Cree & D

After many trials and several travels in the great iron birds that skim across the skies and over the canopy towns in the realm of Ministik—wait, wherefore and what-now is Ministik? We’re thrilled to invite you into a new project written by Jessica and Ben Johns. Cree & D has been percolating in the background like the healing tonic of a strong, home-brewed yarrow kombucha. Written in the style of a Dungeons & Dragons campaign, this is a story of love, family, and of course adventure, as these aunties work to preserve the hard won and tenuous peace treaty between the six nations. There’s also Butterball, Auntie Darlene’s werepug familiar.

The first episode of Cree & D launches Friday August 19th, 2022! This campaign follows the story of three cuzzins—Auntie Vera, Auntie Darlene and Auntie Mac—as they search for Kokum Cardinal’s stolen staff and work to preserve the peace in the realm of Ministik. Listen on the player below or follow our channel on PodBean: click here!

Cree & D is produced by These Ones (formerly known as Together Apart) and supported by grunt gallery on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We record on Treaty 6 at FAVA studios. Art by Abbey Riddle. Music by Matthew Cardinal. Voices by Ben and Jessica with Emily Riddle and Matt Ward.

Image by Abbey Riddle.

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Low-Sensory & Voice-off Gallery Hours

We are offering and experimenting with low-sensory and voice-off exhibition visiting hours throughout 2022.

On Thursdays from Noon-5PM, our exhibition Manager, Kay Slater, will offer a low-sensory and/or voice-off experience to visitors wishing to visit the space and our exhibitions.

What this will mean:

  • We will ask visitors to come scent-free on Thursdays (no perfume or scented body products—paint your nails a few days before visiting!)
  • You can choose to be voice-off and not converse with our gallery staff. You will not be approached unless you approach us (or if you are in need of assistance). Kay is hard of hearing and will require mask-wearing (mandatory) visitors to communicate by writing, ASL, English sign, or to step outside and remove masks so they can lip read (English or French).
  • Any sound or media pieces will be sound off or low-volume for visitors. Transcripts and captions will be available for all works.
  • Overhead, exhibition lights will be dimmed, still providing safe passage through the space.

If you have any suggestions, additional requests for a low-sensory day, or would like us to anticipate your visit with additional consideration, please email us at access@grunt.ca — we welcome your feedback!

 

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Call for Submissions: Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen

We are currently accepting submissions for the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen, until February 7th, 2022! We welcome contributions from artists, collectives, curators and other community members, organizations and community festivals. Generally speaking, submitted works should be 10 minutes or less and could include (but are not limited to) still images, time-based media, animations, performance works, archival video, interactive pieces, GIFs, experimental video, and curatorial/screening proposals.

The curatorial vision for the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen is centralized on the broader theme of PLACE. Initially, this focused on the literal geographical perimeters on the stolen, unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations, as a part of one of so-called Vancouver’s earliest neighbourhoods. This theme has also evolved to encompass a continuing community and network of makers holding deep knowledge of the area’s histories, holding visions of the future, and holding ground as the landscape rapidly shifts in the Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Topics have included identity, language, housing, city streets, food, neighbourhoods, landmarks, loss, memories, narratives of the past, and potential futures.

The MPCAS will continue to honour it’s initial framing of PLACE; as a community screen we are beholden to how we are on the land and how we wish to reflect the communities we envision this screen to be for. We also invite and encourage submissions which speak towards the ambiguity of place–of displacement, diaspora, digital and contested space, as well as artists whose work has been inextricably shaped by their time in the communities of this PLACE.

Click here for details and submission forms!

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Interview with Ben Bogart

Ben Bogart’s new work, A diffraction of past/stability and present/dynamism, will be featured on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen from December 17th—26th, 2021. This beautifully complex work will screen for 7.5 hours/day, you can read more about the project here. We will also be presenting Ben’s work in our gallery, with an artist talk in January, 2022. We’re excited to share this work with you, and wanted to introduce you to Ben’s practice — read on for a mini interview with Ben Bogart!

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your creative practice!

