Keynote Presentations

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Emelie Chhangur: Out of the Streets and into the Gallery

Day 1 | Thursday, November 12, 2015

Exploring the concept of gallery ‘in-reach” and the role performative curatorial practice can have in transforming the social function of a contemporary art gallery, Emelie Chhangur’s keynote presentation on Day 1 critically considers her long-term collaborative projects as rehearsals for new modes of civic and social engagement. Looking to two recent projects as examples — Ring of Fire and The Awakening — Chhangur discusses how taking time to negotiate perspectives across differing cultural communities and incorporating the protocols and methodologies these communities bring into these projects can, on the one hand, shift curating away from traditional display practices toward performative acts and, on the other, change the purpose of our projects from furthering the disciplinary knowledge of contemporary art to establishing new working practices that draw on diverse forms of cultural production. But the brokering of divergent viewpoints, perspectives, and forms of production into a single curatorial project is not a straightforward task. The process is fraught with conflicts, contradictions, and crisis—problems that Chhangur situates at the core of her curatorial work. For her, the “political” or transgressive potential of art does not reside in the ideology it theoretically states or practically stages. It is enacted through the ways in which a project as a process is practiced in the long-term. This way of working has implications for the contemporary art gallery, transforming its social role and civic function by opening it up to the influence that project collaborators have on its public work as an institution, its protocols, timelines, and its entrenched practices.
 
 
 
Bastien Gilbert : When being righteous can actually be bad: play the lobbyist, or manifest angelic purity?

Day 2 | Friday, November 13, 2015

I developed an experience of almost fifteen years in the field of political representation, sometimes called ‘lobbying’ or ‘advocacy’. This activity is often looked upon with some contempt: many of us automatically assume that, since it connects honest people (us) with corrupt or corruptible people (politicians and their henchmen), it is not quite respectable! What does the reality amount to? And what are the positive or negative consequences? How does political representation intermingle with the demands of the group that the lobbyist represents? Here are a few samples of past years’ experiences … and a few names.
 
 
 

Andrea Fatona: It’s A Long Road

Day 3 | Saturday, November 14, 2015

Reflecting on The State of Blackness, the recent research, symposia and database project that looks at the contemporary representation of black diasporic artists in Canada, Andrea Fatona’s keynote presentation on Day 3 will offer musings on the changing meaning of ‘inclusion’ in artist-run culture, drawing from her experience working at various artist-run centres and public galleries across the country. Her time spent working in artist-run centres, a public gallery, and as an independent curator, demonstrates the breadth of experience she brings to both her curatorial and pedagogical work. In thinking through the possibilities and limitations of inclusion as a practical concept, how do galleries and arts organizations acknowledge, reach and work with a multiplicity of communities, positionalities and perspectives? How does one undertake such work in informed and responsible ways? In unpacking these questions, among others, Fatona will draw examples from some of her recent projects to exemplify the range of critical black artistic practices that exist across Canada.