We are currently deep in our Archive and Special Collection Library—organizing, updating, arranging, tidying, taking stock, researching, and reading together—as we prepare for our upcoming Fall/Winter programming. Spending the summer months doing this work together has allowed us to engage the archive as not merely a repository of our organizational history, but to closely consider the wider and continually shifting contexts of artistic production. Our work continues to be guided by a series of overarching questions. In consideration of the politics of cultural production, how do our citational choices, methodological approaches, and the systems we employ work to uphold particular histories and practices while obscuring others?
Our research has also taken us to the City of Vancouver archives, as we take a closer look into the history of the Bodega (the building in which Artspeak is located), as part of a longer inquiry into the neighbourhoods we’re situated. Coming to understand place-based histories (not solely dictated by humans) allows for an expansive approach ample enough for a multitude of practices and placemaking desires. Rather than indulge the impulse to recoup what is not present or that which remains quiet within the archive, we can allow the quiet moments that these gaps create to function as placeholders, or as a blueprint for different frameworks of support.
We’re happy to have Yasmine Whaley-Kalaora join us for a summer internship to work with us on this project. Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing highlights from our deep dive with you.