I’m a non-binary agender adisciplinary conceptual artist and as I write this I’m constantly distracted by hummingbirds coming to visit my new feeder and delighted watching their tongues as they flick them out of their beaks after each sip of nectar. For over two decades I’ve focused on computational processes as artistic material; I think of the use of computational processes as following from the instruction works of 1960s conceptual art onward. In my artistic practice I’ve engaged with methods including physical modelling, chaotic equations, feedback systems, evolutionary algorithms, computer vision, and machine learning. I’ve diffracted these methods through bodies of knowledge in computational creativity, cognitive neuroscience, psychology of creativity, and quantum physics, and see continuity between my artistic and scholarly practices. Through these disparate methods and disciplines, my work engages with fundamental questions regarding subjectivity, objectivity, knowledge, meaning, emergence, complexity, autonomy, creativity, and thought. In recent years I’ve been thinking through Karen Barad’s Agential Realism and the ways in which boundary-making is fundamental to natural-cultural (physical-conceptual) processes. I’ve come to realize that my professional practice has always troubled and reworked physical and conceptual boundaries.

How did you become engaged with the technology used in your piece for the MPCAS?

My dad worked with computers his entire professional life, from a thesis written using punch cards, through magnetic reel-to-reel tape, to hard disks. He is also a photographer and for nearly as long as I can remember photography and digital imaging were available to me, but I’m not sure I thought of myself as an artist then. It wasn’t until moving to Toronto in 1999 that I was exposed to the “Electronic Media Art” scene that gave me a precedent for thinking about computation and technology as artistic materials. One of the first people I met outside of university was Camille Turner at the Subtle Technologies Conference in 1999 and it was her who introduced me to Jim Ruxton and InterAccess. I owe so much to artists such as David Rokeby and Norman White for expanding my boundaries of artistic practice and imagining a role for technology in it.

In 2001, I made a work using an evolutionary algorithm inspired by Karl Sims—who made a lot of formative computational art in the 1990s. My ongoing use of the Self-Organizing Map—a simple artificial neural network that rearranges pixels according to colour used in the MPCAS piece—started in 2006. My inspiration for using machine learning in art was George Legrady’s Pockets Full of Memories from 2001 which also uses the Self-Organizing Map. It’s hard to demarcate where machine learning differs from other computational methods such as feedback loops, chaos mathematics, or physical models. In all of my engagements with technology I’m looking to develop processes that have the capacity to surprise me. This surprise could be due to my misunderstanding—or the complexity—of the process. I see machine learning as just another engagement with complexity resulting from a process built up from the interactions of many simple components. From this high-level perspective, there is no difference between a physical model made up of many small mass-spring-damper components and artificial neural networks. I provide this short ~20 year personal history because while the tech industry is very good at emphasizing novelty, it is imperative for artists using tech to see their relation with—and situate their work in—the ~70 year history of artists working with electronic and computational technologies.

What interests you about the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen?

Having lived in East Van for a decade now I’ve spent a lot of time on the 10th and Ontario bike routes. Walking and cycling to go shopping at the old MEC store, or just to spend time on Main Street, I’ve seen a lot of changes in Mount Pleasant. I can hardly remember what used to be where The Independent now stands. How long will Kingsgate Mall stay around? What changes will we see in the next 10 years? My interest in public art is situated in a preoccupation with the ways an artwork can relate to its site—not only conceptually but also in terms of structure. My approach to public art involves using technologies that allow the structure of artworks to be created in dialogue with place. I see this as a natural extension of my interest in surprise and emergence where the site itself becomes a collaborator and the form of a work emerges from interactions between algorithms, the site, and my intention. Our city is changing so much and so quickly; there is so much potential for public art that literally (re)structures itself through these changes and reflects the city back to itself through an ongoing and evolving relationship. I hope there will be opportunities for even more ambitious multi-year permanent projects where artworks evolve ‘live’ as the city changes around them. Vancouver seems like an ideal place for this kind of work as we embark on large density projects to make staying here more viable.

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Fire Flower Artist Talk: Phone Access

To access the Project Fire Flower Artist Talk via phone:

One tap mobile
+14388097799,,82174264205#,,,,*041337# Canada
+15873281099,,82174264205#,,,,*041337# Canada
Dial by your location
+1 438 809 7799 Canada
+1 587 328 1099 Canada
+1 647 374 4685 Canada
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Meeting ID: 821 7426 4205
Passcode: 041337
Find your local number: https://us06web.zoom.us/u/kdGd8qavzI
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Tidal Volume Artists Interviews

We asked the Tidal Volume participating artists some questions to get to know them and their work, read on to learn from  Orene Askew (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) and Salia Joseph (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Snuneymuxw) about the project they are creating during this digital artist residency.

Tell us about your creative practice. What projects have you been working on recently?

OA: My creative practice is all over the map, but it has always come back to music. I’m a DJ, Teacher, Activist, Motivational Speaker, and Media/Hip Hop Artist. My piece “O Show Flow,” is being shown at The Yoko Ono Exhibit at The Vancouver Art Gallery until May 2022. I finished filming “The O Show” Documentary by Human Biography earlier this year and now the film is winning awards at flim festivals around the world. I also finished recording my first Hip-Hop Track “Status & Clarity” (Which is featured at The Yoko Ono Exhibit) and filmed the music video for the track that will be out early next year.

