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Lorna Brown

Lorna Brown is a Vancouver artist, curator and educator. Since 1984 her work has been shown in exhibitions at Dazibao, Montreal; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Gallery 44, Toronto; Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa; Taipei Fine Arts Museum; and Artspeak, Vancouver, among others. Her recent independent curatorial projects include Set and Group Search: art in the library. Director/Curator of Artspeak 1999–2004.

Exhibitions

  • The Chatter of Culture

    LORNA BROWN, DAVID ZINK YI
    April 7–May 12, 2007

    It has been noted that the Age of Information is, in fact, an age of forgetting: we are inundated with a culture so overwhelming that it hurtles past us without remark, unabsorbed. This flood might be called cultural chatter. One of the results of the waves of information is boredom, a lack of curiosity in the face of the sheer magnitude of things and ideas in the world. A nod to Theodor Adorno’s discussions of the culture industry, leisure, and the “chatter of culture,” this exhibition brings together the work of two artists that approach the thematics and anatomy of world-weariness.

    Lorna Brown’s ongoing research into boredom has informed her recent visual and critical practice. The Structure of Boredom (After Oden) is a work that endlessly repeats an analytic diagram, mapping boredom’s characteristics of repetition, predictability, and temporal suspension. Installed in Artspeak’s windows, it functions not only as analysis, but as decorative hoarding or perhaps lolling dance step instructions. Brown’s video Threshold (cont.) projects an archive of rolling quotes on boredom that spills over the floor and up the wall like cinematic credits. The quotes complicate and contradict one another as they struggle to communicate. The use of text elicits a layering of histories. From the inception of the printed word through modern literature, theory, and into the age of Hollywood and digital communication technologies such as texting and Powerpoint, the work incites a consideration of the conditions of obsolescence in tandem with the conditions of boredom.

    David Zink Yi’s practice offers reflections on the hybrid character of cultural and personal histories, often depicting the body as an instrument or medium of both the individual and the collective. His video Ahumm is a short verbal, visual, and physical meditation in which a figure is shown writing variations of the expression “ahumm” on a piece of paper while intoning the expressions. It is unclear if the actions are synchronous and the actions reflect an emotionality that is at once personal and distant. The performative activity of the figure takes place in real time (but in its looping this “real time” is suspended), unlike the Hollywood structure of the film credits in Brown’s work. The work contains a tension between passivity and action, conceptualism and body politics. The works in The Chatter of Culture are potentially on the threshold between pessimism and hopefulness, at once frustrating and contradictory, meaningful and on the brink of illumination.

    Postscript 27: Rebecca Marks on The Chatter of Culture (PDF)

  • Set: Room 302

    GEOFFREY FARMER, JUDY RADUL
    October 22–November 26, 2005

    Judy Radul and Geoffrey Farmer in collaboration

    Curated by Lorna Brown and Jonathan Middleton

    An act can be the process of doing or performing something, a decree or a written document, a part of a theatrical performance, a pose of intentional or unintentional insincerity. Acts hover between the real and the represented; they can be symbolic, an oblique sublimation of another, earlier act, or through repetition, can form a habit. Judy Radul’s diverse practice in performance, video, installation and writing has focused on a range of acts—rehearsals, casting calls, entrances and exits, acts of speech—that underlie or anticipate the gestures captured in the frame of the camera or the stage. Objects can be acted upon, can prop up an act, support it, influence its effects, or be entered as evidence. Objects that suggest costumes, make up kits for a reconstruction, or stand in for absent actors, populate the installation work of Geoffrey Farmer. Whether an invitation to re-enact the role of a movie hunchback, or a ’70’s feminist performance artist, his arrangements of materials and constructed environments forecast the creation of a persona and encourage an imagined narrative.

    Room 302 is a result of Radul and Farmer’s shared interests, realized through remaking, redoing and reconstructing with objects, arrangements and the mediating camera. Their collaborative installation restages the cusp between the ‘truth’ of a performance and the suggestive power of an object, the indirect means by which we grapple with the complex territory of the real.

    GEOFFREY FARMER’s work has been included in numerous national and international exhibitions, including solo exhibitions at Or Gallery, Vancouver; Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver; the Power Plant, Toronto; and 1999 Melbourne Biennial. JUDY RADUL’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, including solo exhibitions at Presentation House, the Belkin Satellite, and Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver; and The Power Plant, Toronto. She has performed widely, including at the Western Front, Vancouver and Institute of Contemporary Art, London UK.

    Set is a series of three exhibitions, a site-specific performance event and artist talks, exploring the concepts of rehearsal and reenactment and how they relate to social roles, institutions, and histories. Set is produced in collaboration with the Western Front and is supported by the British Council’s UK Today Series and the Independent Critics and Curators program of The Canada Council.

    For a full list of Set events, visit www.setproject.ca

    Postscript 16: Richard Fowler on Set: Room 302 (PDF)

  • Spill 03: Paysages incertain

    ISABELLE HAYEUR
    December 4–January 22, 2005

    Montréal artist Isabelle Hayeur completes the Spill series with Spill 03: Paysages incertains. Hayeur’s photographs and video work appear to be documents of sublime landscapes, when in fact they are digital manipulations that reiterate the constant interference that human activity enacts upon rural and wilderness terrain. The result are disturbing possible worlds fabricated by blending different sites into a single territory. Hayeur’s subtle interventions destabilize familiar viewpoints and call into question the viewer’s notions of aesthetic satisfaction and the state of the landscape.

    Hayeur’s photographs hover in a state of ambiguity: far from romanticizing ‘pristine’ environments, she calls upon the viewer to question notions of aesthetic satisfaction while examining the impact of western development models on the environment. The unknown, or unknowable, places she fabricates by combining aspects of different sites into a single zone, draws attention to the non-places that surround us. Between critique and disturbance, Hayeur creates a unique attraction, difficult to name or qualify.

    The Spill series has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and The City of Vancouver.

  • Spill 02: Meniscus

    LUIS JACOB, KELLY MARK, CORIN SWORN, KARA UZELMAN
    October 23–November 27, 2004

    The second exhibition in the Spill series, Meniscus, features four artists working with the residual mass and indivisible remainder of everyday life through strategies of repetition and reenactment. Exploring the permeability of materials, spaces and systems of containment, these artists make tangible the impulse to shore up the arbitrary boundaries between spaces and concepts, and conscious and unconscious behaviours. In addition, Ana Rewakowicz will inhabit an inflatable latex room (cast from her home in Montréal) during the opening of Meniscus. Rewakowicz is travelling across Canada with her room.

    Luis Jacob gives character to the shapeless community of isolated individuals consuming waves of spam advertising that arrive at their computer terminals. Just Do It! transposes the litany of failed transformations promised by products marketed through the internet into ‘worldly’ architecture.

    Kelly Mark uses her own ‘will to order’ to investigate potential moments of individuation that leak out of the repetitive, obsessive tasks of the day to day. I Really Should is a recorded list of one thousand things the artist really should do. From eating more fibre or taking more chances to cleaning the litter box, this verbal collection of one thousand things permeates the gallery’s architecture.

    Corin Sworn examines how contemporary popular culture showcases models of the private sphere rendering them as symptoms of an ideal interiority. Sworn begins with Lissitzky’s 1926 design of a room to display Russian art. Inverting Lissitzky’s model of an interior intentionally designed as a public stage set, Sworn investigates models of interiority prepared to receive the viewers imaginings of a private living space.

    Kara Uzelman explores the urge for accumulation in performance and sculpture. In a hotel room all the furniture is in a heap, cast-off clothing in her bedroom is sewn together in a lump, in a park all the dogs are corralled into a camera viewfinder. Interested in piling and purging, Uzelman has worked with an entire garage sale, purchasing and inhabiting the remnants of a stranger’s discarded physical existence.

    The Spill series has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and The City of Vancouver.

  • Spill 01: Collapse

    SCOTT MASSEY
    September 11–October 16, 2004

    Vancouver artist Scott Massey opens Artspeak’s Spill series with Spill 01: Collapse. Questioning order and control, Massey’s work takes on the illusionary boundaries between man and the landscape. His work explores the uneasy relationship between culture and nature, such as photographic images of artificial light illuminating a nocturnal landscape and sculptural investigations into the effects of man-made light on the processes of shedding and growth. His photographs, sculptures and interventions observe this mutual overflow as various forms of control collapse and cultural classification systems are revealed to be unstable.

    The works in Collapse engage with aspects of the landscape that display evidence of reciprocity between culture and nature. A series of ten photographs document signs in a northern Canadian dump that indicate how to separate your garbage. This imposed system of order can be seen as a false construct as the items left at the dump are uncontained and ultimately break down into the surrounding wilderness. The work ironically shows the rudimentary classification systems against a background of seemingly uninhabited landscape. In addition to the photographs, Massey’s sculptural work reveals how artificial illumination affects natural processes. In the centre of the gallery, Massey’s circular installation of grass grows toward the lamp at the sculpture’s heart, the blades of grass leaning phototropically toward the light. Here, synthetic illumination becomes a controlled stand-in for the sun. In Collapse, Massey’s social portrait questions the separations we place between the urban environment and the perceived unsettled landscape beyond.

    The Spill series has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Province of British Columbia through the British Columbia Arts Council and The City of Vancouver.

  • Placebo

    HELEN CHO, COLLEEN WOLSTENHOLME
    June 12–July 16, 2004

    Placebo features two artists who use everyday objects and substances to investigate consumption and states of embodiment.

    Colleen Wolstenholme’s work uses images of pills and corporate logos found on the internet as sources for projects in sculpture, photography, painting and embroidery. Psychotropic and analgesic medications are charged with a range of social, sexual and cultural content, and Wolstenholme has wed these associations to a range of cultural practices. The history of handicraft informs her labour-intensive petit point reproductions of pharmaceutical logos. Colour photographs and inkjet prints manipulate the branding of pills and other consumed substances, such as cigarettes and alcohol, into patterns suggested by their shapes and clinical effects. From floral motifs to patterns that are reminiscent of molecular structures and constellations, Wolstenholme’s wry work draws upon the distance between the uniform, brightly coloured, text-embossed aesthetic of these goods and remedies, and their function, effect or social significance.

    Helen Cho uses the sensual presence of soap and sugar in installations that reflect the permeable and transitional nature of these substances. Luxurious and exuding an overbearing scent, these concentrated and heavily processed materials are manipulated and placed in ephemeral arrangements in relation to the architecture of the gallery. The usual intimacy between soap and body is undercut through paring and grating, and through embedding remnants of everyday life, such as beads and pins. These fossils, when placed in piles of glittering refined sugar, become part of an idealized landscape. Too Sweet! Go Away! evokes the slippery interiors and exteriors of the body and the equally blurred division between the two. Both subtle and extreme, this installation draws upon our familiarity with substances we consume daily, and transforms them, intensifying a sense of absorption, from without and within, of material culture.

  • Laura

    ERIC METCALFE
    April 24–May 29, 2004

    Metcalfe’s long-standing practice in performance, video, installation, ceramics, and sculpture, has consistently drawn from popular culture, including film and television, jazz improvisation, and the graphic novel. In Laura, Metcalfe looks in detail at film noir, a genre of great importance to film and cultural theorists over the past three decades.

    Centred around a ‘missing woman’, the Vera Casprey novel Laura of 1942 and the 1944 Otto Preminger film adaptation exemplify the classic motifs of crime fiction and film noir. In this new installation, Metcalfe takes on the role of ‘auteur’, a continuation of his ‘oeuvre’ that includes the 1980 video Steel and Flesh. He collaborates with writer Nancy Shaw, and editor Michael Turner in the voice-over script for the sound track, in which Shaw performs; renowned jazz pianist Paul Plimley and sound artist Peter Courtemanche collaborate on the score. Ceramicist Gillian McMillan and sculptor Rick Ross work with Metcalfe in the design of the set pieces for a remarkable new installation that transforms the gallery space into a sound stage that the viewer can enter. Paring down to a few significant elements the lush opulence of the film noir set, and including vintage lighting, draperies and ‘painting’, Metcalfe investigates the strong influence of this popular genre on both contemporary art practice and his own artistic development. Placed in relation to the on-going film location work in our neighbourhood, the dramatically lit storefront space will reflect back to the street one chapter of the history of Hollywood.

    Postscript 15: Mark Harris on Laura (PDF)

  • Untitled (The Artist at Work)

    KLAUS SCHERÜBEL
    January 31–March 6, 2004

    Klaus Scherübel examines different systems of cultural production and consumption ranging from the field of the visual arts and literature to the entertainment industry. Untitled (The Artist at Work) is an ongoing series of photographs picturing Scherübel himself in the role of the artist. The transposition of this well known genre into the context of a conceptually working artist leads to an ironic shift of meaning which is typical for Scherübel’s practice. He appears in various places such as cinemas, landscapes, and furniture stores, engaged in activities that are contrary to notions of labour based on efficiency, productivity and performance. The goal of his activities is ambiguous. Without the caption (including the name of the artist, the title, the name of the photographer) the images could be misread as illustrations for products or institutions. Untitled (The Artist at Work) presents a documentary on artistic work that is characterized by the absence of material production. The images rather show Scherübel absorbed by thoughts—emphasizing the conceptual aspect of his activity. While the content of the images seems to state a sort of emancipation of material production, the photographs—perceived from the point of view of their materiality—re-register this conceptual activity in the materialistic logic of art. In a way Scherübel questions the artistic production, its representations and its protocols of inscription in the reality of the artistic context. His conceptual interventions, using various means and strategies, always redefine the status of the artwork and the artist in relation to the framing practices of visual and written language.

    During this exhibition, in collaboration with Vancouver Public Library, several special events will be presented:

    KLAUS SCHERÜBEL
    Mallarmé, The Book
    Installation

    February 10–29
    Vancouver Public Library Central Branch
    Fine Arts and Music Section
    6th Floor
    Vancouver Public Library
    350 West Georgia

    Mallarmé, The Book deals with Stéphane Mallarmé’s complex and until recently almost unknown world-book enterprise. The Book (Le Livre), defined by Mallarmé’ (1842-1898) as the ‘only’ borderless achievement, is meant to be completely detached from its author. It is intended to be the result of every possible book, as the essence of all literature, but at the same time as a ‘very ordinary’ book. The Book is impossible to realize, yet is an accomplishment as pure concept.

