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BlackFlash ART.PHOTOGRAPHY.NEW MEDIA

An Afghanistan Journal Canadian Artist Adrian Stimson traveled to Afghanistan with the Canadian Forces Artist Program. His photographs and journal p.34

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BlackFlash /Fall

Volume 28.1 September 2010 – February 2011

34

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Features

AFGHAN JOURNAL: Adrian Stimson in the CFAP

28

The Abstract photography of Jessica Eaton

22

Johnathan Wong: Camera Obscura in Las Vegas

Column

14 4 5 6-9, 12 10 16 18

Mark Clintberg

DEPARTMENTS Editor’s Note Contributors Of Interest Emerging My Best Shot Giving Context

Cover: Adrian Stimson, Sentinel, Mas’um Ghar. 2010, 35mm photograph Above: Adrian Stimson, Open Griffon, KAF, 35mm photograph Both images courtesy of the artist


MANAGING EDITOR/ART DIRECTOR John Shelling 306.374.5115 editor@blackflash.ca AD SALES REPRESENTATIVE Cindy Baker 306.374.5110 marketing @blackflash.ca

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An Afghanistan Jounal Our cover story for this issue, Holding Our Breath on page 34, is Adrian Stimson’s journal and photographs from his time spent in the Canadian Forces Artist Program (CFAP). The CFAP was introduced in 2001 and, as their website states, the program was designed to “allow Canadian artists the opportunity to record Canada’s soldiers in Canada and around the world.” The intent of the program was to “usher in a new era of Canadian military art.” Stimson’s journal recounts his thoughts during the lead-up to his departure and his interactions with family and friends before leaving. He writes of his fears and expectations and then his experience in Afghanistan on tour with the troops. His journal has been printed, for the most part, unedited and is an extremely candid documentation of a rather unique artist residency. The piece serves as a record of the artist program in Afghanistan. As an area of conflict, Afghanistan is an extremely unusual setting for an artist residency. It is clear from Stimson’s journal entries that while he was always protected during his stay the threat of violence was all around. After nine years of conflict and 152 Canadian casualties (at press time), Afghanistan’s current environment is not your typical setting for a Canadian artist. But if anyone should have been chosen to participate in this program, and help create a “new era of Canadian military art,” Stimson is a worthy candidate. Stimson is an installation and performance artist who creates artworks that are steeped in politics. His work has dealt with themes of gender identity, the history of the colonialization of First Nations people in Canada, residential schools, and the decimation of the American Buffalo. His time in Afghanistan will surely be an inspiration to create a body of work that will not shy away from difficult issues related to the war. What his journal exposes is the fact that he is conflicted about many issues that he is forced to confront along his journey: war, hate, the military itself and his position as an artist within it all. It will be interesting to see how these feelings play out in the work that he will produce in the next year for his exhibition also titled Holding our Breath. We hope that his journal provides another level of insight into that work.

John Shelling Managing Editor Send your feedback to: BlackFlash Magazine P.O. Box 7381 Stn Main, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, S7K 4J3 or e-mail: letters@blackflash.ca

4 BlackFlash.ca

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BlackFlash gratefully acknowledges the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the Canada Council for the Arts, our many generous volunteers, and our donors.


1

photo: Brian Telzerow

2

1. Raymonde April was born in Moncton and raised in Rivière-du-Loup. She lives in Montréal where she has taught photography at Concordia University since 1985. Her work has been exhibited in Canada and internationally in various solo shows. In 2005, she received the Paul de Hueck and Norman Walford Career Achievement Award for Art Photography from the Ontario Arts Foundation in recognition for her lasting contribution to contemporary photography in Canada.

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2. Mark Clintberg is a Ph.D. student in the Interuniversity Doctoral Program in Art History at Concordia University. He earned his M.A. at Concordia University (2008), and his B.F.A. from the Alberta College of Art & Design, completing a portion of his studies at the Nova Scotia College of Art & Design (2001). After graduation he became Associate Curator at the Art Gallery of Calgary, and completed the International Curatorial Program at the Rubell Family Collection in Miami, Florida. Alongside his pursuits as an academic he is also an artist. His work is held in public and private collections across Canada and the United States. His writing has been published in Canadian Art, Maisonneuve, Pivot, The Art Newspaper, Arte al Dia International, BING, Border Crossings, and BlackFlash. 3. Gary Michael Dualt, formerly of Toronto, now lives in the town of Napanee, where he paints, makes photographs and writes. He has written for television (Inside the Vatican with Sir Peter Ustinov), for the concert hall (Alice in the Orchestra), for most of Canada’s magazines and many of its newspapers. He is an Adjunct Associate professor at the School of Architecture at the University of Waterloo.

4. Sally Frater is an independent curator and writer. In her curatorial practice she is interested in issues of identity, history, memory, the environment, representation, and equity in gallery and museum practices. Beginning in the autumn of 2010 she will curate a series of exhibitions at the Print Studio artist-run centre in Hamilton.

5. Andrea Kunard has an extensive background in photography, both historic and contemporary, Canadian and international. For over ten years, she has taught survey and seminar courses on the history of photography at Carleton University (Ottawa) and published in a number of academic journals, magazines and books. In her role as curator at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Kunard has also explored the intersections of contemporary and historic issues in photography, not only general sense, but also as they apply to specific themes, such as Aboriginal representation. 6. Adrian Stimson is a member of the Blackfoot Nation currently living in Saskatoon. He is an interdisciplinary artist with a BFA from Alberta College of Art and Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan. He was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Alberta Centennial Medal. 7. Saelan Twerdy is a writer living in Toronto, where he is pursuing his MA in Art History and Curatorial Studies at York University. He is the music editor of Color magazine.

8. Meg Walker is a Canadian interdisciplinary visual artist and writer who lived coast to coast across the southern provinces before moving to Dawson City. Walker’s writing about art and literature has been published widely (FRONT magazine, Globe and Mail, fillingStation, Yukon News). Her current visual art practice explores ice sculptures and outsized string-art drawings.

9. Donna Wawzonek is an independent writer and curator currently living in Saskatoon. She has written and curated exhibitions and screenings for galleries and publications across Canada from Eastern Edge in St. John’s Newfoundland to the Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver, British Columbia.

BlackFlash.ca 5


Back and Gone

Troy Gronsdahl PAVED Arts, Saskatoon, March 26 – December 17, 2010

Troy Gronsdahl’s installation Back and Gone is, as David LaRiviere Artistic Director of PAVED Arts, describes in his essay on the work, a pursuit of the sense of vulnerability. It is true that the work continues Gronsdahl’s exploration and exposure of human frailty and vulnerability, with himself, his family and his friends as the common subject of the exploration. Both as a visual artist and the rap artist Soso, Gronsdahl pushes the audiences’ limits of comfort in their exposure to human imperfections, vulnerability, and loss. In the work Back and Gone Gronsdahl takes this exploration to a new level by putting the viewer into a controlled environment that has the potential to elicit comfort or distress. The inspiration of this installation began when the artist was able to visit an anechoic chamber. This is a space where as much exterior sound is removed as possible, interior sounds are buffered from reflection and is commonly used by scientists for aural experimentations. Experimental musician John Cage described the experience of being in such a sound vacuum as follows: “I heard two sounds, one high and one low. When I described them to the engineer in charge, he informed me that the high one was my nervous system in operation, the low one my blood in circulation.”1 Gronsdahl’s experience was similar and he sought to find a way to replicate it as an aesthetic space. The space chosen was a previously non-public wedge formed by the adjacent walls of PAVED Art’s and AKA Gallery’s gallery walls. This space was originally designed to facilitate the ease of installing or embedding objects or equipment into these walls. For the artist the space offered an opportunity to create a semi-permanent installation within a gallery context without using an existing white cube space. To recreate the anechoic chamber, Gronsdahl consulted insulation experts and sound technicians to determine the materials and process for creating a “sound vacuum.” Layers of drywall, insulation, felt and foam were installed both to buffer external sounds as well as created a specific corporeal and aesthetic experience within the space. Despite all of the artist’s efforts and hard work, the sounds of the outside world could not be eliminated. The structure of the building itself, which was prone to distribute sounds from the second floor, and the noise-laden installations of the adjacent galleries hindered the artist’s efforts.

6 BlackFlash.ca

Although the space was by no means a “sound vacuum” it did damper outside noises and provoke a very specific corporeal experience. The viewer had access to the space by entering a double-door system through which was a space covered in foam and felt. Even the floor was applied with a soft sound-buffering material. The relative silence of the space provokes an awareness of self: the relationship between the body and the space, the rhythm of breathing, eyes adjusting to the darkness. The end wall of the long wedge-shaped space was floor to ceiling drywall, onto which the artist projected a video. Because the space is a wedge, the closer the viewer moves toward the image, the tighter the space becomes. Stepping too far into the space would result in being squeezed by the space. The human scale of the space might seem like a comfort or a coffin. The video was a grainy black and white image of darkness with a single spot of light from above. Slowly, a man’s figure comes into view as he steps under the light. The figure stands under the light and the viewer is no longer alone in the space. Confronted with an unknown, faceless figure in an enclosed space, the room is now charged with tension. Soon, the figure turns and walks away, leaving the viewer alone in the space once again. The video loops and once again the viewer is alone. Everything about the space creates a confrontation with self, and therefore a sense of vulnerability. The darkness, silence and enclosed space may be felt to be similar to a coffin. Yet, it could also be a comforting, private space and therefore difficult to leave. The image of the man emerging into the light and then receding again creates a feeling of loss, and even leaving the space provokes a feeling of abandonment, re-entering the world without resolving the intention of the man in the video. Gronsdahl has taken a previously empty space and charged it with emotionality and in so doing has exposed the potential of the space as a sight of installation and investigation.

