Muck Studies Dept.

Jan 22, 2022



Gallery / foyer, Western Front


5:30 – 6:00 p.m.


On the opening day for the exhibition Broadcasts from Here, Geo Wyeth staged a site-specific performance as part of their project Muck Studies Dept. (2017–), a fictive municipal agency whose protagonist gets in touch with what stinks beneath the surface. Merging inherited Black Atlantic funk and folk poetics with techniques of investigative journalism, the project connects mud, water, metal, gas, ass, rocks, coins, extractive industry, deep coloniality and sensual expressions of belonging. 

For Broadcasts from Here, Wyeth created work out of the gallery itself by cutting two holes through the floorboards in Western Front’s foyer and gallery to reveal hidden crawl spaces. Covered by grates, these storm drain-sized cutouts contained debris, speakers emitting Wyeth’s audio works No Stars Found Waving Signs at Muck Studies Dept. (2021–22) and Not a Dime at Muck Studies Dept. w/ Wilma Subra (2021), and colour changing LEDs that illuminated the dirt floor of Western Front’s basement and the gallery walls.

The performance began in the gallery with Wyeth emerging from the hole in the floor surrounded by stage smoke that also rose from the hole. They wore a costume that included waders, gum boots, face paint, and a jacket spray painted with the words “Muck Studies Dept.” Taking place in a dark gallery space without any overhead lighting, the performance was illuminated by a flashlight that Wyeth handed to an audience member to manage. 

Throughout the performance, Wyeth performed to the audience—singing, and monologuing as the character from the audio works featured in the exhibition. They engaged with props including a head accessory made from a kitchen sponge and piece of wire, a bucket, and a colourful scarf featuring a large portrait of the investigative journalist and anti-lynching activist Ida B. Wells. The performance concluded in the foyer.

Related Events


Western Front is a non-profit
artist-run centre in Vancouver.

We acknowledge the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səl̓ílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations as traditional owners of the land upon which Western Front stands.