    Klaus Scherübel responds to the paradox posed by Mallarmé in his recent publication, Mallarmé, The Book. Scherübel has produced its cover in the proportions Mallarmé originally intended, using the modes of production and distribution of a conventional book. The Book will be presented as a promotional display copy in the Fine Arts and Music area of the Vancouver Public Library’s Downtown Branch. This new English ‘translation’ follows on Mallarmé, Das Buch, which was published by Walther König, Cologne, in 2001, and was the subject of a number of exhibitions.

    Postscript 13: Meredith Quartermain on Klaus Scherubel

    Jeff Derksen’s essay, The Impossible Book, was written following a seminar which coincided with Klaus Scherübel’s exhibition Untitled (The Artist at Work). The seminar was lead by Jeff Derksen, Marina Roy, Roger Farr and Isabelle Pauwels and attended by local artists and authors. Funding for this seminar and essay was provided by the Canada Council for the Arts Off the Radar Program.

    “The Impossible Book”
    JEFF DERKSEN

    While the form of the “book” is now going through a period of general upheaval, and while that form now appears less natural, and its history less transparent than ever, and while one cannot tamper with it without disturbing everything else, the book form alone can no longer settle the case of those writing processes which, in practically questioning the form, must also dismantle it.
    —Jacques Derrida, Dissemination (1967)

    Following Stéphane Mallarmé’s rigorous architecture for a book, Klaus Scherübel’s project Mallarmé, The Book gives us a thing whose design, modes of production and political economy were meticulously scripted by Mallarmé himself. And despite the digital warning that sounded the death of the book through shifts in technology – from CD ROMs, virtual libraries accessible on the web and books loaded onto Palm Pilots—books as things have remained relatively constant in their form even as their political economy has fluctuated. Like many of the things we use here in Canada, books have become more globalized in their production and their consumption even as they continue to look more or less the same.

    The book’s uncanny aspect is located in the tension between its use value (literacy and information) and its value as a commodity in the chain of production as it moves from the printing press and the bindery to the bookstore shelves, folding into reader’s lives and re-circulating as social meaning. During the bookwork discussion at Artspeak, Roger Farr commented that Mallarmé’s Le Livre is a composition to record the political and economic condition in which the book is published, and circulated compresses the uncanny condition of the book and the force of Mallarmé’s project.

    Scher¨bel’s styrofoam-filled object fills the impossible center of Mallarmé’s project, producing something that is secondary to its political economy at the same time as it foregrounds that condition. Scherübel’s Mallarmé, The Book is the cipher of the “creative practice” that Mallarmé expended on the project (without which Scherübel’s project would not exist), as well as a commodity circulating in the economy of a standard book and an artist’s multiple within yet another economy and set of social meanings. It is an object whose thingness constantly refers back to the creative, economic and social scaffolding that produced it and gives it meaning.

    Roger Farr’s project of translating Mallarmé’s texts also points back to Mallarmé’s original labour. Farr’s act of translating is a mirror of cultural production that does not seek to generate a unique text from Mallarmé’s original, but re-inscribes the materiality of the text. Translation as experiment and translation as process have been a strong part of contemporary Canadian literature (perhaps most dramatically performed through the Toronto Research Group) and these investigations came on the crest of theories which sought to refigure the relationship between reader and writer, between source text and target text, between literary text and social text and the terrain of cultural translation. Farr’s emphasis on the visual and the graphic contests cultural translation by moving away from it, instead pushing the materiality of the text to the foreground as the dominant feature. In this aspect, Farr’s translation project shares something with the Russian Formalists who sought to define the “literariness” of a text in order to take it out of the hands of critics who did not provide any tools to understand how a text works, how it creates its effects. For the Formalists, the literary text was not a mysterious event tied to the genius of the author, but a skilled construct. Likewise, translation has been approached as a mysterious process—one which cannot fully yield the secrets of the original text—in which the goal is to semantically mirror the original text (and this is what facing page translations literally do). Farr does not aim to reproduce the genius of a Mallarmé text, but to produce the skill of the text, and in a sense, the precision of the material.

    Mallarmé’s precision was to provide every detail of Le Livre, but of course, without the book itself. Marina Roy’s Sign after the X provides details of the letter X by accumulating a social history of that enigmatic sign. Supported by an abundance of formal book conventions—dedication page, contents, foreword, prologue, introduction, preface, etc. through to epilogue, postscript and appendices—Roy collapses the scale of the book with the scale of the letter. The letter—which is normally integrated transparently into a word, then words to syntax, sentences to paragraphs, paragraphs to chapters, etc. within the normal hierarchy of reading—here becomes the material of the book. But Roy’s project is not a return to the moment of semiotics moved into artists’ production, a project aimed to open the sign to chains of meaning, to free signification from its restrictions. Instead Roy takes what could be the most “empty” of signs—and a sign which stands for a blank—and then fills it in with strings of historical social histories. These histories move from the most “empty” to the most loaded. There are many candidates for both these poles—for instance, the most empty could easily be XFL, The Extreme Football League, which was cooked up by the mastermind of the World Wrestling Federation and lasted only three months (if I remember correctly, the games were shown on the Fox network, which is itself another candidate for the contested sign of X). For taking in an analysis of the history of race, capitalism and property, the most historically replete example is Malcolm X, who refused the name given to his family by slave owners and took X as the sign of resistance and transformation. A pun in the title, Sign After the X, is made when sign becomes a noun, not a verb. This book follows the sign X as it is filled with social meaning.

    The spatial metaphor of Mallarmé’s Le Livre as the architecture of a possible book provides an entry into Isabelle Pauwel’s project, Unfurnished Apartment for Rent. If we think of Pauwel’s bookwork spatially, it is a script for architecture. The apartments in which the scenes are placed are represented in the most generic manner through floor plan drawings and computer-renderings at the beginning of the book’s sections. And the fictitious names and addresses of the apartment buildings, which are the subtitles for the sections, are generic enough to be anywhere in North America, or they could be the type of addresses used in films or TV shows, addresses that function in the same way as the fictitious 555 prefix of TV phone numbers.

    The lives of the characters that Pauwels writes into the apartments give the architectural space meaning. These represented spaces could also be film sets. In another sense, the scenes provide a view into the production of space through everyday life, but these everyday events are scripted for film, so the turn is that the script engages with the production of architectural space in film. The final script, in fact, is about the making of a movie and ends with the line, uttered by the character The Director, “Film is a powerful medium.” The tensions in the scripts—the dialogue of the characters—is not focused on the spatial aspects of architecture, but in many cases, on the class tensions that arise between tenants and owners. This makes the scripts read more as sitcoms in which the situation has class tension (consider sitcoms such as Chico and the Man, Taxi, Roseanne and King of Queens versus classless, and predominantly deracinated, sitcoms Friends or Seinfeld).

    As a bookwork Unfurnished Apartment for Rent shares a formal aspect with Steve McCaffery’s Carnival Panels (1967–70, 1970–75) as the book has to be cut to be read or viewed. McCaffery’s panels necessitate the “destruction” of the book; the individual pages must be torn from the binding to be assembled into the larger panel. Pauwel’s bookwork maintains the untrimmed pages that are made as the book’s signatures are printed and then bound—Unfurnished Apartment for Rent skips the last process of trimming and the reader must do this for themselves, or peek between the pages. This combination of architecture, cutting and destruction draws a parallel to Gordon Matta-Clark and his “cutting” of houses slated for demolition. Matta-Clark would transform the house briefly into sculptures and simultaneously foreground the structure as architecture. The final products of Matta-Clark’s interventions were photos, films and bookworks.

    The historical oddity of Mallarmé’s Le Livre was to detail the production and circulation of the book in a way that made the book itself superfluous, and in a sense impossible. In contrast to our contemporary fetishized globalization, Le Livre privileged production over consumption. Part of the materiality of the bookwork has been to reveal its production in some way, to roughen up the commodity by leaving traces of its making. It is this imagined space—between the impossibility of completion and the insistence upon materiality—that Sign After the X, Unfurnished Apartment for Rent and Farr’s translation of Le Livre seek to occupy.

    Postscript 13: Meredith Quartermain on Untitled (The Artist at Work) (PDF)

  • Perched

    TONI LATOUR
    December 6–January 24, 2004

    “Pigeons are a totally nothing bird: ugly, squat, full of worms, always falling off roofs and shitting everywhere. No other thing in the world falls so far short of being able to do what it cannot do as a pigeon does. Right, those are facts; so why don’t we just wipe them out, shoot them, gas them, have a national hunt week with prizes for the most dead: The point is, in some obscure, irrational, nonsensical way, we love them. There are pigeon protection leagues, pigeon enthusiast clubs, a magazine called the Pigeon Weekly. Old ladies who can’t afford it buy them food, and eccentric but well-regarded novelists walk round with pairs of scissors in case they find one with thread caught round its feet…These aimless, awful birds have the power to conjure up the most violent emotions in the human breast.”
    —Jeannette Winterson, Boating for Beginners

    In fables, animals speak and act like humans and this device allows the author to speak more candidly about human society than realism would allow. In her art world fables, Toni Latour looks with a similar candour at the pecking order in her field of operations. From medieval Bestiaries to Disneyworld, animals are invested with human foibles, vices, virtues and motivations and used to stand in for the most idealized and debased human characteristics. Latour reflects this cultural history back upon itself by imitating animal behaviour as an allegory of that curious human habit of art-making.

    In the video Robin Red Breast, a stationary camera records Latour as she imitates the display of the male robin seeking a mate. Lacking binocular vision, this artist/bird tilts its head from side to side and puffs up a red-sweatered chest, scuttling and stopping, scuttling and stopping, over a cropped lawn. The preening and posturing makes transparent the inherent exhibitionism and attention-seeking rituals of the act of performance.

    Perched: Honing Skills for Survival includes a light box containing an image of the artist balancing on a pool noodle outside the Vancouver Aquatic Centre. An audio loop tells the tale of a bird that, needing to make a migration across an ocean, but too small and weak to fly the entire distance at once, carries a twig in its mouth so that it may drop it in the ocean and rest upon it. Accompanied by artifacts of a performance—camoflage underpants, a safety-orange T shirt and rubber boots—this installation both satirizes and elaborates our sentimental identification with the lone struggling bird and dashes our metaphoric impulses against Latour’s self deprecating humour.

    Postscript 12: Colleen Heslin on Perched (PDF)

  • Emergency Measures

    DICK AVERNS, ANDREAS KAHRE, CARLOS VELA-MARTINEZ
    October 18–November 22, 2003

    This interdisciplinary exhibition is comprised of three diverse approaches to concepts of emergency and public safety. Dick Averns’ Seats of Power is a performative work, in which the Armchair Terrorist delivers tracts, monologues, and mime at ‘seats of power’ around the city while uniformed in his business suit/armchair sculpture. While not in performative use, the sculpted Seat of Power, featuring pin-striped upholstery, will be displayed in the gallery.

    Andreas Kahre’s viewing booth reveals glimpses of both the theoretical emergency of the street outside the gallery and the exhibition within. Interleaving video, audio and text data streams glide across a display panel, while an interactive component gives the viewer an illusion of control. Images that float across surfaces, calming sounds and reassuring texts are balanced at the point of collapsing one into the other. Taking a skeptical position to both ’emergency’ and ‘measure’, Kahre both provides and comments upon the palliative effects of media and technology.

    Carlos Vela-Martinez’ sculptural work plays with the inherent irony of the fire extinguisher—as a safety implement and explosively charged device. Multiple constructions made of fire extinguishers, supported by steel armatures, are arranged in the gallery: they emphasize the paradox of devices that “signify the largely unspoken tension of the emergencies we fear—the tension of living in a sustained state of safety. These tools of vigilance are talismans of ‘preparedness’ and summon up the slow urgencies of contemporary life.”

    Savage Media is a Vancouver-based society and producer of interdisciplinary and environmental art. Their creation and co-production of Emergency Measures has been supported by the Vancouver Foundation, the Hamber Foundation and the B.C. Gaming Commission.

    Postscript 11: Heather Passmore on Emergency Measures (PDF)

  • Sunday

    MATILDA ASLIZADEH
    September 6–October 11, 2003

    Sunday is a single channel DVD projection seven minutes in duration. In a highly artificial composite of scenic highway viewpoint and beach, groupings of swimsuit-clad young people gossip, flirt and roughhouse. Each group of characters appears to be oblivious to the goings-on around them, their interactions self-contained elements that occur simultaneously, in a staging reminiscent of the dense and lush allegorical landscapes of Peter Breugel. Boys tussle again and again, and the repetition of this sequence seems more menacing each time. A couple tease each other endlessly with playful aggression; petty judgements are repeated until their meaning shifts. Drawing upon concepts of spatial montage, Sunday presents these staged banalities as discrete concurrent narratives, emphasizing the physical proximity and psychological distance of contemporary culture. As the sequences elapse in independently revolving loops, the gestures and phrases form a vocabulary of filmic performance and an index of specific place and time. In combination, the work disrupts the single point of focus for the viewer’s attention, in much the same way as the television news, advertising or the internet presents us with a pastiche of time and space references in one compressed glance.

    Postscript 10: Sharon Kahanoff and Bronwen Payerle on Sunday (PDF)

  • Souvenir: A Road Show

    MARGARET LAWTHER
    June 7–July 19, 2003

    Margaret Lawther routinely travels by car each summer between Vancouver and Montreal. Begun in 2001, this exhibition consists of large-scale colour photographs, depicting views of the Trans-Canada, the world’s longest national highway. In counterpoint to the mythified and romantic Canadian landscape for which this country is known, these images, arranged in diptychs, triptychs and singly, embrace a flat and acerbic approach to the idea of the scenic viewpoint. Lawther’s photographs resist the idea of a Canada comprised of spectacular natural beauty and inspirational perspectives; these points of interest are more likely to be skid marks and eroded shoulders than waterfalls or waving grain. Lawther interrupts the landscape series with still life images of car wrecks found in scrap yards, continuing the history of photography¹s fascination with the land and with death.

    In combination they elaborate on the paradox of the road trip; the experience of the disjunctive relationship between time, space and immense distances traveled while sheathed in an automobile.

    Postscript 09: Scott Massey on Souvenir: A Road Show (PDF)

  • Pulse

    ANTONIA HIRSCH
    April 23–May 31, 2003

    Pulse, a new installation work, combines several elements: a pseudo-scientific tool that suggests a medical diagnostic instrument or a navigational device, echocardiographic imagery, and sound. The apparatus invites the viewer to peer into its eyepiece revealing a radar screen. As the radar beam sweeps across the scope, it becomes apparent that the radar does not reveal geographical territory, but rather rhythmically animated images of the human heart.

