Look At Me!, Daniel Lin, 2021. Courtesy the artist.

Panel: Images with Agency: Towards a Speculative Glossary

Thursday, March 18, 10am PDT
Presented on Zoom. Please register in advance.

Join SFU third-year visual art students, professor Sabine Bitter, and Audain Visual Artist in Residence Heba Y. Amin for a virtual tour through the exhibition Images that Take, Images that Give. Using a glossary of terms that describe the politics of imagery within frameworks such as archives, surveillance, technology, and perception, the exhibition probes the agency of images and investigates tactics and technologies that artists use to create, produce, and circulate them.

The speculative terminology in the gloassary delineates notions of, for example, the operational image or the militant image, and will be extended by Laura U. Marks’s reflection on the talisman image, alongside Heba Y. Amin and Anthony Downey’s investigation of the counter-operational image. The presentation of the exhibition and glossary will be followed by a conversation between Sabine Bitter, Laura U. Marks, Heba Y. Amin, and Anthony Downey on post-digital technologies and other ways of seeing.

As a curatorial framework and site of research, the exhibition examines and critiques digital methodologies for artistic practice and knowledge production. Under the mentorship of Heba Y. Amin, Sabine Bitter, and MFA candidate Aakansha Ghosh, the third-year visual arts cohort have developed artworks that question the conditions and environments of their production — especially since this class project has been realized via digital tools like email and Zoom.

The Audain Visual Artist in Residence (AVAIR) program brings artists and practitioners to Vancouver who have contributed significantly to the field of contemporary art and whose work resonates with local and international visual art discourses. The visiting artists interact with the students and faculty of the School for the Contemporary Arts as well as the broader visual arts and cultural communities and the community-at-large. In keeping with the experimental nature of the School for the Contemporary Arts, the terms of engagement are open and change from artist to artist. The cornerstone of the residency is the sharing of artistic research. The program is generously funded by the Audain Foundation Endowment Fund.

Presented by SFU's School for the Contemporary Arts and the Audain Visual Artist in Residence. Co-presented as part of the public program of Heba Y. Amin’s solo exhibition When I see the future, I close my eyes, curated by Anthony Downey, at the Mosaic Rooms, London.

SFU third-year visual art students are Debbie Chan, Sena Cleave, Sofia Grace, Shinaaz K. Johal, Ritz Li, Daniel Lin, Quinn Lumsden, Sahar Rahmanian, Ravneet Kaur Sidhu, Paige Smith, Xiaotong Sun (Shiny), Lil Waldegger, and Yunze Xie (David).

Heba Y. Amin is a Berlin-based multimedia artist, researcher, and lecturer. She works with political themes and archival history, using media including film, photography, archival material, lecture performance, and installation. She is the co-founder of the Black Athena Collective, curator of visual art for the MIZNA journal, and currently sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Digital War.

Sabine Bitter is a Vancouver-based artist and Professor at the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. She collaborates with Vienna-based artist Helmut Weber on projects addressing the politics of representation and space. Engaging with architecture as a frame for spatial meaning, their research-oriented practice resulted in projects like Educational Modernism and Housing the Social. In 2004, Sabine Bitter, Jeff Derksen, and Helmut Weber formed the urban research collective Urban Subjects, whose collaboration led to several exhibitions including If Time Is Still Alive with Camera Austria, Graz, 2021. 

Anthony Downey is Professor of Visual Culture in the Middle East and North Africa (Birmingham City University). He is the Cultural Lead and Co-Investigator on a four year AHRC funded research project that focuses on cultural practices, education, and digital methodologies in Lebanon, Palestine and Jordan (2020 – 2024). He sits on the editorial boards of Third Text and the Journal of Digital War, respectively, and is the series editor for Research/Practice (Sternberg Press, 2019 – ongoing). He is currently writing up his forthcoming volume Unbearable States: Digital Media and Cultural Activism in a Post-Digital Age (2021).

Laura U. Marks is Grant Strate University Professor at the School for Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver. Her research focuses on media art and philosophy with an intercultural focus, and on small-footprint media. Her publications include Hanan al-Cinema: Affections for the Moving Image (MIT, 2015) and Enfoldment and Infinity: An Islamic Genealogy of New Media Art (MIT, 2010). She develops experimental media programmes for venues around the world, most recently the First Annual Small File Media Festival, Vancouver, 2020.