sway / pull
2021double 8mm film | 5:15
Created during the COVID-19 pandemic when queer spaces were disappearing across Toronto, sway / pull is a meditation on the erosion of Hanlan’s point beach in both literal and figurative senses. Hanlan’s Point Beach, colloquially known as the ‘gay beach’ and located on the Toronto Islands, was the site of Toronto first gay pride celebrations in 1970s and remains a queer haven today. Throughout 2020-2021, closure of other public spaces and bars in Toronto pushed cisgender heterosexual people into queer public spaces such as Hanlan’s, leading to conflict and homophobic violence. Additionally, the Toronto Islands have faced poor city planning that has led to a significant amount of erosion on the beach. This film plays with the concept of erosion by the physical pushing of sand to speak back to the literal erosion of the beach caused by late 20th century urban planning failures in Toronto, and the erosion of queer spaces during a global public health and economic crisis.
Focused on the impermanence of movement through the artist’s hand and feet motion, waves sucking in on themselves, and the active movement of doing and undoing, this rumination questions how we can blend moments and create non-linear way to view time, making imagined time in a queer space.
sway / pull was created at the Womxn’s Island Residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, founded by April Hickox in 2020.
Directed by Morgan Sears-Williams
Camera by Morgan Sears-Williams and Kelsey Whyte
Thank you to April Hickox, Jennifer Long, Kate Schneider, Becky Coomber, Allison Sears, David Williams, Marie Laing and Jesse Brossoit for their support in creating this project. Thank you to Kelsey Whyte for following me into the cold water in October.