    The audio component is a live short wave radio broadcast of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) and is clearly audible only in close proximity to the viewing device. Every minute, a voice announcement tells the time of day in Greenwich, England, and there is a ‘tick’ for each second. This broadcast can be received in nearly all parts of the globe. UTC is one of the coordinates referenced by the Global Positioning System (GPS) and follows the standard cartographic model, which designates Europe to be at the centre of the world. In Pulse, the contractions of the heart frequently appear completely synchronized with the time signal, until both beats drift apart again.

    Antonia Hirsch’s recent work investigates the many paradoxes of time and the mechanisms employed to track and maintain this consensual fiction. The history of international time zones, and the world view inherent in the politics of their implementation, have been explored previously in Recovery, in which Hirsch captured twenty-nine minutes in a Winnipeg rail yard to ‘replace’ those lost in that city’s commitment to conforming to Central Standard Time.

    Pulse furthers these interests by gauging the lapse and delay between the arbitrary construct of time, the momentary failures in the systems that measure it, and the bodily and geophysical terrain where time and technology play out their mechanisms of control.

    Antonia Hirsch was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Based in Vancouver since 1995, she has presented solo exhibitions across Canada, most recently at Gallery 44 in Toronto and Xeno Gallery in Vancouver. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions in Europe and in Canada; in 2001 her work Empire Line was included in the comprehensive These Days exhibition at Vancouver Art Gallery. Antonia Hirsch’s work is currently on show at the Art Gallery of Mississauga and will be featured in a solo exhibition at the Kitchener Waterloo Art Gallery later this year. In 2004 her work will be seen at the Saidye Bronfman Centre for the Arts in Montréal.

    The artist acknowledges the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.

    Postscript 08: Andrew Klobucar on Pulse (PDF)

  • Up and Down: Downtown Eastside Architecture

    ARNI HARALDSSON
    March 15–April 19, 2003

    Arni Haraldsson’s photographs of buildings in the Downtown Eastside show us that to understand this neighbourhood and its politics and its fate, you must understand architecture. Shot from public and private spaces with the aid of local residents, these photographs show us a neighbourhood we didn’t know existed: a beautiful and stately procession of century-old hotels. Landmarks like the Carnegie, the Empress, and the Regal are given their due, and that staple of film noir, the alley, is provided for our edification. But this exhibition does not shy away from the seamier side of the DES, and grimy gated condos are shown in all their tired gentrification chic. Accompanying the exhibition will be a set of postcards, with Haraldsson’s photographs on one side and texts ­ imaginary messages ­by Burnham, on the other side. Taking on the voices of various DESers ­from tourists and the police to activists and residents, artists and workers—­these messages explicitly connect Haraldsson’s imagery with the social context of the neighbourhood: the language of architecture and the architecture of language.

    Born in Iceland and based in Vancouver since 1979, Arni Haraldsson has been exhibiting his work nationally and internationally since the the mid-1980s. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of British Columbia in 1990, and currently teaches at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Since the late-1980s, ths scope of Haraldsson’s photographic work has expanded from an exploration of the lost aspirations of the utopian principle of modernism to an emphasis on the design and social life of the city. His interest in the city as subject centres on the the notion of urban space as a type of monad which encapsulates the characteristic features of the social and economic structure of our present age.

    Clint Burnham was born in Comox in 1962 and has lived in Vancouver since 1995. He teaches at UBC and Emily Carr. His work includes a collection of short stories, Airborne Photo, a work of theory, The Jamesonian Unconscious, a book of poetry, Buddyland, and the performance installation (with Mark Laba) Cop Puppet, which was at Artspeak gallery in 1999. For three years Clint was academic coordinator of the Humanities 101 program, a liberal arts introduction at UBC for low-income students; he has also taught poetry classes with the Carnegie street program, a humanities program with the Elizabeth Fry society in New Westminster, and a creative writing class for seniors on Commercial Drive. He is currently at work on a book about Vancouver photo-conceptual art, in which he locates the critical aesthetics of the Vancouver school in terms of local social, geographic, and historical conditions, rather than international art & theory.

    All works courtesy of the artist and Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver.

    anarchive 22

    anarchive presents a selection of intriguing objects, catalogues, publications and artists’ books from our archive collection, investigating the relationship between visual art and writing.

    Bibliography

    Bellerby, Greg, ed. Vertical Cities, Vancouver: Charles H. Scott Gallery, 1999.

    Burnham, Clint, “Postmodernism is the Theory, Gentrification is the Practice: Jameson, Haraldsson, Architecture, and Vancouver”, Jameson Reader. Homer, Sean and Kellner, Douglas, ed., London: Palgrave, 2003.

    Brydon, Anne, at first sight: Arni Haraldsson, London: London Regional Art and Historical Museums, 1997.

    Kleyn, Robert, Beneath the Paving Stones, Vancouver: Charles H. Scott Gallery, 1993.

    Lawlor, Michael Christopher, Social Complex, Fredericton: Gallery Connexion, 1988.

    Ritchie, Christina, Arni Haraldsson: Firminy, Vancouver: Contemporary Art Gallery, 2001.

    Simon, Cheryl, “Arni Runar Haraldsson”, The Zone of Conventional Practice and Other Real Stories / À Propos de Conventions et Autres Fictions, Montréal: Optica, 1989, p. 211-222.

    Postscript 07: Andrew Sharpe and Kyla Mallett on Up and Down: Downtown Eastside Architecture (PDF)

  • Recent Work

    JACK JEFFREY
    February 1–March 8, 2003

    The demarcation of boundaries and the occupation of space has figured strongly in Jack Jeffrey’s long-standing practice. Portable structures that carry the authoritative presence of agencies and bureaus that regulate our public environment ­ traffic cones, hazard symbols, bollards and stantions ­ are considered for their formal qualities and materials and reread as the result of aesthetic choice, as authored. Jeffrey alters these forms, hybridizing and testing their ability to garner attention, hold space and re-route spectatorship.

    This exhibition primarily focuses on ‘chocks’, the blocks used to ensure that trucks and other heavy vehicles remain stopped. These are objects that arrest movement, that wedge great volume and weight into a stationary position. They have been produced in materials such as plaster, rubber and wood; their scale has been altered and the relationship between the chock and its handle, the promise of portability has been pushed. In Untitled (Chock #3), a pair of pink wedges dangle from the wall on silky rope like the ballet slippers of lost girlhood while another chock creeps up in scale to become a miniature concrete staircase.

    In a counterpoint to the series of ‘full stops’ a new video work, Boundary Road, records the dividing line between the city of Vancouver and the city of Burnaby. From a moving vehicle, the camera records each side of Boundary Road in a north-south, then a south-north direction. Presented on two monitors, this work indicates the arbitrary nature of borderlines as it visually traces similar excursions through residential, commercial, industrial and recreational property. The twenty-minute trips point to the vacant signification of the street name and the eroding function of municipal divisions in the context of amalgamation.

    anarchive 21

    anarchive presents a selection of intriguing objects, catalogues, publications and artists’ books from our archive collection, investigating the relationship between visual art and writing

    Bibliography

    Alpers, Svetlana (1984) The Art of Describing, University of Chicago Press

    Ange, M (1995) Non-Spaces, Verso Bahba, H (1994) The Location of Culture, Routledge

    Batchelor, D. (2000) Chromophobia, Reaktion Books

    Burgin, V. (1997) In/Different Spaces, Univ. of California Press

    Burgin, V. (1996) Some Cities, Reaktion Books Causey, Andrew (1998) Sculpture Since 1945, Univ. of Oxford Press

    Foster, H. (1996) The Return of the Real, M.I.T. Press Fyfe, N.(editor) (1998) Images of the Street, Routledge

    Goodman, Nelson (1978) Ways of Worldmaking, Hackett Publishing Godfrey, Tony (1998) Conceptual Art, Phaidon Press

    Gregory, Derek (1996) Geographical Imaginations, Blackwell Lefebvre, Henri (1996) Writings on Cities, Blackwell

    Lefebvre, Henri (1991) The Production of Space, Blackwell McEvilley, Thomas (1999) Sculpture in the Age of Doubt, Allworth Press

    Miles, M. (1997) Art, Space and the City, Routledge

    Sorkin, Michael(editor) (1992) Variations on a Theme Park, Noonday Press

    Tucker, William (1974) The Language of Sculpture, Thames and Hudson

    Postscript 06: Jeremy Todd on Recent Work (PDF)

  • unlocal

    GABOR KOLESZAR, JANE LEE, HOWARD URSULIAK
    December 7–January 25, 2003

    “Both Lee and Koleszar are emerging artists working within a city that has a dominant tradition of photographic practices, a context that is ripe for some cross-cultural mutation…both practices suggest an embodied relationship with the camera that has not been usurped by an interest in digital technologies”
    —Howard Ursuliak

    unlocal is a project involving three Vancouver photographers connected through their engagement with a discreet observation of the material world and for whom photography maintains its status as document to the real. The exhibition will feature new photographic work by Jane Lee and Gabor Koleszar, and a text by established Vancouver photographer Howard Ursuliak. Jane Lee’s photographic work, like her performance practice, is drawn from a wry and distant view of the peculiarities found in the everyday. Her photographs trace the remains of social relations, or the detritus of contemporary mobility, in quiet compositions. Koleszar’s approach relies upon the camera’s potential to make abstract the familiarity of the material world, connecting his practice to eastern European photographers of the 1920’s and ’30s. In an interview format, Ursuliak investigates their work in relation to the practices of photo-conceptualist artists of this region, around ideas of place, the absent social body implied in their work and their embodied points of view.

    Postscript 05: Michael Goertzen on unlocal (PDF)

  • Songstress

    ALTHEA THAUBERGER
    October 19–November 23, 2002

    Female Victoria filmmaker seeks female singer/songwriters ages approximately 17–25 to be featured in art film. No experience necessary.

    From this ad placed in a Victoria entertainment weekly, Althea Thauberger auditioned many young women performing original compositions. A group of eight were then recorded individually in a professional recording studio setting and later filmed on 16mm, lip-synching, at a variety of ‘natural’ settings in and around Victoria. The locations in some way epitomize romanticized west-coast motifs, and the lush glade, the rugged clifftop and the bountiful garden assert themselves as characters in the piece. The series of performances are screened on digital video, in a looped sequence.

    Songstress combines references to the screen test and music video and grafts them to the long history of conflating the feminine with nature. The overdetermined form of the folk ballad and the high production values of the work are at odds with one another and with the extremely personal and emotive expression of the young songwriters. The struggle evident in the performances is echoed in the ambiguity of the viewer; both caught between the authenticity of emotional turmoil and the more comfortable and familiar simulations and cliches of pop culture forms.

    Postscript 04: Donato Mancini on Songstress (PDF)

  • Off-Site Storage Provider

    CANDIE TANAKA
    September 7–October 12, 2002

    Off-Site Storage Provider

    – 9 used white lab coats

    – 12 large file cabinets

    – 1 recycle bucket

    – 1 chair

    – 1 microfiche projector

    – 1 microfilm reader/printer

    – 1 picture of the off-site storage provider

    Candie Tanaka’s practice involves the collection of objects, images and sounds from public or institutional spaces, which she then alters and places back into the public realm. The exhibition of the altered objects, images or sounds becomes the mid-point in the circular process of gathering, intervening and the replacing of the materials into other locations. Methodologies such as archiving and indexing the materials gleaned from her travels and explorations inform her installation work that examines the structure of public and personal memory.

    In Off-Site Storage Provider, Tanaka has digitized a photo archive of images taken in transit and transferred them to microfilm and microfiche, placing the ‘originals’ in a secure storage facility. Copies of the images taken in public spaces ­ subways, metros and airports, etc. ­ will be available in the gallery to be viewed on a microfiche projector, and copies of images on microfilm can be viewed and printed out on a microfilm reader/printer.

    Tanaka’s work makes visible the structures of official memory, the fetish of the document and the anxieties of record-keeping through the absurdity of cataloguing, reproducing and storing personal ephemera. The work exhibited is but a facsimile of the ‘real’ work, which is housed in a secure climate-controlled holding facility, the Off-Site Storage Provider, an abandoned limestone mine in Pennsylvania.

    anarchive 18

    Bibliography

    1. Iron Mountain Website www.ironmountain.com

    2. Caves a Cornerstone of U.S. Security Effort (Link)

    Postscript 03: Jane Lee on Off-Site Storage Provider (PDF)

  • Chimaera

    GAYE CHAN
    May 11–June 15, 2002

    barely speaking english

    we gave ourselves names of presidents

    abraham fong

    jackson fugimoto

    truman sanchez

    In the context of Vancouver’s Asian Heritage Month, Artspeak is pleased to present the perspective of an established American artist working with diasporic experience.

    Forty three photographic portraits, infused with strong colour, are installed high on the gallery walls and angled down toward the viewer. Penetrating the photographs are drawings made by pin pricks taken from official portraits of American presidents from 1789 to 2002. The pinprick drawings rupture the associations of the private family portrait of Asian American men and women and complicate notions of national identity particular to the U.S. The Chimaera, with its overlapping associations of ‘monsters compounded of incongruous parts’ and ‘an unrealizable dream’, serves as a linchpin for this installation.

    Artspeak gratefully acknowledges the support of the Victorian Hotel in Vancouver for this exhibition. (www.victorian-hotel.com / 1-877-681-6369)

    Postscript 02: Joy Russell on Chimaera (PDF)

  • here you should read (that something is awry)

    ROBIN ARSENAULT
    March 30–May 4, 2002

    Negotiating the theatricality of installation art, Robin Arseneault’s first exhibition in Vancouver presents an environment that suggests an empty stage set. Working with the architecture of the gallery, objects or props are connected with pulley systems and movable mechanisms; both the props and the machinery made of such improbable materials as watercolours on tracing paper and ice-blue mohair ‘rain’.

    Three-dimensional stuffed ’emotions’ and weighty ‘Menacing Gray Clouds’ that may be raised and lowered use absurdity to deflect and sublimate the commonplace catastrophes of embarrassment, humiliation and rejection. Arseneault embraces the over-used symbols of emotional pain, making them moveable, playful and almost endearing—the sleight-of-hand technique of displacement. Repeated images, emotional props, lost objects and the shadows they cast imply a repertoire of scripted performances, familiar improvisations and re-enactments.

