FieldWork :: Coyote Illumination

Coyote Illumination explores concepts of human/animal territory, evolving boundaries between the constructed and natural world and the migration, growth and adaptation of wildlife within urban ecologies. The installation is a nod to Joseph Beuys famous 1974 performance, I Like America and America Likes Me, where the artist spent three days in a NYC gallery with a felt blanket, a flashlight, a cane and a live coyote. Beuys performance was interpreted as a healing and transformative ritual that acknowledged the spiritual significance of the coyote to native North Americans, and as a symbol of environmental degradation and loss through colonial expansion.

For the FiedWork site-specific installation Alstad reworked the visual elements and context of Beuy’s performance; the NYC gallery is transposed to a camping tent in a rural Ontario field, the live coyote replaced with a durable weather resistant plastic coyote decoy ‘geese repeller’ – a realistic stalking threat that creates a ‘danger zone’ where geese won’t want to linger. The felt is substituted with gardening fibre and the coyote now embodies the flashlight – solar powered LED lights are embedded inside the decoy and tent, illuminating it at dusk.

Coyote Illumination was installed as part of the site-specific seasonal art installations at FieldWork in the summer of 2011. More site photos in this set on flickr.