Next to nothing

L’Invention des animaux: Jocelyn Robert
October 19 – November 9, 2002

a response to the exhibition by mariianne mays

An aeroplane in the sky, a white silhouette in the wide open blue, moving, distorted, relaxed again, pulled out of shape again. Accompanied by high, piping noises, not disagreeable, more like some cute little animal, coming and going. The invention of animals? What kind of a title is this, much too heavy with content for such a light-spirited work.

– from transmediale go public! exhibition, on-line catalogue

It’s human habit that leans us to metaphor, and comfort; and Jocelyn Robert teases this practice with L’Invention des animaux. Robert’s ingenuous installation — the whimsical, erratic image of a plane projected onto a large video screen, the “cute” blips and bleets, chirps and ambient noise traffic of the accompanying audio piece — calls to mind childhood summer afternoons. Lying on your back, staring up at the clouds in the wide, blue sky, who hasn’t brought other shapes and creatures to life by a dreamy slip of the eye, a quick and simple imaginary equation? There is more than one way to make up animals, to bring imaginary beings to life. Rather than invoke metaphor, L’Invention des animaux proposes another model: daydreaming.
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Unexpected Encounters: Micheline Durocher, Christine Horeau, Marie-Christine Simard, Cydra MacDowall, Gail Bourgeois
September 14 – October 12, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Susan Turner

Gail Bourgeois began her ongoing curatorial research in 1999 while living and teaching in Montreal. The following year she produced found image with my history, a charcoal drawn diptych of an isolated house with no windows or doors, and paired it with a bulb and its root tendrils meandering below the surface. For her this drawing was profoundly disturbing and seemed emblematic both of an understanding she’d reached about her family relationships as well as about the gap between the binaries we ascribe to our understanding of our relation to the world. It was the catalyst to question what other artists might do with the same themes that interested her: “ruptures and the ordered flow of existence caused by a breakdown in expectations;” “the difficulty of human communication;” and the “urge to make a home or to nest.” After several studio visits, she selected the work of Montreal artists Micheline Durocher, Christina Horeau, and Marie-Christine Simard, and Cyndra MacDowell from Toronto. The exhibition was first seen at Women’s Art Resource Centre in Toronto. For the Winnipeg showing, the work of Helene Dyck was added. The exhibition will also travel to AKA in Saskatoon and will there add Monika Napier, from Saskatoon, and then to the Richmond Art Gallery, and will pick up a Vancouver artist as yet to be selected.
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Next to nothing

Grocery Store: Live in the Exchange!: The Co-Op Collective (dempsey / millan / zab / moore)
August 9 – August 31, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Christopher Olson

When I was a child, I would accompany my father selling his prints and paintings in Old Market Square. Our table was set up next to folks selling everything from produce to used books, and to pass the time I made crayon and water-colour pictures that I would sell for a dollar. I guess you could say my art career began early.

As did my love affair with the Exchange. During my teen years I spent Saturdays Zen-navigating the streets, digging for treasure in used bookstores, taking pictures of graffiti in the alleys (“Wpg HELL” was a favourite) and spending my evenings at Emma G’s when I wasn’t going to punk shows at the Cauldron and the Albert.
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WEATHERVANE II: Curated by Marian Butler
July 18 – July 28, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Allisa York

Weather. It’s only natural that the word should present itself first in the role of noun — it surrounds and affects us constantly, after all. In the process of responding to part two of the Weather Vane project, however, I found myself dwelling on the idea of weather as verb. “To expose to or affect by atmospheric changes.” Or, even more compelling, “to come safely through, to survive.” Life marks us. Learning to speak Italian (or Cantonese, or Swahili) forges new synaptic pathways, lines of language laid indelible on the brain. A broken heart can knit like a bone but will remain forever vulnerable along the seam. Bodies record (and often recount) the essential narratives of life — foreheads creased in fury or in thought, shoulders rounded in shame, hymens torn, bellies stretched until they stripe. “Look,” a woman might say, touching a fingertip to her thigh, tracing a smattering of glassy scars, “here’s where I hit a gravel patch and felt my first bicycle betray me. I remember, I bit my lips while my dad pressed tweezers into my flesh and plucked out every stone.”
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The Romance of Everything

