Colin Browne is a Vancouver based writer, filmmaker and teacher. His most recent book is The Shovel (Talonbooks, 2008). Ground Water (talonbooks, 2002), spans 10 years of work and includes poems, an experimental film script and a performance text. He is a co-founder of the Kootenay School of Writing and the Praxis Centre for Screenwriters, and is on the faculty of the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University.
For information about Don Coltman please visit the City of Vancouver Archives.
Juan A. Gaitán is a curator and writer. Recent exhibitions include I, YAMA, Istanbul; The End of Money, Witte de With Centre for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; and Models for Taking Part, Presentation House Gallery, Vancouver and Justina M. Barnicke Gallery, Toronto. His writing has been published in Afterall, The Exhibitionist, and Mousse magazine, among others. He is teaching in the curatorial studies master’s program at CCA in San Francisco.
Kristan Horton is a Toronto based artist whose work is inspired by popular culture, particularly film. He studied at Guelph University and the Ontario College of Art and Design. His work has been shown at Glassbox, Paris; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Inter Communications Center, Tokyo; Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto; York University Art Gallery; and Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. His work is represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects in Toronto.
For information about Jack Lindsay please visit the City of Vancouver Archives.
Melvin Moti (b. 1977) is a Rotterdam based artist who works primarily in film, as well as with sound and book works. His work has been shown widely in Europe, including solo exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Galleria T293, Napoli; and De Ateliers, Amsterdam. His work has also been shown at the Wattis Institute, San Francisco; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Baltic Triennial; and Witte de With, Rotterdam, among others.
Director/Curator of Artspeak 2004–2010.
Taras Polataiko is a Vancouver based artist, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. He studied at Stroganov Museum of Fine and Industrial Arts, Moscow and the University of Saskatchewan. His work–which is conceptually based and often explores political history and memory–has been shown at the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal; 25th Sao Paulo Bienale; Soros International Centre for Contemporary Art, Kiev; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona; National Museum of Lithuania, Kaunas; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York.
Kathleen Ritter (b. 1974) is an artist and a writer based in Vancouver. Her research and practice investigate institutional structures that surround and mediate the reception of art. Her work has been exhibited at Modern Fuel, Kingston ON (2008); the Robert McLaughlin Gallery, Oshawa ON (2008); Western Front, Vancouver (2004); Skol, Montreal (2000); and Access, Vancouver (2000). Her writing has been published in the anthology Places and Non-Places of Contemporary Art (2005) and the journals Prefix Photo, ESSE, Open Letter, and Fillip Magazine. She curated Expect Delays (2003) at Artspeak, a series of artist’s interventions that took place throughout Vancouver. She is currently Assistant Curator at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Susan Sontag (b. 1933) is an extensively published American writer who contributed to many fields including art history, fiction, philosophy, cultural criticism, film and theatre. Her publications in fiction and non-fiction include Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), In America (2000), The Volcano Lover (1990), Illness as Metaphor (1978), On Photography (1977), Against Interpretation and Other Essays (1966), Death Kit (1967), and The Benefactor (1963). She also wrote and directed four films Unguided Tour (1983), Brother Carl (1978), Promised Lands (1974), and Duet for Cannibals (1969). She died in 2004.
Althea Thauberger is an artist based in Vancouver. Her internationally produced and exhibited work typically involves collaboration with a group or community that result in performances, films, videos, audio recordings, and books. Thauberger gravitates towards social enclaves—groups of people who exist or develop in some form of seclusion and are often perpetuated by social controls—that are both coercive and voluntary. Her work provides constraints for her subjects to work within which may echo the ones they live within. These may be structural imperatives or conventions of particular film or photographic media, allegory, seriality, or other containers. Thauberger’s performances have involved diverse groups including young Canadian female singer/songwriters, U.S. military wives, Canadian tree planters, Vancouver-based reserve soldiers, and male youth in the German civil service. These amateur performers express concepts of self-definition, alienation, and community through their stories.
