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Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

The environment as a processor of information is propaganda. Propaganda ends where dialogue begins.” — Marshall McLuhan, Quentin Fiore. The Medium is the Massage. (Toronto : Bantam Books, 1967), 142

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Owens Art Gallery - Research on the Collection

Owens Art Gallery - Research on the Collection

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This week in Sackville I am painting images of the town and of the surrounding countryside that were painted in the late 19th century by the artists John Hammond and Ethel Ogden. Ethel was quite an accomplished and innovative painter for her short life but the only recognition she received in her time was a short mention in the local paper of her china painting.

There is an unconfirmed story of a relationship between the two of them that has surfaced occasionally this week. There is some evidence that Ethel may have been instrumental in bringing Hammond to Sackville in 1893 with the Owens Art Collection. She studied under him in Saint John and then continued as a colleague in Sackville. The extent of the relationship is not clear, but he was her teacher and mentor and they would have gone out together to do plein air landscape painting. Many of their compositions are uncannily similar. Ethel died at a young age of tuberculosis but before this Hammond had married someone else.

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Serf City

Opened up a dialogue with Saint John this evening on a community radio program called Serf City at CFMH 107.3 FM (free, public access to the airwaves for anyone who may be interested in being on the air). Thanks to the host Mark Leger and producer Mike Parker for asking me to share the airwaves with them and the community of Saint John.

http://serfcitysj.mypodcast.com/
and on Facebook

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The Myths that Brought Us Here
This fall, Pictorial Propaganda will retrace the history of the New Brunswick Museum and the Owens Art Gallery from Saint John to Sackville. As they both can claim to be the “oldest”  – the oldest continuing museum in the case of the former, and the oldest university art gallery for the latter, I am interested in these histories  and its impact on artists and artistic taste in the region. In Saint John, I will set up a portable easel and reproduce landscape paintings from the New Brunswick Museum’s collection in the recently built tourist attraction of Market Square. In Sackville, I will reproduce landscape paintings from the Owens Art Gallery’s collection in various locations that reflect the daily movements of the town’s inhabitants. This will open a space for dialogue between myself and the local residents, they’ll even have a chance to trade something with me for one of the paintings that result from the performance. It is an opportunity to slow down time, create intimacy with strangers and to subvert the systems of global capitalism that are at work around us.

Third Space / Tiers epace …. Struts Gallery …. Owens Art Gallery

Les mythes qui nous ont transporté ici

Cet automne Propagande Picturale retracera l’histoire du Musée du Nouveau-Brunswick et du Owens Art Gallery de Saint-John à Sackville. Tous les deux s’annonce comme le « plus ancien » – le plus ancien musée toujours actif dans le cas du premier et la plus ancienne galerie d’art universitaire dans le cas du deuxième. Je m’intéresse à ces histoires et leur impact sur les artistes et le goût artistique de la région. À Saint-John, je m’installerai avec mon chevalet portable afin de reproduire des paysages de la collection du Musée du Nouveau Brunswick dans le « Market Square, » récemment aménagé pour les
touristes. À Sackville, je reproduirai des paysages de la collection du Owens Art Gallery dans plusieurs lieux représentant l’itinéraire des résidants de la ville. Cela me permettra d’entreprendre un dialogue avec les résidents, qui auront également la chance d’échanger quelque chose contre une de les peintures résultant de la performance. C’est l’opportunité de ralentir le temps, de crée une intimité avec les inconnus et de subvertir les forces économiques de la mondialisation autour de nous.

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The idea of merging culture with the economy isn’t new, but the recent discourse surrounding it is… Increase innovation and creativity, the argument goes and the profits will follow… Culture, as collapsed into the creative industries means ‘not the traditional fine arts, nor the modernist cultural industries like cinema and radio, but instead the newly minted and digitized professions that shape the lightweight, complex, ephemeral, ever-changing aesthetic experiences of the hyper-mediated city.’ Nevertheless, the traditional arts continue to play a significant role, for along with the vast flows of immaterial goods – software, IP, experience, entertainment – come the material façades.” — Kirsty Robertson, “Crude Culture” Fuse Magazine, (31.2): 2008, 14. Quoting Brian Holmes. “One World One Dream” Continental Drift : The Other Side of Neoliberal Globalization. Accessed 19 August 2008. http://brianholmes.wordpress.com/2008/01/08/one-world-one-dream/

