JUSTINE MURDY, as co-artistic director, is involved in project conceptualization, instrument design, and all facets of art direction (costumes, lighting, stage craft, web). Justine is also involved in stage direction, music critique and future developments.
Justine has always had a love for the natural environment. At university and during work placements, a passion for Environmentally Sensitive Design and Material Culture Studies developed. She became fascinated with vernacular architecture — buildings and environments built by people lacking “formal” training, yet brilliantly employing materials and traditional processes of local know-how, culture and environment.
Justine’s formal design training began at the University of Waterloo in the 5-year Architecture programme. From a pool of 1,500 applicants, she was one of 65 students admitted, and one of 10 North American students awarded a four-year scholarship (to any school) from the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Part of Justine’s early journey was to pursue a more academic path as an architectural historian and researcher, while continuing to develop an eye for details and knowledge of vernacular design. Justine was invited to speak at conferences and was awarded numerous scholarships and research contracts in Ontario and British Columbia.
In 1994, she relocated from the mountainous Kootenay region of BC to Vancouver in pursuit of a Masters of Advanced Studies in Architecture degree at the University of British Columbia. She was awarded the Wolfgang Gerson Scholarship for “Most Promising Graduate Student in the School of Architecture” in 1995.
While in Vancouver, she witnessed the blossoming of Gregory Kozak’s passion for music and his interest in developing an orchestra of invented instruments. She served as manager of his partnership in S•W•A•R•M (1996-1998), and participated in a 3-month residency at the Banff Centre as an Artist. It was there that she began to delve more deeply into the world of invented instruments and performance art.
In 1998, in response to Gregory’s deepening desire to build his own instruments and Justine’s ever-evolving interest in the vernacular, they brought their two worlds together and co-founded Scrap Arts Music. With Gregory, she wanted to create instruments from the surplus materials around them. They decided to limit the source materials to things salvaged in and around Vancouver. They wanted the instruments to reflect their time and place. Justine’s design experience, sense of materiality, project management skills and love of spectacle, met Gregory’s formidable sonic vision.
Fifteen years in, and it seems the real fun is just beginning! Two inspiring new productions under the Scrap Arts Music banner are in the works, and with luck will be ready for showcasing in 2017.