The Archive and Everyday Life Exhibition
Featuring the work of Adrienne Batke, Melissa Carroll, Amanda Delorey,
Jeffery Douglas, Keeley Haftner, Megan Hahn, Nicholas Holm, Andrea
Kastner, Philip Kingstone, Kegan McFadden, Devon Mordell, Midi
Onodera, Simon Orpana, Malissa Phung, and Maria Whiteman
Archiving Grief Work:
Dead and Living Objects
Adrienne Batke lives in her hometown of Toronto and studies contemporary culture and critical theory. Her research interests include mourning and melancholic relationships to objects, collecting and hoarding, the production of waste and the global circulation of trash, as well as the interaction of art, politics and everyday life.
Someone once said—the band Wilco if I’m being forthcoming—that to fight loneliness, you need to “smile all the time.” Sounds easy enough and I used to hold tight to that, using humor and sarcasm to mask the multifarious faces of my loneliness. However, recent slippages have left me with the unsettling realization that I am not looking to fight loneliness exactly. Rather, I’m endeavoring not to be consumed by it, not to become it. I seek, then, a more fluid relationship with my lonely bits, a friendship of sorts that leaves me both undone and smiling, safe in the uncomfortability of the sometimes hard stretches that at once invite and rebuke. This project comes out of my giving-up and shutting-down. The archival snapshot presented here betrays this moment, when, in trying to map loneliness onto the pages through words that escaped and eluded me, I stopped speaking aloud and listened instead. Ironically, I am not a crier. Tears have always seemed untenable or weak in me. Repulsive badges of vulnerability that I was convinced I had no need for. I wanted to touch tangibles. And in my attempt to secure and frame loneliness through photos, I thought if I captured the emptiness with the lens, I could leave it there, alone on the glossy page. Away from me. However, what occurred through this archive were actually the beginnings of me letting go of slices of abject-Melissas, faceless pieces of me that I love, but that relished too much in frolicking throughout the poetics of pain. So I lay myself out here, drippy and bleary eyed, replenished but tired. I am still lonely. I still have an inability to speak loneliness along coherent lines. But, loneliness’s incomprehensibility is what connects me to my own assailability, a gifted, misfitted affinity that enables me to wander the versatile corridors of my everyday spaces.
Melissa Carroll is a girl wandering around negotiating the urban landscapes of Hamilton. She is currently a PhD student at McMaster University working on her dissertation on queer affects and identities (such as loneliness) in hopes of articulating a politics of ethical humiliation.
This project documents a performance of walking in the city. Over a period of one month, I assigned myself a daily walking task with a specific method of recording and translating the walk into a map, chart, or diagram. The maps are an attempt to transform lived space and time into readable and archived space and time. I am interested in the concepts of public and private space and how the two conflate or become more apparent across different spaces.
Bio: Amanda Delorey is a writer and artist living and working in London, UK. She is a current PhD student at The Courtauld Institute of Art working on her thesis focusing on state v public intervention in architecture, from modernism to contemporary practices in Mexico.
My current project examines waste material as found objects situated in rural locals/landscapes. My intention is to photograph anomalous juxtapositions of old and new technologies—or new arrangements and configurations of old technologies—as well as the remnants (waste) of commodity culture as it appears situated within what is a modern pastoral, as opposed to urban, backdrop. My objective is to determine how what might be viewed as superfluous waste material—the decay of old and new technologies/structures, ephemeral assemblages, etc.—might also be subsumed under the category of the modern picturesque.
Some of my past occupations (in rough chronological order): corn detasseler, tobacco primer, grocery store bag boy, machine shop custodian, dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant, production worker at a food processing plant, assembly line worker at a factory that made bumpers for Chrysler minivans, furniture assembler at an RV manufacturer, website administrator, assistant editor for the Canadian Poetry Press, tutor, high school English teacher, university teaching assistant, and freelance editor. I have obtained B.A., B.Ed., and M.A. degrees from the University of Western Ontario, and I am currently pursuing graduate studies at McMaster University.
Household Artefacts is a developing body of work derived from an investigation of the everyday object as an attempt to critically explore notions of historical significance, consumerism, capitalism and capitalistic culture, as well as authenticity of authorship. The work involves a process of cataloguing personal belongings to a museum standard for certified artefacts, critically tracing a history of their acquisition, lifespan, and import to the artist’s life, as well as physically and visually describing the acquisition of objects (and how substantial such an endless acquisition may be) through the accumulated series.
