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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Indigenous ways of being lie fundamentally in the strength of our people and the land that carries us. Beading falls within our embodied knowledges and celebrating these practices encourages our modes of sovereignty and resilience. Beading can and is often done alone, though the practice also brings our community together in powerful ways. Evenings spent with kin, or lunch time beading groups, like the one I hosted weekly at Concordia University, provide meaningful spaces for intergenerational learning and healing. The act of beading prevails as an Indigenous knowledge system–it integrates modes of map-making, displays our understanding of the land and our bloodlines–while including encoded stories, language and teachings. With hundreds of beaders connecting at a distance through social media, and other means over the last ten years, the need for larger scale beading events has given rise to two in so-called Canada within as many years. 

The most recent of these was The Beading Symposiu...

Friday, April 3, 2020

Julie Oh relies on instinct; an uncritical trust of feelings elicited on a first encounter. The Saskatoon-based artist collects found objects which are often commonplace and recognizable to many, and then initiates a period of sustained engagement with them. Very little of the object will be physically altered during this time. Instead, Oh looks to isolate an encounter, providing the audience with an obscure and novel perspective. In this new light, it is almost as if the familiarity of Oh’s selected objects is exactly what makes them seemingly so foreign — it is a practice that lowers the partition between these two outwardly opposed conditions of perception. Through this understated gesture, Oh contemplates more far-reaching questions regarding the relevance of context, value, perspective, and engagement. 

I first encountered Oh’s work through the documented performance accompaniment of the installation lines, a piece she produced in 2018 as part of the RBC Emerging Artist Series at t...

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Document 3. Beside this file is an image I saw on Tumblr. It is an ad for a scent called E’au D’Héroïne, and on the bottom it reads: by Jork Weismann. There's a close-up shot of an opened mouth, a tilted back jaw, with oozy champagne-colored liquid spilling out generously. I was attracted to this image because of its wetness, vulnerability, and sexiness.

I became obsessed with the notion of oozing substances in my third year of art school. But the curiosity started at an earlier age. It began with the first nutrients I ever consumed—the milk from my mother’s nipples. That is, how it came to be and how her body could produce it for my consumption. Later in life, there was a different kind of ooz that caught my curiosity. It was the feeling of wetness I first encountered between my legs after a basement make-out sesh. I gradually came to associate moments of intimacy, moments of pleasure and vulnerability with these involuntary oozing liquids from our orifices.  We are made of water more...

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In recent years, the United States has finally started to formally acknowledge its volatile relationship to the original peoples of the land, despite their long protestation and resistance to erasure. In the U.S. and Canadian art worlds, this recognition, though late, has come with a host of reparative institutional tactics, some of which include the performance of printed and spoken stolen-land acknowledgments or dedicated space in exhibition calendars for Indigenous artists. Though these efforts are certainly worthwhile and should continue, it is important to note that they are merely first steps on a path towards the rematriation of land and cultural autonomy for Indigenous folks in the U.S and Canada. Santiago X is an artist based in Chicago whose work contends with the growing pains of making space—physically and intellectually—for Indigenous peoples, their knowledge, and their artistic output.

Trained as an architect, Santiago X’s projects take on a set of spatial politics in thei...

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Leigh Bowery, Carmen Miranda, “Love Shack,” Showgirls, Björk’s swan dress at the Oscars, Macy Gray’s outfit emblazoned with the release date of her next album at the 2001 MTV VMAs, reality television, just about everything Lady Gaga has ever done—in a truly nebulous set of relations, references, and time periods, these things all have in common that they are beholden to the legacy of camp. Last year’s Met Gala put camp on our minds again, reviving Susan Sontag’s prominent essay, “Notes on Camp” (1964), and distributing it to celebrity stylists in what was itself a campy gesture of mingling pop culture and intellectualism. 

Camp has not really been at the forefront of discourses surrounding cultural production over the past decade; though, in actuality, it has operated heavily in the background. We have taken it for granted as a sensibility because its cultural dominance has obscured the esoteric and sophisticated nature of camp’s history. For many people, perhaps it was “RuPaul’s Drag R...

Thursday, March 5, 2020

According to the curatorial notes :

Sawsawan/dipping sauce from Filipino cultural writer Doreen G. Fernandez, who considers it as representative of the cultural ethos of sharing labor, authorship and power.  “Dirty Kitchen” is the name for the outdoor kitchen where the foundational , but sometimes messy task of cooking is done. It is an extension of the home where nourishment takes place and friends and family gather. The title is a metaphoric  underscoring of practices that resist colonialism and a stated expression of our foundational value, the domestic as a figurative and literal space.

The venues span across six sites: There were private homes hosting exhibits and screenings, there was one which is an occasional bar that used to be a private residence/project space for artists, another venue was at a university where most Filipino participants at Triennial studied, and the other venue was at a ferry station—a literal fluid conduit of mobility.  The residential sites beared the...

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Here are some moments from exhibitions, performances, cookouts, and other auxiliary events from Quezon City, Philippines' 3rd Kamias Triennial


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Ming Hon’s production Exciting Consequences is set up to engage with the re-examinations of psychoanalysis, voyeurism, and scopophilia (the desire to “take other people as objects, subjecting them to a controlling and curious gaze”)1 that occupied feminist film theory for the last quarter of the 20th century. Thematically, the performance is based on the gaze, sexuality, and self-awareness. Hon includes sex toys and 1980s porn in her re-enactments of accidentally learning about sex as a child, later including internet culture to allude to contemporary access to porn and sexual self-education. These materials are used by Hon to perform a narrative stemming from a childhood in which she finds and looks through her father’s dirty magazines and VHS tapes.

