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2023 - 2024 Français

Programming

Appel de candidatures. Résidence Intersections de recherche, création et production
Date limite de dépôt : 5 octobre 2023

from August 11th 2023 to October 5th 2023

MOMENTA Biennale de l'image; Commissaire | Curator: Ji-Yoon Han
from September 8th 2023 to October 21st 2023

MOMENTA Biennale de l'image; Commissaire | Curator: Ji-Yoon Han
from September 8th 2023 to October 21st 2023

Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes, Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde
from September 29th 2023 to September 29th 2023

Maria Hoyos
from November 1st 2023 to April 1st 2024


from November 1st 2023 to June 1st 2024

Leyla Majeri
from November 11th 2023 to December 16th 2023

Barbara Claus
from November 11th 2023 to December 16th 2023

Leyla Majeri
from November 13th 2023 to December 15th 2023

Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny
Commisssaire/Curator: Ella den Elzen

from January 20th 2024 to March 23rd 2024

Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny
from January 20th 2024 to March 20th 2024

Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny Commisssaire/Curator: Ella den Elzen

from March 2nd 2024 to March 2nd 2024

Eve Tagny, Élisabeth-Anne Dorléans, Sophia Gaspard
Commissaire/ Curator: Ella den Elzen

from March 23rd 2024 to March 23rd 2024

Appel à projets - Programmation / Programming 2026-2027
Call for Proposals
Concours ouvert du 12 avril jusqu'au 20 mai 2024, 11:59 PM, HAE, Heure avancée de l’Est (Québec)
Open from April 12th until Mai 20th, 2024, 11:59 PM, EDT, Eastern Daylight Time (Québec)

from April 12th 2024 to May 20th 2024

Santiago Tavera et Laura Acosta
from April 13th 2024 to June 15th 2024




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Leyla Majeri, Sans titre, 2023, crédit photo: Édouard Larocque. Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste.| Courtesy of the artist.

Appel de candidatures. Résidence Intersections de recherche, création et production
Date limite de dépôt : 5 octobre 2023

from August 11th 2023 to October 5th 2023

Le Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), le Centre d’art contemporain OPTICA et l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques (EAVM) de l’UQAM lancent un appel de candidatures pour les artistes issu.e.s de l’immigration (de première ou de seconde génération) qui sont membres des minorités ethniques ou visibles**. Les candidat.e.s éligibles sont diplômé.e.s de la mâtrise à l’EAVM.

Ce partenariat vise à offrir un soutien de recherche, de création et de production à un.e artiste en lui donnant accès à un accompagnement professionnel, complémentaire à sa formation universitaire dans le milieu artistique montréalais.

Ce projet prend la forme d’une résidence en vue de la réalisation d’une œuvre qui entre en dialogue avec des archives (fonds documentaire du centre d’art contemporain OPTICA ou autre, en fonction de la recherche de l’artiste). À la fin de la résidence, OPTICA présentera une exposition de l’artiste sélectionné.e. Le lauréat ou la lauréate tiendra aussi une présentation publique sur sa pratique artistique au centre. Un accompagnement par l’EAVM et OPTICA sera fourni dans le cadre du projet d’une durée d’un an.

Conditions d'admissibilité
- être un.e artiste issu.e. de l’immigration (de première ou de seconde génération) membre des minorités ethniques ou visibles**;
- être un.e artiste professionnel.le** en arts visuels;
- être diplômé du programme de mâtrise à l’EAVM;
- être citoyen.ne canadien.ne ou résident.e permanent.e du Canada à la date de dépôt de la demande;
- être domicilié.e sur le territoire de l’île de Montréal depuis au moins un an;
- être disponible pour toutes les activités incluses dans le cadre du projet.

Soutien offert
- trois mois de résidence de recherche à l’hiver 2024 (janvier – mars) au centre d’art contemporain OPTICA incluant un espace de travail et un accès aux équipements de bureau, aux archives et à la documentation;
- un studio pour la création et la production, ainsi qu’un accès aux ateliers techniques spécialisés de l'EAVM, sous toute réserve, pour une durée de 8 mois;
- un accompagnement professionnel totalisant 60 heures par OPTICA (30h) et l’EAVM (30h);
- une subvention de recherche (max. 1500$);
- un cachet de production (3,000$), d’exposition (2,240$) et de présentation publique (125$);
- une plage d’exposition ou de diffusion du projet final dans la programmation d’OPTICA et une présentation publique au cours de l’année 2024.

Veuillez noter que nous ne prenons pas en charge les frais d’hébergement ou de transport. Le calendrier et les conditions de travail peuvent être modifiés en fonction des disponibilités financières des partenaires.

Dossier de candidature
- une lettre de motivation décrivant le projet de recherche proposé, les objectifs prévus, l’échéancier pour les trois mois de la résidence et sa pertinence pour la démarche artistique (max. 400 mots);
- une démarche artistique (max. 500 mots);
- un curriculum vitae (max. 3 pages);
- 10 images maximum au format JPG d'un poids maximal de 1Mo par image et/ou extraits vidéo et audio (5 minutes maximum, par hyperliens) avec une liste descriptive des images et/ou des extraits audiovisuels.

Le dossier de candidature doit être soumis dans un seul document PDF (taille maximale du fichier de 15 Mo) et envoyé au plus tard le 5 octobre 2023 à minuit à l’adresse courriel :intersections@uqam.ca

Seuls les documents exigés seront transmis aux membres du comité d'évaluation. Il n'y aura pas de commentaires du jury.

Pour plus de renseignements, vous êtes invité.e à contacter : intersections@uqam.ca

** Pour plus d’information sur les termes utilisés, consulter le Glossaire du Conseil des arts de Montréal:
https://www.artsmontreal.org/glossaire/






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Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes, The Pond, 2022.
Image animée en 3D, feedback vidéo | 3D animated graphics, video feedback © Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes

MOMENTA Biennale de l'image; Commissaire | Curator: Ji-Yoon Han
from September 8th 2023 to October 21st 2023
MOMENTA x OPTICA | Masquerades: Drawn to Metamorphosis; Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes, Visions on the Pond

Opening: Friday, September 8, 2023 - 5PM to 10pm
Public presentation and guided tour of the exhibition by Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes: October 14, 2023, 3pm.

OPTICA is proud to participate in the 18th edition of MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, Masquerades: Drawn to Metamorphosis, curated by Ji-Yoon Han. OPTICA will present individual exhibitions by the artists Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde.

Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal — From September 8 to October 21, 2023, OPTICA will present solo exhibitions by the artists Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, whose works activate processes of transformation, mimetics, and mutation through living beings.

Individuals are constantly recorded, formatted, fixed as same and identical, so how do we (re)set in motion our understanding of identities and differences? This question offers avenues for exploration and paths for reflection around the Biennale’s theme and the works of its artists.

Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes examines the ambivalent relationships between humans and the natural world within the context of ecological destruction. As she builds virtual realms populated with hybrid beings inspired by real flora and fauna, including those from the tropical forest of her native Costa Rica, her 3D animation works simulate an opulent natural environment that evolves in parallel to humanity. Technology itself is likened to an organism composed of multiple layers of superimposed and interlinked images, offering possible ways to reconnect with our devastated environment.

For the multimedia installation The Pond, Arroyo-Kreimes revisits the diorama, a staged reconstruction of wildlife in its environment, found in natural history museums. Imaginary creatures vibrate and pulsate in screen-enclosures, immersed in an aqueous setting of pearlescent reflections. Although captive, they navigate and metamorphose through feedback loops that convert digital signals into analog ones, then re-encode them in digital format. Here, we find ourselves caught within this phantasmagoric refuge, at times coexisting with the butterflies, millipedes, and chimerical salamanders. So who, now, is the subject of this show?

Exhibition presented by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and produced in partnership with OPTICA. This artist is supported by the MOMENTA x RBC Foundation program.