Keeley Haftner hails from Saskatoon, Sk. She has travelled across Canada with the national volunteerism program Katimavik. In 2004 she received the grand prize for her submission of “Meet Beautiful Africa” to CIDA’s Butterfly 208 Project for international development. She was awarded a trip to Tanzania, Africa, and the position of Student Ambassador. Keeley then took a year of travel in Europe, after which she returned to Saskatoon for a year of apprenticeship in oil painting under local Saskatoon artist Rolf Krohn. She studied arts and sciences at the University of Saskatchewan, as well as introductory photography and sculpture. She received the E.B. Pulford Scholarship upon entry to Mount Allison University for the most promising portfolio, where she is currently undertaking her third year of her Bachelor of Fine Arts program. Keeley has since maintained Dean’s List standing, as well as receiving two times the J.E.A. Crake Scholarship, and once the James Arthur Gairdner and Mary M. McKean Scholarships for achievements in the arts. Keeley currently majors in sculpture, painting and printmaking, although drawing and alternative media are integral parts to her practice. She plans on receiving her Masters after undergraduate studies and pursue a career in the visual arts.
Photography is often how we capture the past; the photograph is the past captured. The act of photography is that of record keeping, transforming the spontaneous into a tangible form of memory and translating visions of the past into the present. Acting upon the transience which Roland Barthes studied, the drawings within 100 Tamarack Suite explore the photographs ability to shift the viewers state of the consciousness between the here-now with the there-the, merging the two together and pulling them a part. Photographs of suburban environments draw upon a reposition of the archive and its materiality to the present. By exploring the borderline between the image being a description of an event and an image embodying an event via materiality, my work establishes tangibility with memory while archiving remembrance. The objects and space depicted in my drawings, hover within a daydream depicting reality. They are created for your present, establishing a role within the archive and recollection. As Susan Sontag wrote, “One of the perennial successes of photography has been its strategy of turning living beings into things, things into living beings” (Sontag). While re-drawing upon the photograph I become lost within the captured space, reliving the moments and recapturing the movements of time.
Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida. Reflections on Photography. Trans. Richard Howard. New York: Hill & Wang, 1980.
Sontag, Susan. On Photography. New York: Picador, 1977.
Megan Hahn is currently a candidate in the Masters of Fine Arts Program specializing in Drawing and Intermedia at the University of Alberta. Her works revolve around capturing the shifting spaces memory and act of recollection can embody.
These works are part of a series of collages depicting the alleyways of Montreal. What I am interested in is the intimate, authentic feeling of this side of the city: the anti-façade. Alleyways seem to me to represent the more real side of ourselves- something slightly shadier but also far more interesting than the more polished face that we present to the outside world. The medium I have been using is appropriately unglamorous. Working on plywood, I build up a collaged surface of everyday materials including metro transfers, shopping bags, electrical tape and price tags: the sort of invisible ephemera which we pull out of our purses and pockets at the end of the day to throw in the garbage or stuff in a drawer. The subtle juxtapositions
between form and material hint at a coded message, incomprehensible despite the overwhelming familiarity of its contents. The frustration inherent in this process seemed to mirror my vaguely alienated sense of belonging to the city itself. These works strive to explore aspects of the urban consciousness, through the connection between an individual, their neighbourhood, and the stuff of everyday life.
Andrea Kastner received her BFA from Mount Allison University in 2006. Her work has been shown in solo exhibitions at the Maison de la Culture Notre-Dame-de-Grâce and the Galerie Port-Maurice (Montreal, QC), and in group exhibitions at Gallery 21 (Halifax, NS), Struts Gallery (Sackville, NB), the Niagara Artists Centre (St. Catharines, ON) and Hamilton Artist Inc. (Hamilton, ON). She has worked as an art instructor at the Visual Arts Centre in Montreal, and is currently pursuing her Masters in Fine Arts in painting at the University of Alberta.
