Art Gallery of Alberta

Survival Guide
January 28, 2017-May 7, 2017

image credits [click to view]

Mors Kochanski, Wilderness Survival, n.d. Ink on paper. Courtesy of the Artist.

James Beckett, Khevsurvite Derivative (potential instruments) (detail), 2011. Ski poles, wooden spoons, bayonets, varnish, string, metal tubing. Courtesy the Artist and T293, Rome. Photo © Maurizio Esposito.

Antti Laitinen, Bark Boat, 2010. HD video still. Courtesy of the Artist.

Survival Guide

The more you know, the less you carry. – Mors Kochanski

How do we adapt and process current shifting political, economic, personal and environmental challenges to our safety and stability? Featuring photographic, print, sculpture, video and performance artworks, Survival Guide examines strategies for survival within a contemporary art context.

Curator’s statement

Survival Guide relates artworks that demonstrate the action of transferring knowledge from one individual to the next, as part of a collective survivalism. Projects by artists and bushcraft expert, Mors Kochanski, examine cogent survivalist strategies within a contemporary art context: how to adapt and process current shifting political, economic, personal and environmental challenges to individual safety and stability.

Collective and communal survival is often based on a process of triaging the best way to adapt to untenable circumstances. Individually, we each rely on the embedded knowledge of material form and prescribed use value of its potentialities within the hierarchical needs of our daily life, depending on inherent knowing given to us by crafted techniques, navigation and constellations of connectedness that give rise to the conditions of autonomy.

Survival Guide asserts that independence is still reliant on the designs and codes inherently shared by another. The exhibition includes works by contemporary artists that exemplify processes of creative exchange and the principles of communal artistic practice, working toward a shared approach in realizing an improved future cultural legacy that writer Lisa Robertson defines as “survival as a life-beyond-life.”


The exhibition Survival Guide features works by the following Canadian and international artists:

  • James Beckett
  • Patrick Cruz
  • Brendan Michal Heshka
  • Isuma Productions (Zacharias Kunuk, Paul Apak Angilirq and Norman Cohn)
  • Nickelas Johnson and Mors Kochanski
  • Antti Laitinen
  • Liz Magor
  • Santiago Mostyn
  • Scott Rogers
  • Ajla R. Steinvåg
  • Paul Segers.

Curated by Kristy Trinier. Organized by the Art Gallery of Alberta and presented as a part of the Poole Centre of Design.