- August 28, 2014 to December 31, 2014
Grunt’s 30th anniversary is in many ways about finding surprising things in familiar spaces. As we witness internationally the proliferation of artists’ practices that seek or are influenced by “the social”, and as we consider also our own hyper-local connections here in the Mount Pleasant community, ideas of engagement have been top of mind. In some aspects, it’s a question of support: how can we as curators or institutions support practices that no longer adhere to the traditional expectations of the exhibition? How might forms of engagement be broad, rigorous, unexpected, productive—as well as charismatic? How might we promote spaces of common connection while maintaining challenging content, unique collaborations, and productive friction? No clear answers of course, but in this, as in most things, we turn to artists. Our program of 30th anniversary artist projects is designed to engage on diverse levels. Focussing on projects that take place outside the gallery walls in public or shared spaces, our intent has been around finding productive intersections between art practices and community concerns—be they spatial, discursive or social. Our first project is a 3-month long residency with artist Julia Feyrer within our archive, Media Gallery and Main Gallery spaces. Beginning with the idea of “The Kitchen”—at times the creative and social heart of the grunt gallery—Feyrer will create a new installation and media commission that incorporates elements of grunt’s rich archive of performance and exhibition documentation, as well as the lesser known and harder-to-trace narratives of social connection and creative foment that have informed this institution. Process-based and meticulously—if playfully—constructed, Feyrer’s work is both densely material and intellectually airy; that is, her work challenges the viewer to engage both a tactile experience in this present moment, while simultaneously considering the transformative potential of perception, over time and through space. Feyrer’s use of film and sound acts as a conduit for seeing and, importantly, for experiencing an archival document. As part of a program we’re calling “Brew”, artists Sonny Assu and Lorna Brown have created “social objects”– artist editions that are designed to circulate in the social spaces such as bars or restaurants in Mount Pleasant. Here, engagement is potentially fleeting, but the objects themselves act as small moments of contact—an aesthetic and poetic complement to the fabric of life in this neighbourhood. Brown’s work—a refillable beer growler—specifically calls for a consideration of time and place, and considers the question of cyclical return. Calling to mind questions of history, of habit, of paths built and repeated. Other Brew projects will be announced later in the season, but each piece places artists into specific conversations with spaces and community members. From embedded residencies within community groups, to artist-designed objects, to intervention practices and artist-led discussions, this series opens a sociable consideration of this neighbourhood, and—we hope—proposes a kind of tenderness for the spaces we share. These porous, attentive practices encourage us to connect, to see differently, to return each time with a new perspective.
By Alistair MacLennan, David Khang, Julia Feyrer, Lorna Brown, Marcus Bowcott, Sonny Assu
- Curated by Glenn Alteen, Vanessa Kwan
Category | 5 ProgramsArchival
- June 21, 2018
The Making of an Archive (2014–ongoing) is a project initiated by Canadian artist Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn. The project composed of digitizing workshops, which aims to record the everyday life and civic engagements by immigrants and amateur photographers. The photographs are digitized and their accompanying narratives are recorded, thereby preserving records of personal histories in order to address the absent representation of multiculturalism in official archives. Focusing on digitizing printed matter, e.g. 35mm or 120mm photographs, slides or Polaroids, Nguyễn believes that immigrants who documented their daily life when they came to their new country are in danger of becoming forgotten or lost, thus losing complex and complicated histories of migration. By building this alternative structure of personal images, the artist aims to create a new archive that seeks to represent the fractured ideology of multiculturalism from the bottom up where forms of civic engagement within a structure of kinship or even in solidarity with other communities can be observed. The Making of an Archive questions existing frameworks for archival history-making, and chooses instead a trajectory of collective exploration. Drawing again from the artists’ reference to ‘space fiction’, speculation here leads to a kind of cultural star-gazing: seeing fragments of this nascent archive reminds us of vast possibilities—reflections of lives already lived, and new frameworks for a future we have yet to see. Priority is given to histories of migration from people who identify as people of color (POC).
By Jacqueline Hoàng Nguyễn
- Curated by Dan Pon, Maiko Tanaka, Vanessa Kwan
- November 2, 2018 to December 15, 2018
2068: Touch Change is both an archive and a speculation. Beginning 50 years in the future, this new exhibition by Toronto-based artist Syrus Marcus Ware proposes an archive whose ‘holdings’ act as a meeting ground for artists and activists across time and space. The exhibition has 3 main components: a series of large-scale graphite portraits drawn on paper and directly on the walls, a speculative text and a disseminated printed work that documents materials gathered and accessed in the artists’ research process. The portraits – in many ways the centrepiece of the exhibition – are created through a complex process of visiting and revisiting images and interviews with historic and present-day BIPOC (Black, Indigenous or People of Colour) activist communities. Ware’s investment in the archive is overlaid with a parallel interest in forms of speculative fiction (see his recent piece in C Magazine or his essay on Octavia E. Butler published by Canadian Art last year) and he speaks eloquently about how he envisions his research and installations as ways of creating a space where activists and artists of different generations are brought together.
By Syrus Marcus Ware
- Curated by Vanessa Kwan
- June 15, 2018 to July 28, 2018
When Jeremy Borsos and his wife, Sus, took on the remediation of the Blue Cabin, we at grunt never expected what would eventually come out of it! Using historical materials, they took the structure apart, methodically cleaned every inch, and replaced the rotted out bits. They insulated the walls and fixed the floor. Essentially, they treated it as an archaeological site, collecting its history in scraps of newspapers and mouse nests and, in an archival process, painstakingly saved what remained. The humble structure revealed itself slowly over the six-month period of the restoration and culminated – when they took up the floor – in the discovery of almost 40 posters that had been put there in 1927 to prevent the floor from squeaking. In this exhibition, the Borsos’ present a body of work that documents this journey, while providing us a history of the cabin before Al Neil and Carole Itter’s tenancy, and offering us new insights into the earlier inhabitants— squatters, and marine workers on the foreshore.
By Jeremy Borsos, Sus Borsos
- Curated by Glenn Alteen
- November 2, 2018 to November 13, 2018
Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week 2018 takes place from November 2 – 13, 2018 as a series of free public events, panels, conversations, and screenings that highlight artist-run centre archives, artists working with archives, and the intersections between contemporary art practices and social movements in Vancouver. The program significantly expands on the work begun through previous archival projects: Activating the Archive and Vancouver Independent Archives Week. Taking the focus and format of these events as a starting point, Recollective broadens the context, understanding, and awareness of independent archives by exploring what is at stake when artists and arts organizations confront the tasks of arranging, describing, preserving, and providing access to material history. In 2018, Recollective features perspectives and approaches to archival practice through grassroots strategies, collective organizing, hybrid models, DIY spaces, open source solutions, and counter- archives that facilitate ownership of community memory by and for community. This series of events will emphasize the reciprocal influence between contemporary culture and social movements by drawing attention to shared experiences and struggles across diverse communities.
By !Kona, Casey Wei, Christine D’onofrio, Cindy Mochizuki, Dr. Anne Murphy, Dr. Glenn Deer, Dr. JP Catungal, Dr. Sunera Thobani, Elisa Ferrari, Elizabeth MacKenzie, Josh Gabert-Doyon, Laiwan, Laura Cuthbert, Melanie Hardbattle, Raghavendra Rao K.V., Salia Joseph, Samantha Nock, Sid Chow Tan, Syrus Marcus Ware