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

Images that Take, Images that Give

BFA Project 2021
March 18 – 27, 2021 | Audain Gallery

Tuesday – Saturday, 12 – 5PM | BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Heba Y. Amin, Sabine Bitter (with Helmut Weber), Debbie Chan, Sena Cleave, DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Research, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti), Aakansha Ghosh, Sofia Grace, Shinaaz K. Johal, Ritz Li, Daniel Lin, Quinn Lumsden, Sahar Rahmanian, Oliver Ressler, Ravneet Kaur Sidhu, Paige Smith, Xiaotong Sun (Shiny), Lil Waldegger, and Yunze Xie (David). 

Can art, in fact, mobilize change? And should we be expecting this from art in the first place?

– Heba Y. Amin

Images that Take, Images that Give investigates the agency of images, as well as the tactics and technologies artists use to create, produce, and circulate them. The third-year visual arts cohort — alongside Egyptian artist Heba Y. Amin, professor Sabine Bitter, and MFA candidate Aakansha Ghosh — have developed artworks related to themes of resistance, control, mapping, and language. As a site of research, this exhibition seeks uncertainty and curiosity to support new ways of seeing.

Each work in the exhibition contributes to a glossary of terms that describes the agency of images within frameworks such as archives, surveillance, technology, and perception. These frameworks can support a reciprocal relationship between images and cultural change, where images both spur radical action and articulate new kinds of subjectivities. The artists seek what lays beyond the tangible and rational to explore new ways of coming together, although for now our bodies can only be together in restricted ways, full of caution. Because this class project has been mostly developed remotely, via technologies like email and Zoom, examining and critiquing these digital frameworks is particularly urgent.

Heba Y. Amin teaches at Bard College Berlin, is a doctorate fellow in art history at Freie Universität, and is a Field of Vision fellow. She is the co-founder of the Black Athena Collective, the curator of visual art for the MIZNA journal, and sits on the editorial board of the Journal of Digital War. She has had recent exhibitions at the Mosaic Rooms, London (2020); MAXXI Museum, Rome (2018); 10th Berlin Biennale (2018); 15th Istanbul Biennale (2017); Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2017); Karachi Biennale (2017); 11th African Biennale of Photography, Bamako (2017); Kalmart Art Museum (2017); 12th Dak’Art Biennale, Dakar (2016); Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna (2016); the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw (2016); the Kunstverein in Hamburg (2016); Camera Austria (2015); 64th Berlinale, Berlin (2014), and the IV Moscow International Biennale for Young Art (2014).

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.

This exhibition takes place on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

Presented by the School for the Contemporary Arts at SFU and the Audain Visual Artist in Residence Program in partnership with SFU Galleries.

Images that Take, Images that Give – Online

Visit the exhibition website HERE. Watch

Watch a short video about the exhibition below.

Download the Exhibition Brochure

Exhibition Images

Photos: Daniel Lin and Paige Smith.

EVENTS

Images with agency: Towards a speculative glossary
In Conversation: Heba Y. Amin, Sabine Bitter, Anthony Downey, Laura U. Marks, and SFU visual art students
March 18, 2021 | 10:00 AM (PST) / 5:00 PM (GMT) | FREE | Zoom

Join SFU third-year visual art students, professor Sabine Bitter and resident artist Heba Y. Amin for a virtual tour through the exhibition Images that Take, Images that Give. Using a glossary of terms which describes 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.

This speculative terminology delineates notions of, for example, the ‘operational image’ and the ‘militant image’, and will be extended by Laura U. Marks’ 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 Audain resident artist Heba Y. Amin, professor Sabine Bitter, and MFA candidate Aakansha Ghosh, the third-year visual arts cohort at SFU 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.

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.

 

Counter-Strategies: Digital Methodologies and Practice-Based Research
In Conversation: Heba Y. Amin, Sabine Bitter, Anthony Downey, Claudette Lauzon, Gillian Russell (Digital Democracies Institute), and SFU visual art students
March 25, 2021 | 10:00 AM (PST) / 5:00 PM (GMT) | FREE | Zoom

How can we develop counter-strategies for image production and circulation in a post-digital age? This roundtable with Heba Y. Amin, Sabine Bitter, Anthony Downey, Claudette Lauzon, and Gillian Russell will discuss how research and artistic practices advance methodologies for thinking from within and through the digital image.  

Drawing on their own research and artistic practice, the speakers will explore how practitioners can realign and potentially redefine how we understand the production, dissemination, and reception of digital imagery. This implies that we revise methodological approaches to the question of digital epistemologies and enquire more fully into what is it to produce knowledge through creative practices in an age of apparent digital dystopia.

Presented by SFU's School for the Contemporary Arts and the Audain Visual Artist in Residence. Co-presented as part 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.

 

Biographies

SFU third-year visual art students: 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 mediums including film, photography, archival material, lecture performance and installation. Amin is currently the 2021 Spring Audain Visual Artist in Residence at the School for the Contemporary Arts at Simon Fraser University. 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).

Claudette Lauzon is a contemporary art historian specializing in installation, sculpture, and new media art practices. She is the author of The Unmaking of Home in Contemporary Art (University of Toronto Press, 2017), which looks at the ways in which artists use the space of home (both literally and figuratively) to reframe human responses to trauma. She is co-editor of Through Post-Atomic Eyes (McGill-Queen’s University Press, forthcoming) and Sustainable Tools for Precarious Times: Performance Actions in the Americas (Palgrave, forthcoming). Her current book project, Eyes in the Sky, examines cultures of surveillance and militarization through the lens of critical posthumanism. Before joining the School for the Contemporary Arts, Lauzon was assistant professor of modern and contemporary art history at OCAD University in Toronto, where she also served as Associate Dean in the Faculty of Liberal Arts and School for Interdisciplinary Studies.

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.

Gillian Russell is a SSHRC postdoctoral fellow with the Digital Democracies Institute. She is a designer, curator and researcher whose practice explores the role of speculative intervention in developing methodologies and tools to actively engage publics in unveiling present realities and future possibilities. Her work has been featured at the Porto Design Biennale, Helsinki Design Museum, Design Museum London, London Design Festival, Milan Furniture Fair and the Victoria & Albert Museum. In 2017 Gillian obtained her PhD in Design at the Royal College of Art, London. Her dissertation examined the relationship between critical design and its contexts of dissemination.

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March 27, 2021