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Diagramme relationnel - Clarence Gagnon - Propagande picturale - Cirque du Soleil

Felicity Tayler, artiste en arts visuels, utilise l’archétype du tableau de paysage pour créer des liens avec autrui. Elle s’intéresse également aux icônes nationales ainsi qu’aux systèmes économiques et de valeurs. Par ce fait, elle voit cette opportunité comme une redistribution des richesses au sein du milieu culturel contemporain…

Felicity Tayler is a conceptual artist who uses the archetype of western landscape painting as a premise to create relationships. She is also interested in national icons, economics and value systems, and as such she welcomes this opportunity to redistribute wealth within the contemporary cultural milieu…. (more…)

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Elizabeth Simcoe, St-Helene - Montreal, ca. 1792-1796

23 mai 2008, Espace Mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, “St Helene – Montreal” Cahiers d’esquisse de Elizabeth Simcoe, 1792-1796. Panorama 58-59. Bibliothèque David M Stewart. Fonds Simcoe.

It rained. I was outside for 20 minutes in the Place de la Paix before it poured rain and I had to run inside.

The square is an interesting place. It seems to be so empty. Constructed like modernist sculpture with space in the middle but nothing to encourage people to fill it. Despite this, it is a space that has a great deal of movement and variety. Everything from skater kids using the curb for tricks, or students from the nearby university residence playing soccer in the middle, to the street-involved population stopping for a rest or to congregate and pass some time.

In the brief time I was there I met a woman who I see coming in and out of the peep shows down the block. She has some prison tattoos. She spoke so softly, but wanted me to know that she thought the pink painting of the mountain view was “really pretty.” It began to rain and she disappeared before I could offer it to her.

I also watched from afar as one of the women I met the first day out was “courted” by a man in a car. In the end she didn’t go with him. But later I think she was accosted by another man on the block, he had ripped open the front of her dress in front of everyone and she was really angry. When I first met her, she told me that she paints to express her emotions to the universe.

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Elizabeth Simcoe, View of Montreal, ca. 1792 given in exchange for the stories and time and the chance to hear Montangnais.

05 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, View of Montreal. ca. 1792. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Simcoe Family Fonds, F47. Reference code F47-11-1-0-58. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 10 May 2008 ) Given for stories and time and the chance to hear Montagnais spoken for the first time in my life.

À l’instant même où je m’installais dans l’espace, un homme se reposait sur un des blocs de béton. Il est resté avec moi durant toute la durée de la performance. Quelques passants ont cru que je peignais son portrait. Ce monsieur était accompagné de son fils. Après une demi-heure à partager l’espace, nous avons commencé à dialoguer. J’ai leur demandé s’ils aimaient la peinture paysagiste. Le monsieur a répondu “Je suis un paysage.” Quand j’ai demandé de clarifier sa déclaration, il a ajouté “Je suis toujours dans la nature.” Il avait un bon sens de l’humour. Lorsqu’il parlait, il passsait parfois du français à un langage que je ne connaissais pas. L’homme m’a dit que c’était du Montagnais, sa langue d’origine. J’ai lui dit que c’était la première fois dans ma vie que j’entendais le Montagnais. Son fils m’a dessiné une carte m’indiquant l’emplacement d’une murale, un portrait d’un Chef Montagnais. Cette œuvre se trouve sur la rue St-Hubert.

Ils sont tous les deux de la réserve Uashat mak Mani-Utenam, près de Sept-Îles. J’ai demandé si c’était loin de Montréal. Il a répondu quelques heures par auto… et cinq jours par canoë! Nous avons tous rient et l’homme m’a raconté que jadis ses parents faisaient le voyage en canoë de Sept-Îsles à Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue dans les années 1950… (more…)

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Elizabeth Simcoe, Isle au Soeurs, July 31, ca. 1792

16 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, Isle au Soeurs, July 31. ca. 1796. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Reference code F 47-11-1-0-262. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 02 May 2008 )

I’m facing the Living Monument Project. A mural pained by a coalition of sex workers and allies. It was created in 2003 in honour of the 60+ in Vancouver who were murdered or no longer to be found. A lot of people from the Native Friendship Centre (on the corner of Ontario and St-Laurent) also took part, as many of the women who were murdered were aboriginal. Since then it has been mostly covered over with graffitti but you can still see the original skyline peeking out over the top… (more…)

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13 mai 2008, Espace mobile, Vox, Montréal
Elizabeth SIMCOE, View near Montreal. ca. 1792. Watercolour. Archives of Ontario, Simcoe Family Fonds, F47. Reference code F47-11-1-0-60. (http://www.archives.gov.on.ca Accessed 10 May 2008 ) Traded for a critical analysis.

