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Background / ThisPlace

grunt gallery is very pleased to launch their newest project website:

This site is the culmination of work from the Background/ThisPlace exhibition project, the website will continually grow and evolve by user participation. We look forward to how visitors choose to engage with this site by re-tracing past routes and adding photos and videos of their own along the way.

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Date: Thursday May 29
Time: 7-10pm
Location: grunt gallery, 116-350 East 2nd Ave,


grunt gallery announces the official launch of the Background / ThisPlace website.

Background / ThisPlace is a collaborative project that revisits a conceptual project created by Michael de Courcy in 1972, entitled Background/Vancouver. Forty years later, artists Emilio Rojas, Guadalupe Martinez, and Igor Santizointersect the original project with new ideas regarding identity, history, and social intervention.

Join us at grunt gallery for the launch reception, the newly created website will be accessible in the gruntKitchen Media Lab. Artist Eric Angus will be presenting his new live audiovisual performance 49.2500° N, 123.1000° W built around audiovisual documentation from across the greater vancouver area.

gruntgallery Map - for web


On October 30, 2012, Vancouver artists, Emilio Rojas, Guadalupe Martinez, and Igor Santizo, revisited a conceptual created in 1972 by Michael de Courcy entitled, “Background Vancouver”.  Background / Vancouveris a photo-mapping expedition of Vancouver by Michael de Courcy with Taki Bluesinger, Gerry Gilbert, and Glenn Lewis on October, 30 1972. The project consists of the four artists walking three separate paths documenting their experiences in photographs. The project resurged in 2012 when Michael de Courcy launched the website Background / Vancouver project, exposing this unique perspective of Vancouver’s 1972 identity to new audiences online. 40 years to the day,three new artists (Rojaz, Martinez and Santizo) came together to forge a new, fourth path that intersects with the original paths which revisits ideas about Vancouver’s identity and history. The retrospective project was named, ThisPlace / Vancouver.

The group explores the aspect of the social; through conversations, meetings and experiences with people met during the expedition on October 30, 2012. The artists document their experiences using video, sound, and still-based images. A new dialogue emerges that reflects on how choices about documentation, narratives and mapping, from the past to the present, inform a contemporary perspective of Vancouver. The artists question how one tells a story of identity and an ever-changing urban landscape that is inclusive to varied experiences based in history, people, and artists from the past and to the present. Several multi-media and performance-based projects by Emilio Rojas, Guadalupe Martinez, and Igor Santizo will be concurrently exhibited at grunt.


May 10- June 8, 2013, grunt gallery exhibited this retrospective and collaborative project. In addition to the new works produced by Rojas, Martinez and Santizo, grunt also exhibited the photo mural conceived and produced by Michael de Courcy as part of an ongoing photographic documentary project of Vancouver’s artists collective, Intermedia society.

Subsequent artist talks and panels took place in May to help inform an ongoing discourse (Check for more details). Discussions held at these meeting were recorded so that they could contribute to the web-based component of this project which was to be launched later in 2013.

Click here for more details.

Background/ThisPlace talks:

Tuesday May 14
Social Cartography: Am Johal and Sarah Shamash
Saturday May 18
Background / Vancouver artists’ talk: Michael de Courcy, Glenn Lewis and Grant Arnold
Thursday May 23
Sound walk (5pm) // Mapping and Sound Panel:  Vincent Andrisani and Randolph Jordan
Saturday May 25th
ThisPlace / Vancouver artists’ talk: Emilio Rojas, Igor Santizo, Guadalupe Martinez // Potluck Dinner

PDF Download – Background_ThisPlace PRESS RELEASE


The artists worked with web developer, Archer Pechawis, to create a new website that maps the themes explored with Background / ThisPlace Vancouver. The website utilized images, video, sound and google maps to retrace the original paths from Michael de Courcy’s project as well as the new forged paths.



Michael de Courcy –

Artist, educator, curator. Michael de Courcy was born in Montréal in 1944. He studied at the École des Beaux Arts in Montréal and the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design). In the late 1960s, during his formative years as an artist, de Courcy was a core member of the Vancouver artists collective known as the Intermedia Society. While there, he produced an extensive Intermedia photo documentary project which he has since developed into a web installation entitled The Intermedia Catalogue (2009). […read more]

Glenn Lewis –
Artist, educator. Born in 1935, Glenn Lewis graduated from the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) (1958) with honors in painting, drawing, and ceramics. Subsequently, he received a teaching certificate from University of British Columbia (1959) and he studied ceramics under Bernard Leach in St. Ives (Cornwall, England) (1961-1964). Lewis has worked in video, performance, film, ceramics, photography, sculpture, and writing. He was an active member of the avant-garde art scene in Vancouver during the 1960s, producing work that blurred the boundaries between media and between viewer and artist. […read more]

Emilio Rojas –

Emilio Rojas was born in Mexico City, (ca.1980s) ,he is an interdisciplinary artist, working primarily in performance, interventions, video, installation, and sculpture. His works explore the relation between the artist and his audience, interacting and exchanging roles, while involving the communities that surround the spaces he engages with. Rojas requires the participation of the viewer, in order to set in motion the metaphors that unveil the intricacy of his art. The intrinsic relation with the body has been both his subject matter and medium. Exploring the mental and physical limits of his being, Emilio re-evaluates language, gender, activism, traditions, identity, ritual, displacement, migration and sexuality. Emilio Rojas is currently living in Vancouver, Canada, where he is exploring collaboration, alternative exhibition spaces, with a focus in social practice and public interventions.

Guadalupe Martinez –

Guadalupe Martinez is an Argentine-born artist based in Vancouver. She obtained her BFA at the Instituto Universitario Nacional del Arte and is currently pursuing an MFA at University of British Columbia. Her research combines three-dimensionality, performance, and site-specificity by creating works that mnemonically activate found materials; reanimating their meaning into new structures of signification and resistance.  Martinez has attended residencies at Hammock Residency (BC), The Banff Centre for the Arts (AB), The STAG (BC), Elsewhere Collective (NC), and The Vermont Studio Center (VT). Her work has been shown in Argentina, Mexico, US and Canada. She is currently working as a Teacher Assistant at the University of British Columbia and is a member of the LIVE Biennale’s Board of Directors.

Igor Santizo –

Igor Santizo is a creative free agent living and working in Vancouver. He teaches & facilitates: creative process, foundational principles, cultural literacy and more … while encouraging students with their creative potential, emerging selves and budding art practices. By way of his artwork, he has sought a complimentary dialogue between: metaphysical principles & material forms. Currently, he is exploring through drawings: variations of an abstract motif, allusion to cthonic force.

Developed with the participation of British Columbia Film & Media and the British Columbia Arts Council.

A special thanks to Modo The Car Co-op for supporting the transportation component of ThisPlace / Vancouver.


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