— Donna Wawzonek

Back and Gone/ backandgone.ca

Notes: 1. “A few notes about silence and John Cage”. CBC.ca. November 24, 2004. http://www. cbc.ca/sask/features/artist/journal2.html


Back and Gone, 2010, video projection, construction materials, felt, interior space: 228.6 cm x 88.9 cm (tapering to 30.5 cm at projection surface) x 444.5 cm, photo: Ian Campbell, courtesy of the artist


Angela Grauerholz

McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton, May 6 – June 5 2010

At first glance it is difficult to decipher the photographs in Angela Grauerholz’s solo exhibition in the McMaster Museum of Art’s contemporary galleries. Some of the pieces appear as monuments to architecture that document the interiors of what seem to be museological institutions. However, if that is what their main purpose is, to highlight the architectural features of art museums, then they are oddly composed. One work, Mirror (2007-2008), features an image of a wall decorated with flocked wallpaper upon which an ornately fashioned oval mirror is hung. The mirror reflects a view of the backs of museum visitors. The viewers stand before blurred reversed images of classical paintings that are difficult to identify. The reflection in the mirror is reminiscent of Thomas Struth’s images of museum visitors in prominent art institutions. Yet Grauerholz’s image deviates from the seemingly straightforward character of Struth’s large-scale photographs in that her work appears to be more of a meditation on the interior of the space itself. Luftefeuchtigskeitmesser (Hygrothermograph) (2010) depicts a gallery space in which statues of female figures holding infants flank an elaborately carved mausoleum. The image appears sepia-toned which renders the photographed display indistinguishable from the architectural elements of the space itself. The columns, plinths, and sculptures all register within the same tonality. This attributes a feeling of languor to the work that is only disrupted by the presence of a hygrothermograth (an instrument used to measure the levels of humidity in museums and galleries) in the foreground. The sequence of images of interior spaces is interrupted by images of burnt books. These photos, which stem from Grauerholz’s Privation series (2001), document the remnants of what was left of the artist’s personal library after a house fire. Placed alongside each other the two separate bodies of work seem disparate. But when made aware that the exhibition was meant to respond to the theme of the conference that was being held at McMaster University, The Archive and Everyday Life the images take on a different

8 BlackFlash.ca

reading: they become documents that function as archival images of archives. The burnt book can no longer perform its original function as a tool of communication yet its photographic image signifies it as a repository of language and ideas. The images of the museums attest to other forms of preservation. The preservation of physical artefacts alluded to by the presence of the hygrothermograph in Luftefeuchtigskeitmesser and the museum visitors that view the Renaissance paintings who function as repositories of information in Mirror, all of which is underscored by the fact that the primary existence of the types of museums depicted within the works is predicated upon their function as archives. In a space adjacent to the main gallery more images of Grauerholz’s charred books from the Privations series hang on the wall while on the floor lies a photographic installation by Alfredo Jaar, Benjamin. The piece consists of rows of multiples of the same object, a navy linen box with white text imprinted on the lid. The text describes the contents of each box: “a photograph of Benjamin, a Tsutsi man who was photographed with the remains of family and friends in his village who were victims of the Rwandan genocide.” Benjamin requested to be photographed with the remains of their bodies as proof to those who doubted the extent of the violence that was occurring in the country on a daily basis. The installation is a interesting foil to Grauerholz’s “museum” pieces; her images of the spaces of galleries invite viewers to actively participate in the act of looking irrespective of the fact that one may initially be unsure as to what exactly it is that the artist wishes the viewer to be searching out in them. With Benjamin, we are told exactly what it is that we would see (were we able to view the contents of each box) yet the act of looking which is necessary to experiencing the work ultimately ends up being disrupted. As one is not allowed to gaze at the photograph which lies within each box one simply has to choose either to place faith in the belief that what is contained within each receptacle is what the text states is there or to remain uncertain and to doubt the sincerity of the artist’s claims—and


those of the subject Benjamin himself. In a more obvious manner Benjamin parallels Grauerholz’s Privations in that both works address acts of violence and destruction that result in loss and the documentation of those acts (although the violence Grauerholz addresses is random and the violence that Jaar references is deliberate and intentional). The loss referenced by Grauerholz (she connects the burnt books from her personal collection to historical events such as the Nazi book burnings) occurred on a personal level, while the loss referenced in Jaar’s Benjamin alludes to acts that have personal relevance for the subject, yet implications that are far reaching. The gesture of photographic documentation in both instances becomes an act of commemoration, one that privileges the act of remembrance over forgetting.

— Sally Frater

Top: Mirror, 2007-2008, colour inkjet print on Arches paper, edition 1/3, Collection of McMaster Museum of Art Bottom: Luftefeuchtigskeitmesser (Hygrothermograph), 2010, colour inkjet print on Arches paper, edition 1/3, Courtesy of the artist and Olga Korper Gallery

BlackFlash.ca 9


The Art of Sleeping Sarah Fuller closes her eyes and opens the shutter

For some, the subject of dreams is trivial but for photographic artist Sarah Fuller and her collaborators at Montreal’s Dream and Nightmare Lab it is serious business. Fuller, who makes her home in Banff, Alberta, first began her work about dreams in 2007 when she started experimenting with pinhole photography. Because of the long exposures required by a pinhole camera, Fuller used it to photograph herself sleeping. Each exposure was several hours long and documented a night’s sleep. In conjunction with the photographs Fuller began to write about her dreams; each morning when she awoke she would close the pinhole camera and then proceed to record her dreams. This evolved into the series Dream Works. The images in the series are haunting—blurry traces of her unconscious body, compressed into a single black and white frame. Each image is accompanied by a description of her dream: some are very detailed, involving movie gangsters and friends from her childhood; others are fragmented and absurd. One reads “no dream” leaving the viewer to wonder why not. When I asked Fuller about her sleep habits she replied, “I can sleep pretty much anywhere and I’m a good sleeper”. This stands out in the Dream Works series because she doesn’t appear to be in the same bed more than twice; and in one image she cuddles under a blanket in the driver’s seat of a car. The accompanying dream description reads: “Dreamt I was on a highway (runway) that was notorious for plane crashes. Even as I stood there, there were planes careening into fields, left and right…” When asked she revealed that the variety of sleep locations stemmed from an interest in how different locations might affect her dreams. Her recent series, Dream Lab, was made at the Dream and Nightmare Lab at Sacred Heart Laboratory in Montreal. Fuller had attended a dream conference and, intrigued by the range of research in this area, decided to collaborate with scientists to create photographs and record her dreams using Electroencephalography (EEG), a process that records the electrical activity of the brain. She worked with Dr. Tore Nielsen to create a series of self-portraits and videos. In each image Fuller is seated asleep in a wooden chair, eyes closed, face relaxed, feet crossed and slightly contorted underneath her legs, a tangle of multi-coloured wires stuck to her head and face, an object gently resting in her hand. Despite the uncomfortable position, she was really asleep when the images were taken: “I was in the lab

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three nights and during the day I went for a long run to tire myself out so when I got to the lab I was able to fall asleep.” While she sat on the chair in a darkened room the researchers monitored her brain activity for signs of sleep and, once she drifted off, they triggered the camera shutter that fired a flash unit and exposed her portrait. The sound and flash would indeed wake her up, although only momentarily, during which time she would describe her dream aloud to the lab assistant and then select another object to hold and start the process again. “Because of the role of the camera as a trigger to awaken, I felt a heightened sense of awareness of the relationship to my camera. I had set up the shot but—in a round about way—it was my dreaming self that decided when the camera should be fired.” The resulting series of still colour photographs are both disturbing and humorous. In one she holds a red shoe, in another she wears a pair of blue swimming goggles and in another she is wrapped in a white blanket appearing quite vulnerable. When asked about these objects Fuller explains that Tore Nielsen was exploring the technique used by the surrealist artist Salvador Dali. Dali would fall asleep seated in a chair holding a key in his hand that would fall to the ground and wake him up; once awake he would make sketches of the images he dreamed about. Fuller was intrigued by Nielsen’s methodology and both were enthusiastic about the collaborative possibilities. Fuller simultaneously became both the subject of his research and the subject of her own photographs. The objects were selected because of their personal significance and because she hoped they might prompt dreams about activities associated with them: “When I wore my swim goggles I dreamed about water”. Fuller also made several videos that recorded her process of preparing for the lab. Of particular note is “Becoming the Subject,” which “…refers to my experience of not only becoming a scientific subject within the dream study but also the practice of becoming the subject of an artistic performance, a transformation I see as beginning the minute I chose to approach the lab to collaborate”. It is this performative aspect of her work that I find most captivating, both in her solo and collaborative work.

— Jennifer Crane

Sarah Fuller/ sarahfullerphotography.ca


Top: June 29th,

2007, from the series “Dream Work”, 2007 Bottom: Portrait of

artists asleep holding rock, from the series

“Dream Lab”, 2008, 40.5 x 50.8 cm, Type c-print

Both courtesy of the artist

BlackFlash.ca 11


The Idea of North Birthe Piontek Odd Gallery, Dawson City, June 25 – July 28 2010

An oval of compressed grass, the shape of a dog or other warm body that nestled for a while into the leaf-scattered, unmown lawn. This is the subject of one of the first images encountered in Birthe Piontek’s photography exhibition The Idea of North at the ODD Gallery in Dawson City. Initially, The Lawn stands out because most of the other images are portraits of people. At First glance, the exhibition looks like a portrait gallery of long-term Dawson City residents. Each person is captured alone, posed in interior spaces flanked with low-lit backgrounds, inhabiting photographs that are named with th sitter’s first name—David, Palma, Newton, and so on. But spending time in the exhibit allows a viewer to absorb connections among Piontek’s photographs. Gradually, the meaning of space and absence in The Lawn seeps beyond its singularity as an individual image until it embodies the subject of the exhibition—the relationship between the knowable and the unknowable. This relationship is even more pronounced in The Idea of North. It appears as the malleable intellectual and emotional space between viewer and photograph. It exists as the endlessly editable, subjective relationship between people and their ideas of identity, both self-identity and the identity of “the North.” A Vancouver-based artist who exhibits in Berlin, Toronto, and New York, Piontek composed the works for The Idea of North during a nine-week stint as artist-in-residence with Dawson City’s Klondike Institute for Art and Culture (KIAC) in 2008. She took more than 2000 photographs during that time. Piontek reflects that she wanted a place to explore ideas of identity. “I wasn’t looking for just the North geographically but the North as a symbol... [I was drawn to the] big open space, the quietness, that overwhelming sense of room to think.” During her time in the Yukon she made close relationships with many people, but she still returned south at the end of her residency. Piontek points to Glenn Gould’s 1967 CBC Radio documentary The Idea of North as partial explanation for her choice. “Part of what Gould says is that you come North with the idea of trying to be an insider but you’re not really, because you eventually return South, and that resonated for me.” The North remained for her, in Gould’s words, “a convenient place to dream about, spin tales about.” And then

