlington, Rex Lingwood, Michael Jacob Ambedian, Eric Almberg, Graham Whiting

This work was produced as part of CAFKA 23: Stay with me, June 3 - July 22, 2023

Kandis Friesen |



CONRAD GREBEL COLLEGE (140 Westmount Rd N, Waterloo, ON, N2L 3G6) - The garden area where the oak tree is located is accessible by a hard gravel path, that leads from the parking lot down to the tree with no curb. - There is a bench right next to the tree.  - There is an accessible washroom just inside the main entrance (open 8am-5pm weekdays)

MCC ONTARIO (50 Kent Ave Unit 203, Kitchener, ON, N2G 3R1) - There is a short stone wall right beside the tree for sitting. - The tree is in a small garden area along the parking lot road: one can access the road with a wheelchair, but it’s a throughway. You can position yourself anywhere within the circle on the map to hear the recording, including inside the foyer of the MCC building and the green path behind the parking lot. - There is an accessible washroom, accessed via the Thrift Store (open 10am-5pm weekdays and Saturday)

BILLBOARD at WATERLOO PARK (Westmount Road Entrance / 100 Father David Bauer Dr, Waterloo, ON N2L 2Y4) - The billboard is just west of the Bandshell, facing Laurel Creek. - Most walkways in the park are packed dirt, and the way from the Bandshell to the billboard is on hard ground / grass. - There are accessible washrooms on the east and west sides of the park.



The Echoes

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