Animation 3D: Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes
Sound: Philippe Lambert
Augmented reality developement: Teo Zamudio, Milo Reinhardt

MOMENTA Creative
La Biennale includes the MOMENTA Creative program, a series of educational activities, creative workshops, and guided tours. Each activity, organized in relation to the Biennale’s theme, is free of charge and offered to groups, families, and individuals. Designed with a concern for inclusion and representativeness, our program conveys our desire to provide innovative cultural mediation.

The workshop Les êtres invisibles, designed for preschool and elementary-school groups, is centred around the art practices of Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and Bianca Baldi, whose work is presented at Diagonale. The workshop will be led by the MOMENTA team in collaboration with OPTICA jeunesse and will take place at OPTICA and Diagonale.
Reservations for elementary-school groups:
mediation@momentabiennale.com

Reservations for CPE, Daycare and Preschool Groups:
mediationoptica@gmail.com
Free

MOMENTA Podcast
For MOMENTA’s very first podcast series, Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde will have a conversation with the artist Jamie Ross, the podcast’s director and host. The episode will be put online during the Biennale on MOMENTA’s website and on various podcasting platforms.

MOMENTA Performance and Artist Talk
Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde is giving a talk on her art practice at OPTICA on September 8 at 5:30 pm, followed by a performative activation titled Before all else at 6:30 pm as art of the opening of the Biennale du Pôle de Gaspé.

Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde will also present the performance, titled Sturgeon Women Rising, on September 9, 5 pm at the beach of l'Horloge, Old Port of Montréal, 1 Quai de l'Horloge street, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E2.

MOMENTA Exhibition Tour
A tour of the exhibition Visions on the Pond with the artist Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and the curator Ji-Yoon-Han will take place at OPTICA on September 23 at 3:00 pm.

About MOMENTA Biennale de l’image
MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is a flagship Montréal event devoted to contemporary art. For more than 30 years, MOMENTA has been inviting artists and audiences from the world over to gather in the city’s museums, galleries, and artist-run centres. Its activities include exhibitions, public events, and educational workshops that introduce participants to artists, both local and international, whose works pique curiosity and stimulate reflection.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf) PRESS REVIEW

CERVETTO, Renata. « MASQUERADES. MOMENTA BIENNALE DE L’IMAGE, MONTREAL », Artishock, 30 octobre 2023.

SIAG, Jean. « Momenta, Biennale de l’image Parcours d’introduction dans le Mile End», La Presse, 16 septembre 2023.

MAVRIKAKIS, Nicolas. « D’où venons-nous? Que sommes-nous? Où allons-nous? », Le Devoir, 9 septembre 2023.

RCI. « MOMENTA Biennale de l’image veut 'rendre plus visibles les cultures autochtones'. La 18e édition du festival a lieu du 7 septembre au 22 octobre à Montréal », Radio Canada International, 8 septembre 2023.

PAUL, Eléonore. « MOMENTA Biennale | Les mascarades selon 5 artistes », ATUVU.CA, 5 septembre 2023.

SAMARIO, Jessica. « MOMENTA Biennale de l’image présente 'Mascarades. L’attrait de la métamorphose', L’art de démystifier l’étrange, du 7 septembre au 22 octobre 2023», La bible urbaine, 7 septembre 2023.

Équipe de Vie des arts. « Momenta dévoile sa programmation de 2023! », Vie des arts, 1 mai 2023.



A master’s student in Intermedia at Concordia University, Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes explores the language of digital technologies, 3D animation, and installation to probe how forms of technological and biological life mimic each other. In her works, she invents digital ecologies within virtual worlds. Her exhibition at OPTICA will be conceived as an immersive environment populated with fantastic animals inspired by Costa Rican fauna.

Ji-Yoon Han lives and works in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. In her often interdisciplinary curatorial projects, she seeks to reclaim the sensory and reflexive power of the visual arts in multilayered contexts that are themselves in transformation. Previously a curator at Fonderie Darling, she organized exhibitions of works by Cynthia Girard-Renard, Barbara Steinman, Javier González Pesce, and Guillaume Adjutor Provost, as well as a performative cycle on listening and sound art practices. In 2022, she designed the group exhibition-residency Exercises in Reciprocity for the Grantham Foundation for the Arts and the Environment and developed the multidisciplinary project Weaving the Line: Claudia Brutus and Stéphane Martelly. She has contributed to monographs on Geneviève Cadieux and Louise Robert and regularly writes about the work of Montreal-based artists. In her PhD dissertation, she investigated how images competed between 1929 and 1936, articulating photography, Surrealism, and the nascent cultures of the illustrated press and advertising. She currently is a research fellow for the Photography and Commission project at the Cabinet de la photographie, with the support of Les amis du Centre Pompidou, Paris.




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Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, Becoming Supernatural, 2021. Impression numérique, dimensions variables. | Digital print, variable dimensions. Photo: Anne Crillio
© Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde


MOMENTA Biennale de l'image; Commissaire | Curator: Ji-Yoon Han
from September 8th 2023 to October 21st 2023
MOMENTA x OPTICA | Masquerades: Drawn to Metamorphosis; Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, Gemini: TEKENÍKHEN (twins)

Friday, September 8, 2023
Opening: 5PM to 10pm
Performance of Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde: 6:30pm

OPTICA is proud to participate in the 18th edition of MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, Mascarades. Drawn to Metamorphosis, curated by Ji-Yoon Han.OPTICA will present individual exhibitions by the artists Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde.

Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montréal — From September 8 to October 21, 2023, OPTICA will present solo exhibitions by the artists Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, whose works activate processes of transformation, mimetics, and mutation through living beings.

Individuals are constantly recorded, formatted, fixed as same and identical, so how do we (re)set in motion our understanding of identities and differences? This question offers avenues for exploration and paths for reflection around the Biennale’s theme and the works of its artists.

Indigenous theatre and land-based dramaturgy are the foundation of Kanien'kehá:ka multidisciplinary artist Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde’s practice. Driven by a desire to heal intergenerational wounds suffered by First Peoples, Delaronde calls for, activates, and reactivates relationships among the body, cultural identities, the land, and the cosmos. In this way, she asserts the resurgence of traditional Haudenosaunee creative forces through plural, hybrid constellations that mobilize art, ritual, history, spirituality, collectivity, collaboration, and communities.

Gemini: TEKENÍKHEN(twins) is a ceremony of returning to origins. It starts with the physical and repetitive act of chopping wood, followed by gestures that convey a splitting of the self and a fusion with ashes and smoke, then builds to a masked dance and concludes with the eating of a strawberry. In the exhibition, the performance—filmed in British Columbia, where Delaronde, who was born in Tiohtià:ke, lives and works—resonates with a site-specific installation on the floor presenting her natal chart. TEKENÍKHEN summons a twinship based on metamorphosis: identity moves from one place to another, one life to another, one relation to another. Thus begins the convergence between the body and the land, identities and the sky, in the image of the trajectory that Delaronde draws from her home on the Pacific coast to the shores of the St. Lawrence River, land of her ancestors.

Exhibition presented by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and produced in partnership with OPTICA.

The performance Sturgeon Woman Rising is co-commissioned by MOMENTA Biennale de l’image and Bonavista Biennale with the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec.

MOMENTA Creative
La Biennale includes the MOMENTA Creative program, a series of educational activities, creative workshops, and guided tours. Each activity, organized in relation to the Biennale’s theme, is free of charge and offered to groups, families, and individuals. Designed with a concern for inclusion and representativeness, our program conveys our desire to provide innovative cultural mediation.