12 BlackFlash.ca

she adopts his title as her title, as if the phrase is a found cultural object. This gesture of transposition invites viewers to bring their own projections to the photographs. When people are her subject matter, Piontek frames her shots to highlight each individual’s face. She waits for stillness, which contributes to the almost factual feel of the work. Noting her early adulthood obsession with David Lynch and his visually lush, psychologically twisted worlds, Piontek composes vacant, unexplored and unexplorable areas in each image. These areas are not completely blank, of course. Some are monochromatic textures and others are dark corners beneath furniture. In fact, it seems that Piontek uses these deeply coloured zones to introduce an out-of-focus fragment of another subject (a gold prospector painted on a pub’s wall) or object (the top third of a door frame, the head of a brass eagle). These colour fields and blurred details hint that Piontek imagines a dark unconsciousness for each individual. Maybe this is a creator’s curiosity about humans’ limited capacity for self-knowledge. For example, in Newton an older man with unwieldy sideburns sits in a living room, staring beyond at something beyond our view. Nothing “happens” in the image yet the backlit orange curtain behind Newton is a threatening colour that alludes to ideas of an uncontrolled fire. Strangely, the hot tone is not reflected in the segment of mirror behind the subject’s head: the partially visible disc is only a subtle, tawny gold, and reflects nothing in the room. If the mirror is empty, is it the artist’s unconscious or the viewer’s unconscious that Piontek invokes? Or perhaps she evokes both? Perhaps the contentless mirror is a space where viewers can creatively project ideas and moods onto Piontek’s photographs. If so, the relationships between the surface and the unconscious, the artist and the camera, the viewer and the photograph, can act as a secret theatre for multiple identities.

— Meg Walker

Birthe Piontek/ birthepiontek.com


Top: Newton Bottom Right: The Lawn Bottom Left: Front Yard All photographs 2008, c-print, 50.8 x 50.8 cm, courtesy of the artist

BlackFlash.ca 13


Frottage

Love Affairs In Photography, Part Three

By Mark Clintberg

This article is the third in a series of three texts that address puzzles associated with the troubling senses of security and affection we feel for photographs, feelings which are difficult to attend to from an analytical perspective. These articles are intended as a personal account of a suite of photographic examples that have troubled my own work as an art historian. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------Frottage is the practice of using graphite and thin paper to take rubbings from textured surfaces. The resulting image is always an approximation of the original, never an exact copy, and it is indexical in nature. Similar to the aspect of the photograph that “pricks” and “bruises” the viewer because of its poignancy, which Roland Barthes’ calls the punctum, a photograph can frottage, or rub against its viewer, leaving an impression that is ghostly, faint, but nonetheless constructed from the stimulus of the image. When we view a sentimentally charged photographic portrait, I want to suggest that what we feel from the photograph, as viewers, arrives through a kind of frottage. If the heart flutters, it does so because of the delicate or brute emotional texture the viewer senses from the photograph. Or is it that the viewer

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entirely constructs the texture of the photograph herself? One perspective: the photograph is full of metaphysical values, sentimental qualities that can only be sensed and never explained. An opposing view: no visual experience of a photographic record can possibly transmit emotional content to us since that material simply is not there. However I cannot ignore that in my own experience with photographic works both arguments seem to have a bit of truth in them. I have two photographs on my fridge, a combination that arrived by accident. The first shows my nephew hiding inside a cupboard holding his foot in his hand. My mother took the photograph and sent it to me in the mail. The second is a Wolfgang Tillmans’ photographic postcard showing a seated man, shot from over the shoulder, grasping his metatarsal arch as if removing a thorn. I have sent many copies of this postcard to friends over the years; I have selected it from hundreds at several museums while traveling for reasons that are only somewhat clear to me. I am drawn to it. My emotional reading of the first photograph is easily explained by the relationship I have with the sitter and my mother. It is a cherished item. Curiously, the dim aesthetic and textual echo of my nephew’s posture in Tillmans’ sitter


Mark Clintberg’s fridge featuring a photograph of his nephew and a postcard of Wolfgang Tillmans’s Anders pulling splinter from his foot (2004) photo: Mark Clintberg

has increased my affection for both objects, quite independently of the personal content of the first photograph. The second photo (the postcard) became an animating cipher for the first (the photograph of my nephew). Additionally, my understanding of the filial love that motivated the first photograph helps me as a viewer to bring out the sentimental texture of Tillmans’ postcard. I could not pretend to know this photographer’s relationship with the sitter, but I nonetheless feel an emotional texture between sitter and portraitist when I look at it. And this textural and textual association has been given private tribute every time I have mailed a copy of this photographic postcard to someone. My proposal—which builds out from Barthes’ theory, that this frottage both detects and speculatively constructs emotional content from the photograph—is constructed in part through Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenological methods. He argues that perception cannot copy the world through stimulus, and cannot deliver an accurate image of the world to the subject. Instead, the world is composed by the subject’s perception. If we extemporize with Merleau-Ponty’s argument, it could be said that what we feel when we take an

emotional frottage of a photograph is in fact our own flesh, a paper-thin living tissue. Rather than seeing things-in-themselves, (or the emotions involved in the making of them) we perceive the world through our gaze, through our own emotions, which “clothes (objects) with its own flesh.” The body lends itself to the world to reveal the world’s texture and form, but also to superimpose the tissue-thin material of our own feeling onto the world. As our flesh rubs against the emotional surface of the artwork, we feel out the state of our own heart. The delicacy of that sensation is quite easy to cast aside, stridently, during research; its lightness allows it to swiftly turn to vapor. I prefer to examine and cautiously preserve this tissue. It is my private cloak against the chill of solitary research, my reward, my heat. I respectfully dedicate this series to art historians Dr. Cynthia Hammond, Dr. Johanne Sloan, and Dr. Martha Langford, whose ideas, writing, and friendly collegiality have inspired this offering. Wolfgang Tillmans/ tillmans.co.uk

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Autoportait au Rideau By Raymonde April Translation by Käthe Roth

For more than twenty years, every summer I have left Montreal for the Lower St. Lawrence, where I spent my childhood, and during these happy weeks, my life feels weightless, tied to the rhythm of the tides. In late August, I return to the city and my activities, and it takes time for me to reconcile myself to my other life, but it’s not so bad. As I see the summer’s freedom recede, I sigh like a teenager, but after a few days it’s just a memory. It was during one of these transition phases that I photographed Autoportrait au Rideau. It was in 1991, during Labour Day weekend. In the apartment on St. Urbain Street where I was living at the time, there was a summer kitchen, what we call a tambour. It was a balcony that had been closed in to increase the floor space of the apartment. The exterior brick wall, pierced with two windows, had become its interior edge. The addition of two new walls, a ceiling pierced with a skylight, and other windows and doors defined the new room. It wasn’t really a usable space; with all of the openings, it was more like a showcase. In it I stored objects that had not found a place elsewhere. A pleasant sensation of displacement ruled in this space; in it one felt like one was both outdoors and indoors, and always a bit on display. I have long since moved from that apartment, but when I think back on it, the luminosity of that strange room still enchants me, with its little back wall like a set for a canvas to be painted. My photographic work could be seen as a form of writing. My method is intuitive, open to everything, but also very reflective. Once I had framed the little back wall, I took a position near the windows and closed my eyes, and it took just a few shots to capture the wind in the curtains. What luck!

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But beyond this little event, what makes the image unique, in my view, is that its slightly shifted balance exactly mirrors the strangeness of the room. Wrapped photographs in which we glimpse a bear and a birch tree, a small painting of exotic birds, two fishing rods, a woman with her eyes closed—all of this is subjected to the puff of wind with a calculated abandon. On display. Self-portrait, narration, ellipsis, archive, image within image, and figure in the landscape have been recurrent themes in my work since the beginning, and they are fluidly superimposed here. It could have been planned. Yes and no. Curiously, Autoportrait au Rideau was never integrated into any series, and after it was published in Réservoirs Soupirs1 in 1993, I waited another twelve years to make a real print of it and to show it, in 2005 in the project Aires


2

Autoportrait au rideau, 1991-2004, from “Migration”, gelatin silver print, courtesy of the artist

de Migrations (a collaboration with Michèle Waquant). Today, it is August 4. A sumptuous storm is unfurling over the river in front of my cottage. Raymonde April/ raymondeapril.com

Notes: 1. monograph published by VU, Quebec City. 2. Exhibition presented by VOX, Montreal; book published by VOX/Le Quartier (Quimper) in 2005 The concept for the column “My Best Shot” is used with permission from G2: guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/series/mybestshot

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Souvenirs of the Self (Lake Louise) Jin-me Yoon

