April 23 - 29, 2012
Curated by Christof Migone
A new series pairing up artists for week-long interventions throughout Mississauga. The starting premise for this itinerant series is to temporally and spatially splinter and dislocate the gallery in order to present work that delivers itself to you. In other words, if you cannot come to the gallery, the gallery will come to you
To Door, A Verb
Do not knock.(1)
Following two editions of The Projects: Port Credit (the off-site exhibitions in Port Credit, Mississauga in the summers of 2009 and 2010), Door to Door is the Blackwood Gallery’s new series of off-site interventions set to include Mississauga as a whole. Door to Door will consist of ten invited artists creating works to be delivered door to door. Door to Door brings the off-site thrust of the Blackwood's summer programming to its logical extreme: if you cannot come to the gallery, the gallery will come to you. Inspired in part by Lucy Lippard's famous curatorial projects 557,087 and 995,000 whose numbered titles corresponded to the population of the city where the project was being presented (respectively Seattle in 1969 and Vancouver in 1970). Here, the impossible goal is to reach every resident of Mississauga, population 704,000 (according to the highway sign). Needless to say, the goal will not be reached but completion is not the principal purpose, rather it is the staging of one-to-one encounters and exchanges.
The curatorial premise of Door to Door is unabashedly utopic, it engages frontally with the implicit article of faith that art can act as a force of engagement, a conversation trigger, a tool for creative reflection. There is no naive presumption that reception will always be positive, or that we will be welcomed. There is no fetishization of the encounter. As the title suggests, The Projects: Port Credit placed an accent on the proposal or propositional stage of a work (what might or could happen). In other words, the focus was on change, plans for change. Door to Door shifts the question to one of exchange. In his classic ethnographic study, The Gift, Marcel Mauss summarized the practice of gift exchange as one containing "three obligations: to give, to receive, to reciprocate."(2) The set of rules in our case will of course be less rigid and regulated. With this particular frame, the economy that is applied requires no reciprocity, nor even reception. It is the gesture of giving that is exhibited, the rest is beyond our control.
Myriad questions arise as soon as the tangible aspects of realization are considered: if someone answers the door once knocked, is the art shown, heard, given, or performed? Or is the art to be left at the unknocked door. If so, how many objects at each door, or how many objects total? How are the doors selected? What if the gift is refused? These questions are largely alien in a traditional exhibition. The givens of an exhibition have vanished; this is outreach, literally, a reaching out. The choice of dispersal activity becomes integral to the artwork. Questions for the participating artists become: Delivery by car, on foot, by mail? How are the addresses selected? How many and for how long? Is it. a day long dérive or a week of 7am wake up calls? Is an object given or just shown? Is a performance presented? Is it in an upscale neighborhood or a strip mall? Everyone who’s last name starts with P or every blue door? Are you presenting yourself as a Jehovah’s Witness, an encyclopedia peddler or, blatantly and transparently, a contemporary artist? Or is the doorbell rung and you run?
Arising from this adventure are a multitude of ethical and legal questions. We acknowledge them not as hindrances, but as fascinating encapsulations of the societal conditions which regulate exchange. The aim is not to endanger but to astonish, albeit in an intimate manner. It may be the case that deliveries will need to be pre-arranged, but even if the element of surprise or furtiveness has to be removed this roaming exhibition still stands as a unique context through which to produce work and engage with an audience. With Door to Door we are heeding part of Brian O'Doherty's call in the very last sentence of his "The Gallery as a Gesture" essay: "Or the gallery itself could be removed and relocated to another place."(3) Here the gesture is even more radical, it is not longer off-site, but site-less. Or, it could be said that it invokes the gallery site every time that the artist shows up at the door and knocks on the door or rings the bell. A radical curatorial premise perhaps, though, however oddly, one that is simultaneously quaint, even neighborly. An exhibition home delivery service. A cumulation of instant sites. An exhibition of moments. We are dislocating the gallery through a spatial and temporal splintering process. It is here and there, and there, and there, ... Mapping projects by artists do abound. As well, the street is often sought as a venue for it is perceived as a context where the public is at its most random and least contrived. Door to Door belongs to both of these lineages, but investigates the specificity of where public space meets private domicile. The audience is no longer the passersby but the resident, the occupant, the one who answers the door.
Door to Door, an exhibition which knocks on your door and delivers itself to you.
- Christof Migone, Director/Curator, Blackwood Gallery
Where are we? Centered on one residential suburban street in Mississauga, Ontario, this postcard series presents five possible answers to this question. Temagami Crescent's name, like that of so many other streets around it, maps one Indigenous reality—in this case, Temagami First Nation on Bear Island, Ontario—onto another—Mississauga First Nation—managing to obscure the Indigenous character of both in the process. Working against this naturalizing tendency, this project maps a series of five overlapping regions, defined by characteristics such as present-day First Nations communities, watersheds, treaties, correctional facilities, plant species and etymology. The maps are delivered as postcards, one a day for a week, to each household on Temagami Crescent, and are posted simultaneously on the artist's website, ginabadger.ca. An illustrated practice of learning the land, this project has been developed for a largely non-Indigenous audience by an artist who is the descendent of settlers in Treaty 6 territory, in present-day Alberta.