Thauberger’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her work has been presented at Manifesta 7, Trento, Itlay; the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver, 2008; Vancouver Art Gallery, 2008; BAK, Utrecht, 2007; Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, 2006; Kunstverein Wolfsburg, 2006; Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Halifax, 2006; Singapore History Museum, 2006; Presentation House Gallery, North Vancouver, 2005; Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst, Antwerp, 2005; Berkeley Art Museum, 2005; Insite, San Diego/Tijuana, 2005; White Columns, New York, 2004; and Seattle Art Museum, 2004. In 2008 she will be traveling to the Canadian Forces Base in Kandahar, Afghanistan to work on a collaborative photograph with military members there. She has upcoming projects with BAK, basis voor aktuele kunst, Utrecht, Netherlands, the Gaungzhou Triennial, China and Artspeak in Vancouver.
Kerry Tribe (b. 1973) is an artist based in Los Angeles and Berlin. She has had solo exhibitions at Art 28 Statements, Basel; REC, Berlin; Galerie Masonneuve, Paris; Southern Exposure, San Francisco; and Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions. Her work has also been shown at Kunst-Werke Berlin; The Generali Foundation, Vienna; ARTSPACE, Auckland; 36th Edition International Film Festival, Rotterdam; Kunsternus Hus, Oslo; SMAK, Ghent; The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; The Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach; and Mercer Union, Toronto. Tribe was the 2005-2006 Guna S. Mundheim Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin, and in 2005 received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award. She received her MFA from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2002, and was a Whitney Independent Study Program Fellow from 1997-98.
December 1–January 19, 2008
Kerry Tribe’s filmic practice attends to the formal operations of her chosen media, often deploying it to investigate the subject of memory. Subjectivity and its representation has been a consistent theme throughout her work that engages film’s systems of looping, repetition and duration. Tribe’s work complicates the construction of narrative time from the viewer’s real time experience, often exploring the gray areas between the authentic and the scripted, and the collective and the individual.
Tribe’s Near Miss is the second work in a trilogy dealing with the phenomenology of memory. It is a five-minute-long filmic attempt to reenact an event the artist experienced a decade ago. In each of Near Miss’ three nearly identical “takes,” a scene is enacted as seen through the windshield of a car in a nighttime snowstorm. The view through the car’s windshield fills the projection screen, the windshield wipers franticly keeping the view clear. From the passenger position, the viewer witnesses the apparent passing of road signage as the car follows blurry taillights. In every take, the car ultimately swerves and spins out, finally coming to a stop. At the point that the car stops, the image cuts to black and another take begins.
Near Miss can be understood as another examination by Tribe in how to communicate the subjective experience. The film is accompanied by a set photograph and a changing series of textual accounts of the original event as understood by members of the film’s production team.
Artspeak would like to thank the Vancouver Foundation and Ramada Limited Downtown for their support of this project.
DON COLTMAN, KRISTAN HORTON, JACK LINDSAY, TARAS POLATAIKO
October 20–November 24, 2007
This exhibition takes the eerily quiet apocalyptic theme of On the Beach, a 1957 best-selling novel by Nevil Shute, as a starting point. The novel (and the later 1959 film) is set on the coast in Australia where the last global citizens must come to terms with the fact that all life will be destroyed in a matter of months due to the effects of atomic war. Shute’s novel intertwines notions of leisure and hopelessness, and makes simultaneous reference to a strange atmosphere of holiday and the fact that the beach is an edge, a last frontier for an unseen end. Taking this theme as a foundation, the exhibition will bring together works by contemporary artists Kristan Horton and Taras Polataiko, and photographic documents from the Vancouver City Archives of WWII invasion drills and leisure activities on Vancouver beaches by Don Coltman and Jack Lindsay.
Horton’s banner, Repeating Half-Frame, takes the form and language of comic books. The work uses text that appears to terminate before revelation, evoking an unresolved loop. “To save the world… what is required… rests simply… on the idea… that certain… constraints… exist…” However, the work resists a pessimistic view, leaving the solution open. Polataiko’s photograph, 100 Days to Demobilization, is a gesture of counting down. Based on the artist’s experience in the army in which soldiers would inscribe the number of days left of service in the butter spread on their breakfast bread before eating it, the work reflects an unseen end. Like Horton’s work, Polataiko’s photograph lies between the future and the past, between resolution and failure. Together with the photographs by Don Coltman (Steffens-Colmer Ltd.) and Jack Lindsay, these works offer a way to consider the current global climate in relationship to diversion and catastrophe.
