18 Jun

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Our (Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc)collaborative videos Illumination (2016) and Work and Love (1990 – part of Slices of Life) have been selected for the Output-Input exhibition. EMMEDIA Member’s Retrospective Exhibition runs: July 14 – August 26, 2017.

 

http://emmedia.ca/

5 Jun

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Our collaborative (Daniel H. Dugas and Valerie LeBlanc) video Illumination has been selected for screening at the MIX Conference, Bath, UK.
Date: 10th -12th July 2017

Poetry Film Screenings at Mix

This selection has been curated by Lucy English, Reader in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, co- founder of Liberated Words which creates, curates and screens poetry films and Zata Banks, founder of PoetryFilm, an influential research arts project and film screening series.

The selected films reveal the energy and commitment to the poetry film genre by its practitioners, and explore the different approaches to combining words with moving image. Some of our filmmakers are well known and have received many accolades; others are new to the field.

Revolution.

Othneil Smith. If We Must Die.

Tommy Becker. Song for Disobedient Youth

Lemar Barrett. Electric Roses

Jordan Caylor. Untitled

Helen Dewbery. The Goose

Manuel Vilarinho. No Pais Dos Sacanas

Regeneration

Jim Pomeroy. Words

Marie Craven. Anatomy

Cindy St. Onge. Road to Damascus

Dave Bonta. Grassland

Matthew Griffith. Pain in Colour

Reflections

Damon Moore. The Multi Storey Car Park in Trenchard Street

Shuhei Hatona. Seventh Window

Valerie LeBlanc and Daniel Dugas. Illumination

Sophie Seita. Objects I Cannot Touch

Angie Bogachenko. Oracle of a Found Shoe

Cheryl Gross . Shop

Fin Harvor. The Carpet 1.

Andrew Demirijan. I Tremble with Anticipation

Kate Flaherty. A Mouse’s Prayer.

More information about the films and the film makers/poets can be found on the MiX conference website.

22 Apr

“Platform 450,” a transdisciplinary initiative hosted on the 450 acres of the Deering Estate, will draw together varied practices that converge on the exploration of scientific data and new technologies as they relate to our natural and historic site.

Works on display demonstrate artistic practices that use virtual reality, microscopic imagery, sea level rise modeling, and social media with artists that include: Priscilla Aleman, Archival Feedback- Thom Wheeler Castillo & Emile Milgrim, Dan Alvarez, Willie Avendano, John William Bailly, Frida Baranek, O’Neal Bardin III, Xavier Cortada, Mark Diamond, Ediel Dominguez, Maxwell Hartley, Valerie LeBlanc & Daniel H. Dugas, Home Eleven -Nelly Bonilla & Oscar Luna, Ian Honore, Peter Hosfeld, Carol Jazzar, Charles Lindsay, Richard Medlock, Luciano Rabuske, Gretchen Scharnagl, Skip Snow, Kyle Trowbridge, Freda Tschumy, Keith Waddington.

“Platform 450” Deering Spring Contemporary
Exhibit and Event Schedule for Saturday, April 22, 2017

Exhibition on view daily through June 26

 

More info >>>>

16 Mar

Once we enter into a photograph, even for a fleeting glance, we become changed. And if we take the time to look around ‘in there’, imagining the view to the left and right, farther off in the horizon and even back behind us, we can be there with the person who looks out to us. As she/he looks into the camera, we look back to her/him through the lens of the photographer; on a clear day, time and space melt in between.

Most of the photographs that I have seen on writer/journalist Paul Seesequasis’ Facebook postings of First Nations people appear to imply an agreeable exchange between the camera operator and the subject; a mutual collaboration from one side of the lens to the other.[1] That agreement might be the major difference between this archival collection and other pictorial exposés of rural and northern life in Canada, Nunavut and south of the Medicine Line.[2]

Although political, economic, and even geological historical events might be found inside those frames, these are not the perceived focus in the Seesequasis’ photo project. Perhaps equally important, these photos do not speak of relocations of aboriginal peoples from their traditional hunting and fishing territories.[3] Unlike official archival collections of the past, these photographs feature a rich domestic life, the joy of living and spiritual presence.

The collection shows family life and activities of daily life in times of peace, in rural or extreme northern settings. The themes are ones that everyone can find in their family albums. It also forms part of that bigger history of life inside First Nations communities and a sharing of culture. To describe the profound impact of any photograph can be difficult. In this specific project, I both ‘do not know’ the people in the photographs, and I know them. I know some of the time periods firsthand, and I know others from looking through my own family’s albums; archive searches; from studying; and from living some of those events myself.

For several months I have opened Facebook to see the archival postings of Paul Seesequasis. I don’t pass a lot of time on Facebook, I missed some but saw many. During that time, I felt that these photos bring us all to that time; we can share what was happening: We take the wagon home from the blueberry field, laugh with the children and dance in celebration at a community party. The images come from a time when, if someone had a camera, it was a special and important gesture to record an event and to get the photos developed for the album. And yet, they are more than what some call ‘snapshots’.

