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The Society of Affective Archives, L’étreinte des temps, 2019. Photo: Guy L’Heureux; Patricia Domínguez, The eyes will be the last to pixelate, 2016. Photogram, Kerstin Honeit, [ˈzi:lo]5, 2019. Video still

REMEMBER, PERFORM, FORGET: Binding Space Through Utopia

  • Event
  • Past Event
  • Contemporary Art
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PHI Foundation 465 Saint-Jean Street
G5 Space
Montréal, Québec H2Y 2R6

Event Series ↗
August 16—27, 2023

Video Program ↗
August 16—27, 2023
From 12 PM to 6 PM

Free admission

The notion of public art is a utopian and contradictory concept that can only be achieved through extraordinary circumstances, as it is meant to be fully public, made by the people, for the people, as Lucy Lippard wrote in her 1977 essay, “Art Outdoors, In and Out of the Public Domain.” [1] At that time, only one example had achieved this democratic form of art, which will be presented as part of this program of events in the film Brigada Ramona Parra (1970). It encapsulates a political utopia at a given moment that will serve as the basis for an ideal political climate for this project. Is art best created under certain political conditions? 

REMEMBER, PERFORM, FORGET: Binding Space Through Utopia is a program of gatherings with Kerstin Honeit, The Society of Affective Archives, and Rodolfo Andaur, that is grounded in historical references that problematize the notion of place and public art. In particular, this includes the issues of governance, freedom, gender inequality, accessibility, the permanence of objects, the ephemerality of collective memory, and the documentation and preservation of past events. Is it possible to preserve only through the performance of oral tradition? Do we rely more on objects than people to solidify a collective memory? These references will be examined in the presentation of a series of videos that groups archival and art video works that articulate history as well as a conception of the future. 

Through the presentation of a series of videos, and various events comprising artist talks, publication launches, and outdoor activities, the program invites us to envision the notion of place and the role of public art through the lens of an idealized political climate wherein we can evolve. These issues are challenged by The Society of Affective Archives, Kerstin Honeit, and Rodolfo Andaur’s practices. They will each relate their research to their respective locations—Montréal being a connecting site for them— as well as their respective cultural and artistic backgrounds. What is made of a place is what the public makes of it: we build, reject, and create our own freedoms and powers. Through different narratives, words, actions, and curation, there will be a sharing of perspectives on how ecologies and economies are partly cherished and demonized. Ultimately, this program asks: can public art belong to everyone, and how do we inhabit spaces to make them ours? 

Curated by Victoria Carrasco

1. Lucy R. Lippard, “Art Outdoors, In and Out of the Public Domain,” Studio International 193, no. 986 (March/April 1977): 84. 

In her essay, Lippard states numerous times that public art does not exist under the idea of what public art really is, as it is supposed to partly fulfill the social needs of a specific environment and aesthetic intent of the artist. Lippard says of the most successful example: “Nothing has responded better to these needs in American cities than the burgeoning mural movement, modelled in part of the Chilean mural brigades, whose effectiveness was proven by the Junta’s haste to erase them when Allende’s government was overthrown.”

This program is made possible thanks to The Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance (ICPP) Leadership Fellowship with support from the Ford Foundation. We would like to thank the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) for generously providing us with these films, as well as the Goethe-Institut Montreal for their support.

Video Program

About the video program

The archival portion of this video program foregrounds issues of place and public art, such as: the influence of modern art on gender disparity and the inclusion of international artists; the lack of context and documentation of public art; and a new way to think about territory. Central to this portion are the documentaries Brigada Ramona Parra and Jacques Giraldeau’s La forme des choses, which tie Lucy Lippard’s idea of utopian public art in 1970s Chile together with the experiment of an outdoor public art symposium [1] that left its remains on the Mount Royal in Montréal.