The workshop Les êtres invisibles, designed for preschool and elementary-school groups, is centred around the art practices of Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and Bianca Baldi, whose work is presented at Diagonale. The workshop will be led by the MOMENTA team in collaboration with OPTICA jeunesse and will take place at OPTICA and Diagonale.
Reservations for elementary-school groups:
mediation@momentabiennale.com

Reservations for CPE, Daycare and Preschool Groups:
mediationoptica@gmail.com
Free

MOMENTA Podcast
For MOMENTA’s very first podcast series, Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde will have a conversation with the artist Jamie Ross, the podcast’s director and host. The episode will be put online during the Biennale on MOMENTA’s website and on various podcasting platforms.

MOMENTA Performance and Artist Talk
Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde is giving a talk on her art practice at OPTICA on September 8 at 5:30 pm, followed by a performative activation titled Before all else at 6:30 pm as art of the opening of the Biennale du Pôle de Gaspé.

Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde will also present the performance, titled Sturgeon Women Rising, on September 9, 5 pm at the beach of l'Horloge, Old Port of Montréal, 1 Quai de l'Horloge street, Montréal, QC H2Y 2E2.

MOMENTA Exhibition Tour
A tour of the exhibition Visions on the Pond with the artist Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and the curator Ji-Yoon-Han will take place at OPTICA on September 23 at 3:00 pm.

About MOMENTA Biennale de l’image

MOMENTA Biennale de l’image is a flagship Montréal event devoted to contemporary art. For more than 30 years, MOMENTA has been inviting artists and audiences from the world over to gather in the city’s museums, galleries, and artist-run centres. Its activities include exhibitions, public events, and educational workshops that introduce participants to artists, both local and international, whose works pique curiosity and stimulate reflection.

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)



Indigenous theater and land-based dramaturgy are the foundation of Kanien'kehá:ka artist Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde’s practice. Building upon a multidisciplinary approach where she combines performance, theater, and dance with visual artworks in a wide range of mediums, including photography, screenprinting, beading, leather, and textiles, Delaronde activates, and reactivates relationships between the body, cultural identities, the land, and the cosmos. @embodiedearthhealing

Ji-Yoon Han lives and works in Tiohtià:ke/Mooniyang/Montreal. In her often interdisciplinary curatorial projects, she seeks to reclaim the sensory and reflexive power of the visual arts in multilayered contexts that are themselves in transformation. Previously a curator at Fonderie Darling, she organized exhibitions of works by Cynthia Girard-Renard, Barbara Steinman, Javier González Pesce, and Guillaume Adjutor Provost, as well as a performative cycle on listening and sound art practices. In 2022, she designed the group exhibition-residency Exercises in Reciprocity for the Grantham Foundation for the Arts and the Environment and developed the multidisciplinary project Weaving the Line: Claudia Brutus and Stéphane Martelly. She has contributed to monographs on Geneviève Cadieux and Louise Robert and regularly writes about the work of Montreal-based artists. In her PhD dissertation, she investigated how images competed between 1929 and 1936, articulating photography, Surrealism, and the nascent cultures of the illustrated press and advertising. She currently is a research fellow for the Photography and Commission project at the Cabinet de la photographie, with the support of Les amis du Centre Pompidou, Paris.




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Visuel de l'activité d'aquarelle et d'impressions de végétaux, juin 2023.| Visual of the watercolor and plant printing activity, June 2023. Photo credit: Anne St-Louis.

Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes, Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde
from September 29th 2023 to September 29th 2023
Journées de la culture: Watercolor and Plant Prints at OPTICA!

Schedule: Friday, September 29, 2023, from 1 pm to 4 pm
No reservation required
Free

The OPTICA Educational Program invites the general public to come together for an afternoon around art works that the centre is presenting as part of MOMENTA Biennale de l’image. This is a beautiful occasion to experience and share a creative moment together! Have a cup of tea as you explore the two exhibition galleries during a guided tour. You can make contact with the digital and surrealist universe of Bianca Shonee Arroyo-Kreimes and the performances of Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde, two artists calling for reconciliation.

Surreal shapes and varied, colourful motifs await! Afterward, you’ll have the opportunity to experiment with watercolour painting and a plant printing technique to produce a wholly unique work that recalls the themes and visuals of the artists’ work. Create interesting motifs using both natural and artificial plants—let yourself be freely inspired by nature and by elements on display in the galleries. Have fun!

On your way to OPTICA, to ensure a variety of motifs, we encourage you to collect some leaves and other vegetation—while respecting nature, of course!

Accessibility
OPTICA pays particular attention to offering everyone an optimal and successful visit. If you have any questions about access to the premises or to services, please do not hesitate to contact us. An access ramp is located at the north entrance of 5455, avenue de Gaspé.




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Maria Hoyos, Antimonumento, 2022. Crédit photo : Claudia Patricia Velasquez

Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste. | Courtesy of the artist.

Maria Hoyos
from November 1st 2023 to April 1st 2024
Recipient of the Intersections Residency!

The Conseil des arts de Montréal (CAM), contemporary art centre OPTICA, and UQAM’s École des arts visuels et médiatiques (ÉAVM) are very pleased to announce that Maria Hoyos is the recipient of the Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency, first edition 2023-2024.

Maria Hoyos’ art practice broaches historical and cultural issues tied to her Columbian origins. The permanence of deep-rooted historical, cultural, social, and economic inequalities of the former colonies has led to unprecedented social and racial compartmentalization. This colonial past has kept certain groups in a state of servitude, inferiority, even subservience, wrapped in the guise of workforce exploitation and operating within a normative social hierarchy.

Marked by the sugar production she experienced in her youth, Hoyos seeks to reveal the colonial unconscious that permeates the everyday relations that feed power relationships and abuse in our societies.

Her research is in line with a reflection on art and identity. Her installations are composed of drawings, photographs, videos, animations made of sugar, assemblages of objects, and rituals that take root in the space and through which the artist consecrates the presentational locale.

“Art is my way of acting on the present, my way of analyzing, understanding and sharing history.”

The Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency rewards emerging artists with a first or second generation immigration background, who are members of an ethnic or visible minority and are recent graduates of the Master’s program at ÉAVM.

For more information on the Research, Creation, and Production Intersections Residency, please visit: the website.

This residency is offered thanks to a partnership between the Conseil des arts de Montréal, the École des arts visuels et médiatiques of UQAM and OPTICA.

USEFUL LINKS

Site web de Maria Hoyos

Study at l'ÉAVM

Conseil des arts de Montréal

OPTICA, centre d'art contemporain

For more information on the vocabulary used, please visit:
consulter le Glossaire du Conseil des arts de Montréal





Columbian artist Maria Hoyos lives in Abya-Yala and also on the unceded territory of the Tiohtiá:ke First Nations. Deeply attached to her home town of Santiago de Cali, she has been interested in video from the start, exploring the moving image throughout her studies in Bogota, Madrid, and Havana. She discovered installation art at the El Instituto Departamental de Bellas Artes in Cali, as well as a passion for working with materials. Immigrating to Quebec in 2002, she obtained an MFA from the École des arts visuels et médiatiques at UQAM (2022) and a bachelor in education in visual and media arts from the same university.

Abya-Yala. Self-designation in the Kuna language: Mature land, living land, flowering land, land of blood.




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from November 1st 2023 to June 1st 2024
Public Education Program | Winter - Spring 2023-24

OPTICA’s public education program proposes various creative workshops and interactive tours for audiences of all ages, from 4 and up. Daycare centres, public and private, elementary schools, high schools, colleges, universities, retirement homes and community organizations can all participate in our activities. These ones place in an atmosphere conducive to discussion and reflection, in order to learn more about current creative production.

All our activities are free!

To schedule a guided tour and/or to take part in a workshop, simply book an appointment with the Public Education Program Coordinator Anne St-Louis: mediationoptica@gmail.com or call us at 514-874-1666.

CONSULT OUR 2023-2024 ANNUAL PROGRAM IN PDF FORMAT




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Leyla Majeri, matériel provenant d'archives personnelles et familiales, circa années 70. Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste. | material from personal and family archives, circa 1970s. Courtesy of the artist.

