In 2004, Hall began an ongoing visual dialogue and four-year long collaboration entitled Marginalia with Vancouver performance artist, Margaret Dragu. An extended, bi-coastal conversation was made visible through the daily making and sharing, by each artist, of a soft and sometimes ragged “memory cloth.”
During the period of the collaboration, Dragu and Hall each produced, every day, a 30.5 × 30.5 cm cloth work. Each memory cloth is then, roughly, one-foot square. This measure is only approximate, and it was chosen as suggestive of the natural measure of the human foot used in marking out distances. Step by step, day-by-day, through their work on the cloth carrés, Dragu and Hall “moved closer,” metaphorically, to each other despite the enormous geographic expanse that separated them. The techniques employed by the artists included (and subverted) the more traditional female domestic skills of sewing, ironing, embroidering, and appliqué / collage.
Marginalia as The History House (2008, 2014)
The History House, exhibited in HouseWork(s), is one small echo of Hall’s side of this collaborative ‘conversation,’ this “soft history.” Exhibited at The Rooms, The History House has become the emissary for the much larger project of Marginalia, where it was first exhibited in 2008. Marginalia has been presented to the public as installation, as performance, as long-term residence and short term exhibition in Vancouver, Richmond, Sackville, and Montreal, but until recently it had never been shown in Newfoundland. Marginalia is significant because this body of work offers a starting point for Hall’s first intentional collaboration with another artist. It also marks the formalization of daily practice as foundational to all of Hall’s work since then.
Marginalia at Studio XX (2010)
Marginalia at Studio XX brought another layer of collaboration and iteration to the project in Montreal in 2010. Staff and the Director of XX had visited the Struts residency, and when they identified the theme of their HTMLLes Festival in 2010 as “home”, they invited Dragu and Hall to participate. The artists created a multi-layered “archive”… lining the walls of the entrance corridor with a “soft library” of handmade memory cloths, and using recipe cards, random slides playing on multiple computer screens and a looped video installation to invite viewers into dialogue with material and electronic correspondences accross distance.
Marginalia in Residence (2008)
Marginalia in Residence at STRUTS gallery in Sackville, NB, (2008) gave Hall and Dragu creative time to explore video, movement, gesture and real time dialogue – to experiment face to face – putting both their squares and their bodies into conversation.
Marginalia: Getting out of the House (2008)
Marginalia: Getting out of the House was presented at The Richmond Public Art Gallery (RAG) in Richmond, BC, in the fall of 2008, where Dragu and Hall built their “history” into “houses”, printed their entire square-correspondence on 4″×6″ recipe cards, and invited members of the local community to help them “make meaning” by putting the squares into new conversation with one another. When they stopped making daily squares in 2008, Hall and Dragu had created and shared over 2700 squares.
The exhibition catalogue MARGINALIA: Getting Out of the House was published by RAG in 2009.
Marginalia: Aktion 1 (2005)
Marginalia was presented to the public for the first time during the LIVE Biennale of Performance Art, in Vancouver, 2005. Video documentation of the performance/installation of Marginalia: Aktion 1 can be seen here.
Marginalia: Origins (2006)
The “story” of Marginalia to date, is below – excerpted from an Artist’s Talk Hall gave at Goddard College in Vermont, in January, 2006.