TAG TEAM: Gay Premises
June 14, 2014 - September 6, 2014
Friday, June 14, 2013 to Friday, September 6, 2013
TAG TEAM: Gay Premises
Artists and Art Workers respond to Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983
Taken in tandem with the recent surge in interest, among younger and increasingly diverse generations of queer academic, activist, and artistic communities, in mining queer archives, Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983, timely in its confluence with The ArQuives’s 40th anniversary, operates at the threshold between Canada’s gay liberation past as a complex and contested foundation for the queer present and its potential futures.
Part of the process of broadening and complicating the record of gay liberation histories across Canada involves reinterpretation and rearticulation via artistic interventions at The ArQuives. Promoting intergenerational dialogue and calling on an emerging generation of queer artists, activists, curators, and historians to engage in processes of “activating” the archive towards its continued preservation, the idea of archives “passing the torch” here is transformed into a playful, experimental, and collaborative endeavour, conceived along the lines of tag: “tag, you’re it,” tag teams, as well as “tag” and “tagging” as references to digital processes for organizing and archiving information. TAG TEAM: Gay Premises provides an artistic vantage point for thinking about Canada’s gay liberation history and the 40-year history of The ArQuives.
As a collaborative, intergenerational, and interdisciplinary project, artists are tagged in for short residencies throughout the exhibition, working with the material, ideological, and textual traces left by previous artist participants and producing interventions, performances, and objects that contribute to a critical exploration of Canada’s gay liberation history, The ArQuives, and the way that GLBTQ+ histories are promoted and preserved. TAG TEAM: Gay Premises emphasizes process and performative relationships to the archive, as well as a perception of contemporary queer artist communities working across networks, in collaboration, and through dialogue. The curatorial premise of TAG TEAM: Gay Premises as a whole might be read as an artistic intervention into a reading of the archive as static and relegated to the past, the structure of the project expanding and changing as new artists are tagged in. The projects are located at The ArQuives, as well as at other sites in Toronto that are relevant to the history of The Body Politic, Canada’s gay liberation history, and The ArQuives.
A four-artist tag team will undertake curatorial and artistic interventions throughout the course of Gay Premises: Radical Voices in the Archives, 1973-1983. Sharlene Bamboat & Dina Georgis, Anthea Black, Eugenio Salas, and Robert Waters have been tagged in because their practices address issues that are of critical importance to the enduring promotion, preservation, and legitimacy of GLBTQ+ archives, including racial and gender exclusion in GLBTQ+ histories, the oft-silenced experiences of queer refugees, the historical possibilities afforded by intergenerational relationships, and the reappropriation of gay liberation imagery and iconography towards queer ends. The simple act of calling on each artist to tag in their successor poses a challenge to any pre-determined historical narrative of The ArQuives and promotes the development of a “living archive” that can effectively adapt to the needs, desires, and political urgencies of each new generation wishing to see itself reflected in the archive’s holdings.
TAG TEAM CURATOR: Erin Silver
TAG TEAM ARTISTS: Sharlene Bamboat & Dina Georgis, Anthea Black, Eugenio Salas, and Robert Waters
Sharlene Bamboat is a mixed media artist, working predominantly in film, video and performance. Through a re-examination of history, Bamboat elicits tongue-in-cheek videos and performances to question our contemporary moment marked by colonialism and neoliberalism. Bamboat works largely in collaboration, most notably as part of Bambitchell with artist Alexis Mitchell. Her work has been exhibited internationally. She is on the programming committee of the Pleasure Dome Film & Video Collective, and works as the Artistic Director for SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Centre) in Toronto.
Anthea Black is a Canadian artist, writer, and cultural worker. Her work in print, textiles, performance and video sets a stage for collaborative encounters and inserts intimate gestures into public spaces. She has exhibited throughout Canada and the United States and has circulated collaborative print editions in cities across North America through her ongoing artist-curatorial project, looking for love in all the wrong places. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and her collaborative writing with Nicole Burisch is included in The Craft Reader (BERG, 2010) and Extra/ordinary: Craft and Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2011). Her most recent curatorial project, No Place: Queer Geographies on Screen, considers the spatial politics of queer film and video.
Dina Georgis teaches at University of Toronto at the Institute of Women and Gender Studies. She writes on postcolonial, diasporic and queer losses. Interested in the affective residues of trauma in narrative and aesthetic production, her book, The Better Story: Queer affects from the Middle East (SUNY, 2013), considers the emotional dynamics of political conflict and the histories and futures made from them.
Gabrielle Moser is a writer and independent curator. She is currently curator in residence as part of Gallery TPW R&D. She regularly contributes to Artforum.com, and her writing has appeared in venues including ARTnews, Canadian Art, Fillip, n paradoxa, and Photography & Culture. She has curated exhibitions for Access Gallery, Gallery TPW, the Leona Drive Project and Vtape. She is a PhD candidate in art history and visual culture at York University, where she also teaches.
Eugenio Salas (Mexico City, 1976) is a Toronto-based artist. His practice seeks to disrupt social roles and dynamics, exploring the symbolic spaces that unfold. He carries out collaborative site-specific and process-based performances, employing intervention, video, film, animation, photography, artist books and installation mediums.
Robert Waters (London, Ontario 1974) is a Canadian artist currently living in the Basque Country, Spain. His multi-disciplinary practice explores social and epistemological transformations that enlighten processes of human domestication and constraint. Presenting the human body and art as sources of political action, his work provokes a questioning of self-knowledge and social control, with the aim of finding and demonstrating possibilities for emancipation and freedom. He has exhibited on five different continents and is represented in Toronto by pm Gallery. (www.robertwaters.ca)
Erin Silver (Curator, TAG TEAM: Gay Premises) completed a PhD in Art History and Gender & Women’s Studies at McGill University in 2013. Her dissertation provided a queer feminist historiographical analysis of histories of North American feminist and queer art production, as framed by feminist and queer alternative art institutions and spaces from 1970 to 2012. Silver has curated several exhibitions, including Coming through the Fog: les rencontres de Matthieu Brouillard et de Donigan Cumming, at the FOFA Gallery in 2012, and is currently working on an exhibition on affect, immersion, and synesthesia in contemporary queer intermedia practices, to open in 2014. Silver has taught Art History at Concordia University, OCAD University, and the University of Guelph. Her writing has been published in C Magazine, Ciel Variable, Fuse Magazine, and No More Potlucks.