    Artspeak gratefully acknowledges the support of the Victorian Hotel in Vancouver for this exhibition. (www.victorian-hotel.com / 1-877-681-6369)

    Postscript 01: Kathy Slade on here you should read (that something is awry) (PDF)

  • Doubt

    ELSPETH PRATT
    February 16–March 23, 2002

    Doubt features new and recent sculptural work by Elspeth Pratt, known for her exploration of architecture and furnishings, and for her inventive use of ubiquitous building supplies such as foam insulation, metal corner bead and veneers. Pratt’s new projects further her recent interest in concepts of leisure and consumerism in domestic and public spaces.

    One work, “Escape to Paradise”, uses countertop laminate (named Spa by its manufacturer) which mimics the effect of light on the surface of a swimming pool. This wall construction evokes a kidney shaped pool or a sheltered tropical cove, yet also suggests an abstracted logo or sign in a play of heft and surface.

    In “Adrift”, candy-pink foam insulation and metal mesh arouse the numbed buoyancy intrinsic to the fragile fantasy of the poolside lounge or the beachfront property. The works hinge on the familiarity of the lumberyard materials, and the surprising and contingent methods used to combine them; woodgrain ‘columns’ are stitched together with chain, model-sized balconies are propped on sponge in shapes that suggest a racetrack viewing platform or a cliff-top dwelling.

    The wry humour in Doubt leans upon a critique of the seamless aims of our built environment and the fetish of the custom finish. The work in Doubt suggests the skepticism with which the artist approaches the weight and permanence of sculptural tradition as well as the viewers’ hesitant response to her contingent and ephemeral negotiation of gravity.

    Artspeak and the artist would like to thank the Vancouver Art Gallery for the loan of Adrift.

  • Untitled (small dead woman)

    KEVIN YATES
    January 5–February 9, 2002

    Still and moving images of crime or accident victims are familiar, whether in photo-documentary projects, the news or films. Viewing these pictures generally signals the beginning of a narrative of detection or discovery towards (re)solving the untimely death and the temporary triumph of the rational over fear. These forms often contain clues to the mystery through the use of explanatory narration, or other visual clues within the image, such as the specific environment in which the body was found. The wooded area, the alley at dawn, the industrial waterfront are easily called to mind when thinking of crime scenes, and viewers rely upon the interpretive skill of the forensic hero who uses science to uncover the truth.

    Looking to apprehend the effects of films and photographs of ‘tragedy’ in sculptural form, Yates isolates the slain figure and models it in miniature in Untitled (small dead woman). Removing the setting, props, character and plot serves to eliminate any narrative possibility or specific mystery to solve, leaving only the tiny vulnerable object and our desire to examine it, which we must struggle to do, given its size. This tactic of decontextualization and rendering in three dimensions undermines the clinical detachment of film and photography and reconsiders the figure as ‘flesh’. The sculpture is almost too small to scrutinize and confounds the expectation of knowing-through-seeing and visual pleasure that surrounds the history of the art gallery.

  • Passengers & Tour Guides

    KEVIN RODGERS, DEREK SULLIVAN
    October 20–November 24, 2001

    Passengers & Tour Guides is a collaborative installation by two young Toronto artists whose practice spans across the visual and language arts, involving popular culture, architecture and notions of landscape.

    Neither Rodgers nor Sullivan have travelled west of the Rockies. This exhibition plays on their status as outsiders, creating a fictional place based on the eastern cliche of the West Coast.

    A large scale paper map with drawings of an imagined coastal city, punctuated with text gleaned from a fictional cast of characters, spans the length of the wall. The imagined utopia of a westcoast city is ironically articulated in a style that references tourist maps, literary illustrations of mythical locales, well-known landmarks, sprawling suburbs and awkward architectural renderings. Adjacent to this in the gallery sits an archive comprised of a collection of images, photographs, photocopies, clippings and fragments of texts, furthering the fiction of the site.

    Rodgers and Sullivan explore the construct of the West Coast as it is seen from outside, with its attendant romanticization and associations with the ‘frontier’.

  • The Underside of Shadows

    ELIZABETH MACKENZIE, JEANNE RANDOLPH
    September 8–October 13, 2001

    The Underside of Shadows interprets the invasion of everyday life by microscopic creatures, whose effect on humans are often presented through the medical dualities of normal and abnormal, purity and contamination, danger and safety. Within this collaborative installation, images and pattern poetry are drawn directly on the walls of the gallery; an ephemeral method that does not rely upon the idea of the work of art as an autonomous object, or presume the gallery space as neutral, or deny text any visually aesthetic commonalties with image.

    The Underside of Shadows includes representations of the germ Giardia Lamblia, one of the intestinal parasites most commonly identified in waterborne disease outbreaks. Here imagery and text intertwine in such a way that viewers may ponder the visual metaphor of human-to-microbe and microbe-to-human influences. These unseen entities provoke reconsideration of ordinary perception, everyday dependence upon technology and closer scrutiny of our anxiety to find narratives to account for realities we imagine, yet cannot see.

    This two person exhibition is the result of a long-distance, often technologically mediated collaboration between Elizabeth MacKenzie, a visual artist known for her video, photography and drawn installation works and Jeanne Randolph, a Toronto psychoanalyst and writer of highly inventive ficto-criticism. This new work draws from a twenty year association as well as a recent shared residency at The Banff Centre for the Arts’ Leighton Studios.

  • Stereoscope

    JULIE ANDREYEV
    June 9–July 21, 2001

    Andreyev’s new work combines the production of a gallery-sized Wheatstone Stereoscope and images of contemporary simulation in entertainment arcades with research into nineteenth century mechanisms used to create three dimensional illusions. Virtual technologies developed for video arcades can be seen as contemporary equivalents of historical mechanisms such as the stereoscope. She is interested in technology and vision, and contemporary technology in relation to origins of technology. Contemporary imagery quite often conceals its construction. However, by conflating earlier procedures with contemporary content which shows the illusionary image, the viewer can become aware of the actual construction of vision. Before photography was invented in the nineteenth century, Sir Charles Wheatstone invented the first stereoscope (in 1832) which created a three dimensional illusion from a stereoscopic pair of drawings. Each image from a stereoscopic pair is mounted vertically facing each other, and each image is reflected in one side of a ninety degree mirror mounted in the centre. By placing one’s eyes close up to the mirrors, each eye looking in one side of the ninety degree mirror, one can see a three dimensional illusion as the reflection of the images overlap in one’s field of vision.

    The installation consists of one pair of stereoscopic photographs, mounted directly across from each other on the walls of a gallery space. Life size photographs have been created on site at Playdium arcade in Vancouver, one of the largest arcades in North America. The images show specific games with participants using them.. The viewing device is made of a small cube of mirror mounted in the middle of the gallery space, with the viewing points positioned at the corners of the mirrored cube. Because of the nature of the lighting, and the long explosures used to photograph the scene, the people using the games appear somewhat ‘ghost-like’, blurred into the image on the game’s monitor, and in contrast, the technology appears ‘solid’. Other figures, stationary and well lit, appear more three-dimensional and tangible than the users of the games. The contrasting appearance of the people in the images parallels the viewers in the gallery and the ghost like three dimensional images produced by the viewing apparatus.

  • SIFT: The Reading Room

    ROGER FARR, NEIL HENNESSY, REG JOHANSON, RYAN KNIGHTON, JASON LE HEUP, LEANNEJ, CHRIS TURNBULL
    April 28–June 2, 2001

    This exhibition will propose a consideration of the gallery space as a reading room, allowing visitors to loiter long enough to engage with work that breaks apart the distinctions between writing, visual art and technological applications. Ryan Knighton’s poetic practice, for example, uses his JAWS voice computer program designed to accommodate his visual impairment as part of the method and content of his work. For SIFT, Knighton’s work will be installed at a computer station, opening up the elaborate process of his practice in an interactive fashion. In addition, materials and publications from Pulley Press will be selected in a curatorial collaboration with Jason LeHeup. His transgressions of the parameters of arcade games have resulted in a series of portraits of the children he would produce should he mate with his male cohorts and this photographic evidence will be included in the exhibition. leannej’s constructs stories that are diagrams, leading the reader/viewer through a labyrinth of conditional outcomes. Previously installed as magazine inserts, these works are reproduced as works on the gallery walls.

  • MARINA ROY
    March 17–April 21, 2001

    This exhibition, titled with the punctuation “…”, takes as its central theme the medium of typography and the form of the book. A series of altered books, titled Thumbsketches sculpturally intervenes in familiar texts, evoking bodily memories of books as sensual and intimate objects. The artist has drawn on the cut ends of paperback editions of such tomes as Balzac’s Lost Illusions and The Complete Poems of Keats. When pressed behind plexiglas mounts, the drawings stretch and splay in animated shifts of perspective. The work leans upon and skews our associations of revered texts with irreverent, often scatological defacements.

    A companion work, a large canvas titled The following…, uses hot foil stamped letters arranged in a grid. The text is taken from Michel Foucault’s Les mots et les choses wherein he describes the painting Las Meninas by Velasquez. One word flows into another without punctuation marks and new words are created in the process, breaking down the authority of the descriptive text. The canvas, similar in scale to Las Meninas, comments on the differences in the use of allegory in the 17th and 20/21st centuries yet similarly ’hides’ the subject as the central focal point of power.

    Marina Roy has exhibited her work nationally and internationally since 1992 and her practice includes a wide range of media including sculpture, printmaking, painting, photography and bookworks. She holds a Master’s Degree in Visual Art from University of British Columbia and completed her undergraduate studies at Nova Scotia College of Art and Design. Prior to her study in visual arts, she received a Bachelor of Arts in French Literature from Universite Laval. Roy currently teaches in the Visual Art Program at the University of Victoria.

  • Bank Job

    JANICE KERBEL
    December 9–January 27, 2001

    Bank Job is the third and final exhibition in A Set of Suspicions.

    The threat of terrorist attack has made London, and its business district in particular, among the most surveilled locations in the world. A blueprint for a perfect heist, Bank Job uses surveillance photos of a bank at 15 Lombard Street in the City area of London, specifications for the security systems used by the bank, minute by minute timelines, copious equipment lists, getaway maps and hideout locations all compiled during Kerbel’s exhaustive research. Playing on both the ‘pink collar’ and criminal associations of the term ‘bank job’, Kerbel’s work presents a plan to rob the bank, perhaps feasible, confounding the docility of feminine stereotypes and making use of the condition of invisibility. Bank Job has been exhibited at the ICA, London and at Arnolfini, Bristol along with Kerbel’s on-going projects that use counter-surveillance methods to suggest a complex, contradictory and transgressive subject on the move throughout the city.

    In the office, Kerbel presents study for Home Fittings – 233 Carrall Street, part of a series of diagramatic architectural plans with Soundlines (indicating to walk so no creaks are heard) and Sightlines (indicating where to stand so that no shadows are cast).

    Kerbel studied at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and completed her graduate work at Goldsmith’s College, University of London. She is currently visiting lecturer at CalArts in Los Angeles.

    New release! 15 Lombard St., a bookwork by Janice Kerbel that documents her precisely researched master-plan of how to rob a bank, is now on sale at Artspeak. 15 Lombard St. is part of access/excess, a series of artists’ publications edited by Stefan Kalmár, published by Book Works, London, that attempt to locate the individual within a continually developing tangle of political, cultural, economic and technological systems.

    A Set of Suspicions

    Artspeak’s Carrall Street location is part of a neighbourhood that faces contradictory pressures and changes: the area is well traveled by tourists; gentrification is taking place through artist’s live/work developments; high density new housing on the north side of False Creek rubs shoulders with the abandoned storefronts and decay of East Hastings Street. The ubiquitous presence of location film crews in the area allow for a sense of overlapping fact and fiction—one may encounter a snowy Edwardian English scene played out on Gastown’s cobble streets only to turn a corner and interrupt a gritty crime narrative (actual or virtual) taking place behind the dumpsters in the alley. If you are familiar with this neighbourhood you will have noticed that the codes of gesture, utterance, dress and deportment are significantly broader and more diverse than other areas of the city. Homelessness and other socio-economic factors make for a confused boundary between private and public space. An acute awareness of threat and security is heightened by the notoriety of this neighbourhood in media representations. Public and private policing merge and cross the very visible yet mobile boundaries between the various terrains of short and long term inhabitants.

    A Set of Suspicions presents a fall series of exhibitions and events by artists investigating ideas of threat, security and suveillance. The works use the gallery space to index specific off-locations: the proposed street cameras just beyond our doors; the hyper-watched financial district of London, England; a university biotech lab; and the mobile ‘watching machines’ that orbit the earth. A Set of Suspicions integrates visual art, writing, video, performance, electronics design and music composition to consider the proliferation of technology, privacy and public identities and cultural habits of interpretation.

    ALSO SEE

    Suspects (Performance for the Police)
    WARREN ARCAN, SHELLEY GUHLE, JOSH SCHAFER, TERI SNELGROVE, SUSAN STEWART
    October 21–November 25, 2000

    La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements)
    DANIEL JOLLIFFE, JOCELYN ROBERT
    September 9–October 14, 2000

    Artspeak is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC). Artspeak gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council, The Province of BC through the BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation, Canadian Heritage, our Board of Directors, volunteers and our members.

    A Set of Suspicions has been generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation and The Canada Council through the Interdisciplinary Arts Program.

    Jocelyn Robert thanks the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec for their support.

  • Suspects (Performance for the Police)

    WARREN ARCAN, SHELLEY GUHLE, JOSH SCHAFER, TERI SNELGROVE, SUSAN STEWART
    October 21–November 25, 2000

    Suspects (Performance for the Police) is the second in the series A Set of Suspicions.

    The starting point for Suspects (Performance for the Police) stems from a long-standing proposal by the Vancouver Police Department to improve policing of the Downtown Eastside by installing surveillance cameras in key locations. This controversial initiative has the support of some businesses and neighbours and is opposed by others on the basis of privacy issues, as a breach of civil liberties that would be unacceptable in less impoverished neighbourhoods. These police cameras would join the already established use of video surveillance on private property such as office towers, shopping malls and business enterprises.

    The four artists were invited to consider what might constitute ‘suspicious behaviour’ in the context of this neighbourhood and to develop work in response to the presence of video surveillance in the neighbourhood and beyond.

    Susan Stewart’s work, “scene unseen”, is a three channel video installation which uses still images and text, interview footage, and surveillance images to investigate the lived effects of the heightened surveillance in this neighbourhood upon the people who live here. Completed throughout the summer of 2000, “scene unseen” seeks the views of residents about who exactly is protected by surveillance technologies, and who is expected to pay the price of that protection.

