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Brisk Collages & Bricolages
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Artistic audits & creative revisions of mainstream media in recent Canadian shorts
Foreword by Ingrid Jenkner
The tongue-twisting title of Brisk Collages and Bricolages continues the tradition established by the preceding series, Changing Times, Time Changes (2002) and Placing Spaces, Spacing Places (2003). In each of these film and video programs, series curator Gerda Cammaer highlights an aspect of contemporary media artists’ aesthetic and thematic preoccupations. The present series is composed of Canadian found-footage works whose makers borrow and mix from mass-media sources. In visual art, such practices are grouped under the general heading, appropriation.
Media theorist Laura U. Marks has compared mass or affirmative culture to a fixed eyeball that can gaze only in one direction. The eyeballs of marginal culture, ignored by their cyclopean progenitor, are free to wander, swivel and scavenge. The works presented in our series suggest the inventiveness and criticality with which artists transform appropriated material, as well as their conviction that independent artists can build an alternative, non-commercial media culture.
Today, the critique of representation that characterized so much video of the 1980s has retained its urgency primarily among queer artists and others engaged in the negotiation of different identities. Gerda Cammaer’s selection reflects this tendency. Our special focus on recent videos by Johanna Householder and b.h. Yael provides insight into performance-based gender politicking at an advanced level of humour and sophistication.
Brisk Collages was organized in collaboration with La Femme 100 Têtes (The Hundred Headless Woman), a curatorial collective dedicated to the presentation of independent films and video in a visual art context. Members of the collective—Gerda Cammaer, Barbara Sternberg and I—believe that the most evanescent of moving-image media, that is, films and videos by artists, merit a substantial platform in Halifax. MSVU Art Gallery is our platform.
In addition to my colleagues in the collective, and on behalf of MSVU Art Gallery, I acknowledge with thanks the cooperation of NSCAD University and the Atlantic Filmmakers Cooperative. We are also most appreciative of the continuing support of the Canada Council for the arts.