As is the case in much of my work, my personal experience is used as a point of departure. When I am seeking comfort, I gravitate towards structure (routine, pattern, familiarity, balance) and candy/sweets. Intrigued by the contrast between these two ways of comforting myself, I conceived a series of images that would speak to this tension. The Comfort photographic series has often been exhibited as an installation with interactive components.
The web component of this project, Minimal Comforts, provides an opportunity for public participation and a wider examination of people’s experience with comfort. The photographic imagery is the cornerstone of the web site – the design is built from these images, and provides a particular visual field on which issues around comfort can be explored. In addition to photographic imagery, the site contains personal narratives and musings about comfort/discomfort as well as three interactive areas that allow users to 1) share their own stories of comfort and discomfort; 2) create an evolving candy pattern by adding comforts to a database; and 3) design their own candy patterns by simply mouse-clicking locations in a screen-based grid. Visitors at the McMaster Museum and YYZ exhibitions also encountered a candy station where they could create their own candy patterns, photograph them, and pin them on the wall.