By Andrea Kunard

Jin-me Yoon is a Vancouver based artist whose photographs, videos and installations address the relation between identity, memory (both personal and communal), and place. These inquiries are further informed by her focus on the body, and how it is politicized through its categorization by race, class, gender, and sexuality. For Yoon, who we think we are, and where we believe we came from and belong, is affected not only by our personal history and how we come to know it, but the larger economic, cultural and social factors at play in local and global contexts. Yoon examines the processes whereby stories, myths, and “official” histories provide a sense of nationhood, community and homeland for some, but leave others feeling exiled, alienated and isolated. In a world affected by massive economic shifts and global movement of peoples through wars, and natural and human-made disasters, the sense of “being at home” is very problematic for many. As a Canadian citizen born in Korea, Yoon understands these issues very well. She is KoreanCanadian, a “hyphenated” individual who must balance and live with the sometimes extreme differences that exist in her cultural backgrounds. Recent work delves more deeply into the historical processes that inform culture. Yoon seeks to understand how a traumatic event such as war, in her case, the Korean War, affects the lives of not only the people who have experienced it, but those of future generations as well. Souvenirs of the Self (Lake Louise) (1996) is an early work, but one that encapsulates many of these concerns. Yoon appears in what would be for many, a quintessential Canadian landscape. She stands unsmiling and stiffly at the edge of Lake Louise, staring directly into the camera. Because her head is positioned right at the vanishing point of the image, we are immediately pulled into the work and must acknowledge the artist’s unflinching gaze. Yoon offers us little to explain her presence in this landscape. By presenting herself in such a straightforward manner, she plays down the narrative content of the image. Without a story to guide interpretation, viewers often attempt to

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understand the work’s significance in terms of culturally accepted codes, which are sometimes stereotypes. Yoon uses her body with deliberation. Her physical presence in the land is an act of intercession; it is a means to reveal how much the body and land, both separately and in conjunction, are invested with cultural values. For example, the land can stand as a national symbol, a place of resource exploitation, and a commodity for tourist consumption. Lake Louise is considered a national treasure, and a source of national pride. But who stands comfortably in such a landscape? An Asian woman is not necessarily at ease here, an idea the artist highlights by assuming a rigid pose for the camera. Yoon’s awkward stance indicates that certain places are connected with specific types of histories and identities, while others are marginalized or ignored. Lake Louise, named after Princess Louise, Queen Victoria’s daughter, fixes the land within a history of imperialism. The area is also marked by the construction of the railway in the late nineteenth century, and the decision to build it through the nearby Kicking Horse Pass, all part of an effort to appease the then Crown colony of British Columbia and coax it into Confederation. Presently, Lake Louise is a tourist haven, a spot where the natural, rugged beauty of the land is promoted over any one group’s particular history. However, histories persist and Yoon teases these out in other images that form the Souvenirs of the Self series. As befitting the tourist setting of Banff, Yoon first presented the series in the form of postcards. In one photograph, she stands beside a plaque dedicated to Chinese workers “that lived on the other side of the slag heaps.” The workers, segregated from their European counterparts, also experienced the greatest number of fatalities in constructing the railroad, a history at odds with the heroic narratives of nationhood that surround its building. In another photograph, she appears inside the Banff Park Natural History Museum, its interior filled with glassy eyed taxidermy specimens representative of the taxonomic approaches of turn of the twentieth century natural history practices.1 Yoon’s work calls attention to how much the land com-


Souvenirs of the Self (detail), 1991-2001, 6

c-prints, 164.46 x 101.6 cm, courtesy Catriona

Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver


municates diverse messages to individuals and groups of people. In order to understand what we are looking at we must make ourselves aware of those who have voice, and others who are silent, such as the Chinese workers, and Aboriginal peoples whose histories have been largely erased from this area. Yoon continues her investigations into the relation of land and nationalism with A Group of Sixty-Seven where she photographs herself and members of Vancouver’s Korean community in front of Lawren Harris’ Maligne Lake, Jasper Park (1924) and Emily Carr’s Old Time Coastal Village (1929-30). The work references the ideals of Harris and other members and associates of the Group of Seven who wished to produce a distinctive Canadian school of art. The number sixty-seven refers to the year 1967, which, in addition to being the centennial of the nation, was also the year that the Canadian government lifted immigration restrictions for certain East Asians. Yoon sees this work and others such as her Screens (1992), imagining communities (bojagi) (199698) and between departure and arrival (1997) as narratives of placement and displacement.2 She asks questions such as “who can take national identity for granted and who cannot?” agreeing with the cultural theorist Homi Bhabha’s observation that “in a liberal democracy, diversity is heralded as a marker of civility, and yet operates as a containing device.”3 Works such as Souvenirs and A Group deal with the complexity of immigrant experience as it pertains specifically to the national entity of Canada.4 The artist understands migration, nation, place, and displacement as interrelated. More recent projects, such as Unbidden (2003-04) deal with the experience of displacement and diaspora resulting from war. Although many people can claim to be displaced in one sense or another, for Yoon it is the specific histories of displacement that have to be remembered and communicated. Korea’s history of colonization and its current division as a result of the Cold War is of particular importance as it directly affects her identity. She realizes that she inhabits an in-between place; she can neither return “home” to Korea, nor feel totally comfortable calling Canada “home.” In Unbidden, Yoon enhances this idea of displacement and home with a consideration of “postmemory,” a condition whereby the effects of events, such as war, exile, genocide, migration, diaspora, and forced displacement, are worked out across generations.5 Like the “elephant in the room,” certain traumatic events, which are enormous in their effect, are ones about which no one speaks. In Yoon’s case, although she never experienced the Korean War, many of her family members have. Yet they maintain silence on the subject, or only impart selective information. Yoon’s understanding of her background thus comes secondhand: it is a history garnered through the cobbling together of family members’ accounts, silences,

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and selective memories, as well as more public sources, as seen in history books, documents, movies and television.6 What then is self? Yoon shows us how the photograph of herself in front of Lake Louise is not simply a snapshot capturing a moment in time. Rather, it indicates that self is transitional; it is constructed and deconstructed in various sometimes contradictory ways over time. The photograph as souvenir of self stands in one respect as a memory of the self in a certain place and the multilayered contexts in which it is sometimes understood, can speak, is silent, silenced, or erased. Yoon’s work is a reminder that even though the photograph presents the self as “stilled” it is nonetheless “fluid” as it enters numerous contexts and engages with others who gaze upon it with their own personal and communal histories. Jin-me Yoon/ jin-meyoon.ca

Notes: 1. This incarnation of the project took form in 1991 as six postcard sized images with text written on the back. Unlike the usual postcard text that identifies the subject of the image, Yoon’s text makes herself a subject that gains visibility in reaction to or within the context of a setting. Later versions of the images were presented as photo murals, and in the case of the Lake Louise one, a chromogenic print. 2. Jin-me Yoon, “Other Conundrums: Monika Kin Gagnon in conversation with Jin-me Yoon,” Jin-me Yoon: between arrival and departure (Vancouver: Western Front, 1998): 49. 3. Ibid. 4. Ibid., pg. 47. 5. Marianne Hirsch first introduced the idea of “postmemory” as a way to study the persistent effects of the Holocaust on those who had never experienced it. Postmemory “characterizes the experience of those who grow up dominated by narratives that preceded their birth, whose own belated stories are evacuated by the stories of the previous generation shaped by traumatic events that can be neither understood nor recreated.” Marianne Hirsch, Family Frames: Photography, Narrative and Postmemory (Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, 1997): 22. 6. For more on the relation between the historical image and memory see Marita Sturken, Tangled Memories: The Vietnam War, the AIDS Epidemic, and the Politics of Remembering (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997). For Sturken, national memory of an event is formed through the breaking down of boundaries between memory and fantasy, the still and moving image, and the “authority” of the document and its reenactment in movies, stories and other forms of popular culture.


Vegas Noir Camera Obscura Works by Johnathan Wong

By Gary Michael Dualt


“… photographs are not outcomes of our perception at all but merely record the way they have ingested light.” — Max Kozloff, “The Etherealized Figure and the Dream of Wisdom” in Lone Visions Crowded Frames1 Las Vegas dreaming is not about dreams that money can buy, but rather it is about dreams that are galvanized by a vision—a fever-dream—of money that is mysteriously imminent, pending. It is also about the city’s inescapable mechanisms of inversion that accompany this casino-engendered panning-for-gold revisitation: the alchemical transmutation of day into night, up into down, penury into wealth (and vice-versa) and…well, material dreams are endless. “Las Vegas,” as Sanford Kwinter and Daniela Fabricius suggest in their essay “American Noir”2 “is not a city, but the calculus that makes the others possible, it is the matrix itself, the pure idea of a transient civilization where everyone is an extra, and everything was made just for you.” And by so abstractly reconfiguring Las Vegas as a “calculus that makes the others possible,” Kwinter and Fabricius thereby transport that raucous oasis in the middle of America Deserta (the phrase is Reyner Banham’s) into the realm of the archetypal; furthermore, by democratizing it into a place where “everything was made just for you,” they personalize the city into a collection of free-floating, individual embodiments of what we might think of as the transient unconscious. “Architects have a right to the unconscious,” maintains Hubert Damisch in his Skyline: The Narcissistic City3. Johnathan Wong trained as an architect and, therefore, has an indisputably clear title to this “right to the unconscious,” a right he has movingly embodied in his nomadic, somnambulistic Unseen Las Vegas project. Wong’s essentially supine Las Vegas lends mordant, value-added meaning to Robert Venturi’s oft-repeated phrase “urban sprawl” (in his now classic Learning from Las Vegas, 1972). In Wong’s eerily patient, tenacious hands, Las Vegas—wittily referred to by Kwinter and Fabricius as the definitive example of “Potemkin Urbanism”4 — is transmuted from its conventionalized pasteboard freneticism, from urban sprawl, into a strange tableau of urban repose. By the same token, the volume of Venturi’s phrase “architecture of persuasion” has here been turned down to something like architectural room-tone. The hyper-city is shown now, in the shadowy hush of Wong’s black and white photography, as the site, not of persuasion, but of insinuation. Now the city is a pensive, literally pendant place, as remote from its normal circus-circus set of atmospheres as, say, Atlantic City is from the ocean floor. The Unseen Las Vegas project comprises thirty-five large for-