SJ: My creative practice is hard to define as it an underlying aspect of how I move through my passions and roles within my community. I see my Squamish commitments as how I give back and what I have to offer. Part of that is through song, through learning and carrying teachings forward. I see cultural, community and creative practice as deeply connected and non-linear.

Can you tell us a bit about what ideas, forms or mediums you’re hoping to work with during this residency?

OA: Working with Salia, we had ideas flowing already in our first Zoom meeting. Our ideas were so similar and as we were talking the announcement of the children found in Tk’emlúps (Kamloops) was around that time. We both have family who had attended residential school and thought we should try to do something with sounds and media that will give back to our community, especially the survivors and the children who didn’t make it home. I don’t want to give too much away, but using sounds in our territory is going to be big part of our project.

SJ: For this residency we are looking to create a series of offerings for our community to help heal the wounds that are ever present, and currently being re-open and exposed with the findings at residential schools. While our own community undertakes their own research at former St. Paul’s residential school we wanted to create healing pieces that could be thought of as lullabies for our past, present and future ones. We are hoping to use pieces of old interview recordings, use of Squamish songs and language as well as sounds from our territory.

What excites you most about this residency? What do you foresee as the biggest challenge?

OA: What excites me about this residency is working with Salia Joseph. She is fluent in our Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Snichim (Squamish Language), has so much to offer, and I know I’m going to learn so much from her. She also has an amazing singing voice . The biggest challenge I foresee will be timing and recording equipment. I’m glad that we have support from a great Producer, Jane Aurora, and I can’t wait to get into her studio and start recording.

SJ: I’m most excited to be able to work with Orene and get to know her better as kin and as an artist. It’s been cathartic and healing for us to plan this work and I’m excited to having something to offer our community that aims to make people feel held and cared for. I’m also really exited to push myself out of my comfort zone and take on a new type of project such as this and continue to grow my creative capacities.

***

Orene Askew (she/ her), aka DJ O Show, brings energy and expertise to every event she hosts and DJs. She brings professionalism and passion and remains true to her love for hip hop and R&B, incorporating beats to ensure you never want to leave the dance floor! Coming from a diverse background, O Show is driven by her passion. She is Afro-Indigenous, two spirited, and a proud member of the Squamish Nation. Feeling as though she stood out in a unique way, she has embraced both her cultural backgrounds and incorporates the teachings she has learned into everything she does. DJ O Show has experience teaching with an inspired approach. She is an inspirational speaker, having traveled across the country to bring ambition and drive to all generations, and an elected member of Squamish Nation Council.

O Show has DJ’d the red carpet for Vancouver Indigenous Fashion Week and was voted the official DJ for YES in Ottawa since 2012 and the official DJ for Gathering Our Voices for five years. She has hosted/MC’d/Played at numerous events, including Bowling for Big Brother’s Classic, Babes on Babes, Hershe and working for radio stations like Vancouver’s Virgin 94.5 and Washington’s Movin’ 92.5. She is the recipient of a 2015 BC Indigenous Business Award, 2018 Stand Out Award from the Vancouver Pride Society, and a 2021 Alumni of Excellence Award from Capilano University.

Salia Joseph, St’ax̱í7alut (she/her) is Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Snuneymuxw, British and Jewish. She is a graduate of the First Nations and Indigenous studies program at UBC and cares deeply about decolonial, and intersectional approaches to learning and caring for one another. Salia is the executive director of Kwi Awt Stelmexw, a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh non profit focused on language revitalization. She is also part owner of a business called Host Consulting inc. which is a Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh consultancy focused on public art and decolonial dialogues.

Maya Hodge is a proud Lardil & Yangkaal woman raised in Mildura, Victoria. Based on the lands of the Kulin Nation (Melbourne), Maya is an emerging artist, published poet, curator and violinist whose work explores the power of healing in the arts, through uplighting First Nations creativity and Aboriginal women’s autonomy.

Maya is a president artist in this mob collective’s art studio, based at Collingwood Yards, and a founding member of Ensemble Duatala, an all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander classical ensemble. Maya has been involved in various projects and exhibitions including dis rupt, YIRRAMBOI Festival (2019); Constant Ecology, Westspace, KINGS Artist-Run (2020); Black Wattle with this mob, ArtsHouse Refuge Program (2021). Maya is currently the Assistant Curator – Exhibitions & Programs at Blak Dot Gallery.

