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Portable Walls

Portable Walls

Christian Nicolay & Ya-chu Kang

port·a·ble walls

1, a temporary or nomadic shift serving to enclose, divide, protect or change ones identity(i.e.: your identity shifts depending on where you are).  2, To adapt to ones surroundings.   3, What is destroyed is reborn (i.e.: A wall is meant to set a barrier from one area to another, but making it portable means you have to set it up and take it down each time).  4, Fluctuating re-occurrences.  5, Paradigm shift.  6, A person who creates more than one identity, traces of digital footprints, profiles and usernames.  7, Cultural landscapes that become crisscrossed and blurred from globalization, shifting borders, war, geo-politics, digital revolution, travel, re-location, etc.  8, paying attention to the constant flux of rules, regulations, definitions, checks and changes on privacy laws and the ability to relearn what is learned.


Unknown Gifts

Unknown Gifts
Video Installation
Tracing paper, glue, thread, ink print, video one channel projection with sound,  Casio CTK-3000-synthesizer, Stagg acoustic guitar, RP-50 effect pedal, Z00M R-16 recorder, lungs
Variable dimensions
Collaboration w/ Ya-chu Kang

Residency project at Taipei Artists Village, Taipei Taiwan 

The Unknown Gifts project asked for participators to share their memories or feelings about death, and imagine a gift for themselves if they die, based from the Funerary Paper burning traditions in Taiwan.  Ya-chu Kang made these gifts into paper sculptures and presented as an installation using video projections. Christian Nicolay responded to the installation by composing a 19 minute and 25 second soundtrack of what he thought the installation and concept sounded like.  His use of consonance and dissonance, melody and chaotic patterns unify the concept to reflect the known and unknown qualities of life and death. All of the sounds are original and were made during the artists Residency Period at Taipei Artists Village in Taipei Taiwan, October 1 to Nov 12, 2010.
The separation between life and death, known and unknown is valued and dealt with in many ways through the humans imagination and curious practices of ritual and superstition. Through this exploration the artists ask the participators and viewers to re-examine their idea of afterlife, and the traditions and practices associated with it.

Nomadic Recoils, Akkigalleria, Jyvaskyla Finland, Residency 2010

Nomadic Recoils was a Residency with Akkigalleria in Jyvaskyla Finland, from August 20 - September 2nd, 2010. Most of the material for this project was found and salvaged from the surrounding landscape in the streets, old abandoned houses, farms and barns and then drawn on, combined with or Re-coiled.
My relationship to this material was very spontaneous given the 13 days of time I had to complete the new body of work. This created a collision of transformations and operations of displacement altering familiar cultural objects into playful and sabotaged artifacts.

Äkkigalleria is an artist-run, non-profit, nomadic exhibition space that appears spontaneously when appropriate locations become available. Their intention is to provide a rent-free exhibition space for local and international artists to show new work. Äkkigalleria was established in 2009, out of the necessity to mobilize visual arts into happenings and events.  Äkkigalleria strives to promote creative risk taking, to find new and imaginative ways of sharing art with the public and to bring art to different public spheres by usurping existing spaces.

Point of Reference, View Art Gallery, Victoria BC 2010

Tower of Babel
Chia plants, sponge, water, chalkbrush, chalk, wood, paper, white-out, pencil, red pastel
Installation details, Variable Dimensions

Faith in Mythology
Horseshoes, nails, aluminum, light, plexiglass, bubblegum
Variable Dimensions

Hockey Night in Canada

Once upon a Pond, Pond Hockey and Global Warming
Hockey Night in Canada
Installation View, Variable Dimensions
Esplanade Arts and Heritage Centre, Medicine Hat AB, 2009


Ice Skates, contact mics, RP-50 Effect pedals, Marshall mini Amplifiers, utility belt, thread, fabric, tape
Performance Object

Climate Change
Canadian 5 Dollar Bill
2.75" x 5.75" Inches

Faith in Love

Post Atlantis

Post Atlantis
Variable Dimensions

Federal Reserve Act

Federal Reserve Act
USD One Dollar bills, American flag, ribbon, thread, polyester fiberfill, Made in China label
26 x 16 x 5


ATLANTIS was a body of work that progressed during the reign of the Bush administration from 
2001 - 2008.  I worked with a variety of media, drawing, sculpture, sound and video and compiled into several installations and performances over the years.

ATLANTIS is a protest of the erosion of the US Constitution, which was formed as a safeguard against tyranny by the Government.

ATLANTIS deconstructs American Flags and reconstructs them into art objects and not willingly destroyed or desecrated for that purpose.

ATLANTIS draws attention to the pitfalls of the globalization, the instability of the international markets and corrupt financial institutions.

ATLANTIS combines ubiquitous and mundane materials such as ‘Made in China’ labels, plastic toys and USD One-Dollar Bills with the intensely symbolic American flag. The subsequent re-presentation is a timely commentary on national self-image and its inherent fragility.