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novelsquat and related work

Since 1998 Halifax based artist Bruce Barber has collaborated with a number of individuals and institutions in Canada, (Halifax and Banff), Poland (Piotrkow Tribunalski) and New Zealand (Christchurch), and via the worldwide net on the production of several Squat installations. Each squat occupied a different architectural space ranging from a closet space and its adjoining room in Halifax, a 12 foot cube in the Walter Phillips Gallery at the Banff Centre (CD ROM), a vacant building (Piotrkow); a gallery storage space (Christchurch) and most recently in Halifax, a gallery window. Each squat installation contained a similar set of elements: a bed or couch, table, chair, computer with web access, a webcam, printer, a doorscope (and in two instances a video projector) as well as access to washroom and/or cooking facilities. Advertisements were placed in local papers and handbills distributed requesting the participation of one or more individuals who were prepared to occupy the space for periods of a few hours to several weeks in order to collaboratively produce a text. In the first squat in Halifax Jon David Welland, a managed schizophrenic wrote and broadcast several dramatic dialogues. Barber and Welland also collaborated on the formation of a group for writers. In the Banff Centre Squat, Katherine Grant a homeless woman occupied the squat for two months and produced a diary, several short stories, drawings and a video tape. In the recent squat installations an exquisite corpse novel is being produced collaboratively by visitors to the squat or via the web site. With its associated chat room and links the web site also provides opportunities for homeless, itinerant or otherwise disenfranchised individuals to communicate with each other about squats and squatting on the world wide web.