    Artist Shelley Guhle has collaborated with immunologist Josh Schafer on “A Survey of Bio-design Carcinomal Interfaces” which animates time-lapse footage of cells mutating in a laboratory on the UBC campus. The installation uses projected Flash animation, drawings and a closed-circuit monitor to investigate the observational methods of science that are applied on a broad social level in surveillance technology. In the context of Suspects, the work also draws attention to the cultural fantasy of the inner city as a breeding place of disease and other social ills.

    Warren Arcan’s interactive installation “Oopsy-Daisy” allows the viewer to observe on video the theft of children’s toys that Arcan has placed on a street corner close to the gallery. Shot from an upstairs window across the street, the videos reveal the complex task of interpreting the documents of crime. Is the artist causing the theft to be committed? For whom is the toy stolen? How might this document be used? And do we as viewers have the information we need to interpret these acts? “Oopsy-Daisy” confronts key issues surrounding video surveillance and its promise of security.

    Teri Snelgrove has worked in close collaboration with Arcan, Guhle, Schafer and Stewart on the production of their work over the summer and early fall. Her video document of the three projects that make up Suspects (Performance for the Police) will include production footage and images of the final installation in the gallery, and will be released, along with A Set of Suspicions publication, early next year.

    A Set of Suspicions

    Artspeak’s Carrall Street location is part of a neighbourhood that faces contradictory pressures and changes: the area is well traveled by tourists; gentrification is taking place through artist’s live/work developments; high density new housing on the north side of False Creek rubs shoulders with the abandoned storefronts and decay of East Hastings Street. The ubiquitous presence of location film crews in the area allow for a sense of overlapping fact and fiction—one may encounter a snowy Edwardian English scene played out on Gastown’s cobble streets only to turn a corner and interrupt a gritty crime narrative (actual or virtual) taking place behind the dumpsters in the alley. If you are familiar with this neighbourhood you will have noticed that the codes of gesture, utterance, dress and deportment are significantly broader and more diverse than other areas of the city. Homelessness and other socio-economic factors make for a confused boundary between private and public space. An acute awareness of threat and security is heightened by the notoriety of this neighbourhood in media representations. Public and private policing merge and cross the very visible yet mobile boundaries between the various terrains of short and long term inhabitants.

    A Set of Suspicions presents a fall series of exhibitions and events by artists investigating ideas of threat, security and suveillance. The works use the gallery space to index specific off-locations: the proposed street cameras just beyond our doors; the hyper-watched financial district of London, England; a university biotech lab; and the mobile ‘watching machines’ that orbit the earth. A Set of Suspicions integrates visual art, writing, video, performance, electronics design and music composition to consider the proliferation of technology, privacy and public identities and cultural habits of interpretation.

    ALSO SEE

    Bank Job
    JANICE KERBEL
    December 9–January 27, 2001

    La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements)
    DANIEL JOLLIFFE, JOCELYN ROBERT
    September 9–October 14, 2000

    Artspeak is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC). Artspeak gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council, The Province of BC through the BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation, Canadian Heritage, our Board of Directors, volunteers and our members.

    A Set of Suspicions has been generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation and The Canada Council through the Interdisciplinary Arts Program.

    Jocelyn Robert thanks the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec for their support.

  • La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements)

    DANIEL JOLLIFFE, JOCELYN ROBERT
    September 9–October 14, 2000

    As the first in this series of exhibitions, Artspeak is pleased to present La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements). Drawing on research completed in the summer of 1999 at the STEIM centre for electroacoustic research in Amsterdam, Vancouver artist Daniel Jolliffe and Quebec composer and artist Jocelyn Robert have developed a collaborative sound installation work which takes as its central theme and process the surveillance network of global positioning satellites in constant orbit around the earth. The installation makes use of the ‘cyber sky’ composition of US military/aerospace GPS technology, established to aid in military applications and designed for precision, control and certitude. This technology has found mass market applications from automobile design to recreation and is used in this new work as both method and subject of artistic inquiry.

    La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements) takes the information on the position and identifier data of the orbiting overhead satellite network, and converts it to music played by a stationary grand piano. By inverting the technologies and their intended use, the work playfully subverts notions of military and computer-based accuracy. La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements) streams, sifts, chops up and spits out the continuous data flow meant for the single purpose of navigating human movement and fixing civilian and military locations. The resultant stream is processed and parsed by a sound composing system which tries to make musical sense of the network’s activities. The compositionally unpredictable outcome is a unique aural narrative for each of the earth’s rotations, informed by the satellites’ position and the reconfiguration of the data provided, placing the viewer at the centre of an enormous network, watching and hearing the movements of the satellites themselves.

    Artist Statement: La Salle des Noeuds (pedestrian movements) explores the disparate rulesets of science, programming and military structures on one hand and the musical and visual aesthetics of art on the other.

    Loosely translated, the phrase La Salle des Noeuds refers to two ideas: the old technology and symbolism of a rope knots and the new concept of an electronic network node. Both speak of the interconnectedness of two physical bodies, be they the fibres of a rope or the organized movement of electrons through a digital network. The connected parties in LSdN begin in principle with the GPS satellite network and the musical conventions of a 300 year old device, the piano.

    La Salle des Noeuds is a convergence of two rulesets: the rules of coding and the rules of composition. LSdN is a performance of the collision of these two rulesets. Going further we can say that LSdN explores the knotted nature of the digital network on our everyday lives- and how this network translates poetically and aesthetically as we perceive it.

    LSdN takes as a starting supposition that music is about the way in which it is produced, rather than the quality of composition, playing or notation. A piano played under the rocket fire of wartime Beirut, or LSdN’s piano-manipulated satellite data are both music produced under the current conditions of our society, mirroring the social state of our world rather than an historical one. In this sense LSdN’s performance is not one of music but an aural translation of the technologized world which we inhabit.

    Positions and Reversals

    Artspeak, Latitude N 49 degrees 16.971′ Longitude W 123 degrees 06.242′ EPE : 20 M, a stationary, position expressed in conventional geographic notation. LSdN inhabits this position in relation to the network which it sets out to examine.

    From this position, the sky is obscured by the light of the city, rendering invisible the 27 GPS satellites passing overhead in semi-synchronous, 12 hour orbits. Only the radio waves emitted by these floating bodies pass through the various strata of atmosphere between us and their orbit at an altitude of around 11,000 miles.

    The collaborative process for LSdN began with the instantaneous data being streamed from the orbiting constellation of Global Positioning Satellites. From this feed of precise timing information, the position of the gallery is triangulated. In turn, from this symbolic, numbered representation of our place on earth we set out to track the reverse of the intended ‘pinpoint process’.

    Visitors to art galleries often come away with a catch phrase describing the work they have just seen. The transferable explanation from viewer to viewer of LSdN will likely be something like ‘a piano played by satellites’. At first glance this is the structure but is not the methodology of LSdN.

    Inverting the intended use of the GPS network, we found that each satellite sent instantaneous updates of its azimuth, elevation, and unique identifier code. We took this live data as a source of influence, and allowed it to dictate the outcome of our process, and to expose itself in doing so. La Salle des Noeuds is not music but rather the creation of sound under the direct influence of the scientific data which we have more or less plucked out of the air. As collaborators we have little interest in the aesthetics of the ‘music’ produced by the piano. LSdN sets out instead to make visible the collision of these two cultures and to physicalize the invisible data.

    A Set of Suspicions

    Artspeak’s Carrall Street location is part of a neighbourhood that faces contradictory pressures and changes: the area is well traveled by tourists; gentrification is taking place through artist’s live/work developments; high density new housing on the north side of False Creek rubs shoulders with the abandoned storefronts and decay of East Hastings Street. The ubiquitous presence of location film crews in the area allow for a sense of overlapping fact and fiction—one may encounter a snowy Edwardian English scene played out on Gastown’s cobble streets only to turn a corner and interrupt a gritty crime narrative (actual or virtual) taking place behind the dumpsters in the alley. If you are familiar with this neighbourhood you will have noticed that the codes of gesture, utterance, dress and deportment are significantly broader and more diverse than other areas of the city. Homelessness and other socio-economic factors make for a confused boundary between private and public space. An acute awareness of threat and security is heightened by the notoriety of this neighbourhood in media representations. Public and private policing merge and cross the very visible yet mobile boundaries between the various terrains of short and long term inhabitants.

    A Set of Suspicions presents a fall series of exhibitions and events by artists investigating ideas of threat, security and suveillance. The works use the gallery space to index specific off-locations: the proposed street cameras just beyond our doors; the hyper-watched financial district of London, England; a university biotech lab; and the mobile ‘watching machines’ that orbit the earth. A Set of Suspicions integrates visual art, writing, video, performance, electronics design and music composition to consider the proliferation of technology, privacy and public identities and cultural habits of interpretation.

    ALSO SEE

    Bank Job
    JANICE KERBEL
    December 9–January 27, 2001

    Suspects (Performance for the Police)
    WARREN ARCAN, SHELLEY GUHLE, JOSH SCHAFER, TERI SNELGROVE, SUSAN STEWART
    October 21–November 25, 2000

    Artspeak is a member of the Pacific Association of Artist Run Centres (PAARC). Artspeak gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Council, The Province of BC through the BC Arts Council, the City of Vancouver, the Vancouver Foundation, Canadian Heritage, our Board of Directors, volunteers and our members.

    A Set of Suspicions has been generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation and The Canada Council through the Interdisciplinary Arts Program.

    Jocelyn Robert thanks the Conseil des Arts et des Lettres du Quebec for their support.

  • Technical Support

    RANU MUKHERJEE
    June 23–July 29, 2000

    “What qualities in humans do you most value?”

    “Do you ever feel like you are mutating and if so how?”

    As part of ‘Zero Degree Monstrosities: A Theme Park of Art and Technology’, produced in collaboration with digital eARTh, Artspeak is pleased to present work by London-based artist Ranu Mukherjee. Using a web-based questionaire, the artist gathered responses to questions concerning ‘fantasy’, ‘reality’ and notions of ‘mutation’. These responses were used to ‘build’ a new work addressing the paradox of presence in a biotech world.

    ‘Technical Support’ is an installation work using video projections and objects to create an immersive environment in the gallery space. The projections layer voice and rhythmic imagery: the objects or ‘frozen animations’ are influenced by Haitian Vodou Arts. Within this newly defined space, Mukherjee investigates the relationship between digital and ritual practice and the nexus of biology and technology. ‘Technical Support’ uses tactile surfaces, ruptures of time and illusions of depth to explore the the possibility of inter-related subjectivities that emerge and dissolve simultaneously.

    ‘Zero Degree Monstrosities: A Theme Park of Art and Technology’ is a joint venture with Digital eARTh, and includes exhibitions and events at multiple venues across the city. Looking to the historical precendents of the theme park such as medieval carnivals and 19c amusment parks, this series of events and exhibitions explores our fear and fascination with hybrids, new models and dangerous inventions – uncontrolled ‘newness’ and misplaced methodologies.

    For more information go to http://www.digitalearth.org/.

  • Waterspeak

    DANA CLAXTON
    May 21–June 17, 2000

    Waterspeak, a new installation work, blends video and film footage of waterfalls and the winter rapids of Capilano River to address issues of environmental degradation and differing cultural constructions of nature. Merging with the water, the characters Man and Woman overlap and dissolve in a quiet, insistent discussion about listening and speaking, The multiple moving images of natural phenomena are heightened through their scale and saturated colour. A rich and complex audio track samples water sounds and throat-singing with music by Russell Wallace, a composer who has collaborated with Claxton over the past decade. The seductive qualities of recorded voice, the familiarity of video and film, and the contemplative space of the gallery combine in an investigation of the sacred in art and the place these concerns might be given within the ‘artspeak’ of visual arts practice.

    anarchive 03
    Bibliography

    April, Raymonde; Bertrand, Monique; Evergon; Gagnon, Charles; Paquet, Claire; Paquet, Suzanne; Readman, Sylvie; Saharuni, Randy; Simon, Cheryl; Vaillancourt, Francois. “Incidences; Projets Photographiques”. Dazibao, Quebec, 1992.

    Arden Roy; Derksen, Jeff; Leisen, Donna; Wharton, Calvin; Douglas, Stan; Ferguson, Deanna; Culley. Peter; Leydon, Sara; MacLeod, Kathryn; Munday, Doug; Rimmer,Cate; Watson, Scott; Nichols, Miriam. “Behind the Sign”. Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, 1988.

    Augaitis, Daina; Bailey, Cameron; Gagnon, Monika Kin; Gogarty, Amy; Phillip, Marlene Nourbese; Ruebsaat, Norbert; Sawchuk, Kim; Todd, Loretta; Weiss,Rachel. eds. Bart, Rene; Augaitis, Daina; Bailey, Cameron; Gagnon, Monika Kin; Gogarty, Amy; Phillip, Marlene Nourbese; Ruebsaat, Norbert; Sawchuk, Kim; Todd, Loretta; Weiss,Rachel. “Territories of Difference”. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, 1993.

    Balser, Micheal; Deschamps, Lea; Dowler, Kevin; Dyke, Victor; Gagnon, Angele; Landon, Paul; Mullington, Chris; Pearson, Sue; Schacter, R.N.; Thompson, Rob; Hagel, Ray; Sutherland, Shawn; White, Bill; Benoit, Claude Phillippe; Nigro, Richard; Robertson, Clive; Wonnacott, Justin. “Time and Distance”. SAW Video, Ottawa, 1988.

    Banning, Kass; Berard, Serge; Burstyn, Varda; Dorland, Micheal; Durand, Guy Sioui; Ferguson, Bruce W.; Fry, Jacqueline; Fry, Philip; Gagnon, Monika Kin; Grenville, Bruce; Klepac, Walter; Laing, Carol; Lamoureux, Johanne; Monk, Philip; Nemiroff, Diana; Payant, Diana; Randolph, Jeanne; Ross, Christine; Saint-Pierre, Marcel; Sawchuk, Kim; Todd, Loretta; Town, Elke; Townsend-Gault, Charlotte; Tuer, Dot; Wood, William editors:; Bradley, Jessica; Johnstone, Lesley; Banning, Kass; Berard, Serge; Burstyn, Varda; Dorland, Micheal; Durand, Guy Sioui; Ferguson, Bruce W.; Fry, Jacqueline; Fry, Philip; Gagnon, Monika Kin; Grenville, Bruce; Klepac, Walter; Laing, Carol; Lamoureux, Johanne; Monk, Philip; Nemiroff, Diana; Payant, Diana; Randolph, Jeanne; Ross, Christine; Saint-Pierre, Marcel; Sawchuk, Kim; Todd, Loretta; Town, Elke; Townsend-Gault, Charlotte; Tuer, Dot; Wood, William. “SightLines”. Artextes edtions, QC, 1994.

