By Meghan Power
Over the course of the last few years, Marina began journaling as a way of managing her grief over the breakup of an important relationship while coping with the ongoing loss of her father to dementia. “It’s an archive of heartbreak — a deeply personal journal of sorts. A way of processing my thoughts and experience moving through relationships, sexuality, desire, and queerness — all within the context of grief — rooted in the loss of two different relationships.”
Marina shared her writing with her collaborator and co-founder of Lo-fi Spectacle Club, Hannah Meyers, who saw potential in pairing the written text with visuals. The combination of the two mediums gave the images a meme-like quality, while holding true to the depth and wisdom behind Marina’s experiences.
In 2022, Marina and Hannah received an artistic development microgrant from CADA to attend an arts residency, Joya: arte + ecologia, located in Andalucía, Spain. Joya offered Marina and Hannah time and space away from day-to-day life and the chance to live with an international community of artists, in an environment designed for sharing, learning, and creative possibility. Having this time and space allowed their project to expand and further develop with the added dimension of global perspective. Marina and Hannah were able to experiment with creating a visual narrative with photos and videos overlaid with Marina’s writing.
“After living with the intense pandemic-related isolation of 2020 and 2021, I found it exhilarating to expose myself in such a vulnerable way to strangers,” says Marina. Initially, when Hannah and Marina first began working with each other on medicine cabinet, they both felt an interesting tension develop: “It was a liberating experience to have Hannah working with my writing — by having her inhabit the text by becoming the main subject in the images we were making. This coming together of text and visual that simultaneously represented both of our queer femme perspectives and universal truth was an interesting juxtaposition of intense specificity and the individual experience. And we felt drawn to exploring this relationship while at Joya.”
Both Marina and Hannah believe the funding to attend the residency and begin the process of creating this work together was crucial to how their work continues to develop and how it will eventually exist in the world. Marina believes, “this type of funding is essential to artists being able to start something, especially during these times when it’s challenging, especially for emerging artists, to get their projects off the ground and keep the momentum needed to bring them to completion — however that looks. These microgrant opportunities make it possible for emerging artists to find the space to develop micro-ideas into art that contribute to the ethos of Calgary’s art scene, but also into global conversations about art and human experience.”