This video was captured during the opening reception of Unsettled Sites on Saturday, March, 7th. It features a conversation with Tarah Hogue, Marian Penner Bancroft and Tania Willard.
A traveller that passes through. A home that one leaves or returns to. A haunting. Unsettled Sites is a group exhibition that slips amongst the complex entanglements of belonging and refusal from both settler and Indigenous perspectives. The works disturb the ubiquity of settler colonialism, the violent cleaving of Indigenous inhabitants from the land through both physical removal and forced cultural assimilation--reserves and residential schools to name only two of many such policies. In presuming entitlement to the development and ownership of land, colonialism creates past and future ghosts to achieve and legitimize its aims. Conversely, by dwelling in the incommensurable, that which refuses easy consumption or erasure, the artists in the exhibition collapse the mythology of settlement.
In installation, photography and video, the authoritative fixity of representational media is betrayed as those bodies presumed to be contained--as ghosts, as pop culture signifiers one step removed from the referent--return to haunt the image as desiring bodies, as spectres, as present absences that make even the quotidian an uncertain experience. In mining the historical and present circumstances that mutually implicate us, the works in Unsettled Sites point to urgent questions of response and action: What does it mean to carry home with us? Can one both belong to a place and remain unsettled? What does an ethic of visiting look like? What does it mean to haunt the structures of settler colonialism? These creative acts of sovereignty and cohabitation exceed the colonial framework and open possibilities for alternate futures, though the path ahead may not be entirely clear, harmonious or prescriptive in its politics.