mat photographs made, Wong says, in a series of hotel rooms “both on and off the famous Las Vegas Strip, each occupied for a single night and transformed into large pinhole cameras.” This last phrase is rather cavalierly tossed off, as if the procedure were as easy as just pointing and shooting. In fact, as will be understood by anybody at all familiar with the camera obscura (“dark chamber”) process, the setup is elaborate and the waiting times prodigiously long. Furthermore, Wong’s Unseen Las Vegas photographs are the result of a complex two-stage process. First, he must turn his chosen hotel room into a live-in pinhole camera, a camera obscura. Then, having achieved the pale, phantasmagoric images on the walls of an inverted Las Vegas located outside the window, he must proceed to make photographs of these very hotel room walls, now silvered over with the soft, evanescent, imported city images. His large-format camera must now quietly “ingest” (to use Max Kozloff’s felicitous word) the faint light the inverted images emit—a very protracted task. The exposures can take hours. Wong says he is interested in the camera’s “ability to make still things even more still…to make silent things even more silent.” The fact that the city outside of the artist’s chosen windows, Las Vegas, is anything but either still or silent tends to make his project all the more mysterious, all the more uncanny. It must be odd, waiting for each exposure to ingest the requisite amount of souvenir, memorial light. It must be odd to sit and sit—and wonder what you’re getting. I guess while you’re waiting you could toy with the ultimately spurious but nevertheless poetically compelling vision of the room as another transcribing body. I wasn’t there, but I have mused upon it like this: the aperture, the lensless lens through which the outside streams, in a dialectical pivot point of lucent expansion-compression-reexpansion, into the inside, is a solitary port, a point of porosity in each of Wong’s hotel rooms, a navel of transformation through which the outside funnels, is reduced and reversed, and is made expansive again (though perplexingly changed) on the screen-walls of the room. The “pinhole” aperture is the room’s “iris.” The visual information it welcomes into the room (and inverts) is reconstituted (upside down) on the room’s “retinae.” It’s very slow theatre. Wong has been circumspect about his place in the trajectory of camera obscura works, and rather attractively wary

BlackFlash.ca 23


of passing off his work as any sort of big breakthrough within the genre (if we may so refer to it). He cites the practice, for example, of the brilliant, Havana-born, Boston-based Abelardo Morell, that of German photographer Vera Lutter (who works with exposure times of up to several days), and Canadians Rodney Graham and Adrian Blackwell, as artists whose photography he admires and from whom he has learned. But Wong’s Las Vegas photographs—like those he made previously in Niagara Falls—possess an other-worldly lyricism all their own. And much of that is centred upon the way his hotel room photos admit of the architecturally numinous, and the way they so compellingly evoke the spectacle (the spectre) of the built environment’s dreaming about itself. Viewed not as an adjacent, outrigger world (beyond the hotel rooms) but as a series of ghostly murals-to-be (inside the hotel rooms), this raw material of Wong’s optical inversions, the subject of his photographs, makes any inhabitant of, or visitor to the camera obscura room (Wong himself, for example) an immediate (and unmediated) alien: the quintessential Other. It makes the inhabitant of the room, the keeper of the camera obscura, into a figure as isolated but as highlighted, as foregrounded, as the Rimbaud who could write “I is an other.” Wong’s refigured Las Vegas turns him into that paradoxical being, a stationary flaneur. A moment’s consideration will make clear how distancing it had to be to a) invert Las Vegas, b) drain it of its colour, and c) rephotograph it at exposure times protracted enough to have gone downstairs and won a fortune—or lost your shirt. The undertaking made Wong twice an onlooker. You’d imagine the pace of Wong’s proceedings in Las Vegas to have relegated the whole undertaking to a state of exquisite lassitude. And indeed, in terms of the photographer’s being acted upon rather than acting, there had to be a good deal of willful (and possibly liberating) passivity bound up in the process—or perhaps we might more profitably think of it as endless photographic discretion. “My object all sublime,” sings the Emperor of Japan in the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta, The Mikado, “I will achieve in time.” But about the porosity Wong has visited upon the otherwise solid, secure-making walls of Las Vegas bedrooms: the enormity of his achievement is to have brought the outside world into the (presumably) private realm (even TV doesn’t compromise the solitude with which the inhabitant of a rented room is muffled and swathed about), and hang it upside down for inspection and contemplation. Hanging things upside down makes them into trophies. Siphoning them off into the darkness of your (hired) bedroom, furthermore, makes them almost onanistic. The daylight or the artificial day-nightness of Las Vegas was always remote, impenetrable (except by momentary ejacula-

24 BlackFlash.ca

tions of liquid cash). By contrast, silent images of the nighttime Las Vegas, pinned upside down on a hotel room wall like dried butterflies—mere specimens—are disconcertingly imminent, to the point of qualifying as the stuff of which paranoia is made: In an image-saturated environment that increasingly resemblesthe interior space of subjective fantasy turned inside out, the very subject-object distinction begins to break down, and the subject comes apart in the space of its own making.5 Wong’s “space of his own making,” is a veritable arena for the breaking down of the subject-object distinction (the objective Las Vegas outside, the subjective “Las Vegas” inside). In the resulting near-paranoiac vision (not unlike Salvador Dali’s “paranoiac-critical” methodology that generated soft pocket watches), the towers of Las Vegas hang down onto the formerly bleak hotel room walls like thin, wan stalactites. Or they drape themselves over a bedroom’s furniture, slip-sliding down, like mercury, over mirrors, dressers, onto beds. The apparent limpness of the images (because of their being inverted, being hung up to dry, in a strange replay/parody of the conventional—now antique—hanging up to dry of wet silver prints in a darkroom) brings to mind the cover of Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York6, showing a clearly post-coital Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in bed together, lying side by side (they’d smoke if they had arms), exhausted. Wong notes that in the course of his optical procedures, “A hidden face of Sin City thus emerges: at once silent, disorienting, and uncannily dreamlike.” He talks frequently about the interpenetration, in his work, of the public and private realms. And one of the great reversals inherent in his photographs addresses the degree to which what was once public space (the Las Vegas outside of the hotel rooms), and the place, therefore, where you could presumably “lose yourself,” has now become a sort of unknowable, homogenized content imported into the hotel room, THE site of conventionalized private experience. The crux of Wong’s camera-obscured Las Vegas experience lies, for me, in the poignancy of the artist’s having to take a stance located somewhere between the melting borders he has engineered between inside and outside in Las Vegas (an additional source of Fear and Loathing), and the objectifying, critical distance from them that he attains in the act of photographing the camera-obscura process itself and its results. Wong has photographically constructed, in his hotel rooms, what is inescapably (the phrase is Walter Benjamin’s) a “phantasmagoria of the interior.” In such a phantasmagoria, Benjamin writes, the private environment represents, for the individual, his universe. Into this universe, writes Benjamin, “he gathers remote places and the past. His drawing room [or in this case, bedroom] is a box in the world theatre.7


Page 22: Excalibur, No.2, 2009, from “Unseen Las Vegas,” 40.6 x 50.8 cm, b/w digital inkjet print

Page 25 Above: MGM Grand, 2009, from “Unseen Las Vegas,” 40.6 x 50.8 cm, b/w digital inkjet print

Page 25 Bellow: Tropicana, 2009, from “Unseen Las Vegas,” 40.6 x 50.8 cm, b/w digital inkjet print

This page: Bellagio, No.2, 2009, from “Unseen Las Vegas,” 50.8 x 40.6 cm, b/w digital inkjet print All images courtesy of the artist

I previously referred to Wong as a “stationary flaneur.” And, as Victor Burgin notes, discussing Benjamin, the “transgressional magic of the flaneur is to make the interior appear on the ‘wrong side’ of its bounding wall, the wrong side of the façade. Certainly,” continues Burgin, “the transformation is an illusion, but then the interior itself is an illusion …”8 Or at least Wong’s Las Vegas hotel rooms are. But then, nags the cliché (begging to be taken seriously), isn’t his meta-interiorized Vegas ultimately more knowable, more enterable—imaginatively speaking—than the brassy one outside? I suppose it depends on whether or not you fancy dreams to be as substantial—or even more substantial—than our waking works and days. It’s worth bringing to mind the title of Delmore Schwartz’s great book of short stories (from 1937): In Dreams Begin Responsibilities. Johnathan Wong/ the4x5.com

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Notes: 1. Max Kozloff, ‘The Etherealized Figure and the Dream of Wisdom’ in Lone Visions Crowded Frames (University of New Mexico Press, 1994), p.282. 2. Sanford Kwinter and Daniela Fabricius, ‘American Noir’ in the compendium Mutations: Rem Koolhaas Harvard Project on the City (Bordeaux: ACTAR, arc en reve-centre d’architecture, 2001), p. 615. 3. Hubert Damisch, Skyline: The Narcissistic City (Stanford University Press, 2001), p.113. 4. op.cit., p. 614. 5. Victor Burgin, In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture, University Of California Press, 1996), p.121. 6. Rem Koolhaas’s Delirious New York (Thames and Hudson, 1978) 7. Walter Benjamin, ‘Louis-Philippe, or the Interior’ in Reflections, (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1978), p.154. 8. Victor Burgin, op. cit., p.147.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Ruth Cuthand, 2008

AIDS

Saskatoon

&

Ruth Cuthand Artist in Residence

Aug. 2010 - Aug. 2011

Thank you to community partners Red Shift Gallery PAVED Arts BlackFlash Magazine Avenue Community Centre Dr. Pamela Downe, Dept. of Archaeology & Anthropology This project was made possible by a Creative Partnerships Innovations grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board. 1143 Avenue F N, Saskatoon SK S7L1X1 (306) 242-5005 artistinresidence@aidssaskatoon.ca www.aidssaskatoon.ca