I wanted to write something about specific photographs in this collection but found that I could not say anything without beginning a whole history of the photograph in which each of these would belong. In the end, I look forward to seeing what Paul Seesequasis says in his book about his photographic posts and the people included in this archival project.


[1] What’s in a name: Indian, Native, Aboriginal or Indigenous? Don Marks, CBC News Posted: Oct 02, 2014 http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/what-s-in-a-name-indian-native-aboriginal-or-indigenous-1.2784518

[2] The Medicine Line, has traditionally been a well travelled North/South route for Native Americans visiting kin above and below the 49th Parallel.

[3] Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Volume 1 – Looking Forward Looking Back | PART TWO False Assumptions and a Failed Relationship, Chapter 11: Relocation of Aboriginal Communities, p 395. URL: https://qspace.library.queensu.ca/bitstream/handle/1974/6874/RRCAP1_combined.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y

 

9 Mar

For months I have wanted to say something about the crisis of fresh water in Canada’s Northern communities. Some news agencies have brought articles to that focus on problems with children suffering from skin problems and other illnesses. There is the possibility that any such news item will point the blame back to the primary caregivers: the parents of children. Because, there always has to be, someone to blame, if we do not look at the bigger picture.

I lived in Northern British Columbia for seven years and half of that was in a cabin without running water. Although there was an oil burning, electric baseboards, paved driveway suburb down the hill, I felt that the environment in which I lived demanded a kinder approach. I collected snow, packed it into containers and melted it to wash my body, for dishes and for boiling some foods. I hauled drinking water from a spring in the woods, on a toboggan, uphill to the cabin where I chopped wood to heat my cabin. I was not born there and the lifestyle I lived was of my own choice. I do believe that being born in the north, and above the tree line, brings more challenges than choices.

When I began working at a local sawmill, I continued to live without running water for a year. And then I needed it. The eight-hour shifts, especially the graveyard shifts in the winter, reshaped my idea of how to carry out daily chores. For about six months of working at the sawmill, I hauled water from the nearby lake. Using an ice auger of the type that is used for recreational ice fishing, I drilled holes and collected the fresh water in pails. When the minus 30 degrees Fahrenheit set in, I placed a plastic sheet and plywood over the water hole in an attempt to keep it from freezing deeper. It did not really work, and the hole was smaller each time that I returned. One day, I hit the mud bottom of the lake. That is when I gave up and asked for help at a gas station in town. The owners allowed me to draw water from their tap.

Why did I do it? I am not exactly sure, but somehow, it seemed that I had a debt to pay; that I could not expect to live an easy life, with everything provided. That remains to be my story to decipher. I was a young, independent woman and found the challenges of northern living to be invigorating. If I had been a parent with children to care for, I think that my decisions would have been different. I might have decided to live in one of the southerly Canadian cities that I hailed from.

One of the clues for deciphering my choice to live in the north might be that my family lived in Fort Churchill, Manitoba for two years when I was a child starting school. My grades one and two were taken at the Duke of Edinburgh School. The Canadian and American governments shared that strategically placed, armed forces base. Regardless of cold weather hardships, I always believed that it was idyllic in the sense of the ideas fed to me as a young student. In the school curriculum, I was privy to the latest NFB releases, and at the base cinema, I saw Hollywood releases of the moment. Nanook of the North, Paddle to the Sea and Boogie Doodle; were juxtapositioned with Laurel and Hardy, Gone With the Wind, Song of the South, Bridge of the River Kwai and War and Peace. From the shores of the Hudson Bay, I saw whales, polar bears in the churchyard, and I jumped over crevasses too deep to hear the pebble hit bottom.

In the meantime, as I now read, native people were forced to relocate there. They suffered from malnutrition, sub-standard living conditions and physical abuse. The muffled stories turned out to be true and more are coming to light. A glowing star in my northern memory bank is that my younger sister was born there, on International Women’s Day.

Back to the water story: We are currently under a boil-water advisory here in Moncton, New Brunswick, due to a burst water main. It is temporary, but difficult to remember to not brush your teeth, or to wash your face except with boiled or distilled water.

Being born in the north and above the tree line brings more challenges than choices. Communities without water that is clean of bacteria and viruses, or those with water laden with heavy metals, have more to worry about than drinking water. They have to skimp on laundry habits from cleaning bedding and baby clothes to washing hands and food preparation. The solutions that I was able to find are not available above the tree line. Melting snow is a costly venture without wood to burn. The use of imported fuel and high priced detergents must be rationed. It is a terrifying thought; the necessity of protecting children from what we should be able to think of as: life-giving, life-supporting water. Who will take care of our people if we do not?

About Valerie LeBlanc

Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, pluri-­disciplinary artist and writer Valerie LeBlanc has worked in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Australia. Her creations travel between poetry, performance, visual and written theory. Valerie LeBlanc has been creating video poetry since the mid 1980’s, and is the creator of the MediaPackBoard (MPB), portable screening / performance device. In the fall of 2012, she published her play The Raft, through Basic Bruegel Editions.

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