The Face of Everything: Daniel Barrow
July 18 – July 28, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Robert Enright

Winnipeg artist Daniel Barrow is a latter-day romantic who is conducting an ongoing inquiry into the nature and conditions of the romantic sensibility. In Looking for Love in the Hall of Mirrors (2001) he used his special form of animated drawing to present a portrait of the would-be artist as a young man-about-town, discovering the contours of urban life and of his blossoming sexuality. It was a charming annunciation – coming on while coming out – and in both technique and content it held out considerable promise.
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Climate Control: Ken Gregory
July 18 – July 29, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Hope Peterson

This is… this is… this is…

The ping of existence, sounding gently, is at the core of Ken Gregory’s latest work Climate Control – or How to Predict the Weather with a Pig Spleen. How can a machine affirm Life? Not ease, enhance or document life, but profoundly confirm the existence of all living matter. Not sentience, but that throbbing, base, survival-mad life we all clutch so close, defend and risk for the unknowing joy of it. I can’t entertain here the personification of any built object – this is of course human nonsense and the wishing of a child. And artificial intelligence as we currently understand it does not enter into the artist’s goals. Despite my resistance to anthropomorphic comparisons, with a sudden vision of reproductive technology inverted I dream the following non-theory: if the inventor transposes his body, his lived experience, into his mechanical product, it will mirror the joy of creation. For an artist working at a high level of technological interrogation, there results a most unique byproduct: the warm machine.
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The New Myth: Wendy Wersch
June 13 – July 6, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Bev Pike

Grace, my thousand-year old cat, is snoozing peacefully next to me as I write. She is dying, dear Reader. I watch her deteriorate hourly, and worry over her coping with her difficulties. All I can do is give her love and try to alleviate her troubles a little. It helps us to try to engage with the character that used to live inside her body as she is fading away.
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Frames Frozen

sno-screen: Various Artists
February 23, 2002

a project of aceartinc. and the National Screen Institute held in Old Market Square including work by U of M video students

a response to the exhibition by Alex Poruchnyk

It all seemed to start when jake moore saw Heaven, a co-production by Jack Lauder and Lloyd Brandson, at a Video Pool First Video Fund meeting held one snowy night. In Lauder and Brandson’s video, two people walk off across the lake on a frozen winter day wearing only the barest of necessities. Eventually, they disappear on the horizon.

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The Remains of the Task

Polish: Mary Kavanagh
February 22 – March 23, 2002
a response to the exhibition by Alison Gillmor

You see a long, narrow table draped in white linen and heaped with silver. Hundreds and hundreds of cups, plates, trays, vases, knives, spoons. At one end of the table a woman is seated, patiently polishing a dish with a small white cloth. For four hours a day for the duration of the show, this is what she does: she chooses one tarnished object from the table, takes one clean cloth from a pile on a nearby wooden cabinet, and she polishes. When she is finished polishing, the woman removes a small, hand-written identifying tag from the object and pins it to the cloth. The object, now gleaming and free of tarnish, is replaced on the table; the cloth, now mussed and marked, is placed on another pile on the cabinet. This process is videotaped.
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Lucky Human

Lucky Rabbit: Holly Newman
February 22 – March 23, 2002

a response to the exhibition by Heidi Eigenkind

Imagine being a child. A favourite adult takes you to a store. In the store there is room in which 200 objects are on display. The adult says, “You can choose any one of these and take it home.” All of them are lovely, although each of them is lovely in its own way. Some have tags hanging from them. On the tags, other visitors, both adults and children, have written stories. You can write a story too, if you want, at a small desk on which blank tags and pencils wait. Imagine: all that excitement and pleasure. All that tension: which one to choose.
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