Leyla Majeri
from November 11th 2023 to December 16th 2023
Anticipating Hypersea

Saturday, December 16, 2023, from 3pm to 4pm
In Conversation
Leyla Majeri with
Julia Eilers Smith at OPTICA

Opening, November 11th, 2023: 3 - 5PM

Leyla Majeri presents the culmination of the research she conducted, from September 2022 to April 2023, as part of the Intersections Residency, established by an agreement between the École des arts visuels et médiatiques at Université du Québec à Montréal, the Conseil des arts de Montréal, and OPTICA.

The artist’s installational and sculptural practice also touches experimental animated film. At OPTICA, Majeri is proposing an environment that brings together three bodies of work that showcase her research on the deconstruction and decolonization of prevailing ideas, borrowing themes associated with a kind of fictional ethnography and speculative biology.

At the heart of her practice, she considers gardening a way “of apprehending the art object other than through a single perspective.” The intermixing of disciplines allows her to engage various fields and their know-how in order to re-imagine the norms of the art world and ways of apprehending that which makes up the world. She puts forward an “approach based on an exploratory (and existential) process in which language, gestures, matter, and place are interrogated and renegotiated.”

Plants and living things are the artist’s raw material. The exhibited hybrid assemblages are composed of gourds and ceramics. While some varieties of gourds, also called calabashes, are edible, most are not. They are generally cultivated not as food, but to serve as a recipient, an ornament, or a sound box. Their dissemination is the outcome of human migratory activity and natural elements, mainly water. Majeri alters their shape as they grow using ceramic structures to enclose the plant.

These heterogeneous assemblages convey ideas revolving around receptacles, coevolution, and mutation. In the process, Majeri drew inspiration, in particular, from the concept of evolution in Elizabeth Fisher’s Woman’s Creation: Sexual Evolution and the Shaping of Society (1979), which advances the idea that the first cultural device was likely a recipient for carrying gathered products, among other things.

This notion of a bag was taken up by novelist and poet Ursula K. Le Guin, known for a literary production on the frontier between realism and fantasy. In The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (1986), Le Guin presents a history of technology centred on the collective sustenance of life. Majeri also took an interest in the writings of evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, once considered radical by her peers for showing how cooperation is a primary force in the evolution of life. Her ideas revolved around the symbiosis of a multitude of organisms, contradicting Darwinian notions and celebrating plurality rather than the individual.

A series of phytograms, a technique of printing on photosensitive paper produced from the chemistry of plants, represents organic and fantastical forms composed of fabric, magazine photos, vegetables, and seeds. These phytograms are produced without a camera, using sunlight for exposure. On contact with the emulsion, the plants release their own phenols, which act as a developer.

In the gallery, a 45-rpm vinyl record engraved using an artisanal process, disseminates sound excerpts from a script performed by children. It all takes the form of a non-linear and theatrical composition.

Majeri maintains that, “using plants, sculpture, images, and documentary objets, these new installations will continue [to raise] and to re-articulate interrogations related to forms of knowledge: what they arbitrarily make visible or invisible, what they create as the imagination of the living.”

Author: Esther Bourdages

The artist wishes to thank Véronique Proulx, Alexis Lepage, Mathieu Jacques, Janie Julien-Fort and Jean Talbot for their generosity, Victor and Suzanne Pinksen, Emmanuelle Jacques, le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, OPTICA et la résidence Intersections. A huge thanks to Mylène Dupont, Stéphane Beaulieu and Édouard Larocque.



PRESS RELEASE (pdf)




Holding a master’s degree in Visual and Media Arts from UQAM, Leyla Majeri’s practice focuses on sculptural installation and experimental animated film. Her works draw on fictional approaches to ethnography, speculative biology, and marginalized forms of knowledge to envision ways of ‘making’ that are rooted in the idea of engagement, both as an artistic process and a mode of resistance. Her work incorporates sound collages, text, found objects, and plants that she cultivates on agricultural land where she has created a food garden and medicinal plants. During her Chantier residency at L’imprimerie in 2022, she created a garden of plants used for image-development as a starting point for a collective reflection on alternative and decolonialized image-making skills and approaches. With Harness the Sun (Arprim, Montreal, 2016), she initiates a dialogue between her art and her gardening practices, which she ties to ecologies between materials, the imagination, and the political. She furthers this exploration in Don’t Blame Us If We Get Playful (Galerie de l’UQAM, 2018) and Garden Archive – There’s a wasp who penetrates the ladybug (CIRCA, Montreal, 2019), where she combines different languages and territories of practice, materialities, life forms, and biotopes.

In addition to these projects, her work has been shown at the Skol Centre in 2023 and will soon be exhibited at l’Écart (Rouyn-Noranda) in 2024. Leyla Majeri is a recipient of project grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, the Conseil des arts et lettres du Québec, and a research residency at Centre Est-Nord-Est (Saint-Jean-Port-Joli, 2017). Leyla Majeri lives in Tiohtià:ke / Mooniyaang / Montreal where she was born.

Esther Bourdages works in the fields of visual arts and technological arts as an author, curator and independent scholar. Her curatorial research explores art forms such as in situ art, installation and sculpture. A particularly important aspect of her curatorial practice is sound, which she strives to treat as a medium that is sometimes independent, sometimes complementary. She hold the position of Director Assistant, Communications and Archives Coordinator at OPTICA.




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Barbara Claus, un pour chacun, à moins que..., Shanghai 2018, crédit photo : Barbara Claus.

Barbara Claus
from November 11th 2023 to December 16th 2023
un pour tout le monde, à moins que...

Finissage on Decembrer 16, 2023, 4:30pm. Blowing on the rice.
Barbara Claus invites you to blow on the rice.

Opening, November 11th, 2023: 3 - 5 PM.

Rice∞ ?

Rice has long been considered an abounding commodity. Wrongly so. But has the lesson been heard yet? Thousands of years before our time, it was this grain that legendary Indian sage Sissa called upon when his king wished to thank him for having invented chess. Sissa subjected him to a true paradox by inviting him to place one grain of rice in the first square of his chessboard, and then to do the same on the next squares in an exponentially doubling sequence, through all the squares of the board. The second square thus held two grains, the third four, the fourth eight, and so on. At first, King Balhait found the reward to be rather modest, but once the deal accepted, he had to quickly renege. At the end of the process, that is, having reached the 64th square, the board would theoretically have held 18,446,744,073,709,551,615 grains—a lot more than what the kingdom would ever produce.

Today we find ourselves collectively in king Balhait’s situation. As the world population increases, and our grand business narratives sing the ideal enrichment of boundless production, everything is done to over-cultivate rice as an inexhaustible treasure. For added efficiency, we limit the number of marketable species. But this loss in diversity doesn’t lead to unlimited production. The newspaper Le Monde recently titled an article: “World prices of rice up nearly 10% in a month, after India’s ban on exports.” The country decided to preserve several kinds of rice to ensure its population’s food security. They had to be protected from the inflationist logic of the markets. So it occurred elsewhere.

Speculation on financial markets has thus seen a rebound, benefiting financial players betting on sensitive securities as pretexts for a great and, for them, abstract game. Georg Simmel set it down as early as 1900: “price fluctuations correspond only rarely to real changes in the quality that the stock represents.” The great business narrative lets simpletons believe that exponential production follows from the equivalent movement of phynance. As if tacking on more zeros to monetary production would conjure the real and equate to something other than “to nothing, practically, as poet Stéphane Mallarmé had caustically put it. For the initiates, however, speculating is not gambling on the production of wealth that one believes in; it is more like taking part in a game of musical chairs: knowingly buying securities that are overpaid in relation to tangible assets, but believing yourself capable of reselling them to a third party who, similarly, will participate in the very same merry-go-round. Everyone will pass off the fetishized ticket hoping not to be the one left holding the bag when the system collapses, the overvaluation of the securities being plain to everybody. Indeed, we can plausibly get away with it when our algorithms, launched into the fray, trade assets by the billions in nanoseconds.