Other documentary pieces like Jean Palardy’s Artiste à Montréal showcase a productive era in terms of Montréal DIY spaces in the 1950s, as well as the influences of modernity on art practices, including public art. French and English collide in this film, and for a few minutes we see a young Armand Vaillancourt sculpting L’Arbre de la rue Durocher (1953–1956), which is part of the permanent collection of the Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.

On a contemporary front, L’étreinte des temps by Maxime Pelletier-Huot is an archive of the work behind the sculpture of the same name, one of the first public art pieces produced by women to be installed on the Mount Royal mountain since the symposium in 1964. Finally, the documentary Managing Displacements from Geography documents an exploration trip through the Atacama Desert, directed by Chilean curator Rodolfo Andaur, who leads with an education and exchange process encounters and builds parallels with other countries and contexts.

The second portion of the program, titled Futures presents feminist perspectives—long excluded from public art—contextualizing spaces and histories, and challenging political and social issues of class, memory, nature, and feminism. Recalling Brigada Ramona Parra, Madre Drone by Patricia Domínguez juxtaposes various layers including the natural disasters in Brazil and Bolivia in 2019, when Chile was boiling with protests that would lead to a change of government and rewriting the constitution.

Farming by Alanis Obomsawin and Patagonian Orchids: Letter to Chile by Pilar Quinteros show exploitative traditional practices, prompting existential questions about land. The Pavilion by Jasmina Cibic is the reconstruction of an image of the Pavilion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, originally built in Barcelona for the 1929 World Exposition, and then rebuilt through a performance by women. Kerstin Honeit offers an alternative voice, a missing Herstory, on social issues in relation to historical preservation in my castle your castle and [ˈzi:lo]5, a video created in Montréal on the abandoned Silo #5 structure, built in the 1900, Honeit reproduces repetitive gestures through a performance of conservator tasks from landmark archives. Ultimately, maybe we can arrive there / 或许我们可以到那里 by Yutong Lin underlines the power of memory through a personal situation. Reading and the power of words challenge preservation for people and places.

Finally, the documentary Yo He Sido, Yo Soy, Yo Seré [I Was, I Am, I Will Be] will be presented. The documentary, produced by Heynowski & Scheumann, is a rare record of what happened in the concentration camps of Chacabuco and Pisagua, during the 1970s dictatorship in Chile.

1. In 1964, the Montréal International Sculpture Symposium took place on Mount Royal. 12 international artists and two Canadians, one of which was the only woman to be included, were selected to produce a sculpture onsite as part of the symposium, transforming the glades on the mountain into an open studio. Canadian public art in its early years was prominent and mostly male-dominated, modern, and internationally focused.

PROGRAM 1

Articulation of an archive (73 min)
12 PM and 3PM

• Brigada Ramona Parra, Álvaro Ramírez, 1970, 12 min, Spanish
• La forme des choses, Jacques Giraldeau, 1965, 10 min
• L'étreinte des temps, The Society of Affective Archives and Maxime Pelletier-Huot, 2018, 17 min, French
• Artiste à Montréal, Jean Palardy, 1954, 29 min, English, French subtitles
• Managing New Displacements from Geography, 2018, 4 min 14 s, Spanish, English subtitles

PROGRAM 2

Futures (74 min)
1:30 PM and 4:30 PM

• my castle your castle, Kerstin Honeit, 2017, 15 min, English
• Madre Drone, Patricia Dominguez, 2019–2020, 20 min 51 s
• The Pavilion, Jasmina Cibic, 2015, 6 min 43 s, English
• Farming, Alanis Obomsawin, 1975, 3 min
• Patagonian Orchids: Letter to Chile, Pilar Quinteros, 2020, 5 min 11 s, Spanish, English subtitles
• maybe we can arrive there / 或许我们可以到那里, Yutong Lin, 2023, 9 min, Nakhi and Yunnan Mandarin, English subtitles
• [ˈzi:lo]5, Kerstin Honeit, 2019, 15 min, English

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