As audience members, we are given various voyeuristic opportunities throughout the performance. The stage is set up as a bedroom without walls so we can see the “backstage” of the production including makeup artist (Rachel Lynne Jones), as...

Saturday, February 22, 2020

With beginnings dating back to 2014 , Kamias Triennial (Quezon City, Philippines) has steadily created a formidable alternative to the flashy blockbuster art exhibition event. Though grown out of an independent mentality, it continues to thrive with the retained relations the organizers have fostered over the years with local artists and organizations in the host city. In its third iteration, the Triennial is a picture of what arises out of sustained collaboration and community interdependence within the limits of available resources. Hosted across several venues, this year's offering gathers over twenty different artists and collectives with connections to over ten countries many of which will be in attendance for the Triennial. And in lieu of the added costs of shipping finished works, the participating artists' presence there will be used as studio time to either create or complete their projects; allowing for experimentation and open possibilities. Titled under 'Sawsawan: Conversat...

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In its seventh year, Mexico City’s Material Art Fair has certainly cemented itself as one of the premier global destinations for art. Focused, fresh, dynamic and unpretentious, the fair continues to draw some of the more important and critically curious works that perfectly balances local discourses and practices with currents occurring in Europe and the Americas (note the exception of galleries from the African continent and periphery areas. Whether this is a lack of outreach from fair organizers or interest from prominent galleries on the continent of Africa and other areas of the global south is up to speculation). To say it’s matured since its inauguration in 2013 initially begs the question, for what, how and for whom? Yet, in the context of the art market, many participating galleries and collateral events placed risk ahead of conventional profit-generating works: a key factor that sets it apart from other fairs occurring during Mexico City Art Week. The 2020 edition of Material...

Monday, February 17, 2020

In collaboration with tête-à-tête, Camoukahan Productions, Mark Pieterson and Oswaldo Erreve here's a highlight reel form Mexico City's Material Art Fair 2020. All rights reserved 2020

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

2019 was proclaimed the International Year of Indigenous Languages by The United Nations. Initiatives around the world were created to promote the learning and preservation of Indigenous languages, as well as to raise awareness on the language rights of Indigenous people. 2019 also reminded the world that violence towards Indigenous people, their cultures and their land is ongoing. It is significant that an international organization such as the UN could create a platform for the experiences of Indigenous people worldwide this past year, and of course, events around Indigenous languages, cultures, and rights continue to be organized. (To view some events happening in and around Canada about Indigenous languages, see the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre Inc.’s website.)

Winnipeg is known for having the largest urban Indigenous population in Canada, yet there is only one artist-run centre dedicated to contemporary Indigenous art in the city’s rich cultural scene. On a Nov...

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

We are very excited to be bringing you some coverage of the 3rd Kamias Triennial from Quezon City, in the Philippines. Beginning February 7th through 22nd, the third edition of the triennial will unite a breadth of international and local artists in a series of exhibitions, performances, screenings and workshops across multiple venues in the city. Under the title of “Sawsawan: Conversations in the Dirty Kitchen”, this iteration of the triennial as the organizers and curators describe, “foregrounds [an] intention to gather [in a space] where we can engage in messy, complex and nourishing conversation generated by the many voices of our artists and audiences.”

Please check back in as our local Quezon City correspondent brings us some highlights occurring throughout the two-week festival. We will also bring you our conversation with the curators of the festival: Patrick Cruz, Su-Ying Lee and Allison Collins.

Inaugurated in 2014, the Kamias Triennial positions the domestic scale, both archit...

Monday, January 27, 2020

Through the imperceptible wifi connections linking myself and Eve Tagny, I could feel her love, trials, and vast experience with plant life. Coming together over FaceTime conversations darting between Winnipeg, Montreal, and Johannesburg, from fall to early winter, we spoke at length in varying shades of brown and green. She mentioned her current favourite plants (one is Gunnera, for those wondering), we shared thoughts about the relationship between nature and trauma, and her meditations on the garden as a space of pause remain imprinted on my mind. In Tagny’s practice, natural, living materials act as mediums to disseminate the poignant feelings of trauma that life experience brings to all of us. The conversation, touching topics harrowing to some, and quite personal at times, was altogether warm, inviting, and refreshing—and much too long to fit in this parking space. For moments I felt like I was transported outside of barren studio walls and placed in a virtual garden of sorts, re...

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The film is named The Farewell in English. In Chinese, it’s called 别告诉她, which would more accurately translate into English as ‘Don’t Tell Her’. My friend, in positively reviewing the movie, said: “You know an Asian girl who went to art school and then made this movie.” He was absolutely right. Bitchily, I thought, yeah I got that from the commentary that the translated English film title is probably supposed to make.

Still I couldn’t feel as ironic about seeing it as I would have liked to. I watched it twice, once on my laptop alone and stoned in my bedroom, and once in a trendy independent theatre with my mom. This was the Asian movie of the year; “like Crazy Rich Asians,” my mom said loudly in the theatre, and I told her to hush.

We were accompanied in the middle of downtown Vancouver by middle-aged white women with heavy eyeglass frames and sons with Asian girlfriends. I studied them and knew that they were thinking, “That girl must feel more affinity toward me than toward her own mo...

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