Friday, August 29, 2008

Acquainted with the Night

An open call for submissions coming to us through board member and VoCA Canadian art advocate Andrea Carson.

ATTENTION: ARTISTS WORKING WITH THE DARK
VoCA friend Liz Doyle is working on a documentary based on a Canadian non-fiction GG award nominated book, "Acquainted with the Night" by Christopher Dewdney. The film will explore our relationship with the night over the course of 12 hours- each hour representing a different theme.
They would like to explore the relationship between art and the night.

They are interested in finding out about artists with a unique relationship to the night or the dark: artists who work exclusively at night, artists who are inspired by the night- in general artists with some strong tie with the night hours.

Please email liz_doyle@rogers.com, saying that you heard about it through VoCA.

Thanks and good luck!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

And Speaking of Harrell Fletcher...


Dave recently told me that Harrell Fletcher was one of the nominees for the $25 000 Smithsonian American Art Museum Annual Contemporary Artist Award.

This got me thinking about Canada's Sobey Award, and the exhibition of this year's nominees that opens at the ROM tonight.

And this got me thinking about Doris Lessing's super rad and salty response to winning the Nobel Prize this year:

When reporters informed you that you had won the Nobel Prize last October, your first words were "Oh, Christ." Were you at all excited? No, I wasn't. If I may be catty, Sweden doesn't have anything else. There's not a great literary tradition, so they make the most of the Nobel.

The Nobel committee described you as the "epicist of the female experience." Do you agree with that? Well, they had to say something.

But do you agree with it? No. I can just see somebody sitting there thinking, "What the hell are we going to say about this one? She doesn't like being called a feminist so what'll we say?" So they scribbled that.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Harrell Fletcher: The Forbidden Zone

The next Kino05 screening will be The Forbidden Zone, this Tuesday evening, the 26th, at Camera Bar on Queen West. The Forbidden Zone is a video produced by Harrell Fletcher through a collaborative project with Chris Johanson, David Jarvey, Elizabeth Meyer and Alexis Van Hurkman.

David Jarvey, who has Downs Syndrome, identifies with a Captain Christopher Pike, a character from a Star Trek episode. Pike has been disabled and wants to go to the forbidden planet, Talos 4, where he can live with the illusion of being "normal" once again. As part of the installation Jarvey and Johanson were shot on a blue screen and imposed onto footage from the actual Star Trek episode.

Harrell Fletcher has worked collaboratively and individually on a variety of socially engaged, interdisciplinary projects for over fifteen years. His work has been shown internationally including at the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Fletcher is a Professor of Art and Social Practice at Portland State University in Portland, Oregon. In partnership with I.D.E.A Space at Colorado College, the Art Gallery of Mississauga has commissioned Harrell Fletcher to produce work for an exhibition in Mississauga in November 2009 and in Colorado Springs in 2010. Fletcher will also be doing a collaborative group project at the Power Plant this September.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Felix Gonzalez-Torres + An Art Student + Facebook =

Arend deGruyter-Helfer is a student at the Art Institute of Chicago, and maker of this piece "I Got You Something", 2008 - Facebook gifts arranged in a pile.

(from freewilliamsburg.)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

David Berman Has A Lot To Say About A Lot Of Things


This Pitchfork interview with David Berman of the Silver Jews is making me pretty happy today. Favorite quote:

You can go through the whole new Radiohead album and try and tell me what they're saying, and all you'll get over and over again is things are miserable, don't try, things suck. And it's all gray. There's nothing there. Never before has there been a "greatest band in the world" who had so little to say about anything. The music-listening world has become such an aficionados world. People want to react to a poem or a painting, but they're like "I'm not qualified. I'm not educated." But they treat their personal preferences for music as if they weren't anything but this complete monolithic subjectivity, and we talk to each other in that way: "They suck, and they're the worlds greatest band."