Amartya Sen advocated an ethical relationship in business, postulating that all players have an interest in the collective observance of the rules of the game to make a free market work. The premise: if we give the majority of a poor country’s citizens the financial means to purchase grain, a merchant would be inclined to produce it to sell them his goods. Naively, the business ethicist presumes that the said merchant, facing a population in a precarious situation, would not dare unfairly raise prices in order “to profit from [...] the exceptional windfall.” Yet that is what happens, systematically, every day.

We are collectively playing this sordid game, the stock marketeers being cold beneficiaries of this planned system and small savers the captive providers of financial capital. We ignore it, or we pretend to. Artist Barbara Claus reproduces a vast global chessboard on which one might hope that each square capable of accommodating a grain of rice would multiply it by the trillions, as Jesus did the loaves and fishes. But, like king Balhait, we get burned at this game. We starve. Is it only then that we realize?

Author: Alain Deneault

PRESS RELEASE (pdf)


Translator: Ron Ross

COMMUNIQUÉ DE PRESSE (pdf)

Bibliography

Jean-Pierre Boris, Main basse sur le riz (Paris: Fayard et Arte Éditions, 2010).
Stéphane Mallarmé, “Or,” in Œuvres complètes (Paris: Gallimard, coll. “Bibliothèque de la Pléiade,” 1945).
Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Manuel du spéculateur à la bourse, Une anthologie (le Kremlin-Bicêtre: Éditions ère, 2009 [1856]).
Georg Simmel, The Philosophy of Money, Third enlarged edition, translated by Tom Bottomore and David Frisby (London & New York: Routledge, 1978, 1990, 2004 [1900]), 327.
Amartya Sen, “Does Business Ethics Make Economic Sense?,” Business Ethics Quarterly, Vol. 3, No. 1, (1993, 45-54), 49.

Articles
“Les prix mondiaux du riz ont augmenté de près de 10 % en un mois, à la suite des interdictions d’exportation de l’Inde,” Le Monde and Agence France-Presse (AFP) (september 8, 2023). (Our translation)
"La spéculation alimentaire ou le dangereux pari sur la faim," Oxfam France (May 31, 2023).

Barbara Claus would like to thank OPTICA, its team and Alain Deneault.



Barbara Claus is an artist, today she breathes, one day her breath will stop.

Alain Deneault is a professor of philosophy at Université de Moncton’s Shippagan campus (Accadian Peninsula). His essays are concerned with managerial ideology, the sovereignty of private powers, and the history of the polysemic notion of economy. At Lux Éditeur, he has published Bande de colons, Gouvernance, Politiques de l’extrême centre, Mœurs: De la gauche cannibale à la droite vandale, and La Médiocratie, as well as a series of titles on the concept of economy (L'Économie de la nature, L'Économie de la foi, L'Économie esthétique, and L'Économie psychique). He has also published several essays on multinational corporations (including De Quoi Total est-elle la somme? , and Noir Canada) and on tax havens (Une escroquerie légalisée, and Paradis fiscaux: la filière canadienne) at Écosociété and Rue de l’échiquier.




Leyla Majeri
from November 13th 2023 to December 15th 2023

Activities for all ages around the Leyla Majeri exhibition!

For the high schoolers

Students of Robert-Gravel high school have come to the centre for an interactive tour of the exhibition and to participate in a creative workshop. Accompanied by their teacher, an accompanying parent, and OPTICA’s mediator, the youths spent almost an hour amid the art works, which they observed, decoded, interrogated. They also discussed and shared their knowledge and points of view on such subjects as questioning received ideas, imagination, and the symbiosis and cross-fertilization of living beings.

In order to explore plant material—ubiquitous in the exhibition—from a different perspective, they then set out to create a work using plant-based paint. In small groups, they first explored techniques for making this paint from vegetables and spices and then, from this material, created a completely natural watercolour, which became a memento of the experience.

For the little ones from daycare and child-care centres

Since November 13, the centre’s educational program has offered a new Contemporary Lab for children aged 3 to 6. In groups, while they are observing the artist’s work, and led by centre’s mediator, the young children discuss the idea of gardening and the relationships between humans and plants. Attention is directed toward photographs developed with plants and sunlight and assembled to create characters. In a collage workshop, the children are then invited to create their own character using various simple and recycled materials, echoing the garden theme. The program presents an opportunity to pursue these reflections while experimenting a new way of having fun while creating art!

All our activities are free!

To schedule a guided tour and/or to take part in a workshop, simply book an appointment with the Public Education Program Coordinator Anne St-Louis: mediationoptica@gmail.com or call us at 514-874-1666.


Consult the 2023-2024 Annual Program in Pdf Format


Accessibility
OPTICA pays particular attention to providing everyone an optimal and successful visit. With a constant desire to improve matters of inclusion and accessibility, the Centre steers its efforts toward responding in the best possible way to the challenges posed by contemporary issues. OPTICA is committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment.

This year, the head of the educational program received training on accessibility in artist centres from the RCAAQ and Kéroul. In addition, remember that there is no cost to exhibition tours or to participation in creative workshops.

An access ramp is located at the north-side entrance, at 5455, avenue de Gaspé. If you have any questions or have specific needs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.




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Studio LOBE, Berlin, 2023.

Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny
Commisssaire/Curator: Ella den Elzen

from January 20th 2024 to March 23rd 2024
Undoing Earthwriting

Performance: Eve Tagny with Élisabeth-Anne Dorléans and Sophia Gaspard
myths and partition scores
Saturday, March 23rd, 2024
4 PM


Opening: January 20 2024 4PM - 6 PM
In the presence of Ella den Elzen, Patrick Henry, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny

To write upon the earth is to extract, to dispossess, to inscribe violence onto land’s surface through the displacement of soil, rocks, plants, and people. Undoing Earthwriting attends to the themes of plants and land, through an Afro-diasporic lens, specifically because of the charged history that Black subjectivity has with these materials. Plants and soil, most essentially, are life-giving and required for the sustenance and survival of all beings. Conversely, botanic and geologic matter have been cultivated and extracted on a massive scale to create the apparatuses of the plantation and the mine, co-constituted with the disciplining of forced or exploitative human labour as racial capitalism.2 Through predominantly newly commissioned works, Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, and Eve Tagny consider the potency of plants as symbols, commodity, and life. Because of the ways in which soil and plants are imbued with complex histories, this exhibition looks to position these materials, alongside blackness, as a set of concrete vectors that create ruptures in space and time in relation to nature.

Curatorial Essay of Ella den Elzen; Design: Studio LOB (pdf).

Undoing Earthwriting attends to the themes of plants and land, through an Afro-diasporic lens, specifically because of the charged history that Black subjectivity has with these materials. To write upon the earth is to extract, to dispossess, to inscribe violence onto land’s surface through the displacement of soil, rocks, plants, and people.1 Botanic and geologic materials have been cultivated and extracted on a massive scale to create the apparatuses of the plantation and the mine, co-constituted with the disciplining of forced or exploitative human labour as racial capitalism.2 Because of the ways in which soil and plants are imbued with these histories, while simultaneously, at times, have resisted colonial forms of knowing or capturing, the exhibition looks to position these materials, alongside blackness, as a set of material vectors that create ruptures in geographies in space and time.