Gina Badger is an artist and writer working in the expanded field of sculpture and installation. Her favoured research methods include listening, walking, eating and drinking. She has presented work internationally at venues including The Kitchen (NYC); LACMA (Los Angeles); Issue Project Room (NYC); and the London School of Economics and Political Science (UK), and has recently published in the journals No More Potlucks, Scapegoat and Public, and in the books Intellectual Birdhouse: Artistic Practice as Research (Walther Konig) and Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices (YYZ). Currently living and working in Toronto, Badger holds an M.S. in Visual Studies from MIT. A collaborator at heart, Gina is a member of the Montreal-based Artivistic Collective, and is currently the editorial director of FUSE Magazine.
The artist wishes to acknowledge and express thanks for access to the diverse histories and bodies of knowledge that inform this project, and would like to acknowledge in particular the territory of the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation and the astute and generous folks at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.
An interactive performance project that delves into the significance of a simple act of shaping eyebrows, and the impact it has on the daily routine of Mississauga households. The women who participate in the project will take some time out from their regular chores, and I will observe how they experience the meaningful and productive results of such an encounter.
In Threading Encounters I offer randomly selected women to invite me to their house for the purpose of getting their eyebrows shaped and threaded by me. Upon meeting a complete stranger in the privacy of their home, I intend to examine the dynamics of 'engagement' and the quality of a spontaneous conversation between unknown individuals during an intimate and intrusive act.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990), the founding co-director of Quality of Life Research Institute, called the concept of engagement 'Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience', which he defined as a state in which a subject becomes totally absorbed in an activity; a state of focused attention characterized by decreased self-consciousness and time awareness.
The Threading Encounter begins at the very moment when a willing participant receives my project flyer and makes a call to set an appointment, inviting me to their home. Once there, together we establish a suitable space, select a chair, improvise available lighting, and get to know each other. During the threading activity, which has its own set of distinct gestural and physical dynamics, I initiate a conversation that evokes curiosity, stimulates memory, and provides opportunities to hear personal stories and make friends, all the while both of us are completely engaged in the activity.
Since threading in the Greater Toronto Area is the preferred method of removing facial hair by the women of South Asian origin, the project also examines the relevance of minority identity politics, the multi-layered collective memories and expressions of communities within the diversity of Canada. Finding a salon offering this service is amongst the first things an immigrant South Asian woman looks for in any new land. I see this act as a subtle yet strong cultural expression of adhering to previous conditioning and the small pleasures found in familiarity.
Threading Encounters is documented through photographs taken at participating households as well as a log journal, documenting the flyer distribution, phone calls, appointments made, and the visit itself.
WANT TO PARTICIPATE?
Call Tazeen at 416-309-0011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to setup an appointment. Women of all ages and backgrounds are welcome.
Mon - Friday: 10am-6pm
Sat: 11am - 6pm
Sun: 11am - 6pm
Tazeen Qayyum is a contemporary miniature painter who received her BFA in Visual Arts from the National College of Arts Lahore, Pakistan in 1996. Her work has been shown internationally in both solo and group exhibitions, some of which include ' The Veiled' at the Textile Museum of Canada, 'The Rising Tide: New Directions in Art from Pakistan 1990 -2010', Mohatta Palace Museum, Pakistan, ‘Urban Myths & Modern Fables’, University of Sydney, Australia and UTSC, Toronto, ‘A Thousand and One Days: The Art of Pakistani Women Miniaturists’ at the Academy of Art, Honolulu, Hawaii, ‘JAALA Exhibition at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum, Japan, ‘Homecoming’, at the National Gallery of Pakistan and 'CodeLive Metro' at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. Her work has received several critical reviews including in The New York Times (2009) and The Globe and Mail (2011)
She has created collaborative performance artwork titled 'Double Date' (2006-07) produced by SAVAC (South Asian Visual Arts Center), Toronto and AKA Gallery, Saskatoon, Canada and 'A Feast in Exile' (2009) produced by VASL Artists' Collective, Karachi.
Qayyum's work was included in the 10th Asian Biennale, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2002), 2nd Painting Biennale, Tehran, Iran (2002) and has been featured at the Sotheby's and the Christie's South Asian Modern & Contemporary Art auction in New York (2008-9). Qayyum was awarded a UNESCO bursary (2000) to work and exhibit in Vienna.
Generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.