    Beam, Carl; Boyer, Bob; Cardinal-Schubert, Joane; Cisneros, Domingo; Houle, Robert; MacDonald, Mike; Noganosh, Ron; Poitras, Jane Ash; Poitras, Edward; Sioui, Pierre; Holmes, Willard; Hill, Tom; Duffek, Karen. “Beyond History”. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1989.

    Bob, Dempsey; Point Bolton, Rena; Bowley, Janis; Claxton, Dana; Congdon, Daniel; Currelly, Judith; Davis, Fred; Diesing, Freda; Dikeakos, Christos; Edington, Clare Gomez; Graham, Rodney; Haraldsson, Arni ; Harris, Walter; Heit (Ya’Ya), Chuck; Hogg, Lucy; Johnston, Byron; Ki-ke-in (Ron Hamilton); Lawrence, Donald; Lee, J. J.; Longman, Mary; Mackenzie, Landon; MacLeod, Myfanwy; Madill, Kevin; Marshall, Teresa; Mollineaux, Melinda; Mootoo, Shani with Kathy High; Mowatt, Ken ; Oberlander, Wendy ; Patrick, Chester; Point, Susan A.; Radul, Judy; Rivet, Rick James; Rorick, Isabel; Sparrow, Debra and Robyn; Takashima, Yoko; Totino, Mina; Wherry, Cathi Charles; Yoon, Jin-Me; Youds, Robert; Yuen, Sharyn A. Cur.Arnold, Grant; Cur.Gagnon, Monika Kin; Cur.Jensen, Doreen. “Topographies; Aspects of Recent BC Art”. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1997.

    Bob, Sam; Pechawis, Archer; Maracle, Dennis; Sidlar, Jimmy; Kane, Margo; Longboy, Zachery; Maracle, Lee; Humber, Marie; Maskegon-Iskwew, Ahasiw K.; Lawrenchuk, Micheal; Hawke, Tom E.; Claxton, Dana; Thrush, Michelle; Frazier, Annie. Cur.Alteen, Glenn; Cur. Maracle, Dennis. “First Nations Performance Series”. Grunt Gallery, Vancouver, 1992.

    Bontogon, Eric; Butler,Margot Leigh; Chang, Ana; Edelstein, Susan; Holman, Shaira; Jones, Amy; Jones, Lizard; Mollineaux, Melinda; Naylor, Margaret; Sui, River; Tsang, Henry; Vaasjo, Anne; weaving, jil p.; Gage, Darlene; Larson, Jacqueline; Gagnon, Monika Kin; Edmunds, Sandra. “Out of Place”. Association for Noncommercial Culture, Vancouver, 1993.

    Kane, Margo; Gilbert, Sylvie; Cardinal-Schubert, Joane. “Memories Springing; Waters Singing”. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, 1992.

    Longboy, Zachary; Fabo, Andy; Beharry, Shauna. “The Glade”. AKA Artist Run Centre; Saskatoon, SK, 1996.

    Luna, James; Gilbert, Sylvie; Sakamoto, Kerri. “James Luna”. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, 1992.

    Man, Alfred Young, Ph.D; Cur. Bailey, Jann. “North American Indian Art:; It’s a Question of Integrity”. Kamloops Art Gallery, Kamloops, 1998.

    Mootoo, Shani; Gagnon, Monika Kin. “Photocopies & Videotapes”. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1994.

    Wong, Paul; Gilbert, Sylvie; Lai, Larissa. “Chinaman’s Peak: Walking the Mountain”. Walter Phillips Gallery, Banff, 1992.

    Yoon, Jin-me; Radul, Judy; Kang, Hyun Yi; Gagnon, Monika Kin. “Between Departure and Arrival”. Western Front, Vancouver, 1998.

  • Boys and Girls Welcome!

    ALAN HOFFMAN
    March 25–May 6, 2000

    Just in from the corner of Nanaimo and First sits a deadpan clapboard structure, its windowless facade contradicting the friendly handpainted Boys and Girls Welcome! sign that is tacked where a window ought to be. Photographed in isolation and printed in deeply saturated colour this forgettable building becomes embued with a sinister innocence. This image is one of a series of cibachrome prints presented in a first solo exhibition by Alan Hoffman. His enlargements of vernacular architecture in Vancouver and his hometown Penticton hover between nostalgia and unease. The gas stations, motor motels and churches at first appear to be architectural models or miniatures, perhaps model train environments. In recognizing the Ridge Theatre or Penticton’s giant peach it becomes clear that the curiously distorted sense of scale and euphemized colour are technically accomplished representations of the familiar landmarks and architectural oddities of Vancouver neighbourhoods and Okanagan tourist destinations.

    Hoffman has chosen to photograph the clumsy manifestations of lowbrow aspirations—not the grandiose failures of Vancouver modernism so comprehensively covered by this city’s more senior artists. His work escapes ‘the quaint’ and resists ‘the serious’ simultaneously as it fails to allow easy entry into the ‘reality’ it pictures.

    anarchive 02
    Bibliography

    Breukleman, Jim; Laurence, Robin “Hot Properties”, Presentation House Gallery: North Vancouver, 1987.

    Adrian, Robert; Arngn’naaq, Ruby; Butler, Jack; Campbell, Kati; Esch, Deborah; Falk, Lorne; MacInnis, Neil; Miller, Bernie; Moylan, Tom; Robert, Jocelyn; Urban, Colette. “The City Within”. Jeanne Randolf, ed.: The Banff Centre, 1992.

    Graham, Rodney; Kleyn, Robert; Linsley, Robert; Sinclair, Jennifer Oille; Smithson, Robert; Snider, Greg. “Some Detached Houses”. Bill Jeffries, Cur. Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1990.

    Haraldsson, Arni; Kleyn, Robert. “Project on Vancouver Architecture and Landscape”. Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, 1995.

    Sekula, Allan; Dufour, Gary; O’Brian, John. “Geography Lesson: Canadian Notes”. Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver, 1997.

    Crewdson, Gregory; Morrow, Bradford; Steinke, Darcey. “Dream of Life”. Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, Spain, 1999.

    Group Exhibition. “Mois de la Photo à Montréal, 1999″. Organized by VOX, Montréal, 1999.

    Hoffman, Alan. “Fourteen Stories”. Self-published. Vancouver, 1996.

    Whitehead, Gary. “I Can Fix Anything”. Arsenal Pulp Press: Vancouver, 1994.

    Derksen, Jeff. “Until”. Downtime Talonbooks: Vancouver, 1990

    Coady, Lynn. “Nice Place to Visit” Play the Monster Blind. Doubleday: Toronto, 2000

    Speak, Dorothy. “The View From Here” Object of Your Love. Somerville House: Toronto, 1996

    Gom, Leona. excerpt from “Zero Avenue”. Douglas & McIntyre: Vancouver, 1989

    Trujillo Lusk, Dorothy. “Sentimental Intervention” Writing 25. Kootenay School of Writing: Vancouver, 1990.

  • Prosthesis

    MONIQUE MEES
    February 2–March 18, 2000

    Some cable television programs are entirely devoted to images of surgical procedures as entertainment, taking the voyeuristic impulse beyond the surface of the body to penetrate its interior. The horror and fascination with which we view the anonymous flesh has an interesting history. Lisa Cartwright’s cultural studies text Screening the Body drew the attention of theorists and artists with the insight that scientific image-making like X-rays and medical photography cannot be separated from art forms such as ‘art’ photography and cinema, rather that they inform and influence one another. Scientists and physicians call upon the formal conventions of the culture in which they live as they make images and documents. Artifacts of medical study, combined with our familiarity with art photographs and film, create an archive that influences our way of imagining the body, and indeed mediates our bodily experience.

    Prosthesis is a result of research in the history of medical imaging and an exploration of the compelling objects used in surgical procedures. Monique Mees has compiled an archive of 19th century photographs of patients and replicant body parts—an archive that she has re-photographed and formatted as black and white transparencies. Fixed on glass and arranged in a grid, the transparencies hover inches from the gallery wall. An arc-shaped lighting apparatus on the ceiling slowly scans back and forth, animating the images and, creating skewed, theatrical shadows. The scanning action combines references to cinema and to contemporary diagnostic devices, animating this disturbing archive with the sounds and machine movement of the examination room. Steel replacement joints used in orthopedic surgery are photographed and enlarged on canvas using the archaic process of liquid emulsion, creating sensuous and evocative images of these disturbing clinical objects.

    anarchive 01
    Bibliography

    Graham, Beryl, “The Panic Button (in which our heroine goes back to the future of pornography), The Photographic Image in Digital Culture, Martin Lister, ed.: London: Routledge, 1995

    Cartwright, Lisa, “Gender Artisfacts: Technologies of Bodily Display in Medical Culture”. Visual Display: Culture Beyond Appearances. Lynne Cooke and Peter Wollen, eds.: Bay Press, Seattle, 1995.

    Cartwright, Lisa, “Screening the Body: Tracing Medicine’s Visual Culture”. University of Missesota Press, Minneapolis, 1995.

    Nussbaum, Emily, “Field Notes: Mother’s Little Helper”. Lingua Franca, November 1998, p. 8-9.

    Kirby, Kathleen, “Indecent Exposure: Redefining the Spaces of Gender”, Indifferent Boundaries: Spatial Concepts of Human Subjectivity, New York: Guilford, 1996.

    Derko, Kim; Kealey, Susan; Marchessault, Janine; Gagnon, Monika Kin; Berland, Jody; Shaw, Nancy. “Let’s Play Doctor”. Artspeak Gallery, Vancouver, 1993.

    Jolicoeur, Nicole; Love, Karen; Randolph, Jeanne. “La Verite Folle”. Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver, 1989.

    Herbert, James; Noren, Andrew; Gallagher, Chris; Schneemann, Carolee; Corner, Bruce; Broughton, James; Elder, R. Bruce. “The Body in Film”. Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, 1989.

    Messager, Annette; Hurtig, Annette; Lamoureux, Johanne. “faire des histoires /making up stories”. Mercer Union, Toronto, 1991.

    Simon, Cheryl; Wilson, Louise; Wright, Alexa; Racine, Daniéle. “Corps-machine: engrenage médical”. La Centrale, Montréal, 1995.

    Monleon, Mau. “Verbo”. Generalitat Valenciana, 1993.

  • Amazon

    CAROL SAWYER
    May 2–June 6, 1998

    This playful multi-media installation, reflects Carol Sawyer’s continuing investigation of female characters found in literature, popular culture and opera. Amazon is a photographic installation inspired by the evil femme fatales of 60’s and 70’s mythic fantasy movies. In Sawyer’s exhibition the Amazon serves as a humourous and critical model of bitchy autonomy and self-assertion; it is an identity or fiction that enables women to transcend expected roles of femininity. With its overlapping texts of gender, sexuality and power, the Amazon pushes beyond the limits of mortal and terrestrial boundaries.

  • W.

    LORNA BROWN
    April 26–May 25, 1996

    Artspeak Gallery is pleased to announce W., a installation work in the gallery space with an internet component by Vancouver artist Lorna Brown.

    ‘W.’ is a ‘mirror’ work to ‘M.’ from 1990 which was installed at Cathedral Place, using the history and recent controversy about the Woodward’s Building in downtown Vancouver. Brown’s studio has been in this neighborhood for the last ten years and she was, until its recent closure, a Woodward’s hardware department ‘regular’. Its basement food floor was an established hangout for local residents in the middle hours of the day. The building has been described as an anchor to the surrounding businesses, residential hotels, missions and soup kitchens. The neighborhood and its longtime residents are feeling the effect of upscale development in Gastown to the north and the Expo lands to the south.

    Over the past six years Brown has been making installation works that combine two sets of ideas: the social history of several Vancouver area buildings under dispute, and the structural use of the initial (I.) in creating a contingent place or temporary identity from which women can safely speak. These works are loosely titled ‘Anomalies’.

    “I am interested in investigating further the relationship between the structures of our built environment and the social structures of gender, class and history. The temporary, strategic positioning of the female subject in urban spaces is evident in the title of this body of work”.

    This new work refers in part to large scale ‘fictional’ pictures used to revamp and renovate the identities of neighbourhoods in the form of banners, hoardings and the like, a field for the free play of fantasy in the revisioning of the city, the imaginings of various interests or ‘stakeholders’. The work intersects with the use of imaging technology in the construction of identities and takes advantage of technology’s potential to suggest fictional identities while pointing out the illusion.

    VIEW THE PROJECT

  • Artspeak: 5th Anniversary, Exhibition and Sale

    DONNA LEISEN, DAVID STEELE, DOUG MUNDAY, WORKSITE, LAURA LAMB, ARTISTS'S BOOKWORKS, MARK GRADY, REID SHIER, ROB LINSLEY, LAIWAN, ROBERT SHERIN, SFU STUDENT WORK, PATRONS, STAN DOUGLAS, BRENNA GEORGE, MARK LEWIS, HENRY TSANG, ROY ARDEN, ALLYSON CLAY, KATHERINE KORTIKOW, BEHIND THE SIGN, ANNE RAMSDEN, CORINNE CARLSON, CHRISTINE DAVIS, LAUREL WOODCOCK, AMI RUNAR HARALDSSON, KATHY SLADE, PHILLIP MCCRUM, EDWARD POITRAS, WILL GORLITZ, KELLY WOOD, NANCY SHAW, KEN LUM, LORNA BROWN, ROY KIYOOKA, KEITH HIGGINS, ELLEN RAMSEY, SARA LEYDON, MARTHA TOWNSEND, MINA TOTINO, FRANK GAUDET, LANI MAESTRO, PANYA CLARK
    February 22–March 23, 1991

  • Reading

    LORNA BROWN
    March 24–April 21, 1990

  • Grunt Or Artspeak

    LORNA BROWN, LAURA LAMB, DOUG MUNDAY, REID SHIER, NANCY SHAW, DEANNA FERGUSON, KATHRYN MACLEOD
    June 5–June 29, 1987

    Curated by Glenn Alteen, Ellen Ramsey and Cate Rimmer

    3 Gallery show curated by respective curators and presented at Charles H. Scott Gallery
    Review: Vanguard Sept/Oct ’87, by Colleen Fee

    Grunt Or Artspeak, an exhibition featuring a selection of work representing three local alternative galleries, Grunt, Or and Artspeak, will be at the Charles H. Scott Gallery from June 5 through 28, 1987. The opening reception will be from 8-10p, Friday evening, June 5, and a reading by members of Artspak/Kootenay School of Writing (K.S.W.) will take place in the Scott Gallery at 3pm Saturday, June 13.