Katherine McKittrick writes about the ways in which terrestrial space becomes delineated as deep space through time, specifically in relation to black geographies as the legacy and reproduction of capitalism and its racial logics, conceptualizing deep space as the production of space that becomes organized through policy and ideology. These overlapping systems that structure our environment “organize the everyday in multiple contexts and scales—within and across homes, factories, streets, local and world banks, social services, military invasions, developing and overdeveloped nations, resistance tactics, gentrification projects”.3 McKittrick conversely emphasises the potentiality and relationality of blackness to engage with geography, due to the ways in which Black subjects are often contending with multiple overlapping temporal dimensions and historicities in place.4 These overlapping temporalities also provide an opportunity to rupture the linearity of historical time whose traces are inscribed within biologic and geologic material. While the artists presented in Undoing Earthwriting have differing relationships to geography, each presents varying refusals, propositions, and complications to the linkages between property, plants, and people.

Emerging from a place of conversation, the artists met collectively over several months to discuss the exhibition’s themes. These conversations were recorded, and excerpts of their transcriptions will later be published as a companion to the works that were developed over the last several months. Patrick Henry, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, and Eve Tagny were each commissioned to make new works for Undoing Earthwriting, informed by their practices’ ongoing engagements with botanic or geologic materials. Kapwani Kiwanga’s Flowers for Africa (2013 – ongoing) provided a conceptual grounding in which to engage with, in relationship to Kiwanga’s interests in history, the archive, the representation of flowers within Western imagery, and the movement of plants planetarily. While the work is comprised of 16 flower arrangements, three works, Flowers for Africa: Nigeria, Flowers for Africa: Uganda, and Flowers for Africa: Ivory Coast are presented here. Each work is reconstructed based on a protocol, which includes archival photographs of the independence proceedings of African nation states that illustrate the transition of power between colonial o(cials and local governments. Kiwanga sourced these photographs from various state archives. The flowers themselves are the products of trade routes and geopolitical forces that entangle their trajectories, which Kiwanga researches in conversation with florists. Through this action, she examines the slipperiness of the archive, as well as the forms of power encapsulated within its record. Over the course of the exhibition these flowers will decay, as per the artist’s protocols, symbolizing the transient nature of those initiating statehood and underscoring the fragility of certain nation states.

Patrick Henry’s cast bronze sculptures, Soi-même comme un autre, depict a hybridized fictionalized flower, based on the Jamaica (hibiscus) and banana flowers. In choosing to cast a flower which carries little commercial value as a product in comparison to the fruits the same plant would bear, Henry’s works refuse notions of productivity and domestication. The hybrid plant refutes recognizability formally, by incorporating references to Henry’s own biography through his mixing of plant species with the motif of the boxing bag. Addressing duality, specifically the unexpectedness of growth and decay in relation to time – the plant holds the potential for breath – expanding or withering depending on the positionality of the viewer as they approach the work.

Kosisochukwu Nnebe’s, the seeds we carry (bury this where the one you want to trick walks) draws attention to the way plants were used to navigate the realities of life on the plantation in Jamaica, Haiti and the southern United States, either in the form of medicine for healing, poison for revenge and protection, or abortifacient for bodily autonomy. Created by healers within the community whose ability to combine healing materials and spiritual power sometimes threatened to supplant the power and control of slave owners, these concoctions were passed along covertly in vessels of various kinds, all drawing from the same roots within West and Central African spiritual traditions. As a way of honouring these ancestors and the embodied knowledge they carried while still respecting the need for secrecy and opacity, Nnebe’s sculptures reference these vessels. She adorns them in the manner of Haitian libation bottles intended as devotional altar pieces for particular loa, spirits, or – as in this case – ancestors.

Eve Tagny, Partition scores and Mythologies de la valeur are a series of photographic works that emphasize moments of tenderness in the subjects she documents across multiple geographies, including Los Angeles, Johannesburg, London, Montréal, Toronto, and Sharjah, who occupy these cities differently in relation to class, power, and use. These photographs explore the artist’s ongoing interest in land and property, and how ongoing logics of racial capitalism are extended into the built environment through forms of segregation, red-lining, gentrification and displacement. She intentionally highlights care and intimacy between her subjects, often working through forms of gesture – in some cases re-appropriating hand and bodily gestures from Eurocentric representations of Black people in Western portraiture, Tagny aims to complicate notions of subjectivity and legibility.5

With increasing urgency, scholars assert that our contemporary climate crisis situated within the current geologic age, the Anthropocene, is deeply entangled with the legacies of colonialism, slavery, the transplantation of agrarian capitalism and the invention of private property ownership to the Americas, Africa, and Asia from Western Europe.6 Sylvia Wynter troubles this notion that we, as human beings, can be collectively understood as a singular anthropos responsible for the environmental and ecological juncture we find ourselves at historically, fashioning “Man” as a self-possessed, white / European, Western subject, who had the potential to own both people (slaves, indentured labourers, wives) and land as property.7 This framing conceptually and materially situates the “Golden Spike” or beginning of our accelerated environmental crisis in 1452, the year the first slave ship travelled from the coast of West Africa to Portuguese Madeira.8 This moment in history, Wynter argues, connects all of us Earthly beings (human, plant, nonhuman) – as this was the moment Western knowledge systems including religion, property, law, gender, capitalism all became violently transposed and transcribed onto geographies outside the West, cementing these logics as the dominant worldview.9 This shift changed the relationship between “Man” and the natural world, recasting land as property and plant as commodity. These epistemologies have disproportionately impacted indigenous and Afro-diasporic peoples most severely planetarily – both within Turtle Island / North America and beyond including Africa, South America, and Asia, and these legacies continue to unfold and impact these communities and their diaspora within Europe and the West itself. To completely undo the aforementioned legacies of colonialism, slavery, and dispossession is notably ambitious, yet the works presented here aim to push up against and unsettle these histories with the natural world.

Rinaldo Walcott makes the argument for the abolition of private property and a return back towards a conceptualization of the commons, as a way of undoing the legacies of capitalism.10 The commons offers ways of engaging in reciprocity with the natural world through forms of land stewardship, as borrowed from Indigenous practices and Marxism – for human beings to acknowledge the ways in which we are entwined with soil, plants, seeds, animals. Walcott asserts that the abolishment of property is connected to everyone’s freedom. To undo earthwriting is to unravel or contest the conceptual underpinnings of modern capitalism which are predicated on accumulation through extraction, positing an understanding of plants and land as life.

- Ella den Elzen

1. The term “earthwriting” is borrowed from Kathryn Yussof, who writes about the Anthropocene within the context of colonialism and slavery. See Kathryn Yussof, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2018).

2. Racial capitalism, as defined by Cedric Robinson, posits that modern Western capitalism has its genesis in the creation of racial categories to allow for the creation of social and economic value through racial subjugation, specifically of African and Afro-descendent peoples under slavery, as well as the economic draining of Africa under colonialism. See: Cedric J. Robinson, Black Marxism: The making of the black radical tradition (University of North Carolina Press, 2000), https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/mcgill/detail.action?docID=475202.

3. See Katherine McKittick, Demonic Grounds: Black Women And The Cartographies Of Struggle (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 2006), 15, muse.jhu.edu/book/31692.

4. By this, she explains the way in which historical violence, such as the spaces of the plantation, become overlaid with contemporaneous forms of spatial violence, for example, racially segregated neighbourhoods, later followed by gentrification and displacement, reproducing a “stacking” of space and time. See Katherine McKittick, Demonic Grounds, 1-36.

5. In many instances, the historical subjects represented in the paintings Tagny contemplates are holding an abundance of tropical fruit, signifying wealth, but in many cases were property themselves. See Charmaine Nelson on François Malépart de Beaucourt’s Portrait of a Haitian Woman at the McCord Museum: Charmaine A. Nelson, “Portrait of a Negro Slave,” The Canadian Encyclopedia, Historica Canada, last edited March 3, 2015.

6. See Heather Davis and Zoe Todd, “On the Importance of a Date, Or, Decolonizing the Anthropocene,” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 16 (4): 761-80, https://acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1539. See Sylvia Wynter, “Unparalled Catastrophe for Our Species? Or, to Give Humanness a Different Future: Conversations,” in Sylvia Wynter: On Being Human as Praxis, ed. Katherine McKittrick (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press), 9-89.

