Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cultural Engineering: Investigative Media

Over the next two years, an extraordinary transformation will take place at Arts Court. The Ottawa Art Gallery will be pulling up stakes and moving into a brand new purpose-built high-rise in the lot next door. Arts Court will be renovated and connected with the new building, and a reconfigured interior will see SAW Video take up new digs, including a new media art gallery for the presentation of works. Though physical changes to the site have not yet gotten underway, numerous invested parties have been working towards this goal for a long period of time.

Timothy I. Smith, Daly Avenue And Nicholas Street, November 27th, 2014, 2015, digital  video

SAW Video has commissioned a number of artists to produce media artworks in order to chart, and at the same time contemplate, the progress of the Arts Court Redevelopment. The selected artists will be excavating the complex significance of the site. Though they are participants in the ambitious undertaking, they are at enough of a remove to provide a critical perspective on it. The title of the project, Cultural Engineering, makes reference to an exhibition of video, installations and texts by the artist Tom Sherman at the National Gallery of Canada in 1983. In the 1980s, Tom Sherman was also one of the founding editors of FUSE magazine, which published investigative journalism by artists. The artists in this project are conducting similar artistic research, and what their investigations unearth will be published here for your consideration.

On a regular basis, the Cultural Engineering artists will be publishing their new work on a specially designed website conceived of as a kind of on-line magazine. I am the Project Coordinator, and I will be contributing an introductory text for each issue. Link to the first issue here. Stay tuned for further reports from the field.

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