    The guest curators, Glenn Alteen, Ellen Ramsey and Cate Rimmer have included works by sixteen ‘young’ artists. Representing the Grunt will be: Dav MacNab, Gary Ouimet, Bill Rennie, Garry Ross and Hillary Wood; the Or: Daniel Congdon, Sheila Hall, Catherine Jones and Warren Murfitt; and Artspeak: Lorna Brown, Laura Lamb, Doug Munday, Reid Shier, and Nancy Shaw, Deanna Ferguson and Kathryn MacLeod.

    The exhibition will transfert the ‘character’ of these alternative galleries, stiguating them in a more central locations with a much broader audience than they normally reach.

    For the large part, the Artists in Grunt Or Artspeak share a similar academic background having received training from either an art college or university, Their work however, varies greatly in both subject matter and presentation ranging from video and photo-textual work to assemblage and painting.

  • Work Related

    LORNA BROWN, MARGOT LEIGH BUTLER, CAROL WILLIAMS
    August 16–September 5, 1986

    Exhibition by WORKSITE artists.

Talks & Events

  • Artist Talk

    LORNA BROWN
    April 7, 2007

    Artist talk with Lorna Brown presented in conjunction with the exhibition, The Chatter of Culture.

  • Farewell & Welcome/Project: Morisot

    HADLEY + MAXWELL, LORNA BROWN
    March 5, 2004

    The Board of Directors of Artspeak invite you to join us in bidding farewell to Lorna Brown and to welcome our new Director/Curator. On this special occasion, a new Artspeak Edition will be launched.

    Project: Morisot, 2004 is a photographic print, edition of ten, signed and numbered by the artists Hadley + Maxwell. In their Décor Series, the artists collaborate with a curator, gallery director, dealer, collector, or other subject of cultural production and dissemination. They perform a temporary redecoration, or installation, in the subject’s home, which is then documented for exhibition. Project: Morisot, a collaboration with Lorna Brown, is the most recent project in this series.

  • Book Launch

    MARGARET LAWTHER, DON GILL
    July 19, 2003

    Artspeak is pleased to host the book launch event for Coincident; a book by Margaret Lawther and Don Gill. Coincident is published on the occasion of an exhibition of photographs and video, titled Souvenir: A Road Show, by Lawther, which takes place at Artspeak between June 7th and July 19, 2003.

  • syntaxerrors: a series of performed lectures

    MARGOT LEIGH BUTLER, JEANNE RANDOLPH, AARON VIDAVER
    October 23–November 6, 2001

    syntaxerrors: a series of performed lectures

    Jeanne Randolph Tuesday, October 23, 2001

    Margot Leigh Butler Tuesday, October 30, 2001

    Aaron Vidaver Tuesday, November 6, 2001

    all at: Fletcher Challenge Theatre

    SFU Harbour Centre 7:30 pm

    515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver

    Admission $5/$3

    syntax errors are the symbols and letters produced by technology when given the task of translating data from one representational form to another:

    -_ræ»[Ñê

    òÝ-

    8

    ¡

    »

    Artspeak will present a series of three ‘performed lectures’, investigating the relationship between authoritative language, presentation technologies and performance art.

    Three evening events will combine forms of art performance, pedagogical histrionics and conference tactics to create, along with technological tools, a form of cultural practice that confounds the categories of public address with inventiveness and humour. This series will negotiate the systems of language delivery found in performance art, with its history of personal confessional narrative and attention to the body of the Performer, and the passive authority and implied objectivity of the Speaker with her/his disembodied “meta-voice”. The series will take place in the hushed comfort and the seamless technological support of an SFU Harbour Centre lecture theatre.

    In the context of ‘Live: Vancouver Biennale of Performance Art’, the series broadens the definition of performance to include a critical investigation of the relationship between language, technology and visual art, challenging festival audiences to consider the tradition of performance art in relation to institutional interventions.

    syntaxerrors has been generously funded by the Province of British Columbia through the BC Arts Council. Co-sponsored by LIVE: biennial of performance art and Simon Fraser University’s School for the Contemporary Arts.

    Jeanne Randolph

    Acting out, Play-Doh* and Doubt: a personalized history of performative lecturing

    Tuesday, October 23, 2001

    SFU Harbour Centre 7:30 pm

    Fletcher Challenge Theatre

    Jeanne Randolph, a psychoanalyst and writer of highly inventive visual arts criticism will recount, illustrate and distort the psychoanalytic theory and self-induced neurosis that compelled her to extemporize her lectures rather than read a rationally composed, organized essay to her audiences.

    Randolph’s lectures and presentations draw upon current research interests as evident in articles such as Ambiguity and the Technological Object, Technology and the Meaningful Body and Why Stoics Box. Randolph has participated in a wide range of photographic and new media projects, such as Stan Denniston’s Fictional Portraits, the internet project Videoscopia curated by Jorge Marzos (Barcelona), Virtual Metropolis, and was a “barfly” in Vera Frenkel’s Body Missing.

    Margot Leigh Butler

    “The honey’s not far from the sting”

    Tuesday, October 30, 2001

    SFU Harbour Centre 7:30 pm

    Fletcher Challenge Theatre

    Margot Leigh Butler’s recent research into genetically modified organisms features in a bookwork project for WestCoast Line, a Vancouver literary journal (Autumn 2001). As figures, bees are efficient, industrious, mobile, manageable and profitable workers; they make honey and pollinate the flora, diligently crossing between GM and non-GM crops, and, in the process, they are themselves being modified, contaminated, mutated – and are we? Bee culture offers suggestive metaphors for activism, such as the noisy, fearsome, unpredictable swarm. This performance uses an incitement to swarm from a 17th century musical score for voice, slides, and spoken and sung texts.

    Butler is a visual artist and writer whose ‘book installations’ have been published in The Virtual Embodied (Routledge 1998), WestCoast Line and Capilano Review (Vancouver) and cultural criticism in the periodicals Mute Magazine and Women’s Studies International Forum (London).

    Aaron Vidaver

    Counter-Interpellation

    Tuesday, November 6, 2001

    SFU Harbour Centre 7:30 pm

    Fletcher Challenge Theatre

    Aaron Vidaver is a writer and archivist. Drawing upon his archival work for cultural organizations, artist-run centres, and educational institutions as well as his previous interventions in public space, Vidaver builds a performed lecture addressing juridical selfhood and linguistic dissent. Counter-Interpellation uses a recitation of his report card evaluations, beginning in kindergarten and extending through to his university studies to punctuate a discussion of subjection in Althusser’s theory of interpellation.

    Vidaver edits the Documents in Poetics series for the Friends of RuncibleMountain and is an associate of the Centre for Contemporary Writing. He coordinates Studies in Practical Negation, a seminar on oppositional writing at the Kootenay School of Writing, and is currently working on Unentitled, a long poem, and A Field Guide to Feral Ornaments, a prose collaboration with Steven Ward and Roger Farr.

    PART I

    PART II

    PART III

    PART IV

    PART V

  • Reading/Web Launch

    ROGER FARR, TESSA LAMB, LEANNEJ, REG JOHANSON, RYAN KNIGHTON, MYKOL KNIGHTON, JEREMY TURNER
    May 29, 2001

    Artspeak is pleased to host the reading and web launch of “SIFTED: The Read Room” which accompanies SIFT: The Read Room; an exhibition running from April 28th to June 2nd, 2001.

  • Publication Launch/Video Screening

    TERI SNELGROVE, JOCELYN ROBERT, DANIEL JOLLIFFE, WARREN ARCAN, SHELLEY GUHLE, JOSH SCHAFER, SUSAN STEWART, JANICE KERBEL, LORNA BROWN, RANDY LEE CUTLER, DENIS GAUTIER, KATHLEEN RITTER, ALLYSON CLAY
    April 6, 2001

    Artspeak Gallery will host the launching event for the publication accompanying the exhibition titled A Set of Suspicions, as well as a video screening of one of the show’s artists, Teri Snelgrove, part of Suspects (Performance for the Police).

  • Performance and Publication launch

    CAROL SAWYER
    June 6, 1998

    Performance by Carol Sawyer, and the launching event of her publication “Amazonia”: both accompanying her exhibition “Amazon” at Artspeak Gallery.

  • Artspeak: 5th Anniversary, Exhibition and Sale

    DONNA LEISEN, DAVID STEELE, DOUG MUNDAY, WORKSITE, LAURA LAMB, ARTISTS'S BOOKWORKS, MARK GRADY, REID SHIER, ROB LINSLEY, LAIWAN, ROBERT SHERIN, SFU STUDENT WORK, PATRONS, STAN DOUGLAS, BRENNA GEORGE, MARK LEWIS, HENRY TSANG, ROY ARDEN, ALLYSON CLAY, KATHERINE KORTIKOW, BEHIND THE SIGN, ANNE RAMSDEN, CORINNE CARLSON, CHRISTINE DAVIS, LAUREL WOODCOCK, AMI RUNAR HARALDSSON, KATHY SLADE, PHILLIP MCCRUM, EDWARD POITRAS, WILL GORLITZ, KELLY WOOD, NANCY SHAW, KEN LUM, LORNA BROWN, ROY KIYOOKA, KEITH HIGGINS, ELLEN RAMSEY, SARA LEYDON, MARTHA TOWNSEND, MINA TOTINO, FRANK GAUDET, LANI MAESTRO, PANYA CLARK
    February 22–March 23, 1991

  • Talk

    LORNA BROWN
    February 7, 1991

    Writers/Artists/Talks, a joint project of the Kootenay School of Writing and Artspeak Gallery, consists of a series of public talks and exhibitions by writers and artists with the intention to articulate a common theoretical and practical ground for the two disciplines.

Publications

  • The Chatter of Culture

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    Title: The Chatter of Culture
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Lorna Brown, Robyn Laba, David Zink Yi
    Writers: Lisa Robertson, Melanie O’Brian
    Editor: Melanie O’Brian
    Design: Jeff Khonsary
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Hignell Book Printing
    Year published: 2008
    Pages: 52pp
    Cover: Hardcover
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 12 b&w images, 9 colour images
    Dimensions: 20 x 14 x 1 cm
    Weight: 173 g
    ISBN: 978-0-921394-56-3
    Price: $7 CDN

    A nod to Theodor Adorno’s discussions of the culture industry, leisure, and the “chatter of culture,” this publication brings together works that approach the anatomy of world-weariness. The works simultaneously reveal cultural overload to be curiosity-crushing as well as breeding grounds for new ideas. It has long been argued that (successful) art sustains curiosity and speculation rather than answers questions or provides conclusions, as scientific information intends to do. The publication assembles the documentation of two exhibitions held at Artspeak in 2007 that included the work of Lorna Brown, Robyn Laba, and David Zink Yi with a new poem by Lisa Robertson, About 1836 (an essay on boredom). Robertson was invited to write in consort with the themes of the exhibitions. The works represented here centre around investigations into cultural chatter, edging towards an articulation of a subjective yet social phenomenon.

  • Placebo

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    Title: Placebo
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Helen Cho, Colleen Wolstenholme
    Writers: Lorna Brown, Holly Ward
    Editor: Artspeak
    Design: Robin Michell
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2004
    Pages: 15pp
    Cover: Paper fold out velcro
    Binding: Single Bolt
    Process: Offset
    Features: 8 colour images
    Dimensions: 11 x 11 x 1.5
    Weight: 61 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-49-7
    Price: $4 CDN

    Placebo is published on the occasion of a two-person exhibition featuring Helen Cho and Colleen Wolstenholme, which took place at Artspeak between June 12 and July 16, 2004.

    A placebo, whether a sugar pill used in clinical trials or an effect of belief upon our perceived experience, stands in for something else in a way similar to the function of representation. In their work, Cho and Wolstenholme draw upon the strategy of substitution to extract the full evocatory potential of materials and images.

  • Coincident

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    Title: Coincident
    Category: Artist Book
    Artist: Margaret Lawther, Don Gill
    Writers: Lorna Brown
    Editor: Artspeak
    Design: Robin Mitchell
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2003
    Pages: 24pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 8 b&w images, 8 colour images
    Dimensions: 18 x 14.5 x 0.5 cm
    Weight: 109 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-45-4
    Price: $7 CDN

    Coincident is one of a collection of Artspeak publications that pairs photographs of artworks with new writing by artists and writers whose practices share similar concerns. This collection aims to contribute to the shifting definition of visual arts publication, and to extend the long history of innovative relationships between the visual and language arts in Vancouver.

    Coincident is published on the occasion of an exhibition of photographs and video, titled Souvenir: A Road Show, by Margaret Lawther, which took place at Artspeak between June 7 and July 19, 2003.

    The Axis of Coincidence by Don Gill combines the friendly voice of travel literature with the most unlikely of destinations – a tour of the prisons of Texas or a gopher museum in Alberta. During his adventures our hero must endure such trials as a flashing oil-pressure light, bulky travel companions in rented compacts and bad coffee. His idiosyncratic itinerary is mapped on a coincidence; which holds that “Curiously, if you take a map of North America and draw a straight line from Lethbridge to Mérida, depending on the width of the line, it will pass directly through Houston.” This sketchy rationale forms the plan for a series of excursions, with arbitrary end points, that skip across the continent.

  • Up & Down: Downtown Eastside Architecture

    Title: Up & Down: Downtown Eastside Architecture
    Category: Artist Book
    Artist: Arni Haraldsson
    Writers: Clint Burnham
    Editor: Lorna Brown
    Design: Kathleen Ritter
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2003
    Pages: 24pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Folio
    Process: Offset
    Features: 12 postcards, 13 colour images
    Dimensions: 13.5 x 16.5 x 1 cm
    Weight: 98 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-41-1
    Out of print

    This publication is a set of image cards printed with Arni Haraldsson’s photographs of buildings in the Downtown Eastside on one side and Clint Burnham’s text reflections on the reverse. Half of the cards will be distributed during the course of the exhibition at Artspeak in March/April 2003. The remaining will be collated and contained in a die-cut folio or printed envelope.