Peter Kingstone is an artist working in installation, single channel video and photography. His work digs through history, community and narrative. He believes in a bottom up model of story telling, and that everyone has a worthy story to tell. He holds a degree in Philosophy and Cultural Studies from Trent University and a Masters of Fine Art form York University. In 2009 he exhibited at Latitude 53, Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Eastern Edge, Pari Nadimi Gallery, Ace Art and Modern Fuel. Peter Kingstone is represented by Pari Nadimi Gallery.
unclaimed archive (2006 ongoing)
unclaimed archive (begun in 2006) consists of approximately 100 4” x 4” 126 Instamatic photographs I found in an abandoned Photo-Mat in downtown Winnipeg. Most of them date from the 1970s, though there are some from the ’50s and ’60s as well. The images in this ‘archive’ are as iconic as any family album: prom nights, marriages, first cars, first dates, drinking parties, holiday celebrations, pet portraits, and vacations. There tend to be some more risqué poses and vignettes that have fallen out of fashion for this sort of amateur photography these days. In assembling this collection, my aim is to pay homage to lost moments: all the instances which people felt the need to capture on film yet would not claim once developed.
unclaimed archive has been exhibited in Toronto at Gallery 44 as part of the three person exhibition the Make Station; in Winnipeg at PLATFORM centre for photographic + digital arts on their P_121 wall; and will be included in an the exhibition, found, at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba in Brandon. Each time the project is presented, I approach it differently … in a sense always re-working the archive for multiple entry points and various means of analysis.
Part of an ongoing investigation into found images; unclaimed archive refers to the synthesis of sentimentality and abandonment in a throw-away culture. As we are now in the digital era where seemingly ‘bad’ or ‘inappropriate’ images can be erased and forgotten with the click of a button, I want to draw attention to the danger of losing too much too quickly and the ever-increasing problem of self-censorship. What I hope to present is a patchwork of sorts that speaks to the value of memory, identity, and social mobility, questioning how such intangibles can be either lost or misplaced and the immeasurable affects of such loss.
I am an artist, curator, and writer who has worked with found material since 2002. I incorporate audio, written narratives, collage, mail, photographic material, and performance in various modes of presentation. I avoid the use of new materials for my practice, preferring instead to reuse and reinterpret what is already in existence. To produce solely through acquisition [by reusing or recycling material for my practice] is a politically conscious decision. I work with the amassed and discarded in order to bring up issues of sentimentality, commerce, authenticity, and overabundance.
This sensory archive of my Hungarian grandmother’s knitting collects “everyday voices, everyday events, everyday materials and everyday sensations” (Highmore). The memory-boxes with the knitting and family photographs are accompanied by interviews with my nagymama, father and brother that capture their feelings regarding her handicraft. As handmade work, the threads helped create the everyday experience of my childhood, while simultaneously archiving my experiences and turning them into memories. They contributed daily to the development of a familial identity. These sweaters and slippers aided my nagymama in the construction of her own subjectivity, while creating a handmade representation of her identity that I can hold and touch. Her work participated actively in birth and youth, providing baby clothes and dolls, and at the same time archived death. My grandmother’s knitting is thus both the everyday and the archive. Her projects speak to the way in which domestic handmade objects are essential to a discussion of the everyday and the archive as they are simultaneously involved in both worlds, integrating these separate discourses into a space where the past, present and future intermingle and speak to each other. This space of duality is a wound, as the archival impulse itself. Archiving channels our melancholy even if it cannot cure it. The wound is largely a series of unanswerable questions, both a site of pain and also a space of possibility.
Lisa likes singing to herself and drinking coffee. She wears her hair up at home and misses the 80’s craze of treasure-trolls. She is patiently waiting for another form of wish fulfillment other than the jewel-encrusted bellybuttons of fancy fantastical toys. Lisa is in the English and Cultural Studies PhD program at McMaster University. She completed her MA and combined English and History HBA at McMaster as well. Her primary interest within cultural studies and critical theory is Western embodiment, particularly the spectacularization of the human body. Her dissertation will examine late twentieth and early twenty-first century visual representations of spectacular body theatre, notably Gunter von Hagen’s Body Worlds exhibit.
We are suffering from technocultural amnesia. It must have happened quite gradually, of course. But over the years, the presence of technology, once wondrous, became novel, and once novel, became commonplace. My practice is an archaeology of sorts, both unearthing long-forgotten cultural representations from the past, and excavating relics from a speculative future. By re-presenting these findings in a contemporary context, I seek to interrupt the linear, instrumental account of the history of technology that is commonly repeated; that is, the transistor begot the radio begot the satellite ad infinitum. An alternate history is buried in our cultural representations of technology.