Denis Longchamps is doing his PhD in Art History on the sketchbook imagery of Elizabeth Simcoe (1762-1850). He is arguing that the sketches she made all along her journey through Upper and Lower Canada in the 18th century were done in order to further the colonialist project of her husband, Lieutenant Governor John Simcoe. Denis’ research has been an integral part of the development of this phase of Pictorial Propaganda in the Quartier des spectacles. My research has been based on his astonishing indexing of all of her sketches among disparate collections on Canada and Europe, as well as his scholarly view of her work as colonialist propaganda.

Denis has offered to make a critical analysis of Pictorial Propaganda (as it reproduces the original watercolours of Elizabeth Simcoe) within the context of his own PhD research.

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Art production and acts of generosity are fundamentally generative, but nonlinear, expenditures of time and resources. In this way they contradict the accepted functions of production and utility that are associated with meeting societies basic needs, or the process of its expansion. Each could therefore be seen as potential processes of liberation from the inevitable progress of production…Arguably, it is around this kind of expenditure or value system that culture is defined, arising out of the surplus or excess generated by a society. — Kate Fowle and Lars Bang Larsen “Lunch Hour : Art Community, Administrated Space, and Unproductive Activity” in What We Want is Free : Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art. Ed. Ted Purves (Albany, NY : State University of New York Press, 2005), 17

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ConStellation

I made a visit to Stella today to pick up some copies of their excellent bilingual independent magazine ConStellation. I had a warm welcome, and as usual enjoyed reading their literature. The magazine is full of strong writing, insights and multifaceted nuances, with a very professional presentation. It generally makes me think about what it means to be human and working – and the commitment it takes to publish your own voice. (more…)

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Under capitalism, all is spectacle. Branding is the antithesis of neighbourhood. How can the symbolic language inherent to branding adjust to a process that includes the local community: the residents who study and work in a neighbourhood, plus the daily flux of permanent and temporary occupants.” — dAb Collective, “Urbanism versus Branding for Montréal’s Quartier des spectacles” Fuse Magazine 29, no 3 (2006), 24.

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Parcours pittoresque du Quartier des spectacles

Le Quartier des spectacles est une des composantes de la nouvelle image de marque de Montréal axée sur la culture et la mise en valeur de son activité créatrice. Il s’agit de la plus récente phase de son développement économique. Je m’intéresse en particulier à l’opinion des gens concernant l’impact socioéconomique et environnemental de ces changements.

The Quartier des spectacles is part of Montréal’s re-branding through culture as a “creative city.” This is the most recent of many phases of economic development in the city’s history. I am interested in public opinion on the impact (socioeconomic and environmental) of these changes.

(more…)

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Why did discussions around landscape in Canada before the 1960s tend to champion national difference and distinctiveness, often under the banner of exceptionalism, while more recent debates have focused on issues of colonial power and dispossession, transnational crossovers, and regional idiosyncrasy? What relevance do traditional landscape tropes have in a world of vastly altered political, technological, demographic, and environmental circumstances? And if traditional tropes continue to persist, what does it say about the relationship between contemporary realities and the the authority, power, and influence of conventional understandings of nationhood?” — Beyond Wilderness : The Group of Seven, Canadian Identity, and Contemporary Art. John O’Brian and Peter White Eds. (Montreal : McGill-Queens University Press, 2007), 6.

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Karl et J.-P. Boily, deux ados de Baie-Saint-Paul m’ont regardé faire une toile d’Emily Car. Lorsqu’ils m’ont vu assembler mon chevalet devant la pergola (un lieu de rencontre pour les jeunes de la ville), ils ont crié « chu tanné dé touèle » ce qui est tout à fait compréhensible vu qu’ils sont entourés de galeries remplies de jolies toiles à vendre aux touristes. Malgré leur mécontentement, au début de mon installation, ils sont finalement venu me voir et nous avons passé une heure à discuter de l’histoire d’Emily Carr et de leurs préférences musicales (c’était intéressant de voir que leurs choix musicaux étaient très proches des miens à leur âge).

