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  • Aug 23, 2016
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  • Comments Off on I really shouldn’t say: an affected archive

Corinna Morgenstern, 9 years old, Sandra Semchuk, 1976, black and white photographic print, 15cm x 18.5 cm.

I really shouldn’t say: an affected archive
Guest curated by Cole Thompson
September 16 to October 22

The traditional archive rarely succumbs to an emotive state. Archetypal imaginings of these spaces are composed of cold, austere rows of serialized compartments that struggle to reflect the human presence contained within them. When communities are able to access these formal, institutionalized archives, is their relationship to the stored objects proximate enough to be significant? Can objects spur emotion or trace relationships if information is incomplete, inaccessible or too distant? And when indifference yields to emotion, what new sets of possibilities and complications follow in its wake?

I really shouldn’t say: an affected archive flirts with the variety of possible outcomes produced when the archive is approached through an affectionate lens. Comprised of a series of vignette archival installations, the exhibition envisions AKA artist-run centre’s collection of archival photographs, slide images, exhibition posters, correspondence, artist multiples and more, as a network of human relations rather than a collection of objects. These relationships extend in a multitude of directions – within the organization, between organizations, to the international art world, to multidisciplinary communities, and to physical and immaterial spaces – and illustrate the variety of human traces that populate the archives of localized artist-run centres (ARCs).

The intimate nature of the archive also provokes consideration regarding who is in a position to analyze and interpret its contents. The faces and relationships that populate the archive are conspicuous within diverse communities, and the relatively short time span over which objects have accumulated (the Shoestring Gallery, AKA’s former moniker, was established in 1971) allows these networks of individuals to be easily recognized by their contemporaries. Often reading like a family photograph album, the affected archive on view in I really shouldn’t say evades an authoritative understanding from outside, and may simply be the uninformed interpretation of a distant relative.

Cole Thompson

Cole Thompson is originally from Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and has resided in Saskatoon since 2010. Entering his final year of undergraduate studies in art history and regional & urban planning at the University of Saskatchewan, he takes particular interest in conceptually-driven and socially-engaged artistic practices, and directs much of his investigation and writing towards these modes of artistic creation. Cole Thompson has been the Archives Resident at AKA artist-run centre since May 2016.


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