7. Kathryn Yusoff suggests this importation initiates “the ‘sugar-slave’ complex; “a massive replantation of ecologies and forced relocation of people”. Source: Kathryn Yussoff, A Billion Black Anthropocenes or None, 40-48.

8. Wynter, “Unparalled Catastrophe”, 9-89. The commons was collectively managed land in Medeval Europe. See: Rinaldo Walcott, On Property: Policing, Prisons, and the Call for Abolition (Windsor, ON: Biblioasis, 2021), chap. 3, ProQuest Ebook Central, https://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/mcgill/detail.action?docID=6357581

Ella den Elzen would like to extend gratitude to Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, and Eve Tagny for their collaboration and generosity. The development of Undoing EarthwritingUndoing Earthwriting was made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts, Le Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, and the International Studio and Curatorial Program. Thank to Marie-Josée Lafortune, Esther Bourdages and Anne St-Louis at OPTICA, Bon matin Studio, Sarah Boutin, Studio LOB, Bonsoir Fleurs, Gervais Marsh, and Mojeanne Behzadi.

PRESS REVIEWS

HOQUE, Anna Shah. « Undoing Earthwriting — Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny », C Magazine, March 13, 2024.

MORELLI, Didier. « Undoing Earthwriting », Esse arts + opinions, 2024.



Ella den Elzen is an artist, curator, and educator based between New York City and Tiohtià:ke /Mooniyang / Montréal. She is currently a Helena Rubinstein Curatorial Fellow at the Whitney Independent Study Program and holds a Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) from McGill University.

A multidisciplinary artist of Haitian origin, Patrick F. Henry explores the theme of "becoming" through sculpture, painting and installation. Through the appropriation of everyday objects deviated from their function, of reclaimed materials, his works most often unfold in the form of a site promoting relations with the viewer, which invites them to an experience of self-reconstruction.

He is an artist of Haitian origin who has been living in Montreal since 2011. Graduated of the Université du Québec à Montréal, he received the McAbbie Foundation Sculpture Excellence Grant from l’École des arts visuels et médiatiques, UQAM (2019), The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant and the Explore and create Grant from the Canadian Council for the Arts for his upcoming solo exhibition in Toronto Am I a hero? (May 2024). He is a current MFA student in sculpture at Yale school of Art. He lived in Montreal since 2011.

The French and Canadian conceptual multimedia artist Kapwani Kiwanga addresses asymmetries by placing historic narratives in dialogue with contemporary realities, the archive, and tomorrow’s possibilities. Her practice is research-driven, instigated by marginalised or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of materials and mediums including sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance. Kiwanga has developed an aesthetic vocabulary that she describes as "exit strategies", works that invite us to multiply perspectives in order to sharpen our gaze on existing structures and envisage the future differently.

She was the inaugural winner of the Frieze Artist Award (2018); the Sobey Prize for the Arts (Canada 2018); the Prix Marcel Duchamp (2020) and the Zurich Art Prize (2022). She is a 2023 Guggenheim Fellow and was a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University in 2022-23. She is currently showing her first major survey at the Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg as well as a major commission at the Capc Musée d'art contemporain Bordeaux. A solo exhibition will follow later this autumn at the Fundação de Serralves, Porto. In 2024, she will represent Canada at the Venice Biennale.

She is represented by Galerie Poggi, Paris; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Cape Town and London; and Galerie Tanja Wagner, Berlin.
Sources : Galerie Poggi, Paris; Palais des Beaux-Arts, Bozar, Bruxelles.

Kosisochukwu Nnebe is a Nigerian-Canadian conceptual artist, curator and writer working across installation, lens-based media and sculpture to engage with topics ranging from the politics of Black visibility, embodiment and spatiality to the use of foodways and language as counter-archives of colonial histories. Drawing inspiration from postcolonial and Black feminist thinkers such as Frantz Fanon, Edouard Glissant, bell hooks, and Sylvia Wynter, at its core, Nnebe’s practice is interested in anti-colonial and -imperial world-building through acts of solidarity (human and otherwise), the troubling of colonial logics, and speculative (re)imaginings of otherwise pasts, presents and futures.

Nnebe’s work has been shown in exhibitions across Canada and internationally, including the United States and the Netherlands. She is the recipient of the 2023 G.A.S. Felllowship started by Yinka Shonibare in Lagos, Nigeria, and has been commissioned by Plug In ICA and the Mozilla Foundation. Nnebe is now based between Montreal, Canada and Lagos, Nigeria.

Eve Tagny is a Tiohtià:ke/Montreal-based artist. Her practice considers gardens and disrupted landscapes as mutable sites of personal and collective memory — inscribed in dynamics of power, colonial histories and their legacies. Weaving lens-based mediums, installation, text and performance, she explores spiritual and embodied expressions of grief and resiliency, in correlation with nature’s rhythms, cycles and materiality.

Tagny has a BFA in Film Production from Concordia University and a Certificate in Journalism from University of Montreal. Recent exhibitions include Henry Art, Seattle; Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Musée d'art de Joliette, MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and Centre Clark, Montreal; Nuit Blanche, The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Cooper Cole, Gallery 44, and Franz Kaka, Toronto. She has done live performances at the Swiss Institute, NYC; Nuit Blanche 2023, Cooper Cole and Gallery 44, Toronto. She is the recipient of the GOG Award (2023), the Plein Sud Bursary (2020), the Mfon grant (2018), has been shortlisted for the Prix en art actuels MNBAQ (2023), Gala Dynastie (2023), CAP Prize (2018), the Burtynsky Photobook Grant (2018), the GOG Award (2020) and longlisted for the New Generation Photography Award (2022).




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Atelier de création avec l'école Robert Gravel, Montréal. | Creative workshop with Robert Gravel school, Montreal. Photo: Anne St-Louis

Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny
from January 20th 2024 to March 20th 2024
Undoing Earthwriting / Educational

A Major New Season for the Educational Program

To coincide with exhibition Undoing Earthwriting, the educational program will be offering a considerable number of interactive tours and creative workshops for a variety of audiences over the coming weeks. Whether as part of Contemporary Laboratories, school activities or guided tours for college and university groups, the center will be very busy, allowing for group discussions, in-gallery writing workshops and creative workshops involving the use of plant and organic materials. OPTICA is also continuing for a second year its partnership with the Centre de services scolaires Marie-Victorin (CSSMV), to offer high school classes on the South Shore artistic activities and adapted support tools as part of the Voix Migrantes project.

All our activities are free!

To schedule a guided tour and/or to take part in a workshop, simply book an appointment with the Public Education Program Coordinator Anne St-Louis: mediationoptica @ gmail.com or call us at 514-874-1666.

To keep in touch with the center's mediation activities, follow the educational program on « Instagram / OPTICA jeunesse», .




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Nuit blanche 2024, atelier d'argile. Crédit photo : Anne St-Louis.

Patrick Henry, Kapwani Kiwanga, Kosisochukwu Nnebe, Eve Tagny Commisssaire/Curator: Ella den Elzen

from March 2nd 2024 to March 2nd 2024
Nuit blanche 2024: Clay and dried flower printing workshop at OPTICA

On the occasion of the Nuit Blanche 2023, OPTICA is inviting the general public to a night of experimentation and artistic discovery on the theme of plants. Inspired by the current exhibition Undoing Earthwriting, come and enjoy a clay workshop, learn how to print dried plants and create a delicate key ring. Hot beverages and cookies will be provided. Places are limited!

7PM to 12AM

Free

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Eve Tagny, extrait de la performance as yet to be established, Centre for Cultural and Artistic Practices, Winnipeg, 2023.
Photo: daisy wu
Avec l’aimable permission de l’artiste. | Courtesy of the artist.



