Derek Coté is interested in the Arctic’s historical, global reputation as a cold, desolate and unfavorable place––in contrast to the currently developing vision of the Arctic as a rich, textured and valuable environment that is being accessed at an increasing rate due to receding ice floes and resource scarcity. Coté will conceptually juxtapose history with the anticipation of a dynamic and perhaps arresting future. Coté has long been interested in Native American song and its link to storytelling, preserving tradition and passing history and identity forward to the next generation. One of the persistent images is also of the moment just before a symphony is about to play – the anticipation of beginning. Coté will experiment with remote, on-site production of image and sound revolving around the concepts of “anticipation” and “suspension.” A crew, including composer Paul Haas and filmmaker Sean Farnsworth, visited relevant sites throughout Alaska in 2014 to create sound composition and images. Sound and image are executed in situ throughout Alaska. Dialogues with people who study and inhabit the region inform the process by offering nuances of place that may not be discernable on the surface. The collaboration will also include Randall Fleischer of the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra, with a symphonic performance and video exhibition scheduled as part of Polar Lab at the Anchorage Museum in 2016.


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Text & Portrait


Derek Coté, photograph by Mike Conti

Coté was born in Québec, Canada, and currently lives in Detroit, MI. As a frustrated architect, explorer and aspiring social examiner, Coté’s working process relies upon experiences outside the studio. His physical work focuses on translating the liminal spaces within these experiences through installations employing objects and images in a wide variety of media. Coté studied at Virginia Commonwealth University where he received his MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media and has exhibited nationally and internationally.

Alaska Field Work

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Past Work

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