Devon Mordell is an incurable polymath, with an art/life practice which is correspondingly diffuse; she relishes being a jack of all trades, and mistress of none. The diversity of skills resulting from such intellectual nomadism include art-making, audio and video editing, web design, wordsmithery and meaning-mapping abilities. At the core of these activities is a fascination with the cultural history of technology, and optical toys in particular. She has a BFA in video and sculpture from the University of Windsor, and an MA in cultural studies from McMaster University.
My assemblages are constructed entirely from found objects, and constitute an archive of "microseizures", a term that describes the process of appropriating cultural detritus and cast-aways, while simultaneously describing the tiny electrical tremors in the brain and nervous system that accompany the moment of discovery and re-remembering inherent in the act of collecting. As testimonials to a form of "archive fever", or the pressing desire to collect and preserve ever more traces of the past, these works are an attempt to overcome the violent tendency of the archive to destroy that which it would hope to preserve. By recombining traces of the pop-cultural elements of my youth, I hope to make monuments that encourage new constellations of memory and affect. These works seek to generate an image of collectivity that use collage and juxtaposition to gesture toward the Utopian potential concealed within the everyday.
Simon Orpana does works in collage, pen-and-ink, assemblage, and sound-collage. He is currently a PhD student at McMaster University in the English and Cultural Studies Department where he has been studying skateboarding and spatial politics. He is also working on a project examining the zombie as a figure through which to investigate issues such as marginalization, collectivity and testimony.
In 2006 –2007, I embarked on a year long project, challenging myself to make a movie a day. In 2008, I posted these shorts on my website, making them freely accessible to an online public. Unlike theatre-based films, these movies are designed for intimate individual viewing through a hand-held device such as an iPod. I began to miss this daily ritual, and so I took up the project again in 2009, creating 52 movies, one for each week. This collection spans time-specific events such as the death of Michael Jackson and Remembrance Day to fleeting daily reflections on health care, working in a dead-end job, and munching in food courts. Shot primarily with toy cameras or digital still cameras, these tiny moving images are designed as moments of meditation saturated in pop culture.
Midi Onodera is an award-winning, filmmaker who has been making work for over 25 years. She has over 25 independent short productions to her credit as well as her theatrical feature film, Skin Deep. These shorts were produced in formats ranging from 16mm film to video to “low end” digital toy camera formats such as a modified Nintendo Game Boy Camera and the VCam Now video cameras. Her most recent projects involve making 365 movies, one movie a day for one year and a non-linear DVD documentary on Japanese-Canadian artist, Aiko Suzuki. In 2009, she made a movie a week which can be viewed at: www.midionodera.com
The history of early Chinese Canadian settlement in Canada tends to emphasize the effects of racist and exclusionary immigration policies on Chinese Canadian communities and Chinatowns across Canada. Chinese bachelor societies are predominantly represented in much of early Chinese Canadian literature, particularly in historical fiction. And the narratives that discuss the experiences of Chinese Canadian women usually detail the lives of those women who were legally admitted into Canada—the wives of Chinese merchants—since it appears that they made up the majority of what little women constituted the early Chinese population. But that is not to say that non-married, lower class Chinese women never entered British Columbia in the late nineteenth century. Traces of their existence, of their ‘sordid’ lives and ‘sinful’ professions, can be found in what few historical documents have bothered to record their ‘indecent’ and ‘corrupting’ presence in Canada. My archive project attempts to retrace their experience through the form of meta-fiction, to archive through the form of a meta-archive in order to add a face and voice to what little archives and history books exist that are written in English about them: the non-married, lower-class Chinese women who were smuggled into Canada near the end of the nineteenth century to work as sex workers and domestic slaves. Presented here as a historical document, my novella contests the traditional notion of the archive in order to carve out a space within the archive of the early Chinese diaspora in Canada for a gendered experience that has been all but excluded and repressed from an already marginalized history.
Growing up mostly in Edmonton, Alberta, Malissa Phung was born in Red Deer, Alberta to ethnically Vietnamese immigrants of Chinese descent. She now lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where she is completing a PhD in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster University. Having completed her comprehensive exams in settler colony literatures, she is currently exploring Canadian literary representations of Chinese settlers in her dissertation project, which analyzes how settlers of colour are figured ambivalently as colonial settlers in Canada. Every now and then, in stark moments of procrastination, she still manages to write creatively. Her current literary project—Chinawoman—looks at the history of Chinese sex workers smuggled into 19th century Canada.