passing where to

An architectural apparition, passing where to appears at multiple sites throughout the Bonavista Peninsula. Each one is an aberration resonating with the specificities of individual sites and communities, while making a sweeping connection to the resilience of islanders and Newfoundland’s histories of settlement and resettlement—specifically, house-moving that resulted from forced relocation and government-mandated community displacement. Hengeveld’s ghost house, a commission of the Bonavista Biennale, is a one-to-one scale outline of a home in the Mockbeggar district of Bonavista, dubbed the “Henry Mouland House”. Built around 1906, the home is an early example in the province of double gable windows, a design flourish that elaborated on the traditional saltbox house design born out of functional necessity. Marking a shift in design emphasis toward quality of life over subsistence, the windows allowed more light into the second-floor level of the home, privileging an aesthetic experience of space.

Hengeveld’s broader practice often tweaks scale, material and context to undermine expectation and provide a subtle twist on what at first glance can seem familiar. Popping up at unexpected locations, passing where to becomes a metaphor for our relationship to place and ever-shifting context. Hengeveld has created a frame that emphasizes collective resilience. This transitory sculpture serves to meet and magnify context: looking through the house on Coster Street to view Jordan Bennett’s Pi’tawe’k, the endurance of Beothuk and Mi’kmaq knowledge in the face of colonialism is underscored; and, at Moses Point, the nature of the Peninsula’s changing industry, with the attendant seasonal cycle of residence and communal impact of real estate investment, is invoked. Taken as a whole the work is poetry of absence and presence.

Text by Matthew Hills