  • Doubt & The History of Scaffolding

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    Title: Doubt & The History of Scaffolding
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Elspeth Pratt
    Writers: Lisa Robertson
    Editor: Lorna Brown
    Design: Judith Steedman
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2002
    Pages: 32 pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 7 b&w images, 4 colour images
    Dimensions: 16 x 12 x 0.6 cm
    Weight: 53 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-39-X
    Out of print

    Doubt, an exhibition of new and recent sculptural work by Elspeth Pratt, took place at Artspeak in the spring of 2002. Known for her exploration of architecture and furnishings and for her inventive use of ubiquitous building supplies such as foam insulation, metal corner bead and veneers, Pratt’s new projects further her recent interest in concepts of leisure and consumerism in domestic and public spaces. The works hinge on the familiarity of the lumberyard materials, and the surprising and contingent methods used to combine them; woodgrain ‘columns’ are stitched together with chain, model-sized balconies are propped on sponge in shapes that suggest a racetrack viewing platform or a cliff-top dwelling. The wry humour in Doubt leans upon a critique of the seamless aims of our built environment and the fetish of the custom finish. The work in Doubt suggests the skepticism with which the artist approaches the weight and permanence of sculptural tradition as well as the viewers’ hesitant response to her contingent and ephemeral negotiation of gravity.

    In Doubt & The History of Scaffolding, The Office for Soft Architecture embraces the architectural paradox of scaffolding as both stable and “almost a catastrophe”; as a skin, as ceremonial furnishing and as an obscuring grove. Scaffolding’s shaky contract with gravity is drafted in the letters of the alphabet suggested by its form – Ts and Xs. This essay luxuriates in the fluid grammar and transience of such a system. Doubt and The History of Scaffolding builds on a body of work undertaken by The Office for Soft Architecture, beginning with Soft Architecture: A Manifesto, published by Artspeak and Dazibao in 1999 and including numerous contributions to Nest Magazine.

  • Long-Range Forecast: Variable

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    Title: Long-Range Forecast: Variable
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Robin Arsenault
    Writers: leannej, Lorna Brown
    Editor: Viola Funk
    Design: Kathleen Ritter
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2002
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: 5 panel foldout with 2 pullout posters
    Process: Offset
    Features: 5 b&w images, 5 colour images
    Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 1.5 cm
    Weight: 106 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-40-3
    Price: $5 CDN

    Long-Range Forecast: Variable is published to extend the exhibition here you should read (that something is awry), which took place at Artspeak in the spring of 2002. Robin Arseneault’s first exhibition in Vancouver negotiated the theatricality of installation art, presenting an environment that suggested an empty stage set. Working with the architecture of the gallery, objects or props were connected with pulley systems and movable mechanisms; both the props and the machinery made of such improbable materials as watercolours on tracing paper and ice-blue mohair ‘rain’. Three-dimensional stuffed ’emotions’ and fabric ‘Menacing Gray Clouds’ that may be raised and lowered used absurdity to deflect and sublimate the commonplace catastrophes of embarrassment, humiliation and rejection. Arseneault embraces the over-used symbols of emotional pain, making them moveable, playful and almost endearing – the sleight-of-hand technique of displacement. Repeated images, emotional props, lost objects and the shadows they cast imply a repertoire of scripted performances, familiar improvisations and re-enactments.

    Paired with photographic documentation of the exhibition is leannej’s Weathering Systems, a flow chart narrative that unfolds in poster format. Working with improbability, the gap between action and consequence, and other indictments of narrative form, leannej’s work hovers between writing and conceptual art practice. Her previous work includes many contributions to FRONT Magazine, where she is Managing Editor, and Maybe it’s just a phase, a series of tear sheet texts included in the group show Sift: The Reading Room, an exhibition of writers working with visual culture at Artspeak in 2001. As an extension of that exhibition, she collaborated with Jeremy Turner on a contribution to Sifted: The Read Room, an electronic publication of computer based artworks. This publication brings together Robin Arseneault and leannej’s shared interests in semiotics and metaphors of prediction and probability.

  • small dead woman / Last Seen

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    Title: small dead woman / Last Seen
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Kevin Yates
    Writers: Diana George, Charles Mudede, Lorna Brown
    Editor: Artspeak
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2002
    Pages: 22pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Prong Steel Fastener Clip
    Process: Offset
    Features: 2 b&w images, 4 colour images
    Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 1 cm
    Weight: 70 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-38-1
    Price: $5 CDN

    Untitled (small dead woman) is the title of an exhibition by Kevin Yates which took place at Artspeak in the spring of 2002. Looking to apprehend the effects of films and photographs of ‘tragedy’ in sculptural form, Yates isolates the slain figure and models it in miniature in Untitled (small dead woman). Removing the setting, props, character and plot serves to eliminate any narrative possibility or specific mystery to solve, leaving only the tiny vulnerable object and our desire to examine it, which we must struggle to do, given its size. This tactic of decontextualization and rendering in three dimensions undermines the clinical detachment of film and photography and reconsiders the figure as ‘flesh’. The sculpture is almost too small to scrutinize and confounds the expectation of knowing-through-seeing and visual pleasure that surrounds the history of the art gallery.

    Last Seen, a collaborative text by Seattle writers Diana George and Charles Mudede, builds an analysis of ‘public wilderness’, locations of abandonment regulated into being, neither nature nor civilization, and that carry the signification of ‘crime scenes waiting to happen’. One such public wilderness surrounds the SeaTac airport, a former subdivision that was emptied out in anticipation of airport expansion, a ghost town with no romantic history. This and other empty, unincorporated locales were overtaken for sport, trysts, gleaning and dumping, excursions into ‘nature’ – liberties that were interrupted by the periodic discovery of skeletal remains of many of the women last seen on the sex trade strip of Highway 99. Using devices of seriality and recurrance, their text presents these locations as de-commissioned and blank, spaces lapsed between the capital plan and the date of completion, holding the pause between missing and found.

  • Passengers & Tour Guides

    Title: Passengers & Tour Guides
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Kevin Rodgers, Derek Sullivan
    Writers: Lorna Brown
    Design: Kathleen Ritter, Kevin Rodgers, Derek Sullivan
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2001
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: 5 panel foldout with 6 foldout inserts
    Process: Offset
    Features: 6 foldout inserts, 7 colour images
    Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 1 cm
    Weight: 98 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-36-5
    Price: $4 CDN

    Passengers & Tour Guides is a publication undertaken to extend the exhibition by the same name which took place in the fall of 2001.

    The exhibition was a collaborative installation by two artists whose practice spans across the visual and language arts, involving popular culture, architecture and notions of landscape. Prior to the exhibition, neither Rodgers nor Sullivan had traveled west of the Rockies and Passengers & Tour Guides played on their status as outsiders, creating a fictional place based on the eastern cliché of the West Coast.

    This book project contains a version of Sullivan’s large scale paper map of an imagined coastal city that spanned the length of one wall of the gallery. Postcards picture two views of the installation as well as source materials from an archive of images, photographs, photocopies and clippings. Rodgers’ fragments of texts in hand written note form are gleaned from a fictional cast of characters. Rodgers and Sullivan explore the construct of the West Coast as it is seen from outside, with its attendant romanticization and associations with the ‘frontier’.

  • SIFTED: The Read Room

    Title: SIFTED: The Read Room
    Writers: Roger Farr & Tessa Lamb, Neil Hennessy, leannej & Jeremy Turner, Reg Johanson, Ryan & Mykol Knighton, Jason Le Heup, Chris Turnbull
    Editor: Artspeak
    Category: CD-ROM
    Design: Mia Thomsett
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2001
    Process: Digital
    Features: 50 bw images
    Weight: 54 g
    Dimensions: 18 x 11 x 0.5 cm
    No longer available

    In conjunction with the exhibition SIFT: The Reading Room, Artspeak has produced SIFTED: The Read Room. These projects present the work of Vancouver and Toronto writers who have made forays into visual arts practice, breaking apart the distinctions between writing, visual art and technological applications. With a CD-ROM of images and web projects, Sifted is the culmination of the collaborative work of several writers and their invited colleagues that took place over the duration of the exhibition.

    Ryan Knighton and Mykol Knighton’s project draws on Ryan’s poetic practice and work in the exhibition, using the synthesized voice of his JAWS computer software for the visually impaired as part of the method and content of his work. Their collaborative work, titled Clutch, combines a sequence of photographs of an abandoned car which decompose the functioning car into its parts with text and sound investigating language/machinery, narrative, memory and hyperlinking relationships between image and anecdote.

    Roger Farr and Tessa Lamb’s collaborative and recombinant project Album, a book in process uses hypertext to unhinge the linear syntax imposed on historical and visual narratives by the codex book form. Composed of blurred black and white snapshots and edited diary passages culled from the web, Album makes public the privacy and intimacy usually attributed to the autobiographical genres of the family photograph and the personal diary.

    leannej and Jeremy Turner have created parallel projects that reflect their shared interest in the narrative process and the construction of identity. leanne’s work in the exhibition titled Maybe its Just a Phase, is a installation of diagrammatic text/stories that lead a reader/viewer through a maze of conditional outcomes. Jeremy’s practice and recent writing in FRONT magazine have involved re-creating historical and contemporary figures/identities through the form of the internet chat room, manufactured interviews and diaries.

     

  • A Set of Suspicions

    Title: A Set of Suspicions
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Warren Arcan, Shelley Guhle, Daniel Jolliffe, Janice Kerbel, Jocelyn Robert, Josh Schafer, Teri Snelgrove, Susan Stewart
    Writers: Lorna Brown, Randy Lee Cutler, Denis Gautier, Kathleen Ritter
    Design: Steedman Design
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Rainbow Press Ltd., Vancouver
    Year published: 2001
    Pages: 64pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Perfect Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 3 b&w images, 46 colour images, plastic jacket cover
    Dimensions: 11.5 x 20 x 1.2 cm
    Weight: 153 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-33-0
    Price: $20 CDN

    A Set of Suspicions documents a series of three exhibitions over the Fall 2000 season by artists investigating ideas of threat, security and surveillance. The works used the gallery space to index specific off-locations: the proposed street cameras just beyond our doors; the hyper-watched financial district of London, England; a university biotech lab; and the mobile ‘watching machines’ that orbit the earth. A Set of Suspicions integrates visual art, writing, video, performance, electronics design and music composition to consider the proliferation of technology, privacy and public identities as well as cultural habits of interpretation.

    Designed by Judith Steedman, A Set of Suspicions includes photographic documentation of the three exhibitions, writing by Lorna Brown, Randy Lee Cutler, Denis Gautier and Kathleen Ritter. An artist’s project, Improper Perspectives, by Allyson Clay was produced for A Set of Suspicions.

  • Stereoscope

    Title: Stereoscope
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Julie Andreyev
    Writers: Trevor Mahovsky
    Design: Steedman Design
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: Generation Printing
    Year published: 2001
    Pages: 20pp
    Cover: Paperback
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 4 b&w images, 2 colour images
    Dimensions: 21 x 12 x 1 cm
    Weight: 57 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-34-9
    Price: $2 CDN

    Stereoscope is a publication of new work by Julie Andreyev from her exhibition Stereoscope at Artspeak. For the publication, Vancouver artist and writer Trevor Mahovsky draws upon his interest in the history of stereoscopes in contemporary cultural criticism for his essay, “Attention Machines: A Context for Julie Andreyev’s Stereoscope.” Designed by Judith Steedman, this publication explores the embedded historical sources of viewing devices and virtual environments within contemporary entertainments.

    Andreyev’s new work combines life-size photographs created at Playdium arcade in Burnaby, one of the largest arcades in North America, and a stereoscopic viewing device based on Wheatstone’s model. A pair of stereoscopic photographs showing arcade players are mounted on opposing walls of the gallery space. The viewing device, made of small mirrors set at a ninety degree angle, are placed in the centre of the gallery space with the viewing point positioned at the corner. The mirrors capture reflections of the photographs, righting the reversed images and merging them into a 3D tableau. Should other bodies enter the space between the mirror and the photograph, their presence will register only partially, peripherally, since the reflections register in only one half of the viewer’s split vision.

    Virtual technologies developed for video arcades can be seen as contemporary antecedents of historical mechanisms such as the stereoscope: Andreyev addresses the origins of these instruments as well as our desire for virtual space. While the promise of the video game or the VR environment is the transcendence of the body, and transfiguration into a machine that moves faster, further, longer without the attendant danger to life and limb, bodily experience cannot be easily eclipsed in viewing this work. From the meandering path of entry to the positioning of the eyes before the viewfinder, to the targeting of the wispy presence of other viewers in relation to the fixed pictures, we time our movement through the quiet space and consider the mechanics of vision, apparition and illusion in the context of a culture that privileges the sense of sight above all others.

  • Boys and Girls Welcome

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    Title: Boys and Girls Welcome
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Alan Hoffman
    Writers: James Baker, Neil Besner, Lorna Brown, Derek Fairbridge, Adrienne Lai, Henry Lehmann, Jonathan Middleton, Kathleen Ritter, Sharon Romero, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sam Shem, Reid Shier and John Wertschek
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 2000
    Pages: 20pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Round Head Brass Fastener
    Process: Offset
    Dimensions: 11.5 x 11 x 0.8 cm
    Weight: 29 g
    Price: Not available

    A special poster/catalogue project featuring the responses of the following artists and writers to Alan Hoffman’s photographs: James Baker, Neil Besner, Lorna Brown, Derek Fairbridge, Adrienne Lai, Henry Lehmann, Jonathan Middleton, Kathleen Ritter, Sharon Romero, Adam Lewis Schroeder, Sam Shem, Reid Shier and John Wertschek. This project is made possible through the generous contribution of James Baker and Stacey Noyes.

  • Amazonia

    Title: Amazonia
    Category: Artist Book
    Artist: Carol Sawyer
    Writers: Lorna Brown, Susan Edelstein, Carol Sawyer
    Editor: Jacqueline Larson
    Design: Roberta Batchelor
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: S&T Stereo Printing, Chromatech Group
    Year published: 1998
    Pages: 28pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 8 colour images
    Dimensions: 23 x 18 x 0.2 cm
    Weight: 77 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-28-4
    Price: $6 CDN

    The collaborative writing efforts of Lorna Brown, Susan Edelstein, and Carol Sawyer critically and humorously investigate femme fatale characters in popular culture.

  • Reading

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    Title: Reading
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Lorna Brown
    Writers: Carol Williams
    Editor: Jeff Derksen
    Design: Keith Martin
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Year published: 1990
    Pages: 20pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 14 b&w images
    Dimensions: 30 x 21.5 x 0.3 cm
    Weight: 114 g
    ISBN: 0-0921394-08-X
    Price: $4 CDN

    Assumptions about essentialist sexual differentiation, photography and issues of (im)propriety in public spaces are investigated by Brown and responded to by Williams.