Monday, August 18, 2008

This Neck of the Woods/Knock on Woods

From today until August 23rd, Mercer Union is hosting Yvette Poorter's roving residency, Knock on Woods. (More information about the residency and closing reception are here.)

I first heard about this project through an earlier residency project of Yvette Poorter's called This Neck of the Woods, which the website describes as a "Dwelling for Intervals - an independent state, a sculpture, a series of collaborations, an international artist residency, a wilderness, a treehouse, a traveling circus, and a relative site/situation for temporary doing or undoing."

My favorite fun facts from this project's web site involve Poorter's various attempts to strengthen diplomatic ties between This Neck of the Woods, the Canadian Embassy in Rotterdam, and the Royal Family of the Netherlands. (From the website): In October 2006, she wrote to the Royal Palace to invite both the queen and princess to the official closing of This Neck of the Woods. She explained a bit about her family history and invited them to a presentation at Buro Dijkstra. Finally she explained that in December 2006 the land of This Neck of the Woods would officially revert to property of Her Majesty's Kingdom.

She invited the Queen to participate in this closing ceremony but admitted that she understood she was very busy. For this reason Poorter suggested that in lieu of coming in person and as a way to show her support for the project, that she might send me a photo of of herself winking or a piece of official Royal Palace stationary with an exclamation mark in the middle of the page.

The Queen's reply can be viewed here, in Dutch.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Abbas Kiarostami on YouTube

My friend Chris recently sent me some links to very hard to find early Abbas Kiarostami films that are now on YouTube. These were shorts Kiarostami made for the filmmaking department at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults in Tehran, an organization that he helped found in 1969.

One of the best shorts on YouTube is Do Rahehal Barayeh Yek Mass (Two solutions for one problem). (1975) I'm pretty sure the world would be a much better place if everyone saw this film. Seriously.

Also great is The Bread and Alley, which is from 1970 and is Kiarostami's first film.

I recently read that Juliette Binoche will be in an upcoming Kiarostami film - for some reason this worries me, though I read an okay interview with her that makes me think it could be okay and not an Iranian version of Chocolat....we'll see....

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Just In Case You Were Wondering What the Canadian Prime Minister Thinks About Holy Fuck


Toronto band Holy Fuck has recently been named by Stephen Harper's press secretary as one example of what drove the Conservative government to their severe arts funding cuts. Apparently the Conservatives see this band, which received funds to help with a 2007 tour, as an example of misplaced arts funding.

According to the CBC, the prime minister's press secretary, Kory Ten-nike, said "the [funding] choices made were inappropriate … because they were ideological in some cases, or the money was going to fringe arts groups that, in many cases, would be at best, unrepresentative, and at worst, offensive."

Evidently being shortlisted for a Polaris prize and nominated for a Juno award has no bearing on a band's "fringe" status.

More info on the band's reaction to this news, as well as their current tour dates, can be found on Pitchfork.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Your Very Own Song...

Boise, Idaho's very own indie-pop band "The Very Most" has a new album out called Congratulations Forever. If you buy it before August 31st, they will write a song just for you. For more details on how to get the album and send them your fantastic song idea, go here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

RIP Isaac Hayes

The sad news about Isaac Hayes can be read here. Thankfully, though, amazing footage of Isaac Hayes can be viewed here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Jen Hutton Opening!

Thursday night at 7pm Jen Hutton's new show will be opening at DeLeon White Gallery as part of LOCATIONS/miniature: New work by Jen Hutton and Mark MacKinnon, at 1139 College Street. Her site-specific installation will invert the logic of the large site-specific monument through her refiguring of an unexplained pink and blue landmass she found in her hometown. While Hutton's installation is anything but miniature, it looks close up at the microscopic level, recreating the sense of intimate place she felt at the original site.

I spent a few hours one afternoon a couple weeks ago helping Jen fold and assemble a few dozen of the thousands of waxed paper crystals that will make up this installation, and my inside scoop is that this show is sure to be both lovely and impressive, and definitely well worth your while.