This symposium brought together artists, critics and curators whose critical and artistic activity contribute to a re-evaluation of our relationship to historical models and to traditional dissemination networks in a context marked by globalised markets and a propensity for cultural nationalism. There is in their practice a will to respond to and rethink habits, automatisms and conditionings that shape and determine the existence of art, from the point of view of production and presentation, as well as reception and analysis.
In the context of the symposium, participants and guest speakers will have the opportunity to examine and comment on what they feel is significant and emblematic of current attitudes that result from the mixture of individual motivation and institutional pressure. The way these individual positions themselves produces critical activity, generates other networks and events on the margins of the international artworld, and leads to alternatives.
Within a dialogue that seeks to share what takes form mainly through work and action, the meeting wishes to foreground the individual as an agent capable of playing a part in the artistic sphere, in Bourdieu’s sense. Action is thus linked to the notion of presence and persistency, even counter-power, in a spirit of constant negotiation between various agents.
Disruptions occurring in the world at large are challenging the spontaneity, transparency, democracy and freedom of exchange that characterised modernist utopias. Gestures and actions need to take into account the amount of negotiation and compromising required in order to survive today. As Cuauhtémoc Medina wrote concerning a curator’s responsibilities, one should know how to use “productive misinterpretation, responsible opportunism and mutual abuse.”
- Cuauhtémoc Medina, “Another Hysterical Attempt to Theorise about Defeat: Untimely remarks on the fate of the XXV Bienal de São Paolo’s curatorial team.”
Some Kinda Princess : The Life of a Performance Artist
Lori Blondeau is a Cree/Saulteaux artist living in Saskatoon. Her work includes performance, sculpture and new media production, and explores the influence of (contemporary and historical) mass media and culture on aboriginal identity, images and self-definition. She has been interested in the effect of colonisation on the traditional and contemporary roles of First Nations and the lifestyle of their members. In September and October 2001, she participated in "Blast" (Gallery 101, Ottawa) and "Locating Feminism" (MAWA, Winnipeg). Lori Blondeau is also a founding member and director of the artist-run centre Tribe in Saskatoon.
Title to be announced
Emmanuel Galland is an artist, communicator and independent curator, well known in the Montréal local scene for his involvement with the artist-run centre Clark where he organised successful events that have brought the community together such as Les bricolos. He has been actively involved in a wide variety of networks, among them "AfricAmérica"’s forums (2000-2002) where he was part of the programming team over two years. His interest in exploring and revisiting Euro-centrism and Americanism has taken him to the Havana ,West Indies and the Dakar Biennales as an observer.
Catherine Grout holds a Ph.D. in art history and aesthetics, and is the curator of the Biennale d’Enghien-les-Bains since 1993. She is now a guest associate professor at Keio University (Tokyo). Her research and work have dealt with art in the city and the landscape since the 1980s. Recently, she has organised manifestations such as "Le paysage du fleuve Tamshuei, la ville rencontre le fleuve", 1er festival de Chuwei, in Taiwan and "Artists in akiya", in Tokyo, Kyojima, Japan (2002). She is the author of several books: À propos de l’art dans la ville (Besançon: Éd. Unité Mobile, 1991), Le Tramway de Strasbourg (Paris: Éd. du Regard, 1995), L’Art en milieu urbain (Tokyo: Éd. Kajima, Erimi Fujiwara trans., 1997), Pour une réalité publique de l’art (Montréal/Paris: Éd. L’Harmattan, 2000), Pour l’art dans notre quotidien. Des œuvres en milieu urbain (Taipei: Éd. Yuan-Liou, Yao Meng-Yin trans., 2002). Founding member of the “Groupe de Recherche franco-japonais sur le Paysage Urbain” (Tokyo University, Toyota Foundation), she designed an international symposium on emerging notions in the field of landscape at TN Probe, Tokyo, in 1997.
Maximum effort, Minimum result
Cuauhtémoc Medina is an art critic. He has written extensively on contemporary art in Mexico and Latin America. He was curator of contemporary art at the Carillo Gil Museum, member of the staff of "Curare: Critical Space for the Arts" and is currently researcher at the Institute of Aesthetic Research, National University of Mexico City. He recently published Recent Political Forms: Radical Pursuits in Mexico,TRANS>arts.cultures.media, No. 8 (2000) and Graciela Iturbide (Phaidon Press). He was invited by Parachute as guest editor for its special issue on Mexico. He recently curated an exhibition for the South London Gallery at the Tate in London, England.
Elegy for an Educated Bum
Jeanne Randolph is a psychoanalytically-biased cultural theorist who has been driven quite mad by The Technological Ethos, anti-intellectualism, the public erasure of ethical imaginations and the imperialism of advertising. She is an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Department of Psychiatry from which she has strayed willfully over the past twenty years seeking time to read, to think, to write and to perpetrate her “performative lectures” throughout Canada. Her third volume of collected writings, LIVES OF OBJECTS BRIEF AND ENDLESS: psychoanalytic images of a technological society, will be published by YYZ Books in December 2002.
The symposium was held at the SAT with a live audience over a 4-hour period. Each speaker made a 15- to 20-minute presentation to which other participants and the audience was able to respond. Presentations and discussions alternated with live or recorded video works and/or performances transmitted via the Internet.
The audience linked via the Internet was able to communicate with the speakers throughout the event by using a chat window. The moderator was forward their questions to the speakers during question periods.
FRANÇOIS DION graduated in arts from the l’Université du Québec à Montréal and is the co-founder of Cube Éditeur. He has contributed texts to a variety of periodicals and catalogues in Quebec and Canada, and has collaborated in the organization of diverse cultural events and symposiums. As a curator, he has organized exhibitions for VOX Gallery, Optica, and the Saidye Bronfman Centre in Montreal, as well as for Galerie 101 in Ottawa , and Le Centre d’art contemporain de Rueil-Malmaison in France. He is currently preparing a show for the Art Gallery of Ottawa. From 1996 to 1998 he was the co-ordinator of the Regroupement des Centres d’Artistes Autogérés du Québec, prior to directing Gallery 101 in Ottawa. He was also a board member of the Artist -Run Centres and Collectives of Ontario. Since 2001, he has been the director of Artexte Information Centre in Montreal.
MARIE-JOSÉE LAFORTUNE is the artistic director of OPTICA, a centre for contemporary art where since 1993, she has focused on the dissemination and promotion of crictical and editorial activities of the gallery. She is an artist and curator, and has published texts in Parachute, Spirale, Esse and Mix Magazine. Recently in collaboration with Lynn Hughes, she co-directed Creative Confusion, Interdisciplinary Practices in Contemporary Art, a new collection of critical essays published by Optica.
Ingrid Bachman is an interdisciplinary installation artist and an occasional writer and curator, whose interests span obsolete technologies and new digital media. Currently she is researching emergent behaviours in embodied systems and networks from the field of Artificial Life as models to create generative and interactive artworks. She is the co-editor of Material Matters, a critical anthology of essays that examines the relations of material to culture. Presently, she is the Graduate Programme Director, MFA Studio Arts at Concordia University.
Artengine is an artist-run, not-for-profit, federally incorporated organization and internet site for visual and new media artists devoted to the propagation of art on the internet as well as to the artistic exploration of new technologies. The goal of Artengine is to increase artists' presence on the World Wide Web and to initiate and participate in the artistic applications of digital media.
- Mavrikakis, Nicolas, «Arts Visuels, Nos Choix», Voir, 5-11 septembre 2002, pp.83-84.