New Vision Revisted Jessica Eaton’s critical abstraction By Saelan Twerdy

28 BlackFlash.ca

When Bauhaus pioneer Laszlo Moholy-Nagy proposed that photography could generate a “New Vision,” he was thinking in terms of a technical extension of the human eye: with the help of lenses and chemical plates, humankind could see things previously unseen and unimagined. For Moholy-Nagy as well as Russian Constructivist artists like Alexander Rodchenko and El Lissitzky, the objective basis attributed to photography tied it to the inexorability of technological progress, which they connected to their belief in the historical inevitability of socialism. The results of MoholyNagy’s philosophy were diverse: he explored the photogram by exposing objects directly onto light-sensitive paper and tried out radical experiments with photocollage. Perhaps the most familiar product of his influence is the kind of abstract photography that attempts to overcome photography’s intractably indexical nature—that is, the fact that a photograph is always the record of a transaction between the camera and a real thing. Embraced by Man Ray as well as numerous Surrealist and Futurist photographers, this kind of photography transformed objects into pure line and shape through dramatic magnification and unusual angles. The human body in close-up is abstracted into unidentifiable swell and undulation and a wroughtiron staircase shot from below turns into spiral scribbles. Today, this kind of photographic abstraction can strike us


as fairly quaint, and Moholy-Nagy’s technological utopianism equally so. Nonetheless, abstraction in photography is increasingly resurgent, albeit in new and different forms, and in the case of Jessica Eaton’s work, the technical aspects of perception are anything but irrelevant. It may be that a fresh historical context has revived this interest: Eaton is part of the last generation to have been trained in classical chemical photography, just in time to witness the swift transition into digitization, and the technological and economic factors that influence our experience of vision form the crux of her practice. For Eaton, photography is a model of perception. It is, like vision itself, a system for apprehending reality. Digital photography, then, adds an extra layer of systematization. But digitization is a process that far exceeds either vision or photography. It increasingly encompasses all of human knowledge, and digital communication and exchange allow for an exponential expansion of both that knowledge and its availability. For Moholy-Nagy, advances in technology were a cause for revolutionary awe and enthusiasm. For us, that enthusiasm seems to have been displaced onto the smooth and opaque surfaces of the gadgets we depend on for access to our digitized world. Consider Apple’s iPad, literally marketed as a “magical and revolutionary” device. Likewise, the massive volume of information and images at our fingertips can quickly turn into an abyss of digressions or a hall of mirrors: a million ways to loop yourself back into yourself with the feedback amplified every time. Our “new vision,” then, is clearly a mixed blessing, and Jessica Eaton’s form of critical abstraction tests the slippage between the real and the perceived, the analog and

the digital, surface and depth. We are well aware that vision is easily fooled. The ease and ubiquity of digital manipulation make every image potentially suspect as a bearer of “authentic reality.” Without a natural connection to the physical world, images float free in an immaterial space of perpetual transformation and exchange. But this ambiguity

BlackFlash.ca 31


Page 29: Shadow 9, 2009, archival pigment print, 50.8 Ă&#x2014; 40.6 cm Page 30: Cubes for Albers and Lewitt_28, 2010, archival pigment print; Page 31 Clockwise from Top Left: 108_06, 2009, archival pigment print; Cubes for Albers and Lewitt_12, 2010, archival pigment print; Triple Eclipse, 2009, archival pigment print, 63.5 Ă&#x2014; 50.8 cm This page Top to Bottom: Quantum Pong 3, 2006, archival pigment print; Cubes for Albers and Lewitt_32, 2010, archival pigment print All images courtesy of the artist


has an opposite side, as well. Software is made of standardized codes. Photoshop filters and file formats are identical in every instance. Bugs and glitches aside, digitization forever limits the unpredictability of materiality, foreclosing the opportunity for chance effects and happy accidents. Jessica Eaton’s project takes on this quandary by using analog techniques—often time-consuming and labour-intensive—to explore the myriad ways that light and space can produce the unexpected in the camera eye. Frequently, these techniques mimic and comment on the effects of digital imaging. Her process is both rigorous and playful: she devises strict and systematic methodologies and then proceeds to test them experimentally for all of their potential results. The idea is to use a system almost against itself, to propose a concept that, when properly pressurized, produces something irreducible to any concept or system. As utopian as Moholy-Nagy in her own way, Eaton’s work suggests a dream of pure vision—a modernist aesthetic that borders on the metaphysical—while also integrating a critical concern for the forces that inevitably condition and contain that vision. Instead of merely rejecting closed systems, Eaton finds a way to make them produce openended results. Critic Lyle Rexer has attempted to define “critical abstraction” with reference to the works of Walead Beshty, Penelope Umbrico, and Thomas Ruff. In his words: ...what often begin as calculated critical acts end in objects and installations of unexpected poignancy and open-endedness. Beginning from a program, their works cannot in the end be reduced to those terms. Whatever they intend, they become, in Laszlo Moholy-Nagy’s phrase, light-space modulators. They change the field of physical perception as well as of emotional response and cultural interpretation.1 108_06 and the series it belongs to are emblematic of Eaton’s process. For this image, she photographed a bare corner of her studio space (though, aptly enough, viewers often assume the image is a picture of a gallery) using 108 custom-cut darkmasks, exposing each section one at a time with varying balances of red, green and blue colour separation. The result is an illustration of the additive system of colour and a Mondrianesque abstract grid that flattens and disrupts the architectural space. Like giant pixels, the colour blocks transform three dimensions into two as if the room were caught halfway through a format conversion, or as if, on the way to our eye, the room had suffered catastrophic data loss. At the same time, the intrusion of these bold, flat, saturated colours into reality suggests a euphoric negation of space by light while the uneven jostling of the blocks on the picture plane betrays a breakdown in the process. Eaton’s analog technique makes a certain amount of slippage inevitable, and the black space that bleeds through suggests that our vision is a construct that produces reality (or

papers over its yawning void) only thanks to a precarious balancing act. Shadow 9 is an even more graphic work that similarly compresses light and space. Emerging from an experiment in which Eaton covered her living room window with a full-spectrum rainbow of colour lighting gels, the image represents the shadow cast on a piece of watercolour paper by a black paper circle hovering above, intensifying the rainbow light in the shadow. Both flat and fathomless, Shadow 9 is perhaps Eaton’s most seductive play with surface. As in many of her images, a process of greater or lesser complexity represents a crystallization of data that remains opaque for the viewer. Concept here is not merely a statement, a proposition, or an illustration of a theory, but a machine for generating the unexpected. With a new series, Cubes for Albers and Lewitt, Eaton is revisiting a number of the themes in her work—cubes as both fixed variables and metaphors for the digital, the compression of time and space within a single photo, the conversion of three dimensions into two, and the fallibility of vision—with a new level of technical ambition. Using a scale model of an empty studio, she is continuing the exploration of building up a single image with masking and multiple exposures begun with 108_06 and her Pinholes series, but instead of masking the film, the masking will be done in front of the lens with reflective values. Using Ansel Adams’ zone system (whatever his reputation as an artist, Adams was a consummate innovator in technical perfection), Eaton has painted cubes in eleven recordable reflective white to black values, allowing her to use darker cubes to “hold” space for future exposures, thereby enabling the construction of impossible “hypercubes.” Referencing both Josef Albers’ colour studies with squares and Sol LeWitt’s serial cubes (“the idea becomes a machine that makes the art”), Eaton also toys playfully with the idea of a fourth dimension and unrepresentable space, always explained in high-school mathematics textbooks with incomprehensible and oddly Op-art-ish illustrations of cubes-within-cubes. The results of the series resemble primitive CGI, much like Eaton’s earlier Quantum Pong and Additive Pong series, but as with Thomas Demand’s meticulous paper constructions, some element of scale and texture remains uncannily, unnervingly off, hinting at the material nature of the process. As with most of Eaton’s work, the tension between physical fracture and technical finish is best experienced in person, in front of a full-sized print. Jessica Eaton/ jessicaeaton.com

Notes: 1. Lyle Rexer, The Edge of Vision: the Rise of Abstraction in Photography (New York: Aperture, 2009): 20. BlackFlash.ca 33


Master Corporal on guard

34 BlackFlash.ca


Holding Our Breath By Adrian Stimson

Adrian Stimson spent eight days in Afghanistan and two weeks as part of the Canadian Forces Artist Program. The following are photographs he took of his experience accompanied by excerpts from his journal.

BlackFlash.ca 35


July 13, 2009 — Peterborough, Ontario I was on Highway 401 on my way to Peterborough for a performance when I noticed many people with flags standing on the over passes. At first I wondered what was going on then it struck me I was on the 401, also known as the “Highway of Heroes” and today, another one of our troops was coming home. A lump formed in my throat as I thought about our latest casualty of war, then the black hearse drove by, I was surprised by my emotional reaction: tears welled in my eyes, my thoughts drifted to the family and friends. January, 2010 I had been thinking for some time about applying to the Canadian Forces Artist Program (CFAP), having had some experience in the Navy through the Katimavik military option program in 1983. Military life interests me on many levels. I wonder about the daily life of the troops, the mundane and the chaotic. I wonder about hate and non-acceptance, its manifestation in societies and resulting wars. As a First Nations person, I am interested in our shared history with the military, how it was used against us historically, that it can be used against us as First Nations (Oka), or any deemed “radical” group, and is a noble calling for many Indigenous persons. We are all warriors in our own ways yet the call to the battle, life, death, and/ or injury holds a place of honour in First Nations societies. It is a space of discipline, of mind and body, controlled yet aware of the tenuous nature of life. Beware of what you ask for, it may just happen.

February 14, 2010—Saskatoon, Saskatchewan On January 22nd, I was notified that I was accepted into the CFAP. I was going to Afghanistan. I was very excited and honoured to be selected. Over the past few weeks it has been a flurry of activity as the opportunity to travel sooner than later surfaced. I leave on March 16th or 17th. There are a lot of logistics to get ready for and wrap my head around. What an opportunity. My friends and family have all been supportive but with trepidation, the realization of the dangers often surface. It is more about fear itself, although the realities of rocket attacks, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and suicide bombing weigh heavy on my mind, yet it is what it is, and I am mentally preparing for anything. February 24, 2010 I am just thinking about the number of people, even strangers, who express their concern and offer well wishes. Even prayers. Joseph indicated that he/they would pray for me in their next sweat. Elders offer their prayers. A powerful force that speaks to love and care.

