At the curious intersection between art, research, electronics, archiving, sociology and sustainability, the Artifact Institute investigates different issues and perspectives relating to electronics and group formations. It does so by fostering spaces in which people can reflect on their relationship to their artifacts, and gain a better understanding our societies’ rapidly changing processes of valuation.
The Artifact Institute has undertaken projects in major cities across Canada. In May, it hosted Investigation 2: Electronic equipment not accepted for curbside garbage collection by the Halifax Regional Municipality, a roundtable about electronic waste in Halifax. (It facilitated a similar event, the Public Forum on the Status of Electronic Equipment in Montreal a year earlier.)
Information about the Institute’s activities is mildly elusive. Last February, for the fourth episode of the Art Talks Mtl podcast, we sought out co-founders Tim Dallett and Adam Kelly to get a better understanding of their work. We were delighted to have this meticulous, articulate pair describe their projects, explain their practice within an art context, and outline the broader goals of their research.
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Episode 3: Robert Poulin
Long time collector Robert Poulin regularly exhibits work he owns in Espace Robert Poulin, space # 411 of the Belgo building. In 1995 he founded La Peau de l’Ours a group of art collectors dedicated mainly to buying large scale paintings by lesser known artists. Based on a similar venture in Paris at the turn of the century, which focused on modernist works and was eventually resold, this collection is destined to become a private foundation. His passionate search for undiscovered, authentic work has led Robert towards art brut and the low bow. In this episode, he shares his views on the nature of collecting, and the hardships of any genuine artistic vocation.
For more : Espace Robert Poulin and La Peau de l’Ours project.
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Episode 2 : Independent Spaces
In this episode of Art Talks Mtl, we visit two independent galleries. First we talk to Joanna Lai, director of Coatcheck Gallery, and after that to Danielle St-Amour and Willie Brisco, directors of WWTWO gallery. We were interested in finding out more about the financial and creative decisions that went into founding, and running each space. As far as we can see, there exists today a direct, if opaque, relationship between Montreal’s independent gallery spaces and Quebec’s history of artist run centers. Starting in the late sixties, artists were banding together to create spaces for the creation, and showcase, of contemporary practices that were alternative to the commercial galleries and museums. These artist run centers (ARCs) met a need that wasn’t being fulfilled by the latter institutions. They were independently run, not for profit organizations whose primary aim was to foster artistic exploration, and share its results.
The heyday of such spaces, both in activity and quantity, occurred during the eighties. In 1986, for instance, the RCAAQ (Regroupement des centres d’artistes autogérés du Québec) was formed to help ARCs communicate with government agencies, and petition for funding. The structural and institutional organization of ARCs progressed in such a way that by the nineties, the work they were doing, and their relationship to artists, was drastically different than what it had been at inception. The regimentation of boards of directors, fixed mandates, government funding and financial transparency made it so ARC’s were no longer effective in the same way.
Another wave of independently run spaces then began. They once again became a platform for contemporary art practices and artists that uneasily fit into established institutions. They were often cross-disciplinary, incorporating many, sometimes incongruous, disciplines, and operated with vitality and curiosity. Unfortunately, their self organized and financially unstable natures often lead to ephemerality. In other words, these places are not sustainable, which is why so many are created and disappear again so quickly. We believe, however, that they are essential and unique locations of artistic thought and creation. We approached Coatcheck and WWTWO because, to us, they are a part of this legacy.
photo credit: NEIL FENTON, THE LONELY COAST at Coatcheck Gallery 2012
Episode 2, part1: Independent Spaces
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photo credit : XENIA BENIVOLSKI, IN SEARCH OF RELIEF at WWTWO 2012
Episode 2, part 2: Independent Spaces
download here : soundcloud itunes
Episode 1: Luc Paradis and the Pompia.
Luc Paradis’ painting, sculpture, and collage create manifold other worlds populated by distinct, naive characters and strange, overwhelming crayola landscapes. Over the years, his work has been shown in many of Montreal’s ephemeral alternative spaces. He is currently a part of the projects section of the Parisian Laundry gallery in St-Henri. In this week’s podcast, we talk to him about his practice, his training, and his upcoming solo exposition, Pompia.
Check out Luc’s show at the Parisian Laundry. Running until December 1st, 2012.
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