Ils ont une gig au Balcon Vert le 18 août à 21h (c’est gratuit). Leurs inspirations musicales sont Silver Chair et Nirvana. J’ai leur fait une couverture d’album…

Karl et JP Boily, Baie-Saint-Paul, Québec

11 août 2007, Pergola,
25e Symposium international d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul

Emily CARR, Cumshewa, c.1912. Watercolour over graphite on illustration board. 52 x 75.5 cm. National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Accession no. 6103. (Reproduced from Canadian Art : Catalogue of the National Gallery of Canada Ottawa. Vol. 1 / A-F. Eds. Charles C. Hill and Pierre B. Landry. Ottawa : National Gallery of Canada, 1988. p 173.)

Et voici Karl et Boily en spectacle.
Karl et Boily, Le Balcon Vert - Photo par Simon Bilodeau

Image de le spectacle au Balcon Vert (Photo pris par Simon Bilodeau).

Je leur ai apporté à chacun une copie de la couverture de l’album avec un CD vierge, pour les encourager à enregistrer leur musique. Je les ai présentés avant qu’ils jouent leur « set ». Ils étaient très nerveux, mais très touchés aussi de recevoir ce souvenir de notre après-midi ensemble, en disant avec politesse qu’ils ne s’attendaient pas à ça.

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Canada’s Most Wanted and Most Unwanted Colours
Les couleurs les plus et les moins désirées par les Canadiens

Komar & Melamid Blue / Bleu 30%
Green / Vert 18%
Beige 8%
Maroon / Bordeaux 6%
Yellow / Jaune 5%
Purple / Violet 5%
Teal /Sarcelle 5%
Peach / Pêche 4%
Pink / Rose 4%
Red / Rouge 3%
Black / Noir 2%
Brown / Brun 1%
Orange 1%
Fuchsia 1%
Grey / Gris 1%
Mauve 1%
Other / Autre 1%
Don’t know / Sans préférence 3%

Anthony Kiendl, Bruce Grenville. Komar & Melamid: Canada’s Most Wanted and Most Unwanted (Regina : Dunlop Art Gallery, 1999), 8

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L’histoire des paysages en Occident illustre bien la dynamique opérant entre lieux et non-lieux. Cette histoire pourrait en effet être abordée comme une conquête sensible des non-lieux, conquête d’espaces réputés « affreux » ou inhabitables, qui seront progressivement approivisés, investis de valorisations culturelles, transformés en lieux et en paysages. L’art a joué et joue toujours un rôle important dans ce processus… Qu’en est-il aujourd’hui de ces étendues urbanisées, de ce monde qui apparaît de plus en plus limité à mesure que s’accélère le quadrillage extensif opéré par la technique et les réseaux de communication? La paysagéité constitu-t-elle toujours un véhicule conceptuel pertinent pour appréhender et valoriser cette nouvelle condition territoriale?” — Luc Lévesque, “Entre lieux et non-lieux : Vers une approche interstitielle du paysage” in Lieux et non-lieux de l’art actuelle = Places and non-places of contemporary art (Montreal : Les éditions Esse, 2005), 38.

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Is “public” a qualifying description of place, ownership or access? Is it a subject, or a characteristic of the particular audience? Does it explain the intentions of the artist or the interests of the audience? The inclusion of the public connects theories of art to the broader population: what exists in the space between the words public and art is an unknown relationship between artist and audience, a relationship that may itself become the artwork.” — Suzanne Lacy, Mapping the Terrain : New Genre Public Art (Seattle : Bay Press, 1995), 20.

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What might appear as contradictory, that is, the fact that economic globalization seems to be accompanied by an increase of cultural divisions, is only so on the surface. It is a fact that, in a world where exchanges of goods and ideas are more and more frequent on an international level, people are increasingly aware of the unique characteristics of their own local cultures. Similarly, and it is particularly obvious in the European Union, the disappearance of the old national borders when it comes to goods and persons, has made the artificiality of these borders very clear: the creation of national identities — a recent phenomenon after all — and the political desire to brand and localize them within artificial boundaries has far too often very little to do with any sense of local belonging. It is not possible to differentiate clearly the elements of local cultures from those of national cultures: if the local culture is made up, for instance, of elements like the language we use with family and close friends, as well as the type of food or clothing one is used to wearing, the national culture is made up, for example, of historical events and stories often associated to the ‘nation-building’ movements of the past.” — Frank Vigneron, “On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the handover …” Asia Art Archive News Letter 7 June (2007). (Accessed June 20th 2007)

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