36 BlackFlash.ca

March 2, 2010 I chatted with Myrna the other day, she began to cry and told me she was scared. I told her everything would be alright. There has been a lot of emotion around this trip, my own mind wanders between fear and confidence.

March 15, 2010 Possible name of next exhibition, Holding Our Breath. I completed my will and power of attorney today. Seeing people, I am amazed and honoured by the out pouring of love, so many concerned and wishing me well. This is amazing. I bring all my loved ones with me. I chatted with my uncle Jim today, and am feeling the need to connect with family and friends. I travelled from Banff to Siksika and hung out with Dad, Mom and Happy. Myrna, Letty, Arlene, Jason, and Pam, came over for dinner. Dad gave a most amazing toast to my trip, raw yet beautiful, a way my father can be. emotional deep breaths, everyone hanging on, mother leaves the room, out pouring of love, harms way, supportive, come home safe, Pam hands out tissues. Dad cut my hair earlier today, bit of a buzz cut. Love it.

March 17, 2010—14:55 hrs—Saskatoon John G. Diefenbaker International Airport Happy dropped me off. I have my passes all the way to the Middle East before going on to Afghanistan. I am now into a self-imposed communication blackout for the next two weeks, I am very excited.

19:32 hrs: In the air, had a smooth take off. I read an article in The National Post about combat diplomat Ben Roswell. The article brings home the dangers that exist, which is sobering. I am also reading the poems of Keith Douglas that my cousin Niki sent to me. Adam called this morning, he gave me a lovely send off. My mind drifts to the imminent experience. Who will I meet? What will I see? How will I be? I don’t feel fear, only wonder for what lies ahead. I have a whole row of seats to myself. How cool is that? March 19, 2010—9:40 hrs—Somewhere in the Middle East (classified location) I am back in a dessert, a setting I love. Rogers Pass, Canuck Drive, The sand fly buzzes,


Above: Incoming

wounded- KAF Medical Right: IED Lane, Masâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;um Ghar

BlackFlash.ca 37


Above: Crossing paths, Mas’um Ghar

Left: Inside the Chinook Helicopter, leaving Mas’um GHar

38 BlackFlash.ca


The morning dove flies, Trans Canada Hwy, To the patrol man’s gate, Rows of barracks, Gentle warm breeze, A maple leaf, Against a palm frond, Sparrows like home, Chirp their morning song, The heat rises, The flies gather, A Hercules plane flies over-head, An illusion, a silence, Personnel here and there, Doing their duties. There are many containers, kind of like walls dividing up the camp. It’s kind of quaint, each barrack has a little garden. A General told me that Kandahar is much different from this place. I can feel the heat building. He also mentioned that attacks at Kandahar happen usually at night.

20:00 hrs: Woke at about 19:00 hrs then headed off to the Mess, where it was bingo night, which brought a big smile to my face. I grabbed a quick bite, checked out Zombieland on the big screen outside with the crescent moon overhead, very cool. I am thinking of Burning Man and the similarities to this landscape. There are many things going on in this camp tonight: people playing bingo, watching TV, watching movies, playing games or just hanging out. I saw the memorial plaques, which brings home the reality of being here. I can hear the call to the mosque, mixed with an American TV series soundtrack— weird. I leave for Afghanistan at 7:40 tomorrow morning. March 20, 2010—7:08 hrs The sun rises above Rogers Pass lodge hitting my face, its warm embrace. To my family and friends, “Gosh I love you all. Today I embark on the second leg of this journey into the unknown. I need you all to know how much I love you. Throughout my life your support has carried me through the adventurous things I do. Know that no matter what happens, that I do what I do because I love to, regardless of the dangers sometime. It feels right to be here. I don’t champion war. I cherish peace yet know I value all our freedoms, whatever they may be. Our collective histories have proven we have not been able to attain this. I wish you all to keep striving for love rather than hate. Do not blame as we all believe we do the right thing even though it may seem insane at times. I live a fantastic life and have had so many experiences all come together at this time, in this place. While you are all so far away, you are

here in my heart, in my mind, surrounding me, protecting me. This will see me through. You all will see me through. When I talk about this at the other end, know our love was never pretend. Thank you all for everything.” It is time to get the protective gear. 8:09 hrs: Sitting on the tarmac, with the Hercules in front of me. The troops with their guns waiting to board. I have my vest and helmet. 9:23 hrs: We just took off, very loud but smooth. The vibration goes through the body, earplugs in. There is a closeness I feel without knowing anyone. Together we join in this journey. I look at the sleeping faces, the cocked heads seeking that comfortable resting place, serenity, beautiful, such a juxtaposition, like sleeping children, sleeping in a pile of guns. How we are together, yet alone in our own minds, playing our lives over and over again, our own little stories we tell ourselves, memories and present circumstance—silence.

14:21 — Kandahar The landscape is like the Black Rock Desert, hot as hell and dusty. I am given a tour of the base. Kandahar (KAF) feels chaotic. There are concrete barriers all over. There are many countries here. Everyone I have seen has a gun. My hosts are very generous ensuring all my needs are met. I was told this is the most used airstrip in the world. I am told when you hear the siren, hit the ground and stay there for two minutes until you hear the clear siren. There is a relative feeling of safety within the compound, yet rockets do happen. The Corporal said it is quiet right now but you never know, rocket attacks seem to happen at night. I went to the boardwalk, checked out all the action, saw the Tim Hortons. You can hear the planes taking off constantly.

March 21, 2010- 07:30 hrs Birds in the morning are universal. The sound of sweet chirps, as if nothing was wrong or mattered. Sounds of jets taking off. There is a slight haze of dust in the air. The trees are covered in a layer of dust. I am glad we are on the north side of the camp as the south has the sewage treatment area. The stench is unbelievable. I don’t know how the camps in that area stand it. 11:05 hrs: “In Afghanistan, Individual Experience may vary”, are the words the slide show starts with. I am taught first aid emergency procedures. We watch some pretty sobering images of IED inflicted wounds. I am feeling a little rattled, thinking about what an explosion does to someone physically and mentally. The shock waves make our hollow organs just bounce around. The human costs are enormous. I am going overland

BlackFlash.ca 39


Above: Bunker, Mas’um Ghar; Previous: Sun setting at Mas’um Ghar

tomorrow. “We’re not supposed to see people blown in half”, the medical officer tells me while on a Medical facility tour, speaking to a recent experience. The wounded, these are the people we never hear about. What happens to the body, happens to the mind. 13:30 hrs: Afghan Children Sitting outside the Barbed wire fence, Crouched, Their herd of Goats scavenge the Ground, Construction, Going on.

March 22, 2010—08:20 hrs—Orders CLP Intelligence Briefing Roll call, “Yes corporal.”

42 BlackFlash.ca

I am taught the emergency instructions for the armoured vehicle called the People pod (Ppod). We watch a video on procedures. What an amazing video. The Ppod feels like sci-fi. A box designed to withstand an IED explosion, technology at work. We load and strap into the dark space of the Ppod, a bomb sniffing dog is along for the ride. We depart, small video screens reveal the landscape going by, air-conditioned with motion sickness bags all over. I dig in for a long morning’s drive. 12:00 hrs—Arrive at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Ma’sum Ghar What a ride in the Ppod. By coincidence, I am partnered with a First Nation Master Corporal from Saskatchewan. We know many people in common. I feel very fortunate to have him as a guide. On the tour we went to various lookout points. There are amazing views of the surrounding countryside. I am very interested in the villages. They look so beautiful, mud and straw dwellings, really well built. I noticed that cannabis grows everywhere. Truly a weed. The Taliban are all around us. We don’t really know who or where they are. I am shown other FOB’s in


the surrounding countryside, both Canadian and American. I heard gunshots coming from a distant camp. The Taliban take shots quite often.

March 23, 2010—5:51 hrs—Morning at Ma’sum Ghar Waiting for the sun to rise over the jagged peaks. A rooster crowing in the distance. A woman in a white shawl rides her bike. Cool crisp morning air. The hum of the generators behind. Voices in the town. Waking up. A bark. Dark to soft definitions within the mud brick huts. Sand bag centuries. Morning rays begin to slide down the slopes, cutting the dust into lines. An Afghan army officer with a gun comes my way, checks me out. I show him my camera. “Sunrise”, I say. He smiles and goes on his way. His features are beautiful. Life begins to stir. A man in his back yard performs his morning ritual. Birds calling the sun. Smoke from the homes rising. My host, the Master Corporal, just visited. He mentioned that there was an explosion at about 23:00 hrs last night. We will hear what it was today, and the shots we herd last night were from a battle or a TIC (Troops in Contact). 6:52 hrs: Just heard a big blast to the northwest.

7:45 hrs: I went to breakfast with the soldier that I share quarters with. We talked about some of the blasts that he has experienced here in Mas’um Ghar. One, he said, you could feel the percussion wave. There have been a number of blasts around the country side this morning. It makes you really feel that you are in a war zone. Yet the locals walk, ride their bikes or drive their carts to work. The goats are herded to the fields. Life carries on. A convoy of tanks is starting to prepare for a run. There are gun shots in the distance making an eerie echo. Wow there must be a battle going on over there, there is constant fire at the moment. 8:35 hrs: I feel like I am on surveillance yet I know I am also being surveyed. The watcher being watched. I doubt if much gets missed here. I really love the goat herds.

9:11 hrs: I just visited the Ma’sum Ghar memorial on the hillside, commemorating the casualties of war. I am feeling sad. I am feeling disconnected from the peacefulness of the countryside and the realities of fortification. It just doesn’t feel real but it is. It is this disconnect that I am interested in. Coping mechanism. If you let in the fear, sadness, and emotion, perhaps it would be too overwhelming. Various smells are constant: diesel, dust, porta-potties. Every now and then, a dank bad odour (not sure what it is) drifts in. The sleeping quarters are great. They are hermetically sealed. The sun is very intense.