KRISTAN HORTON is a Toronto based artist whose work is inspired by popular culture, particularly film. He studied at Guelph University and the Ontario College of Art and Design. His work has been shown at Glassbox, Paris; ZKM, Karlsruhe; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki; Inter Communications Center, Tokyo; Wynick/Tuck Gallery, Toronto; York University Art Gallery; and Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo. His work is represented by Jessica Bradley Art + Projects in Toronto.
TARAS POLATAIKO is a Vancouver based artist, born in Chernivtsi, Ukraine. He studied at Stroganov Museum of Fine and Industrial Arts, Moscow and the University of Saskatchewan. His work–which is conceptually based and often explores political history and memory–has been shown at the Musee d’art Contemporain de Montreal; 25th Sao Paulo Bienale; Soros International Centre for Contemporary Art, Kiev; Centre for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Antoni Tapies Foundation, Barcelona; National Museum of Lithuania, Kaunas; National Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Art Gallery of Hamilton; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon; and Lombard-Freid Fine Arts, New York.
Artspeak would like to thank the Vancouver Foundation for their support of this project, as well as Ramada Limited Downtown and the Vancouver City Archives.
September 8–October 13, 2007
Melvin’s Moti’s film practice finds a focus in the reconstructions of memories, whether reenacting the perambulating descriptions of surrealist sleep experiments or narrating the content and emotion of absent pictures. Moti’s 2004 No Show is a 24-minute film based on a guided tour given at the Hermitage Museum during the Second World War. Until 1944, the museum removed its collection of paintings and other artworks for safe-keeping, and its galleries were bare save for empty frames hanging on the walls. In 1943 a guide showed a group of soldiers through the vacant rooms, describing from memory the paintings in the Hermitage’s collection including works by Rembrandt and Fra Angelico. Moti presents this historic tour aurally, while the camera is trained on an empty gallery, a backdrop for the imagined works. Speaking to both individual and collective memory, particularly in the face of chaos and adversity, Moti’s film is a beautiful, spare work that evokes a complex subjective response. The film is accompanied by a small artist book of the same name that provides further research insights into the reconstructed event.
This exhibition has specifically been supported by the Vancouver Foundation and the Ramada Downtown Vancouver.
Category: Exhibition Catalogue
Artists: Melvin Moti, Kerry Tribe, Don Coltman, Kristan Horton, Jack Lindsay, Taras Polataiko
Writers: Melvin Moti, Susan Sontag, Juan A. Gaitán, Kathleen Ritter, Colin Browne, Althea Thauberger
Editor: Melanie O’Brian
Design: Courtenay Webber, The Future
Printer: Hemlock Printers, Vancouver
Year published: 2008
Binding: Perfect Bound
Features: 9 colour images, 3 b&w images
Dimensions: 18 x 11.5 x 1.2 cm
Weight: 148 g
Price: $6 CDN
Retrospect is an examination of the role of memory and imagination in the consideration of disaster. Memory, like history, is subjective and unfixed; the records of both are dynamically unstable, constantly shifting and informed by the present. Imagination—in this case the imagination of disaster—reflects anxiety and unsettles the present. In its representation, disaster is imagined both retrospectively and prospectively, as a memory and as a fear. However, it has been argued that imagining future catastrophes is impossible in that we can only circle back to what is known; we model these cataclysms on what has already occurred. In this way, disaster is always represented in hindsight, even in the sci-fi realms of the future.
Retrospect brings together visual reproductions of the work in three Artspeak exhibitions held in 2007, two new texts by artist Melvin Moti and art historian/curator Juan A. Gaitán, as well as a reprinted Susan Sontag essay to address the themes of memory, reenactment and disaster. The images are from exhibitions of work by Melvin Moti, Kerry Tribe, and On the Beach (Don Coltman, Kristan Horton, Jack Lindsay and Taras Polataiko). The publication also includes reprinted Postscript texts for the above exhibitions. Postscript authors are Colin Browne, Kathleen Ritter and Althea Thauberger.