Jarra Karalinar Steel is a multidisciplinary artist known for her Melbourne Art Tram, powerful poster art, large-scale public installations, augmented reality, digital art, emu egg engravings, and commemorative signage. Steel explores her identity, memories, pop culture, folklore from her cultural history, and lived experiences growing up in Melbourne and living on country in culture with knowledge passed down through her family.

Steel is of Boon Wurrung, Wemba Wemba, Trawlwoolway, English and Scottish descent, and is based in Melbourne’s south on Boonwurrung country. She is a passionate advocate and consultant for self-representation of Victorian First Peoples art and culture and making sure it is kept alive and thriving. Her focus in public and community art looks at ways to insert contemporary cultural visual language into the urban and digital landscape by reclaiming space and belonging through digital storytelling.

Images: Orene Askew, photo by Belle Ancell; Salia Joseph, photo by Kaili’l Smith.

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BEYOND COMPLIANCE: Events on Community Care, Access Justice and the Histories and Futures of Disability Culture

BEYOND COMPLIANCE:
Events on Community Care, Access Justice and the Histories and Futures of Disability Culture

Featuring two Events on Trauma-Informed Care by Vo Vo: September 26th & 28th, 2021

These virtual events are being hosted by organizations based on the unceded, stolen, ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) people.

This month, the Open Access Foundation for Arts and Culture (OAFAC) and grunt gallery, in collaboration with Cinevolution, present two free public events with artist and radical educator Vo Vo (bio below). These events are presented as part of OAFAC’s new series, Beyond Compliance, which aims to set a new cultural standard for accessibility by centering the practices of disabled, Crip, D/deaf, Hard of Hearing, Mad, neurodivergent, sick and chronically ill artists, curators, cultural workers and their co-conspirators. Through these events, presenters who hold embodied forms of knowledge pose visions for accessibility that move beyond compliance-level commitments, towards justice.

September 26th, 3:30pm-5:30pm PDT: Public Talk On Trauma-Informed Art Practice

Through this public talk, Vo will introduce some of the fundamentals of Trauma-Informed Care through an anti-racist and disability justice lens. Participants will interact with and reflect on how these principles might be applied to their practice. Vo will outline some dynamics and questions regarding curation, social practice, and art that hopes to address racial and social justice themes. Vo will fold into examples from their own visual and social art practice.

Access offerings will include:

  • Land Acknowledgement by: TwoSpirit Trickster Raven John, a mixed Stó:lō and Coast Salish multidisciplinary artist2Spirit Trickster Raven John.
  • ASL-English Interpretation: Dean and Jodi of Toronto Sign Language.
  • Automatic Captioning by: Otter.AI
  • Graphic Recording by: Corrina Keeling.
  • Visual Description of Images by: Vo Vo & Corrina Keeling.
  • Discord In-Chat Facilitation by: Black-Mixed, Gender Fluid, Neurodiverse-Crip, Equity ChangeMaker, and Storyteller Siobhan Barker (Sio/They/she) & TwoSpirit Trickster Raven John, a mixed Stó:lō and Coast Salish multidisciplinary artist 2Spirit Trickster Raven John.

Ways to Participate:
1. Register for Zoom Webinar here.
We acknowledge that Google Forms is not an accessible tool for all people. Please contact OAFAC’s Accessibility Coordinator, Siobhan Barker, at access@openaccessfoundation.org for alternative ways to register.

2. Watch the livestream on YouTube and Facebook Live: Links TBA

How do the Zoom, YouTube & Facebook Live experiences differ?
Sign up for the Zoom Webinar if you would like to access the Q&A and “raise hand” features. Through YouTube and Facebook Live you will only have access to the chat area, which will periodically be reviewed for questions and comments.

3. Connect on Discord here.

Please direct any questions about this event to: access@openaccessfoundation.org

September 28th, 6pm-7:30pm PDT: Trauma-Informed Critical Reflection Session for Artists and Cultural Workers

This event is a participatory workshop that leads participants through questions and criteria for their current, or yet-to-exist work or event. Reflection questions will cover long-term impact, sustainability, equity or reparations lens, social, gender and racial justice, accessibility aspects, social impact assessment, context, community need, site-specificity, proposed futures, possible futures, and alignment with the makers.

Access offerings will include:

  • Auto-generated captions by Zoom
  • ASL—English Interpretation
  • A transcript of the workshop will be made available after the event (in English)

Register for this workshop here.