The sounds here are mostly mechanical: engines, generators, chopper blades, metal on metal, gravel crushing beneath tires, drills, saws, grinding, with the odd gunfire or explosion in the distance. Then there are the natural sounds: birds of all types, voices in discussion, Afghani voices translating. The diesel is giving me a headache. Mind you better than the stench of the KAF sewage pond. It was beautiful to wake early and watch the sunrise while listening to the morning sounds, the call to the mosque, birds and the stir of people, to watch the sky grow slowly brighter. I was thinking about conflict. I can understand the deep-seated hatred that exists in people yet I wonder why or how such ways flourish in a place so beautiful. Another chopper races by.

March 24, 2010—06:53 hrs—The Bubble The Bubble is an area where your armour can be taken off. There is a weird sense of security here —we are an island fortress. I was thinking of the fortress in the first Lord of the Rings. There are similarities in the sense that we are on a mountain or backed up against a mountain. The place is completely surrounded by razor wire, bunkers and sentinels. I wonder how secure it really is. Very, I am sure, but anyone below can take a shot, hence wearing the armoured vest and helmet everywhere except the Bubble. 18:52 hrs: Beautiful sunset. I watched the goats being herded home. I am again struck by the beauty of the place. It’s hard to imagine the conflict the people face.

19:50 hrs: Life in spite of war, how do the locals cope? When I watch the village life around us, it seems calm, yet the presence of this place with the daily sorties and incoming rockets. I wonder how this affects their daily lives? Their psyches. Afghanistan has been at war forever, their fate is always in the hands of others. Life at the FOB is pretty routine, actually kind of boring. Nights are blackouts which means nothing goes on, the soldiers have their own computers with wireless access — worlds apart yet instantly connected. A soldier asked me if it was weird being around all these guns? March 25, 2010—06:45 hrs A blast in the distance. The northwest seems to be an active area.

7:42 hrs: The sun has risen over the mountains. I begin to heat up. I leave today. I’m not sure what time. It could be early, it could be late. The information is confidential until the last moment, so always be prepared to go at any moment. I have been thinking about surveillance, watching the villagers from my vantage point, taking video. Is this an invasion of privacy? I

BlackFlash.ca 43


Gunner on a Chinook Helicopter over Afghanistan

found it odd yet I continued to do it. I was just informed that I leave at noon. My host, the Master Corporal, and I smudge together. I thank him for his generosity and time. We will meet again across the pond.

21:40 hrs: The dust blows furiously around us. The chopper blades kick up the dust and small gravel hits us. Things move quickly. I follow the soldiers in a line, being directed by the chopper commandant as I get behind to enter. The heat from the engines blast me. I step up onto the platform to get in. Thoughts of every Vietnam movie I have seen flash through my mind. This is an American Chinook helicopter complete with gunners. We rush in, grab a seat, we are sideways. We are all in and suddenly we rise. I look out the back. Ma’sum Ghar fades into the distance. We pitch and turn over the mountain, we fly to the other base and pick up more soldiers. We fly back to Kandahar. 44 BlackFlash.ca

March 26, 2010—6:56—PAX at KAF I am waiting for the flight back to the Middle East. The security check is funny. All these armed personnel taking off their armour and guns before they are x-rayed, only to put them back on once on the other side. March 28, 2010—19:28 hrs—Middel East I went to a local mall for the afternoon. I saw The Hurt Locker with Islamic subtitles. Glad I saw it after being in Afghanistan. “War is a Drug” is resonating in my mind. There is a huge industry surrounding war, it makes one wonder about the possibilities of peace. All packed and ready to head out to the airport and home. I am grateful to the Canadian Forces Artist Program for giving me this amazing opportunity and to all the personnel who toured and kept me safe. IKSUKAPI (Blackfoot for “very good”), our common experience brings us closer.


3rd annual image contest

Grand Prize $500

submission deadline: January 31, 2010 contest entry and rules at blackflash.ca/opticnerve

2009 Still Image Winner: Clare Samuel, Untitled from the series â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;It is Stillâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;, 2008, c-print, 76.2 x 76.2 cm, claresamuel.com


BlackFlash 2.0 Launch Party: A Shushiro Sushi Bar Event

Photography by Ian Campbell

The launch for BlackFlash 2.0, our Summer 2010 issue, had a bit of a technological twist. Miiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s were created for our favorite Saskatchewan artists on the Wii and our guests threw down in various Wii Sports events. Thanks to Sushiro Sushi Bar who hosted the event and provided the sushi and the Great Western beer and Sangria specials. Shushiro Sushi Bar is located at 737B 10th Street East, Saskatoon, SK tel: 306 665 5557 sushiro.com 46 BlackFlash.ca


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SUBSCRIBE TO PREFIX PHOTO NOW AND YOU COULD WIN AN ORIGINAL COLOUR PHOTOGRAPH BY EDWARD BURTYNSKY.*

SUBSCRIBE TO PREFIX PHOTO MAGAZINE

Prefix Institute of Contemporary Art Suite 124, Box 124 401 Richmond Street West Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 3A8 T 416.591.0357 F 416.591.0358 info@prefix.ca www.prefix.ca Photo Magazine. Visual, Audio and Surround Art Galleries. Reference Library. Small Press. Travelling Shows. Edward Burtynsky, Railcuts No. 4, C.N. Track, Thompson River, British Columbia, 1985. Image copyright Edward Burtynsky. Courtesy Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto.

*Offer expires January 31, 2011. Visit www.prefix.ca for contest details.


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10248 106 Street Edmonton, AB T5J 1H7 P // 780.423.5353 E // info@latitude53.org

10215 112 Street Edmonton, AB T5K 1M7 P // 780.426.4180 E // harcourt@telusplanet.net

9722 102 Street Edmonton, AB T5K 0X4 P // 780.429.1671

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Visualeyez //

Opening September 9th // 7-10pm

FAVA Open House // 2.30-5.30pm

Canada’s Annual Performance Art Festival

Main Gallery // Leila Armstrong and

9722 102 Street

Chai Duncan, 12 Point Buck

Come and celebrate Alberta Arts Days at The

Front Room Gallery // Jenny Keith-Hughes

Film and Video Arts Society – Alberta (FAVA).

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Discover the place where independent film,

Opening Reception October 1st // 8pm Main Gallery //

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video and media artists step into action. Tour the

Kristi Malikoff, Blazzamo

Opening October 14th // 7-10 pm

facilities, see professional gear demonstrations

ProjEx Room //

Main Gallery // Neil McClelland,

and find out what FAVA is all about.

Andrew Buszchak, To The Main Street

Artist in Residence Exhibition Front Room Gallery // Duncan Johnson

'+;\Z\dY\i The Fine Art of Schmoozy //

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13th Annual Gala + Silent Auction

Opening November 25th Main Gallery // Julian Forrest

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Front Room Gallery // Ian Forbes

Opening Reception January 14th // 8pm Main Gallery // Jason deHaan

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ProjEx Room // Lisa Rezansoff

2011/2012 Exhibition Programming Deadline // November 30th, 2010

Latitude 53 has a new Writer In Residence program which you can

Register for Fall Art Classes!

follow at blog.latitude53.org

Youth and Adult Classes Available.

For programming information and submissions

www.harcourthouse.ab.ca for details

guidelines please visit www.latitude53.org

on exhibitions, calls for submission, and

((;\Z\dY\i FAVA Freshworks // 7pm

FORMERLY EXIT #5 PORTABLE MONUMENTS TO RECENT HISTORY

Metro Cinema / 9828 101A Avenue

Curated by Shauna McCabe

FAVA Freshworks is an ongoing partnership

COLLEGE ART GALLERIES

between FAVA and Metro Cinema that gives the public an opportunity to experience outstanding new works of independent, artist-driven film and video art by FAVA members. Come out and see what’s cutting edge in your community. See www.fava.ca for more information.

art classes.

september 17 - december 17, 2010

VAHRAM AGHASYAN MICHAEL ALSTAD CYPRIEN GAILLARD SARA GRAHAM

College Art Galleries Kenderdine Art Gallery 107 Administration Place University of Saskatchewan Saskatoon, SK, S7N 5A2

PAUL GRIFFIN

t: 306.966.4571 e: kag.cag@usask.ca www.usask.ca/kenderdine

ANDREW KING/ANGELA SILVER

ISABELLE HAYEUR CRAIG LEONARD DENYSE THOMASOS image: Craig Leonard, Mobile homes, found photograph (mixed media archival installation), 2006

SHIFTS

ART AND ART HISTORY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF SASKATCHEWAN exhibition series

August 6 - October 8

Currents: New Work by Faculty Kenderdine Art Gallery

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October 25 - December 10

This Train: Fine Arts Alumni 1990 - 2010

Gordon Snelgrove Gallery University of Saskatchewan www.usask.ca/snelgrove t: 306.966.4208

Curator: Kim Ennis

Kenderdine Art Gallery November 22 - December 10

Frames: Art Pedagogy, 1928 - 2010 Gordon Snelgrove Gallery image: Bowerbirds,"In Our Talons" (video still), directed by Alan Poon. Puppets by Diana Savage and Stacia Verigin, 2008.

Kenderdine Art Gallery College Art Galleries www.art.usask.ca e: kag.cag@usask.ca t: 306.966.4571


Raymonde April My Best Shot

Camera Obscura in

Las Vegas

Jessica Eaton

Abstract Photographer

BlackFlash ART.PHOTOGRAPHY.NEW MEDIA

An Afghanistan Journal Canadian Artist Adrian Stimson traveled to Afghanistan with the Canadian Forces Artist Program. His photographs and journal p.34

28.1 FALL/2010 $8 Display until Feb. 2011 PM 400 29877 R10606


BlackFlash Magazine 28.1