Participants, Thanks and Support

Vince Tao – VANDU member, activist
Samona Marsh – VANDU boad member, DULF member, activist
Hugh Lampkin – VANDU board member, activist
Mikiki – artist, harm reduction worker, @mkkultra
Liz Roberts – filmmaker
Margaret Sadovsky – writer, editor
Paul Wong – artist
Zaire Knight – artist
Matt Kimber – weed entrepreneur
Sarah Whidden – harm reduction worker
Dani ReStack – artist
Ellery Bryan – artist + activist
Deven Narine-Singh – filmmaker + curator

Participants

Vince Tao – VANDU member, activist
Samona Marsh – VANDU boad member, DULF member, activist
Hugh Lampkin – VANDU board member, activist
Mikiki – artist, harm reduction worker, @mkkultra
Liz Roberts – filmmaker
Margaret Sadovsky – writer, editor
Paul Wong – artist
Zaire Knight – artist
Matt Kimber – weed entrepreneur
Sarah Whidden – harm reduction worker
Dani ReStack – artist
Ellery Bryan – artist + activist
Deven Narine-Singh – filmmaker + curator

Credits

Devi Penny – Project Manager + Editor
Aya Garcia – Camera
Marijke Pieters – Kwiers
Kevin Thornton – Music



Thanks

VANDU – Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users
DULF – Drug Users Liberation Front
Star Daniels
Eli Horwatt
Jason Fox
Vanessa Lore
Brett Story
Robyn Schleihauf



Support

TBB – The Blue Building Gallery, K’jipuktuk / Halifax
Nocturne – Nocturne: Art at Night a fall festival in Kjipuktuk/Halifax.
Canada Council for the Arts – Provided funding for the The Infernal Grove video.
Department of Transmedia – Syracuse University

The Infernal Grove Project

The Infernal Grove is an unsystematic structural analysis of drug use, addiction and recovery (not necessarily in that order). It is anti-carceral, anti-prohibition and seeks to amplify the voices of radical harm-reductionists and their coalitions. It recognizes the value of the sacred while rejecting all forms of piety. It posits wonder and the land as spaces of enchantment, as not an antidote to but an extension of the space opened up by drugs.

It’s based on the artists’ lived experience of drug use and the consequent interventions of state and medical establishments, which included both involuntary hospitalization and outpatient rehabilitation.  

The film is based on interviews with members of Vancouver’s Drug Liberation Front, a radical harm-reduction group that gives out free, tested crack and fentanyl on the street; with Samona Marsh and Hugh Lampkin of VANDU, the first drug-users union in North America; with video art  pioneers Paul Wong and Joe Gibbons; with a white-rapper-turned-cannabis-entrepreneur from Oregon and a young Black weed dealer in rust-belt New York; with a “sober influencer” from Nova Scotia and the brother of a for-profit rehab chain; with drag artist Mikiki about his (entirely positive) experiences in the chemsex scene.  The interviews are woven together with hypnotic time lapse video of the natural world.

The visual material has been collected over several years through a process both painstaking and wobbly.  Much of it is timelapse and all of it is made to draw the viewer into the inside of beauty—to actually be in beauty for a while—because inside beauty there is a room, and in the room is enchantment or wonder.    

Film – The Infernal Grove

The Infernal Grove [v1 TBB]
38min

The Infernal Grove is an unsystematic structural analysis of drug use, addiction and recovery (not necessarily in that order). It is anti-carceral, anti-prohibition and seeks to amplify the voices of radical harm-reductionists and their coalitions. It recognizes the value of the sacred while rejecting all forms of piety. It posits wonder and the land as spaces of enchantment, as not an antidote to but an extension of the space opened up by drugs.

It’s based on the artists’ lived experience of drug use and the consequent interventions of state and medical establishments, which included both involuntary hospitalization and outpatient rehabilitation.

This is the version 1 of The Infernal Grove as it was shown at The Blue Building Gallery in the fall of 2021. The Infernal Grove video will change which each new exhibition or screening.

Related Resources

Speakers in the study group are invites to provide any additional resources they would like to make available for the Study Group attendees.

Liz Roberts provides this article:

The War on Drugs That Wasn’t: Wasted Whiteness, “Dirty Doctors,” and Race in Media Coverage of Prescription Opioid Misuse

Julie Netherland, PhD, Deputy State Director and Helena B. Hansen, MD PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Anthropology

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5121004

Dani Restack provides two of her videos:

Drawings for Quill
7min
https://vimeo.com/572593613
pass : QUILL

For Vincent
1 min
https://vimeo.com/572583424
pass: VINCENT

Dani ReStack provided 3 texts from ‘Glad Day: Daily Affirmations for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People’ by Joan Larkin

You have always been drunk.
That’s all there is to it—it’s the only way.

So as not to feel the horrible burden of time that breaks your back and bends you to the earth, you have to be continually drunk.

But on what? Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.

excerpt from Charles Baudelaire’s poem Be Drunk.