Please direct any questions about this event to: access@grunt.ca

Vo Vo is a radical educator of 11 years in over 20 countries in inclusion, racial justice, intercultural communication, trauma-informed care, de-escalation and transformative justice. Their work explores support strategies and models of community care within a post-traumatic social landscape, focusing on the resilience of BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+ and disabled communities. They have trained staff and board members from over 300 organizations in OR and WA since immigrating to the US in 2014. Editor of an internationally renowned publication, speaker, curator, artist and musician who has exhibited and toured in Australia, Germany, Indonesia, The Netherlands, Singapore, Croatia, Mexico, Finland, Denmark, New Zealand, Vietnam, Sweden, Malaysia, and the States. Local festival organizer. One of the festivals they curate is IntersectFest: A Festival For and By People Of Color – now in its sixth year. It has featured over 200 Black, Indigenous, and POC artists, including dancers, poets, filmmakers, curators, visual artists and more. It also creates space to discuss radical political approaches to community organizing and artistic practice. Their recently initiated career as a visual artist has seen them primarily work in textiles, embroidery, weaving, and furniture building. Their installations seek to interrogate power dynamics, structural oppression, challenge histories and realities of imperialism, white supremacy and colonization. They continue to explore support strategies and models of community care within a post-traumatic social landscape, focusing on the resilience of BIPOC, LGBTQIA2S+ and disabled communities.

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River Journeys

River Journeys
September 25th, 2021
Online via Zoom — click here to join

What was it like to travel along the Mackenzie River a thousand years ago? Two hundred years ago? Or one hundred years ago?

For World Rivers Day, artists from Canada’s north were asked to consider this question. Their new works will be unveiled at grunt gallery on Saturday September 25th at 1:30pm PDT via Zoom.

Sculptor John Sabourin created a work based on the ancient story of the giant Yamoria, who carved out waterfalls along the Mackenzie. Performance artist Jeneen Frei Njootli was inspired by the oral history, “The First Axe,” which describes an encounter between the Dene and a white trader around 1800. Curator Sharon Snowshoe will present Chief Jim Koe’s story of the signing of Treaty 11, one hundred years ago. Finally, filmmakers Peter Mather and Arlyn Charlie will give a sneak peek of wildlife they encountered this summer while canoeing down the Peel River to the Arctic Ocean.

Join us for this unique celebration of the river known as the Dehcho, the “Big River”.

This event is hosted by Drew Ann Wake. Wake received her BA in Anthropology and an MA in Sociology from the University of British Columbia. She then went to work for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, attending the hearings of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry as it travelled to thirty Dene and Inuvialuit communities across the Northwest Territories. After a stint as a museum curator, she began developing educational games that have now been played by 25,000,000 students around the world.

Accessibility: ASL interpretation and auto-generated captions and transcription by otter.ai will be provided. We acknowledge that live translation means that some words may not be translated accurately to English and we welcome your feedback and questions in the comments during the presentation.

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TIDAL VOLUME:  Sound-Based Indigenous Exchange Residency

Tidal Volume is a digital artist residency featuring Indigenous artists from Vancouver and Melbourne, Australia. Tidal Volume is designed as a ‘call and response’ residency that creates an opportunity for Indigenous culture-bearers and artists to work with sound, song, language, spoken word and text to connect across distance. Produced in the context of the pandemic, Tidal Volume asks us to consider what presence means when we can’t be in physical spaces together. How might we communicate — and listen — differently?

The waterways and coastlines of Vancouver and Melbourne set the basis for exploration: both ocean and river represent rich history, complex currents, exchange and deep knowledge. It is also a contentious place, a defining factor in increasingly urgent discussions around nationhood, access, jurisdictional boundaries and climate change. As we seek to revisit, explore and nurture histories of the foreshore, we also seek to provide a space and a support network for artists to interrogate and expand our understanding of the land and waters around us.

Artists Salia Joseph (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Snuneymuxw) and Orene Askew (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh) participated in this 4-week exploratory sound-based exchange with Maya Hodge (Lardil & Yangkaal) and Jarra Steel (Boonwurrung & Wemba Wemba) from September 27th—October 24th, 2021. Learn more about the artists here.

Click here to watch a captioned recording of the final event and artwork presentation, which took place online on November 19th, 2021.

Tidal Volume is presented by grunt gallery and The Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency (Vancouver, CA) in collaboration with Footscray Community Arts Centre (Melbourne, AU).

Funded by the generous support of the Australia Council for the Arts and the Canada Council for the Arts.

Image: Jarra Karalinar Steel, 2021.

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