This project arises from aspects of Scottish family history, in the time period before the artist’s ancestors moved to Canada (1908), and follows from research first undertaken during an artist residency in Glasgow in 1990. Vida’s great-grandmother and her sister were child workers in the Glasgow cotton mills, while her great-grandfather and his father before him worked in the shipyards there. The installation makes reference to the cotton industry via a long suspended bolt of cotton fabric suspended at waist height across a series of trestles suggesting cotton production machinery. Concealed fans gently ripple the fabric. Two linked projections are seen (water, weaving looms, cotton fields, walls) flowing across the fabric accompanied by sounds of machinery, flowing water, creaking ships and women’s voices singing in Gaelic. A second video image is projected within a framed section of the back wall of the exhibition space, showing hands lighting candles and handling and sorting cotton filaments and fabric. Together, the installed elements constitute a meditation on the hidden stories behind the progress of global commerce, and the family’s unwitting complicity in the darker aspects of industry – the exploited and enslaved labour that fueled cotton’s production.



Two projected videos, sculpture, sound

6:00 minute loop


EMMEDIA Gallery, 2007 & 2017; The Works International Art & Design Festival, Edmonton, 2010; 90 by 90 Exhibition, Art Gallery of Alberta, 2017