Eve Tagny, Élisabeth-Anne Dorléans, Sophia Gaspard
Commissaire/ Curator: Ella den Elzen

from March 23rd 2024 to March 23rd 2024
Around Undoing Earthwriting, performance myths and partition scores

Part of Undoing Earthwriting, which exhibition ends on March 23th, Eve Tagny with Élisabeth-Anne Dorléans et Sophia Gaspard will present the performance myths and partition scores,

**Saturday March 23rd, 2024, 4 pm**

myths and partition scores is a three person performance that will expend on questions of the navigation of natural and constructed landscapes as well as public and private spaces, contained in the visual artworks.

Working from a loose score, the performers will employ gesture as a method to bring forth various entanglements of visible and invisible borders, enclosures, labor, appropriation and ownership.

Tracing parallels between plants and racialized bodies, a myths and partition scores thus observes how the aforementioned entanglements impact, alter and influence processes of rooting as well as displacement of human and more than human life forms.



Eve Tagny is a Tiohtià:ke/Montreal-based artist. Her practice considers gardens and disrupted landscapes as mutable sites of personal and collective memory — inscribed in dynamics of power, colonial histories and their legacies. Weaving lens-based mediums, installation, text and performance, she explores spiritual and embodied expressions of grief and resiliency, in correlation with nature’s rhythms, cycles and materiality.

Tagny has a BFA in Film Production from Concordia University and a Certificate in Journalism from University of Montreal. Recent exhibitions include Henry Art, Seattle; Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec, Musée d'art de Joliette, MOMENTA Biennale de l’image, Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal and Centre Clark, Montreal; Nuit Blanche, The Visual Arts Centre of Clarington, Cooper Cole, Gallery 44, and Franz Kaka, Toronto. She has done live performances at the Swiss Institute, NYC; Nuit Blanche 2023, Cooper Cole and Gallery 44, Toronto. She is the recipient of the GOG Award (2023), the Plein Sud Bursary (2020), the Mfon grant (2018), has been shortlisted for the Prix en art actuels MNBAQ (2023), Gala Dynastie (2023), CAP Prize (2018), the Burtynsky Photobook Grant (2018), the GOG Award (2020) and longlisted for the New Generation Photography Award (2022).




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Appel à projets - Programmation / Programming 2026-2027
Call for Proposals
Concours ouvert du 12 avril jusqu'au 20 mai 2024, 11:59 PM, HAE, Heure avancée de l’Est (Québec)
Open from April 12th until Mai 20th, 2024, 11:59 PM, EDT, Eastern Daylight Time (Québec)

from April 12th 2024 to May 20th 2024
Open call 2024

Every year, OPTICA presents a varied program of exhibitions, symposia, and artists’ talks, while investing in curated exhibitions on themes developed at the centre. These activities all propose a critical reflection on current issues in art, sustained and accompanied by the production of relevant publications.

The centre comprises two exhibition spaces and provides professional technical support in the gallery. Artists and curators are invited to submit projects for the gallery’s regular program. Project proposals are reviewed by the programming committee, which makes its recommendations for production.

For more informations, read this page.

Online FORM




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Laura Acosta et Santiago Tavera, The Novels of Elsgüer, Prologue, image tirée du documentaire interactif | Still of interactive documentary, 2023

Santiago Tavera et Laura Acosta
from April 13th 2024 to June 15th 2024
The Novels of Elsgüer Interactive Documentary

Opening - Launch, April 13th, 3 pm - 7 pm

Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera are a Colombian-Canadian artistic duo based in Montréal. Their collaborative practice forges an intersection between Tavera’s investigation of video practices, along with virtual and interactive environments in relation to the body, with Acosta’s exploration of identity through performance and textiles. Since 2017, Tavera and Acosta have created a series of five immersive and interactive large scale installations which are referred to as episodes under the umbrella title The Novels of Elsgüer. Through different explorations with video, virtual reality, data visualization techniques, interactive audio-visual setups, lighting installations and sculptural elements in combination with performance, textiles, and non-linear narratives, each episode within the series submerges the audience inside surreal ecosystems that deconstruct the colonialist relationship between body and space. Through these immersive scenographies and expanded performances the lines between viewer and performer are blurred, and the notions of transformation, adaptation and fluidity become anchors of empowerment.

The interactive documentary project of The Novels of Elsgüer commissioned by OPTICA with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts’ Digital Now grant, invites the audience to navigate the world of Elsgüer that Tavera and Acosta have created through a virtual interactive experience and a video documentary in five parts. The interactive experience offers viewers the opportunity to visit virtual renditions of the installations, finding within them curatorial texts as well as archival images and videos of the work. Alongside this, there are five video capsules with interviews and behind the scene images of each episode, shedding light on the production process and highlighting the incredible community of Bipoc and queer artists, performers and curators that have been part of this project throughout the years. Beyond the five installations and the explorations of Tavera, Acosta and their collaborators, this documentary puts forward the powerful interconnectivity of all individuals who are considered the “other”, foregrounding the potential that transdisciplinary art has to deconstruct histories, create new narratives and expand collective knowledge.

The word Elsgüer is the spanglish pronunciation of the English word “elsewhere”. This alludes to the sensation of feeling absence while being present, a sensation felt by anyone who has experienced displacement or othering. This body of work uses this sense of dislocation/displacement as a method to create environments that ask audiences to question their own perception and position within a space.

Authors: Laura Acosta et Santiago Tavera

Credits
Direction: Laura Acosta & Santiago Tavera
Artist and Developer of virtual reality: Milton Riaño
Director of Photography: Abraham Mercado
Audiovisual Production Support, Lighting and Editing: Juan David Padilla
Sound Design and Production: A.M. DeVito
Colorist: Cedric Laurenty
Production Assistant: Bronson Smillie, Cuto Reed, Carolina Etchart, Gabriel Fuks, Carlos Bruna
Script Consultant: Muhammad Elkhairy
Performers: Aizysse Baga, Sam Blake, Phoebe Yī Lìng
Chang, Beatriz Golovan del Pino, Francisco González Rosas, Alicia Kazobinka
Curatorial texts and voice over: Claudia Arana, Nuria Carton de Grammont, Shauna Janssen, Mariza Rosales Argonza, Jamie Ross
Interviewees: Eunice Belidor, Marie-Josée Lafortune Translators: Caroline Künzle, Colette Tougas, Karla Aguilar Trejo

OPTICA, Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, and MOMENTA Biennale de l'image, la Galerie de l'UQAM and Elastic Spaces Lab of University Concordia for the kind loan of equipment. The artists wish to thank OPTICA, along with everyone who has participated in the project, for supporting this work.



PRESS RELEASE (pdf)



Laura Acosta and Santiago Tavera’s collaborative projects have been have presented through large scale exhibitions and publications in Canada and abroad. Their most important accomplishments include solo exhibitions at OPTICA, A Centre for Contemporary Art and MAI - Montréal, arts interculturels, along with their participation in group exhibitions and screenings at Articule, SUR Gallery, Projet Casa, La Grande rencontre des arts médiatiques en Gaspésie (in collaboration with the Géoparc mondial UNESCO of Percé), MTL Connecte - Printemps Numérique in Montréal and Belgium. Internationally, they have exhibited at the Changwon Sculpture Biennial in South Korea and the International Images Festival of Manizales in Colombia. They have also presented their work abroad through artist talks at Via Farini Residency in Milan, Italy.

Additionally, they have been nominated for the Plein Sud Award for their artistic accomplishments in Quebec in 2021, and in 2023 they were long listed for the Sobey Art Award. Currently Santiago is an Artist in Residence Faculty in the Intermedia Program from the department of Studio Arts at Concordia University and Laura is starting the PhD program in Humanities and research creation at Concordia in the fall 2024.